Polysynthetic Conlang

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Aurora Rossa
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Post by Aurora Rossa »

I see. Can you give me more examples of this kinestetic mindset in language?
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Post by jburke »

Eddy the Great wrote:I see. Can you give me more examples of this kinestetic mindset in language?


Well, take the origin of the name Adirondack , as in Adirondack Mountains; it comes from the Mohawk hatir?:ntaks 'they-eat-trees'. The word in Mohawk names a kind of biting fly of the Northeast (not sure of the species). And the Cheyenne word for 'rabbit', vohkooheho, means 'his-posture-bends'. Algonquian and Iroqouis animals are often named for distinguishing habitual actions or traits.

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Post by Aurora Rossa »

Well, take the origin of the name Adirondack , as in Adirondack Mountains; it comes from the Mohawk hatir?:ntaks 'they-eat-trees'. The word in Mohawk names a kind of biting fly of the Northeast (not sure of the species). And the Cheyenne word for 'rabbit', vohkooheho, means 'his-posture-bends'. Algonquian and Iroqouis animals are often named for distinguishing habitual actions or traits.


Like the word for crane in your Noyatoyah language which was he-outstretches-his-neck.

What about tone in Cheyenne? You mentioned that it shifts when affixes are added. How does it work?
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Post by jburke »

Like the word for crane in your Noyatoyah language which was he-outstretches-his-neck.


Yes; I had (and still have) a lot of fun naming animals in Noyatukah. Sometimes an Algonquian or Iroquois animal name is so on the mark, so right, that I steal it; but much of the time, I invent my own meanings.

What about tone in Cheyenne? You mentioned that it shifts when affixes are added. How does it work?


Cheyenne vowels have inherent distinctive pitch, high or low. The pitch can (and often does) shift when you add affixes to a word. E.g., matek?me 'raccon' vs. m?tekomeo?o 'raccoons'. This is a simple example; most Cheyenne words have muliple accents.

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Post by Aurora Rossa »

Cheyenne vowels have inherent distinctive pitch, high or low. The pitch can (and often does) shift when you add affixes to a word. E.g., matek?me 'raccon' vs. m?tekomeo?o 'raccoons'. This is a simple example; most Cheyenne words have muliple accents.


Why does the pitch shift? What are the rules?
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Post by jburke »

Eddy the Great wrote:
Cheyenne vowels have inherent distinctive pitch, high or low. The pitch can (and often does) shift when you add affixes to a word. E.g., matek?me 'raccon' vs. m?tekomeo?o 'raccoons'. This is a simple example; most Cheyenne words have muliple accents.


Why does the pitch shift? What are the rules?


The pitch shifts occur because of stress and long-short vowel patterns in Proto Algonquian. Inherently pitched Cheyenne vowels came into being by contraction of the long Proto Algonquian vowels, and so Cheyenne's pitch system retains a lot of the underlying rhythms of the old system.

As for the shift rules...very complicated. I know how the pitch patterns run, but to formalize the patterns into rules would take a while; I'd have to look at Leman's grammar. I believe he covers the rules.

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Post by Aurora Rossa »

That must have been hard to learn.
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Post by jburke »

Eddy the Great wrote:That must have been hard to learn.


Not really; not any harder than it is to learn the stress patterns of a language. After a while, it starts making intuitive sense. The rules are pretty regular, but complex, with certain environments that can disallow shift. Cheyenne pitch patterns are best described by optimality theory.

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Post by midas »

jburke wrote:
Eddy the Great wrote:
Cheyenne vowels have inherent distinctive pitch, high or low. The pitch can (and often does) shift when you add affixes to a word. E.g., matek?me 'raccon' vs. m?tekomeo?o 'raccoons'. This is a simple example; most Cheyenne words have muliple accents.


Why does the pitch shift? What are the rules?


The pitch shifts occur because of stress and long-short vowel patterns in Proto Algonquian. Inherently pitched Cheyenne vowels came into being by contraction of the long Proto Algonquian vowels, and so Cheyenne's pitch system retains a lot of the underlying rhythms of the old system.

