The Dailies. September 26

The Dailies. September 26

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?


10 thoughts on “The Dailies. September 26

  1. Hullo! Long time no see. Haven’t been too active when it comes to conlanging these past few months.

    But the other day I realized I wanted a word for “mine” in Beldreeni — not the possessive pronoun or the weapon but the place for getting metal out of the ground — and that led to more words.

    kōde [‘kɔ:dɘ] or [‘kɔ:dɛ] (n) ‘hole’
    kokōde (n) ‘mine’ in East Beldreni. Note: the initial “ko-” comes from reduplication and has nothing to do with the nominal prefix ko- .
    kodēze (n) ‘mine’ in West Beldreni. Compound of kodē + iize, see further down.
    Note: many people now use kokōde to indicate mines in the south, used in the winter, while kodēze are used for mines in the north, used in the summer. But this cannot be said to be a general standard yet.

    kikōde (adj) ‘with holes in it’
    kikōjode (adj) ‘hollow’ (the infix –jo- signifies wholeness)
    kikōdzhede (adj) ‘with no holes in it’; unblemished, pristine
    kikōdzhekaide (adj) ‘absolutely perfect, wholly flawless’ (with -kai- as emphatic infix)

    zando (n) gap; something that’s missing
    zanbādo (n) abyss (with the infix and adjective -bā- for enlargement)
    iize (n) ‘area’, ‘region’, ‘place’. -This one’s a back-formation, since I liked kodēze for ‘mine’ and so needed to parse it.

    tölu (v) ‘dig’
    tölurío (n) ‘one who digs’, for instance ditches
    iitöl (n) ‘grave’
    domotölurío (n) ‘gravedigger’ (temporarily, someone who only digs graves). Lit. ‘end-digger’. Somewhat influenced by Swedish dödgrävare (lit. ‘death-digger’). This signifies a temporary job rather than a regular one. For instance: if a city is racked by an epidemic of a terrible sickness it will need to employ a good number of domotölurío for a period of time.
    itölka ‘gravedigger’; someone with gravedigging duties who also tends the graves and performs certain rites. In larger cemeteries this would often be a priest, but itölka can also be used for a person having grave-digging and grave-tending duties within a specific family/household.
    itölkakogat (n) roughly, ‘grave-tending duty’. The duty of digging and tending graves within a specific group, in particular a family.
    ātöl (n) burial site; cemetery.

    I haven’t worked out anything really of burial practices in this world in general and for the Beldreeni in particular. But since they do believe in ancestral spirits I figure they often have private burial places for a particular family or household. However, in the towns and cities at least those would be complemented with larger cemeteries.

    1. I love all the words and the cultural notes! I really like some of the contrasts too, like temporary gravediggers vs. the more “priestly” one with gravedigging duties.

      1. Thank you!

        I just realised I forgot a few!

        kokodío and kodezío (n) ‘miner’ – with the same kind of semantic situation as the word for mines. For some language users these are the general-purpose words for ‘miners’, for East Beldreeni and West Beldreeni respectively. For others  the first one means ‘mine worker in the winter’ and the second ‘mine worker in the summer’. Semantics in flux!

        kokōdemeidin (n) ‘mine owner’. Lit. ‘mine lord’.

  2. So been doing a ton of reading on the interactions between tone registers, phonation, pitch, consonant sonorance, and vowel quality:


    This has been useful in digging into Akachenti, which has a robust and complex personal pronominal system that has been difficult to untangle, primarily I suspect because it’s obviously vestigial of a once more robust pronoun case system that mostly no longer exists. I’m almost certain the reason I’ve been unable to create a full verbal paradigm is because the paradigms have to have come down diachronically from a combination of sound change, pronominal reduction, and person-marking slots in the verbal template trying very hard to merge.

    On the bright side, I’ve also learned a lot from all this reading, starting with the fact that breathy phonation is a super simple and common addition to voiced consonants that often leads to redundant breathy phonation on the vowels, which in turn can lead to vowel raising and/or a tone register split in the language (Registrogenesis in Khmer), which is likely exactly what happened to Akachenti.

