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At 8:15 pm -0500 24/3/99, Nik Taylor wrote:
>dunn patrick w wrote:
>>
>> My lack of linguistic knowledge is showing *tugs his shirt down*.  How
>> exactly does one go about deriving a word from a root?  Is there a system,
>> or does one just make sound changes until it looks right?
>
>I'm not entirely sure what you mean.

[snip]

> And you
>can't say *coloral, even tho -al is a legitimate suffix.

True at present - but it won't stop someone coining such a word if s/he
feels like it.  A hundred years ago 'normality' was the only "legitimate"
abstract noun derived from 'normal' - you couldn't say 'normalcy'.  Now
'normalcy' may be found, especially when talking of political or economic
circumstances.

>Frequently,
>origin has to do with it.  -al is a Latin ending, and color is not
>Latin.  But, these are rarely completely consistent.  Racial is a
>legitimate word, even tho _race_ is Anglo-Saxon (I think), and -al is
>Latin.

'race' is French, actually - Italian has a cognate 'razza' - the word is
otherwise of unknown origin.  Such things occur from time to time and add
unpredictability to natlangs  :)


> The word _trusteeship_ is a perfect example.  Trust is of Norse
>origin, -ee is French, and -ship is Anglo-Saxon.

Yep - English is replete with such examples.

But I got the impression that Patrick was more concerned with the sort of
problem of how we know that, e.g. 'father' is cognate with Latin 'pater',
Irish 'athair' etc all being derived from PIE *p@te:r

Tom Weir has beaten me to it in dealing with that and saved me much time :-)

But to take up Patrick's last question: "Is there a system, or does one
just make sound changes until it looks right?"

It depends what you want.  If your conlanging is essentially a private
thing for your own amusement then anything goes.  But if you want to make
the thing 'more realistic' or to have it regarded, at least by some people,
as a serious undertaking then, I'm afraid, some syste, is required.  There
isn't _a system_ that one can just apply.  The way languages have evolved
differs quite a bit.  But the thing to do is to develop a system.  A
supreme example of this is the painstaking work of Tolkien in developing a
whole family of langs with their internal sound changes etc.  His work is
worth looking add if you want ideas abou this.  Try
http://www.uib.no/People/hnohf/

...and enjoy  :)

Ray.