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Apparently, human languages usually evolve along a "typological circle"

isolating -> agglutinating -> inflecting -> isolating ->....

Thus, isolating languages become agglutinating (partially) by a process
called grammaticalization, whereby specific words lose their original
meaning and are only used as grammatical markers. Agglutinating languages
become inflecting because of phonetic processes (assimilation, phonetic
weakening, etc.), which may also be the main cause why inflecting languages
become isolating with the time (English is a good example for this: it has
become almost an isolating language, while Anglo-Saxon, its ancestor, was a
highly inflecting language; In the same way, Finnish may be right now losing
some of its agglutinating features and becoming more and more inflecting).

I find it very amusing to "play this circle" with conlangs. For instance,
let us take the sentences "The cat ate the mouse" and "The cat will eat the
mouse":

DUN TAL (isolating):
---------------------

(1a) nar {as} hul {in} dan dan yi  = [cat he mouse it eat eat before] = "The
cat ate the mouse"
(nan = cat; as = 3p animate pronoun (roughly 'he/she/they); hul = mouse; in
= 3p inanimate pronoun (roughly 'it'); dan = to eat; dan dan = to have
eaten; yi = adv. 'before')

(2a) nar {as} hul {in} dan us = [cat he mouse it eat later] = "The cat will
eat the mouse"
(us = adv. 'later']

In both cases, "as" and "in" are optional re-inforcing pronouns used to make
it clear who eats whom; (1a) could also be uttered as "nar hul dan dan yi"

DUNTAL (agglutinating):
----------------------

(1b) naras hulin dandanyi = [cat-AG mouse-PAT eat-PERF-PAST]
(2b) naras hulin danus = [cat-AG mouse-PAT eat-FUT]

Here the optional pronouns "as" and "in" have lost their original meaning
and are now mandatory suffixes marking agent and patient. Also the Dun Tal
adverbs "yi" and "us" no longer mean "before" and "later", but have become
verbal suffixes for past and future.

DUNAL (inflecting)
------------------

(1c)  narr hyll denen ( narr = NOM SG from "nar", < nars < naras; hyll /hyL/
= ACC SG from "hul", < hyln < hylen < hulin; denen = PAST PERFECT from "dan"
< dennen < denneni < danneni < dannani < dandanyi) = the cat ate the mouse

(2c)  narr hyll done ( "done" /'do:n9/ = 3rd ps. sg. FUT from "dan" < dones
< daunes < daunus)

DUNN (isolating)
----------------

(1d)  ner hil den ive (ive = before, yesterday)
(2d)  ner hil den le (le = later)

etc. etc. etc.






-----Mensaje original-----
De: Constructed Languages List [mailto:[log in to unmask]]En
nombre de Peter Bleackley
Enviado el: lunes, 23 de junio de 2003 17:58
Para: [log in to unmask]
Asunto: Agglutinating -> inflecting


Has anyone evolved an inflecting conlang from an agglutinating one? If so,
how did you go about it?

Pete