On Mon, Apr 07, 2003 at 08:58:02PM -0700, Arthaey Angosii wrote:
> Back in December, I wrote up some notes on question-forming in Asha'ille
> via ablauts (that _is_ the terms for grammatical changing of internal
> vowels, yes?).  I then promptly forgot that I ever wrote such a thing.  A
> month ago I rewrote some different question-forming rules.

Heh, sounds familiar. :-)

> Today I was going through my Asha'ille text files and discovered the old
> one, and am now in a bit of a quandary as to what to do.  My inclination is
> to allow both to exist, because I like both (otherwise why did I write
> them? :).  But I'm showing you guys both with a request for comments on
> either before I make my decision "official".

You could keep both. Make them both alternative ways of forming a
question, perhaps with the option of using both at the same time for

> ==========================
> |Ojo| tags a sentence as a question that expects a yes or no.  Compare:
>     Shavaerdhi aet ne asha'ille.       "You speak Asha'ille."
>     Ojo shavaerdhi aet ne asha'ille?   "Do you speak Asha'ille?"
> The question mark is only used in romanized Asha'ille, and even then it's
> inconsistent.  You can specify the answer you anticipate by adding |alunun
> jhi| (for "yes") or |alunun kre| (for "no") to the end of the sentence.

Very nice. This looks like Ebisedian's _a'ne_ ["an&]. Ebisedian also
doesn't have any punctuation corresponding with a question mark; the
presence of interrogatives like _a'ne_ or _ghi'_ are the only indications
that it is a question. The particles _ji'ne_ and _my'ne_ are used in place
of _a'ne_ when anticipating a 'yes' or a 'no', respectively.

The question above in Ebisedian would be:

a'ne jub0' ta'maa 3n3 iachai'li d3 3t3m33'?

> For example:
>     Ojo shavaerdhi aet ne asha'ille alunun[1] jhi?
>     "You speak Asha'ille, don't you?"

ji'ne jub0' ta'maa 3n3 iachai'li d3 3t3m33'?

>     Ojo shavaerdhi aet ne asha'ille alunun kre?
>     "You don't speak Asha'ille, do you?"

my'ne jub0' ta'maa 3n3 iachai'li d3 3t3m33'?

> (I apologize to the non-native English speakers; I've heard that our weird
> negative-question forms can be confusing.  At least Asha'ille is clearer
> than English in that respect.  :P )

Yes, almost every other language is more sensible than English in this
respect, such as Classical Greek, and probably modern Greek as well, and
even Ebisedian. ;-)

> |Ve| alone before a verb asks "how" -- basically, it says "give me an
> adverb to describe this situation."

This would correspond with Ebisedian's _gha'_. In Ebisedian, adverbs are
just instrumental nouns; so _gha'_ is really just the instrumental case of
the interrogative noun _ghi'_, which means "what".

> For example, |Ve shavaerdhi aet ne asha'ille?| could be answered by any
> of |jhelle| "well", |das chuna (kek)[2]| "every day", |cresón| "like a
> foreigner", |aet| "(only) to you", etc.  When answering a ve-question,
> you don't include |ve'| in your response.  Thus you reply |jhelle| for
> "well"  even though alone |jhelle| means "good" and |ve'jhelle| "well".

The equivalent question in Ebisedian:
        gha' ta'maa jub0' 3n3 iachai'li d3 3t3m33'?
        "How do you speak the words of Asha'ille?"

could be answered:
        l3r3a'.         "Fluently." (Lit., "flowingly")

or, more tongue-in-cheek:
        Ta'graa.        "With (my) mouth."

The answer, obviously, must be an instrumental NP, since it has to match
the instrumental case of _gha'_.

