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Been doing some reading on related langauges to the one I'm documenting
and realized that this language has "metaphorical suffixes", productive
suffixes that create a derived word that is linked metaphorically to the
original word.  It seems, well, backwards to what you might expect -
having a productive way of making new words but one in which the meaning
of new vocabulary is never transparent without a context or explanation. 
It is also in contrast to what I would normally do in a conlang  - my
first inclination would be to have a word whose meaning is clear from it's
parts, and if that didn't work, create a similar word and posit a long
historical shift in meaning. (this might be the case still and I'm just
misreading my sources).

To my intuition this ability has had a serious influence on the language
and were I to create a conlang with these types of suffixes etc it would
end up being quite different...

-muskwatch-