The Dailies. October 8

The Dailies. October 8

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?


4 thoughts on “The Dailies. October 8

  1. It seems like every time I look at my Firen dictionary (which unfortunately isn’t that often these days; I’ve been distracted by other projects) I notice a new mistake or inconsistency.

    Today’s is that I had defined suski as “child, kid”, but when naming the days of the week (which are named for stages of life), I had used bůṙkat for “child day”, and never separately defined bůṙi at all. Rather than just erase either word, I’ve decided that bůṙi now refers to children based on their age, while suski refers to children in the sense of a parent-child relationship. Thus, an adult can naturally be called a suski, as near everyone has parents, but to call an adult a bůṙi would be very patronizing.

    This also makes the situation that prompted me to look up that definition much clearer. I had wanted a term which can be neutrally applied to any type of sibling, but long ago I decided that “sibling” had no direct translation, and instead there were separate unrelated terms for elder and younger siblings. However, there are clearly cases where such a term is needed, so I decided to try to derive a compound meaning “the parents’ children”, using the newly-coined snemi, “parent (semi-formal)”.

    As a phrase, that would be suskimat ko no-snemigai, which also makes use of the disambiguation particle no-, which marks specificity in cases where it’s not otherwise clear, which I just coined also for this, but I’ve wanted such a thing for a while. I also coined a non-specific particle, se-. In most cases, neither is used, thus they are more like adjectives than case markers, but so are most of the other particles. Note that Firen has no direct marking for definiteness; if necessary a demonstrative pronoun may be used for that purpose. It only has specificity as a grammatical feature.

    I’m not sure I can make that into a single word, though, because particles and cases can’t be included inside of compound nouns, they can only apply to a phrasal head. At least, in the language as it stands. There’s no natural way to include them though, so I suppose that maybe Firen isn’t as agglutinative as I had originally intended for it to be. But it evolved that way more or less on its own and I’m satisfied with it.

    Of course, when I was coining those particles, I had to check to make sure that they weren’t confusingly common noun beginnings already, and I discovered yet another inconsistency: as a suffix, se already has two distinct meanings; marking for animate gender, and marking for causal case. I don’t think I like that ambiguity, and the case marker is much less commonly used, so I think I’ll change it. Perhaps just to -ste, which shouldn’t conflict with anything.

    Unfortunately I don’t remember how to make tables in these comments, so I can’t do a proper gloss right now, but I will comment a bit on the semantics. I might follow up with a properly formatted gloss later.

    suskimat ko no-snemigai glosses as

    suski-mat ko no=snemi-gai
    child.ANIM;person-COLL POSS SPEC=parent.ANIM;person-PCL

    Rendered in English, the full group of associated children (children-collective) of some particular small number of parents.

    I also just realized that čunikase, “childbearing couple” could be used instead of no-snemigai “parents”, which somewhat changes the point of view (it would be slightly unusual to call your own parents a čunikase) and also can only refer to a single couple’s children, whereas the first one could potentially refer to the children of a specific set of parents regardless of their relationships to each other.

    1. I really, really love all this, not only because I’m in love with common phrases and terms used for concepts that don’t have their own words, but the particles! I love them and how they fit into everything. Having a particular morpheme with cognate functions is common in languages because the process of language change and reduction in particular tends to reduce some terms to the same sounds and introduce ambiguity, but I’ve also frequently disambiguated because I’m not obligated to have overlap if I don’t want it.

      Your language also remains very pretty. I love the nuances between which parental term you’d use and having synonyms that work interchangeably in some contexts but very much not in others.

      1. I suppose, actually, that since case marking is mandatory, and the only case with a null marker is absolutive, and you can pretty much never confuse absolutive and causal, that the ambiguity in that case isn’t much of an ambiguity at all unless you see a word written on its own. (I also realized that I should probably have used the non-participant case (-ji or -ju, depending on harmony) for no-snemigai, though since it’s a fragment it’s not really important). And applying sound changes and watching as they wreak havoc on the perfectly regular agglutinative inflections was one of the explicit goals of Firen; it’s the proto-language to what I am provisionally calling Fulren, so ambiguous inflections can only make that even more fun.

        I’m glad you like it! It’s shocking how much nuance you can get out of a vocabulary of only a few hundred words and a rich set of morphological features. I think the morphology is the most interesting and unique part of Firen.

        I’m still not entirely certain what makes a language pretty or not, but it’s never actually been something I’ve consciously optimized for, except inasmuch as I filter the words my word generator produces and ignore those that I find ugly. Like, I’d never use raille /ʀaɪlːe/ for anything. Although, the phonotactics is constrained enough and the generator weighted well enough that it’s always pretty easy to pronounce even the ugly words; that one above is one of the hardest to pronounce potential roots I’ve seen. Maybe just choosing a good phonology and phonotactics is all it takes to be pretty. All this to say, I’m glad you think Firen is pretty, even if it was somewhat accidental.

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