    The two initial registers usually created in this process (or one coming from a glottalic “tense” side instead) are tense and lax. These are relative though, so modal is whichever the other isn’t. In this case, I know I end up with a tense (glottalic), normal (modal), lax (breathy) register system, but am not sure which came first. It’ll have to shake out though because both were clearly triggered by consonant or consonant distinction loss, as they do.

    Right now I’ve got:

    1. breathy register redundantly marks vowels following lenis consonants and possibly fricatives
    2. a series of raised vowels (on oblique/patientive pronominals) in breathy register, while the majority continue to be original lower vowels on modal register
    3. pronominals lose their consonants, leaving behind vowel-shifted person markers


    1. patientive pronominals lose glottalic consonant and are distinguished by higher pitch

    But this is theory one. Separately we have theory two, which gets at the fact that there’s this old table which points out agreement markers don’t always line up perfectly with the original freestanding morphemes they agreed with.

    Case Agreement Markers
    Agentive Patientive Dative-
    Glottalic Low
    1st Excl. a á e e
    1st Incl. (aemen(t)e(r)) ae é e e
    2nd Anim. Prox. (usha(r)) a á u u
    2nd Obv. (usha(r)) o ó u u
    3rd Anim. Prox. (ih) o ó i i
    3rd Obv. (ih) i í i i


    and also this table:


    a / ae / o / i -ar / -er e / u / i -at / -et / -ot / -it
    agentive genitive-accusative oblique genitive
    agent patient patient genitive
    instrument/causee possessor benefactive ablative ( re: )
    posssessee comitative


    These two old tables led me to these notes today:

    So the differences of the personal pronominals could be indicative of lost case.

    If the original persons were:

    • 1st excl.
    • 1st incl.
    • 2nd prox.
    • 2nd obv.
    • 3rd prox.
    • 3rd obv.

    There’s pretty much only one natlang family that has shown 2nd person obviation, but this is the only thing that makes sense to me with the pronominal markers on animate, proximate second person, even when combined with the usual freestanding pronoun as used for obviate.

    And let’s posit there were three cases:

    • agentive (assoc. with a / ae / o / e)*
    • patientive (assoc. with á / e / ó / é) – caused by (glottalic?) consonant loss
    • oblique (assoc. with e / e / u / i) – caused by (breathy?) consonant loss

    * likely the -k(V) suffix that surfaces on small, old, high-frequency verbs, e.g. da(ke)

    Of note in here is that I listed the agentive and patientive 3rd person markers as e and é, despite the fact that in Modern Akachenti, they are i and í. This is because there is a marked pattern of vowel raising from the agentive/patientive vowel quality to the oblique. In Modern Akachenti, the third person vowels have merged, but there are traces of /e/ being used where I would expect /i/. It makes more sense that the original vowel quality was then /e/, which raised to /i/ where expected and then began merging both markers, rather than the original quality being /i/ and having unexpected and inexplicable lowering to /e/.

    Additionally, there is some confusion that comes from cases shifting meaning over time. In German, there are good examples of dative being used for some functions of the accusative case. In Akachenti, this sort of case movement has definitely  occurred and will have to be looked at closer later.

  3. As usual, highly fascinating and impressive — and as usual, sadly I am really not equipped to contribute in any meaningful way! I remain awed by your research and analytical thinking and how very thorough you are in your excavation strategy.

    1. Thank you! I have to give credit to good example natlangs and some help from Alex Fink on the conlang email list for getting me pointed in the right direction on where the split in patientive / oblique pronominal vowels came from.

      After tone rules start swinging into play, the oblique pronominal vowels are used where patientive pronominal vowels are disallowed, and he’s the one that figured out that this meant there was some previous vowel raising going on in certain conditions that became generalized after the rise of tone.

      Protolanging is both fun and mentally exhausting for the record.


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