Hallo conlangers!

On Saturday 22 February 2014 08:44:10 R A Brown wrote:

> On 22/02/2014 01:53, David Peterson wrote:
> [...] 
> > It is not popularly imagined. It was *imagined* to be
> > popularly imagined by Leland Paul Kusmer, based on the
> > sample size of his NYU conlang class, where students
> > were presented with exactly three models of conlang (I
> > think it was inflectional, agglutinating, or
> > triconsonantal), and told to choose one. Many opted for
> > the triconsonantal model, because it was the most exotic
> > of the three.
> I think if I were presented with those three models - and
> only those three - I would have gone for triconsonantal,
> because:
> - inflectional takes IMO a good deal of time to do well and
> look naturalistic;

Yes - many conlangers who try this just come up with randomly
irregular paradigms, while in Indo-European languages, for
instance, many traces of former regularity shine through.
Many irregular patterns in historical IE languages, such as
Germanic strong verbs or the declension classes of whichever
conservative IE language you choose, can be reduced to more
regular antecedents in PIE, though some things, such as the
tripartite verb aspect stem system and the four (or five)
ablaut-accent classes, are still irregular as hell in Late
PIE - but even those seem to have evolved from regular systems
in earlier stages of the language.

What this tells us is that the best way to come up with a
naturalistic irregular system is to start with a regular one
and have sound changes wreak havoc with it.

> - agglutinating really is over-represented.  The early
> auxlangs were agglutinating and so are many other conlangs.
>   The model is rather boring by itself without some added
> extra spice.

Sure.  You should at least add some morphophonemic alternations
to it - even Turkish has vowel harmony, meaning that some
suffixes have two forms and some others, even four.

> - triconsonantal is the more interesting of the three
> because to us westerners it's unusual.

Triconsonantal root systems are not easy to do well and look
naturalistic.  The morphologies of Semitic languages are quite
complex and not easily understood, and they are the standard
against which all naturalistic triconsonantal root systems are
to be gauged.
> > It was based largely on this experience—and his personal
> > experience of doing a triconsonantal language—that he
> > determined that this was a "phase" "all" conlangers go
> > through,
> But that IME ain't so.  I guess relexing English is probably
> what most do first; a Romlang is, it seems, usually
> attempted along the way.  But I suspect there are quite a
> few who, like me, have not attempted or felt the urge to
> attempt the triconsonantal model.

I considered the triconsonantal model for Razaric (indeed, I
did consider the possibility of it being a member of the
Afrasian family, thus being related to Semitic!), but decided
against it, because I felt that I couldn't do it well.  Also,
I did not want to imitate Khuzdul.  Proto-Razaric now has a
fairly simple agglutinating morphology with mostly prefixes
but also some suffixes, and inflectional reduplication.
> > and that it's completely tired and played out. Since we
> > have yet to see a single one of these languages done well
> > (or even authentically), I'd beg to differ.
> So do I.  I don't recall any off hand - to say it's tired
> and played out seems to me a gross misrepresentation.  Like
> David, I cannot think of one that has been done well or
> authentically.

Indeed.  There aren't really that many triconsonantal root
languages.  Khuzdul and Old Skourene are the only ones I can
think of right now.  There are probably some Semitic a posteriori
conlangs.  Old Skourene looks like a much simplified imitation of
the real thing (not that it doesn't have its redeeming qualities).
Of Khuzdul, we know too little.

(Also, Rosenfelder uses the term 'experiencer' utterly wrongly
in his discussion of the morphosyntactic alignment of Old
Skourene, but that has no bearing on its triconsonantalism.)

> I guess Bax had a sort of templatic morphology in that there
> was definite shape to root morphemes and another definite
> shape for affixes - this was because the morphemes were
> designed to be self-segregating   ;)
> Um - some may well think that self-segregating morphemes
> have been played out  ;)

As Jim has said, self-segregation is out of place in a conlang
meant to be naturalistic.  With an engelang, it is fine.  But
most of the more obvious solutions have been tried out already;
also, self-segregation isn't all that difficult to achieve, so
there is not much of a challenge in it.

... brought to you by the Weeping Elf
"Bêsel asa Éam, a Éam atha cvanthal a cvanth atha Éamal." - SiM 1:1