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CONLANG  October 2000, Week 1

CONLANG October 2000, Week 1

Subject:

Re: Dictionaries of agglutinating languages

From:

Adrian Morgan <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Constructed Languages List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 4 Oct 2000 16:51:40 +0930

Content-Type:

TEXT/PLAIN

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

TEXT/PLAIN (92 lines)

Dirk Elzinga wrote, quoting Robert Hailman:

> > With the idea I proposed, it takes a little more work:
> > find the root in the dictionary, get it's definition, go to a table
> > in the back, find every affix used, and figure out how the combine to
> > give the derived work it's meaning. That would be quite a laborious
> > task.
>
> But not always accurate. A favorite example I give to my students when
> the subject of derivation comes up is the suffix -hood in English. It
> attaches to nouns to create abstract nouns meaning something like 'the
> property of being an X'. Thus, father -> fatherhood; knight ->
> knighthood, etc. However, it won't work with all nouns: candle ->
> *candlehood (although one could imagine what that might mean). And
> there are nouns which don't conform to the "regular" pattern: neighbor
> -> neighborhood (does *not* mean 'property of being a neighbor'). So
> confining all of the derivational affixes to an appendix and relying
> on the user to piece things together will fail to capture these kinds
> of irregularities--especially if the user is an L2 learner.

I'll bring in specific affixes from my conlang here:

One /gza'rOnd@n/ affix demonstrating similar properties to "hood" is
/@f/ ('consistent with criteria or philosophy of'). In the wordlist
I gave, it creates /'&d@leT@f/ (constitutional, consistent with the
constitution) and /'&d@l@f/ (fit to govern, in the sense of 'consistent
with cultural expectations about what a government should do'). In some
cases, particularly with complex ideas, it can serve as a
noun-to-adjective converter, for example ...

   ... divergence: My word for 'girl' is taken directly from the
   Swedish /'flika/. My word for 'boy' was composed by taking the
   Welsh /'baxgen/ and modifying it by analogy with girl to acquire
   /'baxka/ ...

      ... divergence within divergence: I'm a 23yo male, and I always
      wince if someone calls me a 'man' because IMO you have to be at
      least thirty or so to be a man. I don't wince as much if someone
      calls me a 'boy' but the word I'm _most_ comfortable with is
      'guy' (which is the word I'd normally use to describe myself).
      Unfortunately AFAIK there is no equivalent three-way division on
      the female side. Anyway, as far as the conlang is concerned, I
      think of the terms I've given as being suitable for a large
      range of ages ...

... male (/baxk@f/) and female (/flik@f/). However, by analogy with
'hood' you would not speak of 'consistent with the criteria of being
a candle'. Another special case of this suffix is /kI:Rk@f/ (lit.
consistent with a gathering). It is the regular word used to mean
'welcome' (and can be a suffix in its own right) which is a logical
step-away from the literal root+affix.

/@f/ is one of the more irregular affixes in my vocabulary. Another
fairly irregular one is /@n/ (coming from). I originally used this
only in the sense of 'coming from a place' (/gza'rOnda:/ ->
/gza'rOnd@n/), but this has expanded to such things as /'grif@n/
(coming from - i.e. product of - hard work) and also a number of
examples where it means 'being the output or consequence of'.

Another affix that often necessitates special decision making on my
part is the infix /x/, meaning "to use <noun> for intended purpose".

Sometimes even very regular affixes produce meanings that make me
think, "now that's GOT to evolve a more subtle meaning than the
literal". An example is /'bendrisg&IThI/ which would probably be
translated "saint" in English. Now, a slightly shorter word,
/'bendrisI/ is the regular word for "a good person", literally "one
who creates constructiveness". This follows from my own philosophy of
life - I see 'goodness' as synonymous with 'pursuing a
positive/constructive goal'. The inserted syllable /g&IT/ means
'whilst in negative emotional state : fear, grief, shock, etc'. It
doesn't take much insight to see that the resultant word
/'bendrisg&IThI/ would mean, "One who acts constructively despite all
their own problems", with obvious connotations about admirable
self-control and so on (which I certainly don't have, incidentally).
But little of this is actually explicit in the affixes.

*One* of my reasons for deciding to compile a dictionary is that I am
often surprised at what concepts turn out to be expressible in my
conlang that I didn't realise were there - /'bendrisg&IThy/ being one
of those surprise discoveries.

On the whole it's a fairly regular language - otherwise I wouldn't be
able to manage it. But it does have a number of irregularities of the
order outlined above.

--
web.       | Here and there I like to preserve a few islands of sanity
netyp.com/ | within the vast sea of absurdity which is my mind.
member/    | After all, you can't survive as an eight foot tall
dragon     | flesh eating dragon if you've got no concept of reality.

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