I said I would explain how my conlang, béu, handles X-phrases about a weeks ago. I have finally got round to putting the post together.

In the following …

? = glottal stop
x = schwa
c = ch as in church
j = j as in John
à = low tone
á = high tone

All monosyllabic words have either a high tone or a low tone. In all polysyllabic words, tone is neutralized. 

There are seven generic nouns in '''béu'''. Actually there meaning is so general that they don't have that much meaning content. For example if you hear '''nen?a’’’ "thing" ... you know what is being referred to doesn't belong to one of the other six generic categories, but that is about all that '''nen?a’’’ tells you.

nen?a = thing

minja = person
lauza = amout

kaita = kind, type

daca = place

kyufan = time, occasion

saipan = reason

The above also serve as indefinite pronouns. Well except for the second one, “minja” . “?à” meaning “one” is used for “someone”.

These seven never take the relativizer “nài” (I guess for that reason, they should be classified as particles instead of normal nouns). Instead they have special short forms, the X-forms that are used to construct X-phrases.

*nen?a nài => nèn : nen?as nài => nòs

nòs is an irregular ergative form. The regular ergative case is shown by suffixing “-s” or “-os”.

*minja nài => mìn : minjas nài => mìs …  mìs is an irregular ergative form.

*lauza nài => làu 

*kaita nài => kài 

*daca nài => dà

*kyufan nài => kyù

*saipan nài => sài

I call the 7 words on the RHS of “=>” X-words.


Now in béu there are two interesting particles … kò and ?ó.  kò* is used for requesting something concrete and ?ó for requesting information**.

Now ?ó can be placed in front of an X-phrase. Such as …

kyù báus glàn nori alhai xl guti … = when the man gave the woman a bouquet of flowers …

[ báu = man, guy : -s = ergative marker : glà = woman : -n = dative marker : n- = to give : -o- = third person singular subject : -r- : indicative voice : -i = past tense(before today) : alha = flower : -i = plural : xl = particle : guti = bouquet ]

Giving the question …

?ó kyù báus glàn nori alhai xl guti … = when did the man gave the woman a bouquet of flowers ?

It is usual (when the question is not being emphasized) for the first two elements to coalesce as it were. So we have …

?ó nèn, ?ó nòs => nén, nós (what ?)

?ó mìn, ?ó mìs => mín, mís (who ?)

?ó làu => láu (how much ?)

?ó kài => kái (what kind ?)

?ó dà => dá (where ?)

?ó kyù => kyú (when ?)

?ó sài => sái (why ?)

The element at RHS of “=>" taking its tone from ?ó, but all else from the X-word.

The two forms are in complementary distribution. The longer form tends to be used if the question is a new topic of conversation. The shorter version tends to be used when the question is part of an established conversation. But if you mix this up, nobody feels you are murdering the language. The longer form is also used anytime you want to give the question more emphasis.

There is pretty much free word order in béu. However nèn, nòs, mìn, mìs, làu, kài, dà, kyù, sài ( plus their high tone equivalents) always come clause initial.

So we can say that nén mín láu kái dá kyú and sái are the QW’s of béu. And to these seven we must add one more, “nái” meaning “which” (this one seems to be related to the relativizer nài … mmh, interesting)


* '''kò''' was influenced/inspired by the Thai word … ชอ 

** These words are like suppletive forms the regular verbs “ago” “to request an object” and “ol?o” “to request information”. The first person subject, present tense of these verbs would be “*agara” and “*ol?ara”, but these forms are invariably suppleted by '''kò''' and ’’’?ó’’’.

Here are examples of the regular verbs in use …

jenes ol?ore jonon … Jane requested (information) from John earlier today
jonos agore klogau jenen … Jane requested a pair of shoes from John earlier today


Well that is a general outline of the system. Definitely not naturalistic. But I think it all fits together quite neatly.

 … Stewart

> On Nov 30, 2018, at 12:08 AM, Stewart Fraser <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> I am in the middle of reading a very interesting article by Tegmark published in Scientific American. 
> He writes very well.
> Thanks for bringing this to my attention.
>  … Stewart
>> On Nov 29, 2018, at 10:02 AM, Logan Kearsley <[log in to unmask] <mailto:[log in to unmask]>> wrote:
>> Level IV of the Tegmark hierarchy of multiverses.