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PostPosted: Fri Apr 01, 2011 8:12 am 
Lebom
Lebom

Joined: Fri Mar 27, 2009 5:50 pm
Posts: 169
Hey guys!

So, I started sketching a new project. I have a morphosyntactic analysis in mind, but I suspect I may be overthinking it, so I wanted to see what fresh brains drew from the data.

And thus! Here's a collection of translated sentences (organized in groups for convenience), selected to demonstrate some of the grammatical functions I'm interested in. If you have a chance, could you tell me:

1) What lexical categories you identify?
2) What function words you identify, and how you would describe their function?
3) Your first impression of the morphosyntactic typology of this language?
4) Any other interesting hypotheses or observations.

Feel free to ask for further elicitations if you think of any that would better inform your analysis. Thanks for your help!


As a potentially helpful guideline, here are some tentative word-level translation pairs; if you think the data suggests a better gloss for any of them, go for it.

poppak - foot (the appendage)
ttsell - there, deictic indicator for a particular place
xir - that, deictic indicator for a particular thing
tsi - first person pronoun
qal - second person pronoun
onh - relativizer

= = =

A: En xir ppor te? (pointing at object)
"What is that?"

B: Xir ppor kolloq.
"That is a suit of armor."

A: En qa xir ppor tsi kolloq?
"Is that my suit of armor?"

B: Rraq, xir ppor qal kolloq sot. Xir ppor tsi kolloq qa.
"No, that isn't your suit of armor. That is my suit of armor."

A: Khe tsi sonh ppor qal kolloq qqhar tsi te.
"I want your suit of armor."

B: Xonh. At tsi ppor tsi kolloq qqhar qal te.
"Alright. I'll give you my suit of armor."

= = =

Qqhar ngex tsi ttsell.
"I was going there."

Qqhar ngex tsi ttsell khe poppak.
"I was going there on foot."

Qqhar tsi ttsell.
"I arrived there."

En qa at qal khe sonh qqhar tsi ttsell?
"Do you want me to go there?"

Qa, khe tsi sonh qqhar qal ttsell.
"Yes, I want you to go there."

Qqhar ngex tsi ttsell khe anh.
"I am going there now."

Qqhar ngex tsi ttsell khe anh poppak.
"I am going there now on foot."

Qqhar tsi ttsell khe ong rreng'en.
"I arrive there every morning."

Qqhar tsi ttsell khe kkir rreng'en. (An extra to clarify the previous one.)
"I arrived there this morning."

= = =

A: En at qal qqhar te?
"What is your profession?"

B: At tsi qqhar kolloq.
"I am an armorsmith."

A: Khe tsi sonh qqhar onh at qal qqhar tsi kolloq.
"I want you to make me a suit of armor."

B: Xonh, ppor xir mekh qqhar qal kolloq.
"Alright, I will make your armor with this material."

= = =

En xir ppor meng?
"What is that red thing?"

A: En xir at meng ppax?
"Who is that person in the red clothing?"

B: Xir at tsi keng'ir.
"That is my apprentice."

Khe tsi sonh qqhar onh at qal qqhar tsi keng'ir khe onh qqhar kolloq.
"I want you to teach me to be an armorsmith."

Khe tsi sonh qqhar onh tsi khe qal kolloq keng'ir.
"I want to become your apprentice in armorsmithing."


(Round 2)

A: Khe kallong ppor xir mekh at tsi qqhar kolloq.
"I hammered the material into a suit of armor."

B: En qa ppor meng qqhar te?
"Did you make it with red material?"

A: Qa ppor meng.
"Yes, I used red material."

B: Onh at qal ppor meng ppor tsi te.
"The red material that you used was mine."

A: Rraq, ppor tsi te qa! Khe tsi telleng ppor te qqhar tsi qen.
"No, it was mine! I found it in my quarters."

B: Khe ter xal ppor tsi qal telleng!
"We live together!"

(Tentative glosses: ter, "one"; xal, "space, enclosure")

What are your thoughts?


Last edited by Trailsend on Thu Apr 07, 2011 9:39 pm, edited 5 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Analysis Challenge
PostPosted: Fri Apr 01, 2011 11:12 am 
Avisaru
Avisaru

Joined: Tue Jul 25, 2006 10:12 pm
Posts: 402
So far, I've got en = ?


