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CONLANG  August 2005, Week 2

CONLANG August 2005, Week 2

Subject:

Re: Relative Clauses

From:

Henrik Theiling <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Constructed Languages List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sun, 14 Aug 2005 14:59:10 +0200

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Hi!

Patrick Littell <[log in to unmask]> writes:
> On 8/13/05, Henrik Theiling <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> >...
> > Why would this forbid two relative clauses in a sentence?
>
>
> Not the subject of the relative clause; the subject of the main clause.
> ...

Ah! *bang*  Now I understand.

>...
> So, if only one participant per clause can be realized as a subject, and
> only main clause subjects can be heads of IHRCs, each main clause may have
> only one IHRC.
>...

Yes, indeed!

> Actually, S11 (Tesäfköm) will work like this: the topic (=fronted
> > noun) in the relative clause is the reference.
>
> This sounds like the Malagasy pattern. ...

Yes, I think so.

>... This is my "favorite" relativization construction, insofar as a
>non-creative linguist like myself has "favorites". ...

I also like the Chinese style relative clause very much.  I abstracted
it a bit and used it in Qthyn|gai, where every word and clause((!) by
means of its head) is marked with a case marker.  So you just mark the
modifying relative clause with genitive case and use it as an adjunct.
I liked that.

> I find it very elegant, for some value
> of elegant; it doesn't require "extra" machinery within the language to
> work. ...

Hmm, depends, I think.  The Bambara example is very nice.  Although it
seems that you could also have a reference marker (Bambara), or a
resumptive pronoun (Korean).  This is extra machinery just like 'de'
in Chinese.  And actually, Japanese and Korean EHRCs come with *less*
extra machinery: they lack any modification marker between the
relative clause and its modified noun IIRC.

I also love minimalistic machinery in my conlangs.  Tyl Sjok, for
example (with IHRCs) has an optional reference marker, but can do
without.  I also found this very elegant for an isolating language.

Tesäfköm, OTOH, will have a resumptive pronoun for IHRCs and use
construct state on the modified noun for EHRCs, so there is some extra
machinese for both.  Actually, with Chinese in mind, I was quite
surprised to see that in Japanese a 'no' is missing between relative
clause and modified noun.  And because I personally find it strange,
Tesäfköm will mark the modified with construct state.

> So long as there's a way to topicalize/front/realize-as-subject/etc. a
> given argument, it can be relativized upon.

The optional reference marker in Tyl Sjok is indeed the focus marker
when used at top level (does Tyl Sjok have a topic marker?  I don't
recall...  Marking as topic seems more appropriate for IHRCs). :-)

Anyway, it's optional -- so you *can* do without marking which
argument you relativize, although that probably becomes a bit
ambiguous.  But then, that was a design feature for Tyl Sjok. :-)

> Since we're on the topic of relative clauses, do your languages indicate the
> difference between restrictive and non-restrictive relative clauses (and
> adjectives)? ...
>...

A week ago, I would not have been able to tell you for Tesäfköm (it's
still embryonic), because at that time I found that it can easily have
an EHRC and I wondered which relative clause to use (it already had
its IHRC from the very beginning).

After reading about Japanese (again -- I forgot almost everything), I
decided that having *both* is also a good option: the IHRC for
descriptive relative clauses and the EHRC for restrictive ones.  Both
embed nicely into Tesäfköm's structure.  I'm very happy with that
decision. :-)

> (This distinction is also possible with adjectives; ...

Adjectives are verbs are relative clauses in Tesäfköm. :-) All the
same, yes.

> I believe in most languages this can only be distinguished by intonation
> (or, of course, by words like "incidentally"), but in a few it's
> grammaticalized. ...

German is usually said to not distinguish, I think, but it can
optionally mark a clause as descriptive by the word 'ja'.

   Der Mann, der nicht arbeitet, ist krank.
   the man   who not   works     is  sick

      - ambiguous, but usually understood restrictive, I think.  At
        least without context.

   Der Mann, der ja nicht arbeitet, ist krank.