On Sun, 23 Jun 2013 23:28:43 -0500, Aodhán Aannestad <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

>Hello! I'm a longtime lurker, finally deciding to get involved a little.
>Some of you may have met me at the last LCC, I'm with UT Austin's
>conlang club and I drove some people around. I've been conlanging on and
>off for quite some time now, but I don't have much to show for it - I
>tend to be singlemindedly focused on realism, and as my level of
>linguistics knowledge has increased I've scrapped and restarted on
>several occasions due to realising how horribly unrealistic of a
>language I'd created. This is kind of the latest iteration of that
>cycle, and as I'm done with all the core undergrad ling classes now
>hopefully I've run out of major things to learn and it'll prove to be
>the last.

Welcome to active participation!

I'm not one of the experts on naturalistic conlanging, but I do have one comment: one of your fricatives is showing up as a /?/ in the archives; also, /w j ? l/.

Jeff Jones

>Anyway, on to the language. It doesn't have a name yet, sadly - I'm
>using it for a protolang for a large project, and since said large
>project has yet to really begin, it's not really in a state where I can
>really name anything. (I suppose I could come up with an endonym for it
>- it'd be something like 'Lesuy' (/lesuj/, /person-speak/) or something,
>though that doesn't sound that great to my ears.)
>Phonologically, it's not that interesting - five vowels (/a i u e o/),
>two stop series (/p t k/ and /p^(h) t^(h) k^(h)/, transcribed <b d g>
>and <p t k>), /m n/ - the usual stuff. It only has one fricative series,
>but it does distinguish /?/ and /s/ (for four total, /f ? s x/). /w j ?
>l/ round out the inventory.
>Syllable structure is (C)(G)V(G)(C), where <G> is a glide. /uw ij/ are
>disallowed, and maximal CGVGC syllables are very rare. Affixes have no
>shape target - anything from V to a maximal syllable is in theory
>permitted. Length is kind of phonemic on consonants (really, a 'long
>consonant' is just two adjacent identical consonants - /alla/ 'day' is
>VC.CV, not V.C?V), not on vowels - any sequences of two identical vowels
>are shrunk into one (e.g. /emnira/, 'girl', from /emni/ 'woman' + /ira/
>'child'). /i/ and /u/ become glides when adjacent to other vowels (e.g.
>/dorayra/ 'boy', from /dora /'man' + /ira/). Aspiration isn't
>distinguished in codas. There's not much else in the way of phonological
>rules/alternations, at the moment this is the idealised pre-protolang
>stage, and I'll need to send it through some sound changes before I get
>a good protolang by the technical definition.
>Stress is noncontrastive - it occurs on the heaviest of the last three
>syllables, defaulting to the antepenultimate when they're all equal
>(so/魮ira, dorṲa,////dal鳩se (do-person-COP-ATT)/, etc.)/./
>Grammatically, it's agglutinative and erg-abs. The two basic word
>classes are noun and verb (all 'adjectives' are just verbs, and at least
>in the protolanguage all 'adverbs' are clearly nouns or nominalised
>verbs marked with a non-core case). Word order is VSO when there's no
>overt complementiser, and SOV when there is (so /fikol le/ 'the man has
>gone', but /le/ /fikolti/ 'the fact that the man has gone').
>Verbs don't care about person, number, or tense, but there are 5 or 7
>aspect markers (perfective/stative (null-marked), progressive, perfect,
>expective, intentive(?), and hortative and imperative if you count them
>- they're mutually exclusive with aspect). It has a number of 'mood'
>markers: potential and permissive; volitive, suggestive, and
>necessitive, and weak and strong expectation (weak is for 'I bet X is
>the case' and strong is for 'X /has/ to be the case, I just know it').
>Relative clauses are formed by using the attributive affix
>/-se/:/fikolse le/ 'the man who has gone'. /-se/ doesn't specify the
>role the modified noun would have in the clause, that's left up to
>context (so typically you can only relativise obliques when the
>subclause has all of its core arguments overtly specified). (This works
>mostly like the Japanese rentaikei.)
>The only obligatory marking on nouns is case, but there's a number of
>other potential affixes. Number is especially complex - specific
>quantities are marked directly on the noun (so/lemofyethon/ 'twenty