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 Post subject: Re: Analysis Challenge
PostPosted: Fri Apr 01, 2011 2:34 pm 
Avisaru
Avisaru

Joined: Tue Jul 25, 2006 10:12 pm
Posts: 402
Could I request a present-tense version of all the past-tense sentences in the second section? I may be barking up the wrong tree here, but who knows.


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 Post subject: Re: Analysis Challenge
PostPosted: Fri Apr 01, 2011 6:00 pm 
Lebom
Lebom

Joined: Fri Mar 27, 2009 5:50 pm
Posts: 169
Sure thing! Here are the new sentences, and I've edited them into the OP as well.

Qqhar ngex tsi ttsell khe anh.
"I am going there now."

Qqhar ngex tsi ttsell khe anh poppak.
"I am going there now on foot."

Qqhar tsi ttsell khe ong rreng'en.
"I arrive there every morning."

Qqhar tsi ttsell khe kkir rreng'en. (An extra to clarify the previous one.)
"I arrived there this morning."


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 Post subject: Re: Analysis Challenge
PostPosted: Fri Apr 01, 2011 6:09 pm 
Avisaru
Avisaru

Joined: Tue Jul 25, 2006 10:12 pm
Posts: 402
Lemme know how I'm doing with this.

Trailsend wrote:
1) What lexical categories you identify?


Substantives (status as nouns or verbs seems to be fluid):
keng'ir: teach/learn, apprentice
kolloq: suit of armor
meng: red
ppax: clothing?
sonh: want

Pronouns (personal and possessive form identical)
tsi: I/my
qal: you/your

Verb
qqhar: do, make, bring about a result.

Particles
at: preposition; function undetermined. Object of 'want,' others.
en: interrogative
khe: preposition; function undetermined. Instrumental, subject of 'want,' others.
ngex:
ppor: a noun classifier or article used for things, or the actual word for 'thing'.
qa: polar question particle, 'yes'
rraq: 'no' (as an answer)
sot: negation, 'not'
te: ?

Trailsend wrote:
2) What function words you identify, and how you would describe their function?

Khe and at seem to be prepositions. I can't pin down their functions yet. They're certainly less straightforward than 'agent' and 'patient.' Khe subsumes the instrumental function, among others. I feel like those two are the key to understanding what's going on here. I think I can provide rough glosses for most of your sentences, except for those words.

Te has me stumped.

Ngex probably denotes either the past tense or the progressive aspect.

Trailsend wrote:
3) Your first impression of the morphosyntactic typology of this language?


It seems nouny. There seems to be only one unambiguous dynamic verb: qqhar. The meaning seems more similar to 'make' (either a thing or a result) than anything, but it's probably very semantically bleached. Sonh, 'want,' I suspect, is more nouny, probably meaning 'a wish or desire.' Keng'ir, 'apprentice,' is also used for 'teach.'

Trailsend wrote:
4) Any other interesting hypotheses or observations.


Just the above guesses.


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 Post subject: Re: Analysis Challenge
PostPosted: Fri Apr 01, 2011 6:10 pm 
Avisaru
Avisaru

Joined: Tue Jul 25, 2006 10:12 pm
Posts: 402
Trailsend wrote:
Sure thing! Here are the new sentences, and I've edited them into the OP as well.

Qqhar ngex tsi ttsell khe anh.
"I am going there now."

Qqhar ngex tsi ttsell khe anh poppak.
"I am going there now on foot."

Qqhar tsi ttsell khe ong rreng'en.
"I arrive there every morning."

Qqhar tsi ttsell khe kkir rreng'en. (An extra to clarify the previous one.)
"I arrived there this morning."


Thanks. I went ahead with my hunches without this information. Now I'll look it over and see if I need to revise it.


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 Post subject: Re: Analysis Challenge
PostPosted: Fri Apr 01, 2011 8:18 pm 
Lebom
Lebom

Joined: Fri Mar 27, 2009 5:50 pm
Posts: 169
Awesome! Many thanks, cromulant, that's greatly helpful! (I don't want to contaminate the environment with my own intentions yet so other people can give their thoughts, but this is definitely the kind of think I'm looking for.)