As for the shift rules...very complicated. I know how the pitch patterns run, but to formalize the patterns into rules would take a while; I'd have to look at Leman's grammar. I believe he covers the rules.


Ok, I've heard you mention Proto Algonquian several times. I'd like to know more about it. I assume it's the North American PIE?

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Post by jburke »

midas wrote:Ok, I've heard you mention Proto Algonquian several times. I'd like to know more about it. I assume it's the North American PIE?


Yeah, it's a proto language like PIE, but not quite so megalithic; it's just one of several proto languages of North America (others include Proto Iroquois, Proto Caddoan, Proto Anthapaskan, and others). There's more linguistic variety in the Americas than in Europe.

Proto Algonquian was first worked on by Leonard Bloomfield in the 1920s; since him, there have been varying views of it. But everyone agrees on some basics:

It had a quarda vowel system, /a/, /e/, /o/, /i/, with all but /o/ lax, and
a distinction between long and short vowels. The consonant system went like this:

The preaspirated stops /hp/, /ht/, /hk/; it's possible there was also a series
of non-preaspirated stops that contrasted with these.

The preaspirated fricatives /hs/, /hsh/, /hch/.

Nasals /m/ and /n/.

Liquid /l/ and semivowels /y/ and /w/.

Either the lateral affricate /tl/ or the lateral fricative /lh/.

Morphology was polysynthetic, with just the beginnings of a nominal
morphology. It was stress accented.

Besides Bloomfield, PA was worked on by Ives Goddard, Mary Haas, Truman Michelson, and a couple others I can't recall. These are among the biggest names in the elder generation of American linguistics. All their basic conceptions are pretty much in line, but they disagree in some details (like the preaspirated vs. non-preaspirated stops).

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Post by Aurora Rossa »

The preaspirated stops /hp/, /ht/, /hk/; it's possible there was also a series
of non-preaspirated stops that contrasted with these


So there may not have been ordinary p, t, and k?

Also, the adjectives prefix to the nouns they effect as in t/ok'?la(big building, t/o-k'?la). Is this a good idea?
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Post by jburke »

Eddy the Great wrote:
The preaspirated stops /hp/, /ht/, /hk/; it's possible there was also a series
of non-preaspirated stops that contrasted with these


So there may not have been ordinary p, t, and k?


Maybe not. In all the Algonquian daughter languages that retain any trace of the preaspirates, non-preaspirated /p/, /t/, /k/ are reflexes of the clusters *sp, *st and *sk or *shk (and, in the case of Cheyenne, of *l, which turned into /t/).

Also, the adjectives prefix to the nouns they effect as in t/ok'?la(big building, t/o-k'?la). Is this a good idea?


I don't know if it's a good idea. The Algonquian and Iroquois languages use stative verbs instead of adjectives.

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Post by Aurora Rossa »

Maybe not. In all the Algonquian daughter languages that retain any trace of the preaspirates, non-preaspirated /p/, /t/, /k/ are reflexes of the clusters *sp, *st and *sk or *shk (and, in the case of Cheyenne, of *l, which turned into /t/).


I thought having at least 2 of the sounds p, t, and k was a language universal.

I don't know if it's a good idea. The Algonquian and Iroquois languages use stative verbs instead of adjectives.


I'm not trying to copy the Algonquian languages so I suppose this is my choice.
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Post by Aurora Rossa »

Is my conlang too complex? It has 48 suffixes for noun verb agreement, 35 or so suffixes that indicate location, time, etc. that act like cases, but can be used on verbs. I think it's a little too complex and I wanted your opinion.
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Post by jburke »

Eddy the Great wrote:Is my conlang too complex? It has 48 suffixes for noun verb agreement, 35 or so suffixes that indicate location, time, etc. that act like cases, but can be used on verbs. I think it's a little too complex and I wanted your opinion.


