The Dailies. July 17, 2022

The Dailies. July 17, 2022

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?


5 thoughts on “The Dailies. July 17, 2022

  1. Mírishti

    First, a bit of Mírishti:

    okhlamdot, v. to excel, to behave or perform superlatively

    present indicative Class I Agreement Class II Agreement
    singular subject agreement okhlamdót okhlamdét
    plural subject agreement okhlamdót okhlamdétes

    God’s Tongue

    Then a teensy bit of God’s Tongue:

    So I always knew that Mouatrídzë didn’t make 100% sense, since it shouldn’t be yellow wolf, but yellow-eyed wolf, meaning that moua didn’t make 100% sense as just yellow. However! I also have other names to compare by, e.g.

    Jouasata: blue fierce storm where fierce storm is asata, not just sata

    Anouatura: black-eyed devastation

    Now, hang on a second there. Behold, an eye thing. Okay, so I’m now going with wa is eye and the confusion stems from the tendency to insert a glide after o, thus making Mouaatridze the actual name when you plunk a wa in front of an atridz.

    Also, Jhinyagosa is the green electric storm, and her grandkid gets named Ghosa Hacheyin, which promptly introduces the God’s Tongue word for electric storm into Kofnea, where it eventually turns into Khurse in the Curun dialect by the time of the Target Generation. He also has a lot of high one blood, so he gets an actual God’s Tongue name as well, Anougosa, as he’s the black electric storm, as far as that side of his family’s concerned.



    Ah, my old friend! The second massively polysynthetic language I started work on. Well, mostly, I’ve been doing foundational work, with a ton of reading on the side. It’s going to be long because I’ve been working on this daily for a week but hadn’t synthesized it really.

    Glottalic Pitch Accent / Accusative Vowels

    Glottalic airstream accent is a thing, but it’s easiest to put it like that. Which means, I’m reanalyzing the accusative vowels as stiff voice, since they are higher pitched, short, smooth, and do not creak. Creaky voice and lower tone / longer duration can appear in the imprecative mood, which is essentially realized with some glottal insertion on codas, rather than onsets, so there’s more accent stuff going on than I first presumed. Stiff voiced vowels with non-glottal blocking codas have ambisyllabic codas due to the release showing up at the end of the coda consonant, which has the result of plunking it in the next syllable. Like so:

    abaga dáko

    The k ends up ejective when the glottalic airstream started just before the d gets released with the k. If the glottalic airstream was intermittent or dampened through the syllable, it would creak, but it’s just quick, tense, and steady, so stiff voice it is.

    The Diachrony of the Mutable Vowels

    About vowels! I’ve felt for a while that figuring out how vowels changed over time would be pretty important to figuring out how the pronominal agreement system emerged and what the independent pronouns I’m missing ought to be, and boy, was I right. So read a fantastic paper outlining a “contrast shift” theory of how vowel systems exist and move, with the initial experiment being against a North American language family, and it gave me a good sense of how to figure out which vowel features are significant right before a sound change, but then I also took a good look at a rather odd feature of Akachenti roots: mutable vowels.

    Fixed vowels are not eligible to change to a different person-marking vowel. They can be targeted for pitch accent marking the accusative but they won’t change, e.g. da, v. to want. That a is staying put and won’t change for any agreement target. You can say Dá., “Want me.” You can say Da., “I want.” But that’s it, as far as that vowel is concerned. If you want to add any other argument agreement, you have to affix it.

    1st nom. (subject) 2nd erg. (subject) 3rd erg. (subject)
    1st nom / acc ada, áda adako, dáko adaki, dáki
    2nd nom / acc oda, óda odako, odakó odaki, ódaki
    3rd nom / acc ida, ída idako, ídako idaki, ídaki

    Now, the complications as to why there are different versions can be put down originally (and persistently) to clause types, some TAM paradigms, and the interference of topical agreement when present. But suffice to say, that the vowel in the root isn’t going anywhere.

    Compare to the mutable vowels of agato.

    1st nom. (subject) 2nd nom. (subject) 3rd nom. (subject)
    1st nom / acc agata, agatá agato, ogatá agati, igatá
    2nd nom / acc ogata, agató ogato, ogató ogati, igató
    3rd nom / acc igata, agatí igato, ogatí igati, igatí

    Now, on this one, the accusative accented marker will front or back on the word based on the clause type and topical agreement, but I’m only showing the accusative displacement form, since that’s all that’s relevant to the mutable vowel issue.

