The Dailies. July 17, 2019

The Dailies. July 17, 2019

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?


2 thoughts on “The Dailies. July 17, 2019

  1. Oh no, it’s been so long since I’ve done any conlanging. But I just randomly thought of a good idea today so I’m back.

    I established early on that Firen has the following number/count suffixes:

    • -∅: singular → tree: paṙvse
    • -vů: used with a cardinal number → three trees: paṙvsevů ju
    • -ka: dual (archaic and unproductive) → two/a couple trees: paṙvseka
    • -gai: paucal → a few trees: paṙvsegai
    • -a: plural → trees: paṙvsea
    • -ske: large plural/multiple → many trees: paṙvseske

    This system wasn’t really designed with any history in mind, or with much attention to naturalism, and as a result it always felt a little awkward to use. Well, today, I’ve decided that it came about as the merger of at least two former distinct series of suffixes.

    The original system of pluralization was:

    • -∅
    • -ka
    • -a

    with -vů used for numerals as above. (I’m not sure I don’t want to change the historical meaning of -vů but I don’t have any ideas right now.)

    However, for mass nouns, an unrelated set of quantitative suffixes existed.

    • -gai (some/a little)
    • -∅ (neutral/unspecified)
    • -ske (much/a lot)

    At some point, the quantitative suffixes began to be used for countable things with only a slight change in meaning, bringing the two systems together. Eventually, the paucal came to replace the dual in all uses except pronouns and certain fixed/lexicalized forms such as ika, which means “couple” and comes from “two people”.

    There are also some quantitative adjectives to consider. rao, “all”, ri, “half”, no, “none”, bu, “some”, and vil, “each, every” don’t pose any problems, but missi, “much, many” and sed, “little, few” duplicate meanings already available in the inflections. I’ve decided that they used to be only for count nouns, but as the suffixes changed meaning to modify countable things, the adjectives changed in the opposite direction and were used to modify mass nouns, forming a mostly prosodic, rather than semantic, difference between them.

    Modern Firen does have a difference between count and mass nouns, and even has a way to regularly form some mass nouns from count nouns. And for mass nouns, I think Firen should still use the old system with -gai and -ske, though now with the adjectives. Even though, to people who don’t know the history and are learning it as a second language, it may feel a bit strange that “a few rices” is the most natural way to say “a little rice”, despite having a perfectly good word for “little” and the fact that rice is not considered countable.


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