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CONLANG  November 2004, Week 1

CONLANG November 2004, Week 1


Tatari Faran: volition, verb complements, phonology update, and more


"H. S. Teoh" <[log in to unmask]>


Constructed Languages List <[log in to unmask]>


Mon, 1 Nov 2004 17:12:24 -0800





text/plain (232 lines)

Hey conlangy folks, what's up with all these squabbles that always
come up in the absence of Tatari Faran posts? Are the AUXLANG folk
invading us again? ;-)

Tatari Faran has grown a lot since the last update. I don't even
remember what exactly has changed since, but anyway, instead of
inundating the list with an exhaustive coverage, I thought I'd pick
out a few gems to show off with. So here they are, in no particular

1) The lexicon now has 211 entries. Lest you get the wrong idea,
however, it should be noted that verbs and verb complements are listed
separately, and I've entered some phonological contractions as
separate entries to prevent my own confusion in the future.
Nevertheless, this does show impressively fast growth compared to

2) Ah yes, volition, the eyebrow-raiser in my subject line. ;-) I
found out that due to the nature of Tatari Faran's core case system,
volitive and involitive meanings of the same verb referent must be
realized as distinct verbs. For example, in English we use "smell"
both in the volitive sense "smell this and see" and in the involitive
sense "I smell something burning". In Tatari Faran, two distinct verbs
are necessary:

huena ... hiim [hMna ... hi:m]
To sniff at something (volitive)

fahun ... uen [fahun ... Mn]
To smell something (involitive)

They are necessarily different because of the core cases that are used
differently with each verb: for _huena_, the sniffer is marked with
the originative case:

simani ko huena huu na hiim.
wolf ORG smell 1sp RCP COMPL
["simani kO "hMna hu: na hi:m]
"The wolf smelled me (sniffed at me)."

For _fahun_, the smeller is marked with the receptive, since the smell
involuntarily arrived at his/her nose:

huu na fahun punareis sa uen.
1sp RCP smell stink CVY COMPL
[hu: na fa"hun puna4ejsa Mn]
"I smelt an unpleasant odor."

[Sidenote: I don't know whether to translate _simani_ as 'dog' or
'wolf', as the inhabitants of Fara keep them as pets. They are
ferocious enough to be called wolves in the common sense, but they are
also domesticated somewhat.]

More examples of the volitive/involitive split:

juerat ... itu [dzM4at itu] - "to look" (the classic example)
hamra ... aram [ham4a a4am] - "to see"

kuni ... iti' [kuni iti?] - "to listen to"
dutan ... inin [dutan inin] - "to hear"

habas ... saa [habas sa:] - "to set on fire"
fusitas ... sohaa [fusitas sOha:] - "to burn"/"to be burned"

This last pair is interesting, as the originative can be used for
_fusitas_ as well:

kisa ko fusitas kin sa sohaa.
fire ORG burn stick CVY COMPL
"The fire is burning the stick." (Stick is already burning)

Note the subtle nuance difference when _habas_ is used:

kisa ko habas kin na saa.
fire ORG ignite stick RCP COMPL
"The fire ignited the stick." (Stick was not burning before)
Or, "the stick caught fire."

3) More fun with verb complements: I discovered from my informant that
verb complements can complement more than just verbs. It's in fact
commonly used to turn a noun into zero-valent verb:

peira. [pej4a] - rain
peira ta'an. [pej4a ta?an] - it is raining.

The complement _ta'an_ is also used with other verbs, such as _tapa_
(to walk), to mean "down to the bottom":

huu sa tapa itsan no ta'an.
1sp CVY walk cinder-cone ORG COMPL
"I walk down to the bottom of the cinder cone."

More examples:

mubun. [mubun] - night
mubun murimuun. [mubun mu4imu:n] - it is nighttime.

The complement _murimuun_ has the sense of "enveloping", as seen in
the following example when it is used as a complement of "to wear":

huu sa kaja tsunan da murimuun.
1sp CVY wear garment RCP COMPL
"I put on the traditional men's garment."

Another usage of _murimuun_:

jiranan. [dzi4anan] - fog
jiranan murimuun. [dzi4anan mu4imu:n] - it is foggy.