    In short, most roots completely lost any root-initial or root-final vowels, in favor of “mutable” vowels that fluctuate based on polypersonal agreement. This goes for nouns and verbs.

    Which is a bit of a long-winded explanation of the conclusion I drew from it, but that is wherever the vowel on the root is fixed, it did not match the person-marking vowels at the time the system ran roughshod over the roots.

    So some really old verbs that show up a lot in complex roots, as modals, and sometimes in case endings or TAM markers are:

    • b(a), v. to do
    • se:, v. to be
    • g(i), aux. should
    • da, v. to want
    • (V)shi, v. to eat, to finish

    The vowels above (mutable are closed in parentheses, fixed are not) are reconstructed from where the roots appear in other words, e.g. (a)bag(o), v. to should do, indicates that the original vowel on “to do” was a, not the o it is cited as in Modern Akachenti, and an old cliche sentence includes the long e: on the copula, but in Modern Akachenti these all look dramatically different:

    • bo, obu-
    • sa, -s-
    • go, -g-
    • da
    • ashi

    Now anywhere with an o at the end or an a at the beginning, those are citation vowels and don’t count. The sa or “I am” is an unusual citation form but is also just a person-marking vowel. In short, the only fixed vowels in this entire lineup are the a in da and i in ashi.

    So I’m using this data to begin reconstructing some of the vowels as they were before they merged or shifted, after the adoption of the person-marking vowel agreement system. I always suspected there were two As before, and now I’m sure of it. I’m sure now that the ae which shows up in the clusive 1st person (left out of the above for simplicity’s sake) was e at the time and the e of now was ɛ. There’s some oddities with the way the back vowels split versus the front vowels, and I suspect this has to do with missing a rounded or backed a and/or ɔ. More to investigate there.

    Diachrony in General

    All of this originally started because I was wondering where the pronominal indices originated. They come in several series and they get used as repair strategies for some of the complexities acquired over time. So on that, these conclusions all came out of natlang realities:

    1. Acquired the person-marking vowels (persons 1/2/3) on verbs and nouns: a / o / e at the front of the word to agree with the object (for now, absolutive) and -ka / -ko / -ke to agree with the subject (henceforth, ergative).
    2. Relativizing ʔVʔ- appeared on controlling/raising/main clause verbs to indicate the relativized subject or object. I don’t know if it showed up with a mutable person-marking vowel or acquired that whenever person-marking affixes started collapsing into suprasegmental elements.
    3. Acquired dative clitic doubling (persons 1/2/3) with speech verbs, which would eventually reduce to verb-initial e / u / i. It’s possible that this was as simple as some consonant onset which caused vowel-raising in the original absolutive / ergative series.
    4. -ke became -ki. This eventually spread to a / o / e becoming a / o / i.
    5. Somewhere along the way, the relativized ʔVʔ became just a stiff-voiced V, with higher pitch and spreading to the consonants on either side (blocked by sibilants, which may prompt the full glottal stop to show up allophonically).
    6. Topical agreement showed up on the verb, always fronted.
    7. Topical agreement conflicted with dative / absolutive markers and the relative clause accusative markers were used as a repair strategy to show agreement in the non-topicalized argument slots on the verb.
    8. Associate case -Vt (takes nom. agreement series) begins to be used for lexical adjectival derivation.
    9. Dative series shows up on nouns as a comitative / benefactive case prefix in similar fashion as the dative on the verb. Independent arguments can be null.
    10. -kV ergative affix lost the -k- wherever the vowel could be marked bare without confusion, resulting in the a / o / i series becoming nominative rather than absolutive, as  the same series marks patients and agents wherever the verb permits them in citation order V.patientive – ROOT – V.agentive
    11. The accusative series á / ó / í were no longer required to affix but became suprasegmental, targeting existing root vowels wherever topicality or clause construction conflicted with an affix.
    12. Stiff voice begins to target associative -Vt and genitive -Vr case affix vowels, dissimilating adjectives derived with -Vt from the associative case and spreading to genitive by analogy.

    None of this gets into complex person markers, which are somewhat wreaking havoc with original 1st inclusive agreement, agreement promotion based on proximity/animacy, or why in the world there’s a growing animacy distinction between the vestigial remains of the original third person e vs. the modern i, with e taking on 3rd person generic animate connotations.

    Plenty more to continue to work out, but this is a huge leap forward for me in getting this language sorted out.

    1. I’m always impressed by how many conlangs you work on at the same time, and what complex things you do with each of them. I really like those god names, they’re so cool!


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.