The Dailies. July 17

The Dailies. July 17

Did you work on your language today? Create any new rules of grammar or syntax? New progress on a script? New words in your lexicon?

On the other hand, do any excavating or reading or enjoying stuff you’ve already created? Do you have any favorites to share?

How did you conlang today?


11 thoughts on “The Dailies. July 17

  1. A word:

    gaskiit • [ gas.kiɪt ] • hot, sweltering wind; overwhelmingly hot and oppressive wind, particularly of summer or by day in the desert — noun

    Some thinky thoughts but little work.

  2. I’m still alive!

    In the last few days, I’ve been working on teaching my word (to-be sentence) generator about the finer points of verbs, namely, voices. That is to say, I’ve been trying to teach myself enough about them to explain them in the form of a computer-readable grammar, which is hard. I’ve also been finishing up the vowel harmony system, which I believe to be complete.

    Firen has four voice particles (and the unmarked active voice): nad (passive), nům (antipassive), půt (dative-passive), and sas (reciprocal). Nad and nům are very simple: they elide (or demote) one argument of a transitive verb (The active voice is also allowed to elide (but not demote) the opposite argument*): nad elides the agentive argument of an accusative verb, and nům elides the patientive argument of an ergative verb. Nad also causes the remaining (formerly patientive) argument to be agreed with as an agentive argument. Sas is used when each argument serves a dual role as agent and patient, and which argument gets which case is arbitrary. Půt is used for verbs which have a dative argument as well, and promotes that dative argument to agent while eliding (or demoting) the former agent, leaving patient alone. (Indeed, there does not need to be a patientive argument at all.)

    *A subtlety: certain verbs cannot elide either argument in the active voice, and thus can be used with either the passive or the antipassive voice. The most notable members of this class are verbs of violence. “X cut” (antipassive) and “Y was cut” (passive) both require voice marking.

    The complex part is that some of these can interact. Půt essentially generates an accusative verb, so it can combine with nad and sas, and I haven’t yet worked out how demotion works in that case. Sas can itself combine with either nad or nům, although it has exactly the same result in both cases (nad sas, nům sas: X did Y (to Z) and Y was done to X (by Z); you choose based on the verb’s class (note: if Z is elided, rather than demoted, then the two references to Z in that example are not required to bind to the same entity (or even at all, hence the purpose of eliding arguments))). And finally, you can get nad sas půt, which, though a somewhat pathological case, could be used in such sentences as “X was given to and was ([it]self) given”. But, my leaning is that, in the rare case that it comes up, that would be more likely to be expressed by way of conjunction (except maybe in poetry).

    Every time I look at verbs in Firen, they seem sightly more complicated than the last time. But I think that it all still makes sense and is manageable.

    Additionally, I realized that I’d coined two words for “to give”, gůt and nep, so the newer one (nep) is now “to lend”.

    1. Hiya! Nice to see you again!

      So with your voices, does the form of the verb change, or is it only the particles and argument shenanaigans that mark the voice?

        1. Cool. I’ve been pondering doing that too because I don’t know what to do with my verbs otherwise (but otoh, I have very few things that conjugate the verbs so far).

    2. I love it! I’m not 100% sure I’ve grokked it, but I like what I get of it and how it works together. I’m still trying to figure out demotion/promotion stuff overall and how that works outside of the language-specific.


      1. In Firen, demotion works by moving a nominal from an agreed-with argument (agent/patient, or on a different level of analysis, ergative/absolutive case) to a non-argument adverbial (in pegative case). Promotion (in the dative-passive voice) promotes the (dative) indirect object to the subject while demoting the former subject to non-argument, so it’s not really the same type of process.

        In a cross-linguistic sense, I don’t really know. It’s one of those areas I haven’t studied in depth. “Turns an argument into an adverbial” describes most types of demotion I know of, at least. (I’m also not even sure that it’s a well-defined concept, or even that I’m using the terms correctly.)

        1. Thanks! And glad to hear I’m not the only one who looks at the crosslinguistic stuff and hasn’t fully got it. I still feel behind the curve compared to everyone else, but I’m having so much fun!

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