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On Tue, 31 Aug 2004 18:56:43 +0100, Ray Brown <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

>Hang on! Hang on! This thread started with the assumption that the goddess
>would be Greek. I questioned why and gave a reason why maybe a Greek deity
>was not the most appropriate one. I then added the *positive* suggestion
>(and I quote):
>"If you need a goddess of conlanging, then IMO you need to look to a
>different pantheon."

I started the thread thinking of the Muses.  Artists and writers sometimes
talk about being in touch with their Muse, when creativity seems like a gift
from the gods.  Tolkien sometimes wrote about "discovering Quenya" rather
than inventing it.  Now, for me, Minhyan was a creative gift.  My
light-hearted suggestion was that it might have been a gift from a Muse.

It would be amusing (ahem) to have an agreed to Conlang Muse.

I do rather like the Classics, and love the image of Minerva/Athena
springing from the head of Jupiter/Zeus.  Minhyan sprang from my head about
as forcefully.  So Minerva is the muse of Minhyan, if not the muse of
conlangers.

----

Sometimes the creative act is a gift, and sometimes it is a chore.  For
those times when some divine inspiration is needed, certainly Catholics
among us should pray to St. Hildegard of Bingen (not "Bingham").  She is the
author of the oldest known conlang (Lingua Ignota, a mystical language).

So I think the patron saint of conlanging is clearly St. Hildegard.

----

The unofficial motto of conlangdom is "Fight linguistic extinction: invent a
language!"  (See Herman Miller's green ribbon campaign:
http://www.io.com/~hmiller/lang/green-ribbon.html )  But as much as I like
Herman's languages I dislike his motto.  Some scholars estimate there were
as many as 100,000 languages in human prehistory, none of which survive
(though some live on today greatly changed and splintered).  Today far more
human languages are dead than I care to think about, and more are dying.  It
seems inappropriate for lovers of linguistic creativity to make light of it
for a bit of word play.

Brainstorming other possible mottos...

"Share the Secret Vice -- invent a language!"
"Creative linguistics -- indulge your language instinct!"
"Conlangers speak your language!"

For some reason, this reminds me of the World's Greatest Hobby PR initiative
that many competitors in model-railroading industry have collaborated on:
http://www.greatesthobby.com/wgh/default.aspx?id=48&c=a

It would be interesting to do something similar to popularize conlanging.

-------

Returning to the start of this thread, I'd dearly like some feedback on
Minhyan, especially its case system:

Minhyan does not have a nominative-accusative case system (as most
Indo-European languages do) but an active-stative system:  the agent of the
verb is always in the agentive case and the patient of the verb is always in
the patientive case.  (In a nominative-accusative case system, the patient
of the intransitive verb is in the nominative case.)

Minhyan nouns are declined for definiteness and for seven cases.  The base
form of a noun is the Definite Agentive:  _orean_, "the eagle, the eagles",
contrasted to _oreahan_, "an eagle, some eagles".  The Minhyan declension
involves incorporating infixes before the final consonant cluster (if any)
of the root word.

Reflecting their evolution from the Proto-Minhyan system for marking
singular and plural, the indefinite noun form is assumed singular unless
otherwise marked, and the definite form is assumed plural unless otherwise
marked.  So _orean_ would typically mean "the eagles" and _oreahan_ would
typically mean "an eagle".

Indefinite
      Definite
            Case:
-ha-  -     Agentive (performs the verb)
-pa-  -po-  Patientive (receives action of verb)
-sse- -ssu- Dative (focus or referent)
-li-  -lu-  Locative (location of verb)
-we-  -wa-  Ablative (manner of verb)
-ri-  -ru-  Temporal (time of verb)
-ffi- -ffo- Vocative (addressee of utterence)

The indefinite infixes typically have front vowels, while definite infixes
typically have back vowels.

Some notes on cases of special interest:
- The ablative also acts as a "catch-all" case.
- The temporal case is often used to specify on an as-needed basis
information about the verb that other languages express in terms of tense
and aspect.

The typical order of the cases in a sentence is: vocative (verb) agentive
patientive dative locative ablative temporal.

Questions:
- Is active-stative the correct terminology to describe this system?
- Can you point me to an analogous natlang system?

Best regards,

Jeffrey


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