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Re: New to Language Construction

From:Nik Taylor <fortytwo@...>
Date:Thursday, March 16, 2000, 23:06
Shreyas Sampat wrote:
> No syllables closed with a consonant, no consonant clusters, that > sort of thing.
Cool. My conlang, Watakassí started out that way, but I had trouble keeping words from getting outrageously long, so I compromised by allowing some closed syllables and some clusters, but still it prefers the oppen structure.
> I'm having trouble with verb forms, > though: I don't want to have huge, cumbersome charts of conjugations, > like Latin does, but under the current grammar, it's possible to put 5 or > 6 affixes onto a verb stem, and that's equally unpleasant.
I don't think so, I like agglutination. But, what's unpleasant about it to you? Is it the length that it makes the words? Or is it just that you prefer having few affixes on a word? Agglutination is inevitably going to make for long words, but one solution would be to allow some forms to be assumed. For instance, if you have a "present" affix, you might want to drop it and let present tense be assumed if no tense is listed. For instance, Watakassí verbs can have up to 5 prefixes and 2 affixes, but of the prefixes, none are required. The first prefix, for instance, is voice. If no prefix is used, it means the verb is active, the second is tense, no prefix means present, and so on. Of the affixes, one is required (person) and the other is not always present, it's aspect and no affix indicates "punctual" (specific point in time, like "he fell" as opposed to "he was falling" or "he used to fall", etc.) But, in theory, it's possible to use all 7 affixes, like: Suvvipasluláwuv (if I used to be able to cause [someone] to eat; from the verb láu, to eat), but it's hard to conceive of a situation where that would be used. :-) Also, alot of them have alternate forms, like past tense is f(a)-, or v- in front of another v, so that in the above word, the past tense is simply v-. Antipassive is s(u)-, where the vowel is dropped before another vowel or y, w, or l. That also helps to cut down on length alot. What kind of affixes are used in your lang? -- "If the stars should appear one night in a thousand years, how would men believe and adore, and preserve for many generations the remembrance of the city of God!" - Ralph Waldo Emerson ICQ: 18656696 AIM Screen-Name: NikTailor