Recently, the discussion around my supper table turned to the fact that, in English, with the word "old", one generally uses cardinal numbers; that is: one says: "He is ten years old" and not * "He is tenth year old". (Living in a bilingual houshold results in some very interesting suppertimes! ;-) ) It _is_ possible to use ordinal numbers, as in "He is in his tenth year", but it's not usually done (at least in the variety of English that I speak). This got me wondering how we all refer to age in our various conlangs. In my conlang, rtemmu, I use ordinal numbers to refer to age. For example: "He/She is 40 years old" would be: ( o` = [O]; g~ = [N] ) inawasyasna duhl auag nu tukuhyehvdo`g~leh na dwexas. or, broken down into component parts: i-na-wasyas-na duhl auag nu tukuh-yeh-vdo`g~l-eh na dwe-xas. i = the speaker observes (objectively or subjectively) na = the speaker is developing, subjectively, at a normal rate wasyas = new instance of a repeating process [ Notice that the "wasyas" refers to the repetition of the person-process, not the year!] na = the 3rd person singular process (ie "he" or "she", "it" etc.) is developing, subjectively, (so the speaker assumes) at a normal rate duhl = 3rd person singular process auag = conjunction signifying assertion nu = the speaker's concept of the following number is developing to slow for him/her to notice tukuh = 10 yeh = multiplied by vdo`g~ = 4 leh = changes a cardinal number into an ordinal number na = the year is subjectively changing at a normal rate dwe = year xas = during Or, loosely, "He/She is enduring for the 40th time a year". This is more or less a neutral way of saying it. If I wanted to be nasty, ;-) I would substitute an objective rate-of-change marker for the subjective which refers to the 3rd person singular process: i-na-wasyas-KEHS duhl auag nu tukuh-yeh-vdo`g~l-eh na dwe-xas. Since kehs refers to objectively observed normal rate of change, depending upon context, it might mean: "He/She is only 25, but looks (like hell ;-) ) like a 40 year old. Or "(Isn't he/she wonderfully preserved!) He/She is really 70, but (thanks to surgery?) looks like a 40 year old!" ;-) One could get really nasty in rtemmu by changing the rate-of-change marker to an objectively faster rate, say "fis" as in i-na-wasyas-FIS duhl auag nu tukuh-yeh-vdo`g~l-eh na dwe-xas. It still means "He/She looks to be 40 years old" but this time the nuances are: That young person is going to hell in a handbasket! (Too much fast living!) or That old person is getting younger-looking every day (It's simply amazing what surgery can do these days!). If I _really_ wanted to be nasty, I could always add "ut", the acceleration marker to "kehs" or "fis". ;-) Anyhow, that's how I handle age in rtemmu. How do you all do it in your conlangs? Dan Sulani ----------------------------------------------------------------------- likehsna rtem zuv tikuhnuh auag inuvuz vaka'a. A word is an awesome thing.