As for agreement affixes: Mohawk has about 60 transitive, 15 subjective and 15 objective prefixes, for a total of 90; Noytukah has over 100 such finals. I don't know about your locatives, tense markers, etc.; but in poly languages, almost everything like that gets incoprorated into the verb, so you'd need these as affixes. It's no different from having 35 different words for all these things. (In fact, in poly langs, morphemes tend to function like words, right down to how they evolve diachronically; in Europe, the main item of phonological evolution is the word--in North America, it's the morpheme; unless this were true, poly languages could probably not exist, and, even if they could, wouldn't stay around long.)

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Post by Aurora Rossa »

T?l@uilğo/ only has 34 phonemes and 3 aspects, although it does have a lot of things, about 6(strong command, weak command, question, requirement, what should be, readyness), that I think are moods. I'm not sure.
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Post by Glenn »

Eddy the Great wrote:T?l@uilğo/ only has 34 phonemes and 3 aspects, although it does have a lot of things, about 6(strong command, weak command, question, requirement, what should be, readyness), that I think are moods. I'm not sure.


Those definitely all sound like moods to me. With regard to the technical terms, the first three would probably be called strong and weak imperative, interrogative, necessitative (?), and obligative; I'm not sure about the fifth. I think you've got it right. :)

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Post by Mecislau »

Eddy the Great wrote:T?l@uilğo/ only has 34 phonemes and 3 aspects, although it does have a lot of things, about 6(strong command, weak command, question, requirement, what should be, readyness), that I think are moods. I'm not sure.


What's the difference between 'strong command' and 'weak command'? And how do you use 'readyness'? And what is the difference between 'requirement' and the two commands?

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Post by Aurora Rossa »

K'?la'ik?lamek-Build the building. (strong)
K'?la'ik?lamet-Please build the building. (weak)
K'?la'ik?lame'-You have to build the building. (necessitive)

I've gotten rid of readyness and made it a preverb, like want. The necessive isn't all that necessary as there is a preverb that does something similar to it.
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Post by Mecislau »

Eddy the Great wrote:K'?la'ik?lamek-Build the building. (strong)
K'?la'ik?lamet-Please build the building. (weak)
K'?la'ik?lame'-You have to build the building. (necessitive)

I've gotten rid of readyness and made it a preverb, like want. The necessive isn't all that necessary as there is a preverb that does something similar to it.


Alright, yeah. Your 'weak command' sounds like Precative Mood, signaling a request. I may be wrong, though.

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Post by Aurora Rossa »

Alright, yeah. Your 'weak command' sounds like Precative Mood, signaling a request. I may be wrong, though


I suppose, although it doesn't mean please exactly.
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Post by Aurora Rossa »

Given that English has thousands of words relating to sex, I think have two words for necessity(x?-, need to; -', must) isn't unreasonable.
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Post by jburke »

Eddy--

Don't worry about people confusing you with all these "moods." You can use whatever terminology you like (and what best fits) to describe your language. E.g., I only descibe Noyatukah as having two moods, the manifest and unmanifest, though the language can morphologically indicate commands, habituality, etc. The Algonquian languages would, if analyzed in IE terms, have literally dozens of "moods" (but as it stands, most are said to have just a few; there are lots of possible ways to analyze a language, and no single one is necessarily to be preferred over all others in every case).

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Post by Mecislau »

jburke wrote:Eddy--

Don't worry about people confusing you with all these "moods." You can use whatever terminology you like (and what best fits) to describe your language. E.g., I only descibe Noyatukah as having two moods, the manifest and unmanifest, though the language can morphologically indicate commands, habituality, etc. The Algonquian languages would, if analyzed in IE terms, have literally dozens of "moods" (but as it stands, most are said to have just a few; there are lots of possible ways to analyze a language, and no single one is necessarily to be preferred over all others in every case).


Sorry if I confused you, Eddy. When I was talking about the precative mood, I meant it in reply to Glenn Kempf, who called it "weak imperative".

jburke wrote:Polysynthesis is new conlanging ground; it's only right that it be discussed to death. :)


True. You've even inspired me to try my hand at a poly lang. :P

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Post by Aurora Rossa »

Well I certainly don't have 27 aspects.
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