NOTE: I caught a typo in the original translation set :oops:

* B: Xonh, khe xir mekh qqhar qal kolloq. ("Alright, I will make your armor with this material")
should be
B: Xonh, ppor xir mekh qqhar qal kolloq.


Here's some more data involving khe, at, and te.


A: Khe kallong ppor xir mekh at tsi qqhar kolloq.
"I hammered the material into a suit of armor."

B: En qa ppor meng qqhar te?
"Did you make it with red material?"

A: Qa ppor meng.
"Yes, I used red material."

B: Onh at qal ppor meng ppor tsi te.
"The red material that you used was mine."

A: Rraq, ppor tsi te qa! Khe tsi telleng ppor te qqhar tsi qen.
"No, it was mine! I found it in my quarters."

B: Khe ter xal ppor tsi qal telleng!
"We live together!"

(Tentative glosses: ter, "one"; xal, "space, enclosure")


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 Post subject: Re: Analysis Challenge
PostPosted: Sat Apr 02, 2011 12:43 pm 
Avisaru
Avisaru

Joined: Tue Jul 25, 2006 10:12 pm
Posts: 402
Glad to help! This is an interesting language. I'm not in a situation right now where I can ponder it in depth, so I have nothing new to bring at the moment. I hope others will jump in.

Is there any way to rephrase any of your example sentences using a different word order to render the same meaning?

Also, is there a way to form the present progressive without emphasizing the "now?" i.e., a way to say "I am going there" rather than "I am going there now?" As it reads now, it looks like the present progressive is more marked than the past.


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 Post subject: Re: Analysis Challenge
PostPosted: Sat Apr 02, 2011 1:51 pm 
Lebom
Lebom

Joined: Fri Mar 27, 2009 5:50 pm
Posts: 169
cromulant wrote:
Glad to help! This is an interesting language. I'm not in a situation right now where I can ponder it in depth, so I have nothing new to bring at the moment. I hope others will jump in.

Thanks! I hope to get some other voices too, but if not, I'll post my intentions in a little bit to see what you think.

cromulant wrote:
Is there any way to rephrase any of your example sentences using a different word order to render the same meaning?

There is at the moment. For example:

Khe kallong ppor xir mekh at tsi qqhar kolloq.
Qqhar kolloq khe kallong at tsi ppor xir mekh.
At tsi khe kallong ppor xir mekh qqhar kolloq.
Ppor xir mekh at tsi qqhar kolloq khe kallong.
"I hammered the material into a suit of armor."

These will probably have some different nuances, but I haven't worked out what or how serious those will be.


cromulant wrote:
Also, is there a way to form the present progressive without emphasizing the "now?" i.e., a way to say "I am going there" rather than "I am going there now?" As it reads now, it looks like the present progressive is more marked than the past.

Ah! Yes. Example:

A: En qqhar ngex te?
"What are you doing?"

B: Qqhar ngex tsi telleng ttsell.
"I'm going to my quarters."


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 Post subject: Re: Analysis Challenge
PostPosted: Sun Apr 03, 2011 1:33 am 
Avisaru
Avisaru

Joined: Tue Jul 25, 2006 10:12 pm
Posts: 402
Hypothesis: there are no verbs. Predicates are formed by various combinations of prepositional phrases, which can be more or less freely ordered within a sentence. Prepositions include at, khe, ppor and qqhar. (Yes, I've revised my opinion of the latter two). Different semantic structures will require different sets of prepositions to be used. Qqhar, which I'd previously thought was a lightverb, seems to mark its object as being the goal or result of an action. Khe (among other functions) marks the instrument, or more broadly, combines with its object to form an adverb of manner; thus, 'to hammer into armor' is translated as khe kallong qqhar kolloq--roughly, 'with a hammer/hammeringly, to make armor.' The expression khe poppak, 'on foot,' might translate more generically as 'walk,' or (perhaps better), 'walkingly.'

Broadly speaking, at seems to be associated with Agents and animates, and ppor, with Patients and inanimates.