> ==========================
> To form a question, the vowel of the stressed syllable is lowered, except
> /A/ > /i/.
>     /i/  > /I/
>     /I/  > /E/
>     /e/  > /E/
>     /E/  > /A/
>     /A/  > /i/
>     /u/  > /o/
>     /o/  > /O/
>     /O/  > /A/
>     /ai/ > /O/

Mmmmm, I love ablaut inflections. :-)

> Note that the nine vowels change into only six distinct vowels.  Such is
> the cost of asking a question.  :)

The conveyant case in Ebisedian centers its vowels toward the schwa[1];
sometimes similar-looking words blend into each other in the conveyant
case. Sorta like how moving things[2] sorta blur in your vision. :-P
In this case, 9 vowels collapse in 3. Other noun cases also exhibit vowel
shifts; where 9 vowels collapse into 6. (Hmm, why is Asha'ille so similar
to Ebisedian??)

[1] Or, to be precise, [@\]. The Ebisedian schwa is slightly higher than

[2] 'Cos the conveyant case is for moving things, you see. But any
apparent connection between schwa's and blurring is purely coincidental, I
promise!  ;-)

> Ablaut-questions aren't supposed to end with upward inflection like in
> English, thus I'm not using a question mark for these questions to help
> suppress the urge.  :P (In the tag-questions above, you may end with
> upward inflection.)

In Ebisedian, questions end with upward inflection only if the last
syllable is stressed; otherwise, the main emphasis is on the question word
(which, in the case of _a'ne_ and its sisters _ji'ne_ and _my'ne_, are
conveniently at the front of the sentence), and pitch falls thereafter. In
other words, it's just like a normal sentence, except that you usually
stress the question word over the others.

> For example:
>     Shavaerdhi aet ne asha'ille.            (declarative)
>     "You speak Asha'ille."
>     Shavaerdhi aet na asha'ille.            (Yes/No, slighly suggesting Yes)
>     "Do you speak Asha'ille?"               (lower only "ne"[3])
>     Shivaerdhi et na asha'ihlle.            (Yes/No, strongly suggestion No)
>     "Do you speak Asha'ille?"               (lower all stressed vowels)

Wow, you have a lot of flexibility here!

>     Shivaerdhi aet na asha'ille.            (clarify verb)
>     "You what with Asha'ille?  Speak it?"   (lower verb)

This is done in Ebisedian with the focus preposition _iro_. In a normal
(non-question) sentence, _iro_ emphasizes a particular noun:

lyy's iro b3z3t33' loo'ru.      It is the *woman* who went outside.
lyy's b3z3t33' iro loo'ru.      It is outside to which the woman went.

When used with an interrogative particle like _a'ne_, it asks *about* that
particular noun:
        a'ne iro b3z3t33' loo'ru.
        Was it the woman who went out?

        a'ne iro loo'ru b3z3t33?
        Was it outside to which the woman went?

>     Shavaerdhi et na asha'ille.             (clarify subject)
>     "Who speaks Asha'ille?  You?"           (lower subject)

        a'ne iro jub0' ta'maa 3n3 iachai'li d3 3t3m33?
        Is it you(fem.) who speak the words of Asha'ille?

>     Shavaerdhi aet na asha'ihlle.           (clarify object)
>     "What do you speak?  Asha'ille?"        (lower object)

        a'ne 3n3 iro iachai'li d3 3t3m33 jub0'?
        Is it Asha'ille's words that you speak?

>     Vohaerdhi aet na asha'ille.                        (ask a verb)
>     "You do what with Asha'ille?  I have no clue."     (lower pro-verb)

        ghe' jub0' 3n3 iachai'li d3 3t3m33'?
        What happens from you to the words of Asha'ille?

This one is interesting... the fact that _jub0'_ ("you", fem) is in the
originative case, and _3n3 iachai'li d3 3t3m33'_ is in the conveyant case,
shows that the person asking the question already has *some* idea about
what you do with Asha'ille. So strictly speaking, this question is more
like asking, do you speak Asha'ille, teach Asha'ille, or what?

The completely general form of the question (which is also perhaps the
least useful) requires changing all NPs to the locative case:
        ghe' jubi' zo 3ni iachai'li d3 3t3mii'?
        What is it between you and the words of Asha'ille?