More verb complement examples:

baran. [ba4an] - morning
baran saan. [ba4an sa:n] - it is morning/daybreak.

sifan. [sifan] - noon
sifan ku. [sifan ku] - it is noontime.

jumba. [dzumba] - a rolling earthquake
jumba tsitsin. [dzumba tsi.tsin] - a rolling earthquake is

The complement _tsitsin_ is odd, in the sense that it is also an
adjective meaning "dizzy".

4) Phonology update: the phonetic inventory of Tatari Faran is
starting to settle down a bit. I was struggling with some words that
appear to want an /l/, but finally I kicked them hard enough and they
acquiesced to have /r/ instead. So here's the list:

Unvoiced stops: p t k ?
Voiced stops: b d
Nasal stops: m n
Fricatives: f s h
Affricates: dz ts
Flaps: 4

As before, [d] and [4] are the same phoneme, realized as [d] when
word-initial, and [4] when medial. I've chosen to write them as /d/
and /r/, respectively, to make this distinction more obvious. Note
that Tatari Faran has no laterals. (Is this unusual?)

[dz] is written /j/, and [?] is written /'/.

Short: a & i M O u
Long: a: ej i: u:
Glides: ai ao ja wa wi

[&] is written as /e/, [M] as /ue/, and [O] as /o/. [ej] is written as
/ei/, and long vowels are written as reduplicated short vowels (/aa/
for [a:].) The glides are written /ai/, /au/, /ia/, /ua/, /ui/,

Now, the interesting part: there are some interesting phonological
processes that happen between adjacent words. Tatari Faran appears to
dislike syllables that are repeated too often, or overly-similar
syllables that occur together, so mutations will happen to
dissimilate them:

a) The receptive case particle _na_ (and _nei_ and _no_) mutates if it
follows a noun that ends with a similar-sounding syllable. E.g.:

huna + na -> hunan da [hunanda]
hina + nei -> hinan dei [hinandej]

b) Absorption:

asusu + sei -> asusei [asusej]
isi + sa -> isa
isi + sei -> isei
isi + so -> iso

c) If a word ends with a final consonant identical to the case
particle that follows it, the consonant is assimilated:

itsan + no -> [itsanO]
san + nei -> [sanej]
pireis + sei -> [pirejsej]
kuen + na -> [kMna]

(This one is more of a pronunciation effect than anything else; it is
not reflected in the spelling of the words.)

d) The feminine case particles, if followed by the interrogative
marker _ta_, shift their vowel to /i/:

kei + ta -> kita
sei + ta -> sita
nei + ta -> nita

e) The genitive of a noun is usually formed by appending -n for
vowel-final nouns and -an for consonant-final nouns. However, if a
noun ends with -nan, then -naran is used instead of the rule-predicted
-nanan, because /-nanan/ is undesirably repetitive. E.g.:

jiranan -> jiranaran [dzi4ana4an]

f) Miscellaneous vocabulary items of interest: Tatari Faran has (at
least) 3 different words for birds. Songbirds and other desirable fowl
are referred to as _tsuinit_ [tswinit], which is grammatically
feminine. OTOH, less desirable fowl such as crows and predatory birds
are referred to as _kauna_ [kaona], a grammatical masculine. A third
category are "duck-like" birds, which apparently refers to any bird
that either swims or feed near or on water. This category, referred to
as _hausi_ [haosi], include ducks, kingfishers, and swans.

Finally, in the department of graphic violence, the verb complement
for _fusitas_, "to burn", is _sohaa_ [sOha:]. This same complement is
also used for the verb _sumkisa_ [sum"kisa]: to die by being buried
and encased in lava. Other verbs of mortality include:

funum ... dunan (to die of disease or old age)
suha' ... dunan (to die in battle)

To end on a brighter note, _kin_ [kin] means a wooden stick, whereas
_kinan_ [kinan] is an adjective meaning "skinny" or "undernourished".
("He's as thin as a stick!")

(OK, so this post turned out to be exhaustive after all. My apologies
if this put you to sleep.)


Let's not fight disease by killing the patient. -- Sean 'Shaleh' Perry

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