>people', it's base-8 so that breaks down as /le-mo-fye-thon/
>'person-8-2-4' for (2*8)+4 people), and there are also suffixes for
>'more than half (of a group)', 'less than half (of a group)', 'part (of
>a unit)', and 'all (of a unit)'. These can be augmented by 'all' or
>'none', and further by 'the next' or 'the previous' (allowing for very
>long sequences such as /lemofyethondawfag /'none of the last twenty
>people'). Demonstratives are also noun suffixes (there's a two-way
>distinction, 'this'/'that'), and an interrogative marker can slot in
>here too (/lewos?/ 'who? / which person?').
>There are a good number of cases (it's kind of Finno-Ugric in this
>regard :P) Beyond the erg and null-marked abs, there's two kinds of
>genitives, possessive and categorical (for things like 'men of that
>village', 'the strength of an ox', 'a sword of bronze' and so on), both
>of which form verbs (so//'the man's cat' has to be /lenase nyawa/ with
>-/se/, not */lena nyawa/ - /lena nyawa /is grammatical, but it would be
>heard as 'the cat is the man's').
>Locative cases are the following: inessive and exessive (both used for
>general locatives, inessive for being within the boundaries of a place,
>exessive for being near but outside the boundaries of a place or
>object), superessive and subessive, proessive ('in front of') and
>postessive ('behind'), comitative, allative (also used as a dative) and
>ablative (also used as the agent of causatives and volitives), illative
>and ellative, superlative ('going over') and sublative ('going under'),
>circumlative/circumessive, and adspective ('facing') and abspective
>('facing away from').
>Non-locative cases are benefactive (also used for the experiencer with a
>number of perception verbs - 'see' for example has a BEN subject when
>you would expect ERG, and giving it an ERG subject changes the meaning
>to 'look at'), instrumental, causative, and comparative.
>Copular constructions are formed by affixing the copular verbaliser
>/-si/ to nouns - /dorasi le/ 'the person is a man'. This allows for a
>somewhat idiosyncratic way to express motion - while it's perfectly
>grammatical to say /fyokh ne sakhtasoy /(/go-PROG 1-ABS river-ALL,
>/literally 'I am going to the river'), it's much more native-sounding to
>say /sakhtasoysi ne/ (/river-ALL-COP 1-ABS, /literally 'I am to the river').
>Beyond three generic 'pronouns' (1st person exclusive and inclusive and
>2nd person), there's not much in the way of real pronouns - nouns can be
>used with any person as their referent, and typical non-personal
>pronouny things are done with nouns plus suffixes (so 'who' is just
>/lewos /(/person-INT/), literally 'which person'). There is a set of
>'generic nouns', though, which are basically nouns that refer to quite
>large categories of things - 'person', 'object', 'place', 'point in
>time', 'state of being', 'piece', 'reason/cause', and 'action' make up
>the set - and this allows for fairly conventionalised pronouns ('person'
>can be 'him/her', 'object' can be 'it', 'place' plus the near
>demonstrative can be 'here', and so on). These nouns are further
>distinguished from other nouns by being used as nominaliser suffixes -
>so /ub/, the generic for 'reason/cause', combines with /ryukol /'has
>died' to make /ryukolub/ 'the reason [the subj] died'.
>There are also two generic verbs, meaning something like 'to do (it)'
>and 'to go (there)'. They can also be used as nominalisers (somewhat
>ironically :P), meaning 'method' and 'process', respectively.
>There's a few other small details here and there (I've left out
>valence-change affixes, for example), but that's a basic overview of the
>language. The goal is realism (indeed, all else is secondary), so some
>comments in regards to how realistic these systems are would be
>appreciated! I've got a few ideas on where to go with it from here, but
>if anyone has any ideas I'd be happy to hear them.
>This is my main conlang project, but I'm also working on a set of
>condialects of Japanese (splitting off at various points after around
>1610?), and I'd be happy to describe them if anyone's interested. (It's
>gotten to the point where I'll slip into my primary condialect every
>once in a while while thinking in Japanese, even when I'm not explicitly
>trying to think in it :P)