The Dailies. April 4

The Dailies. April 4

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?


6 thoughts on “The Dailies. April 4

  1. So my bad note-taking habits have bitten me again, and it turns out I never bothered to actually record the proper meanings of my verb moods anywhere in my notes, and it’s been too long since I did anything much with Firen and I’ve half-forgotten them all. I also don’t have any large samples of Firen text yet so I’m not sure I could do an analysis to figure out what I originally had in mind, so maybe this is a decent chance to refine the set I currently have.

    Anyways this is what I managed to write from memory:

    • IND, Indicative: (-a)
      • Basic realis mood; relates facts and observations.
    • IMP, Imperative: (-am)
      • Irrealis mood, a broad imperative-hortative mood which can express many forms of encouragement, suggestions, and commands.
    • COND, Conditional: (-fu/-afu)
      • Irrealis mood, used to form “if”-clauses of conditional statements, with “then”-clauses having any other mood.
    • SBJ, Subjunctive: (-ao/-u)
      • Irrealis mood, used for most non-finite verbs, for finite verbs it can express an optative.
    • DISS, Dissatisfactive: (-adesk/-esk)
      • Realis mood, expresses facts the speaker is not pleased with.
    • SPEC, Speculative: (-aṙ/-oṙ)
      • Irrealis mood, expresses uncertainty.

    The parenthesized suffixes are the forms for the two different verb classes. Where different, the first is for -a (open?) verbs and the second for -∅ (closed?) verbs.

    This is mostly fine as it stands, but I’m not fully satisfied with subsuming optative into subjunctive like that. As I recall, I came up with that merged mood based on material which I didn’t realize was implicitly eurocentric until later on when something else explicitly pointed out that that semantic merging is specifically common only in indo-european languages (which is not to say it is unique to them, just that it is less common outside that family). Maybe I should split it into two or more moods, but not necessarily just subjunctive/optative. Another idea is to add optative into imperative-hortative to create a generalized deontic mood.

    As for the remaining subjunctive mood, I’m not sure what to do with it, because in fact I don’t actually understand what the subjunctive mood is precisely. I added it because it seemed important, but I don’t have a fully clear idea of what it does. Something to do some more research on, I suppose.

    1. So I love all of this! And totally get not writing enough things down.

      That said, subjunctive is a grab bag. If you only have one irrealis mood (besides interrogative), typically subjunctive is it. It’s like saying oblique case. The actual uses for the mode vary wildly between languages, whether optative, conditional, all irrealis statements, the hypothetical, etc. The one meaning I’ve noticed almost always under subjunctive though (if it isn’t lumped under indicative), is the hypothetical.

      1. By hypothetical mode, do you mean like the English “if I were…”/”were I to…” construction? Which actually is one of the rare uses of the subjunctive in modern English that doesn’t sound totally formal. English verbs are weird and only get weirder the more I look at them.

        So I suppose I should just leave it in as the mood to catch all the cases not covered by a different mood. It may get a clearer niche through use than from theory. Also I think that part of my confusion is caused because Firen has more moods than most languages, so the moods it does have have to cover smaller spaces than most languages’ moods, including and especially the subjunctive, which means most descriptions of its use in other languages don’t map too well onto Firen.

        Anyways, I think I like the idea of a deontic mood, so subjunctive will no longer cover optative, and auxiliaries will distinguish between different forms of deontic modality.

        1. Yup. That’s the hypothetical. Also, another place languages may use subjunctive is for negative statements. Because it’s the default irrealis mood basically.

          I love the idea of your catchall deontic!

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