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CONLANG  February 2014, Week 1

CONLANG February 2014, Week 1

Subject:

Re: Animate NOT vs. Inanimate

From:

Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Constructed Languages List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 7 Feb 2014 10:49:03 +0100

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

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On 7 February 2014 10:02, Katerina <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> hi all,
>
> i've been lurking on the list since i joined and thought i should make my
> first post.
>
>
Welcome to the list then! :)


> lithuanian uses *kas *for both "who" and "what" in interrogative sentences:
>
> kas tai? - *who is it? / what is it?*
> kas nori važiuoti prie jūros? - *who wants to go to the seaside?*
> kas ten tokio guli? - *what is that lying over there?*
>
>
Interesting. The Baltic languages are fascinating :). Is there really no
way to distinguish "who" from "what" in Lithuanian then? (apart from
context)

The closest example I have is Modern Greek. While it does distinguish
between "who": ποιος and "what": τι, it does conflate "who" and "which"
together (ποιος kan indeed mean both. It also inflects for case, gender
–masculine, feminine, neuter– and number!).


> lithuanian also has *kuris*, which is used in relative clauses and means
> "which/that/who". it can also be applied to animate and inanimate entities,
> though there is a gender distinction between *kuris *(masculine) and *kuri
> *
> (feminine).
> štai tas žmogus, kuris vakar buvo atėjęs pas mane į svečius. - *here is the
> person who/that paid me a visit yesterday.*
> jis atsisėdo prie stalo, kuris buvo nudažytas raudonai. - *he sat down at
> the table which/that was painted red. *
> padovanojau draugui katytę, kuri turėjo baltą dėmelę ant nugaros. - *i gave
> my friend a female cat, which had a little white spot on its back. *
> išsiunčiau jiems laišką, kuris buvo gautas birželio pabaigoje. - *i sent
> them a letter, which was received in the end of june.*
>
> when used interrogatively, it means "which one (in a group of several)",
> once again with no distinction with regard to animacy:
>
> kuris iš jūsų matė įvykį? - *which one of you saw the event?*
> kurį imsi? -* which one are you going to take? *
>
> (all of these are off the top of my head)
>
>
In Modern Greek relative clauses are usually formed using the invariable
που (which happens to be identical in pronunciation to the interrogative
adverb πού: "where"), which is used whatever the antecedent. It also has an
actual relative pronoun ο οποίος, which is related to the interrogative
ποιος but not identical. The relative pronoun can also be used whatever the
antecedent, but it agrees with it in gender and number (and takes the
relevant case according to its role in the relative clause).

ObConlang: Moten distinguishes "who": _mik_, "what": _mut_ and "which":
_mun_. The inflect for case but not for number or definition. In themselves
they are not that exotic. However:
- _mik_ can be used to ask about large animals along with humans (although
it can be seen as a little awkward). That's because Moten has an
animate/inanimate distinction that somewhat different from what we're used
to: it groups humans and large animals in one group, and small animals,
plants, things and concepts in the other. this categorisation is felt
throughout the language, and influences even areas that normally don't
consider those categories.
- _mut_ is used as basis for nearly all other interrogatives (except "how
many"): _momut_: "where", _momdutun_: "where to", _dimut_: "when",
_dimvuti_: "how often", _komut_: "how", _|zumut_: "why", etc.
- _mun_ is used as basis for "how many", using what I call "counters"
(which are basically like the Japanese classifiers, except that they are
also used as normal nouns, and are optional when used with numbers):
_munfok