>     Shavaerdhi noh na asha'ille.            (ask for a subject)
>     "Who speaks Asha'ille?"                 (lower subject pro-noun)

        gh0' ta'maa 3n3 iachai'li d3 3t3m33'?

Here's another case of the interrogative noun, _ghi'_. Although in this
case, _ogh0'_ (epicene originative) is probably more appropriate, since
_gh0_ (un-gendered originative) could be misinterpreted as "what".

>     Shavaerdhi aet na noh.                  (ask for an object)
>     "You speak what?"                       (lower object pro-noun)

        3n3 ghi' d3 3t3m33' tww'ma jub0'?
        The words of whom/what speaketh you?

(Hmm, why the sudden OVS lapse here? :-P  Probably 'cos the word being
asked about prefers to be fronted.)

>     Voh noh na noh.  (and the slangy equivalent |vohn'n| /vOn==/ )
>     "Huh???"[4]
> [4]  Akin to an English-speaker saying "Hybbdeyhebuh?" or other such
> gibberish when he didn't understand a word of what was spoken and is thus
> very confused.

In Ebisedian, it's just a simple _ghi'?_ "what??", or _ghe'?_ "what??".[3]

[3] The difference is that _ghi'_ is a noun, and _ghe'_ is a verb. If you
wanted to act confused, you could walk down the streets of Isi'li[4]
shouting "ghi? ghe? ghi? ghe?" [Gi G& Gi G&] with a leap in your step.
Pretty soon, you might find yourself alone in a nice decorated _jhi'li_
with a _ruu'ci_ and some _3l3rii'_, looking out the _rota'ci_ at some nice
people dressed in _Kii'_, who are _k3ki'g3_ at you. :-P

[4] A town in the Ferochromon.

>     Na.
>     "What?"[5]
> [5]  Expresses less confusion than the all-pro-forms sentence.  |Na| is
> used when the listener didn't catch something but doesn't feel totally lost
> and confused.

Ebisedian still uses _ghi'_ and _ghe'_. Although _ghi'_ is more common;
_ghe'_ is usually used only when you realize something has happened, and
want to ask, "what happened?".

> Taking pity on poor English natives (such as myself :) who don't feel
> like it's a question until it has upward inflection at the end, I
> decided that you can insert a dummy |'a| at the end of the entire
> phrase. Therefore asking "Do you speak Asha'ille?" could also be
> "Shavaerdhi aet na asha ille'a?" in addition to the first example.

Unfortunately, Ebisedian has no equivalents of this.

> This implies that you can insert a dummy |'e| to the end of normal
> sentences, like an English "um".  So the declarative sentence might
> actually come out sounding like "Shavaerdhi aet ne asha ille'e" in
> casual speech.  It should probably have upward inflection, too.

Very nice twist on the concept. :-)  Now I've to go decide what's the
Ebisedian equivalent for hesitation.

> =========================
> i                     u
>     I
>  e                    o
>            @
>   E                   O
>                     A
> Notes:
>  - the above chart catalogs phoneMes
>  - /e/ offer dipthongizes into [ei]
>  - [a] exists in the dipthong /ai/
>  - some unstressed vowels can become [@], but not as much as in English
>  - some dialects also contain [ { U V ], but they are a small minority.

Ebisedian vowels are a bit oddly distributed:
        i y   u"  u
              @\  o
           a     A

Where /u"/ is usually realized as [8] or [w@\] instead; and /i/ is
somewhere between [i] and [I]. /&/ could be [E] or [&]; and [A] is often
realized as [V] or something between [V] and [A].

As a sidenote, [e] is an ugly sound to Ebisedi ears; they cringe at the
very thought of it, and stay as far away from it as possible.  They find
English such an ugly language because of its especially ugly [eI]'s. :-)


If you want to solve a problem, you need to address the root cause of the
problem, not just the symptoms. Otherwise it's like treating cancer with