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 Post subject: Re: Analysis Challenge
PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2011 8:39 pm 
Lebom
Lebom

Joined: Fri Mar 27, 2009 5:50 pm
Posts: 169
No one else? Alrighty then. Thanks again, cromulant!

cromulant wrote:
Hypothesis: there are no verbs. Predicates are formed by various combinations of prepositional phrases, which can be more or less freely ordered within a sentence. Prepositions include at, khe, ppor and qqhar. (Yes, I've revised my opinion of the latter two). Different semantic structures will require different sets of prepositions to be used. Qqhar, which I'd previously thought was a lightverb, seems to mark its object as being the goal or result of an action. Khe (among other functions) marks the instrument, or more broadly, combines with its object to form an adverb of manner; thus, 'to hammer into armor' is translated as khe kallong qqhar kolloq--roughly, 'with a hammer/hammeringly, to make armor.' The expression khe poppak, 'on foot,' might translate more generically as 'walk,' or (perhaps better), 'walkingly.'

Broadly speaking, at seems to be associated with Agents and animates, and ppor, with Patients and inanimates.

This is precisely what I was shooting for, so it's very encouraging that it appears the same way to someone else. I wanted to try my hand at a verbless language, but I'm always worried that I'm only calling it verbless when there's a perfectly tenable more conventional analysis.

EDIT: Forgot to add acknowledgements. I've put this idea up here before, and the feedback I got was greatly helpful. Thanks for your pointers about how (and whether) to make this work!

At present, I divide words into three lexical categories: substantives, role markers, and particles.

Substantives are mostly analogous to nouns, although many are somewhat fusionally-synthetic: ppax, for example, means "a clothed person."

Role markers are a closed class--there are precisely five.
  • At marks an agent, someone who turns something into something else.
  • Ppor marks a material, something which becomes something else.
  • Khe marks an implement which is used to work on something else.
  • Qqhar marks a product which is made from something else.
  • Onh introduces a relative phrase.

These descriptions are all a little loose. In many environments only some (or maybe only one) of the four roles are filled in a sentence. Situations that do not involve any transition or change from one thing to another are often this way, such as xir ppor kolloq and xir at keng'ir. (Note that here, choice of ppor and at marks animacy.)

Particles are semantically light and syntactically diverse, including "rraq", no; "en", INT; "qa", yes/INTENS; "sot", not.

Syntax so far, generative-grammar style...

Abbreviations:
CP: "copular phrase"
RP: "role phrase"

S -> (PART) CP | (PART) SS
SS -> RP (SS)
CP -> NP RP
RP -> ROLE (ADJP) NP (PART)
ADJP -> NP (ADJP)
NP -> N | onh CP | onh RP
ROLE -> at | ppor | khe | qqhar


Argument for Verblessness

I claim the language is verbless because, while any given sentence is likely to have one or more semantic verbs, these are morphosyntactically indistinguishable from other non-verb categories.

Like cromulant pointed out, qqhar often appears to act as a light verb--however, it has no morphosyntactic traits that set it apart from the other role markers. Qqhar phrases behave syntactically just like other role phrases. Aspect is typically marked on the qqhar phrase (through the use of certain substantives like ngex, which when used as the head of a role phrase means "an unfinished but not abandoned project"), but other conventionally verby distinctions are made elsewhere--tense, for instance, is marked on khe phrases, modality on ppor phrases (which may be clefted), and evidentiality on (again, possibly clefted) at phrases.

In some cases the semantic verb may be the phrasal-head substantive rather than the role marker, as in Qqhar ngex tsi ttsell khe poppak, "I was going there on foot," where poppak could be translated as "walk." But once again, the syntactic function of poppak is just like that of any other role phrase, so its verbiness is based only on semantic intuition.


So, what do you think? Does my analysis fit the data? Could I justifiably call this a verbless language?


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2011 3:03 am 
Avisaru
Avisaru

Joined: Tue Jul 25, 2006 10:12 pm
Posts: 402
Looks like I about nailed it, *gives self a cigar.*

The penny didn't really drop until I saw the alternate word orders. Then, the constituent phrases became obvious. My first thought after seeing this was that this was an isolating, prepositional grammar with free constituent order--the one constraint being that the 'object' always immediately followed the 'verb.' I was even thinking that as I began my post, but I thought further and wondered whether there was any reason at all to think of qqhar any differently from at and khe, (and now, ppor). The more I looked at it, the less verby qqhar seemed to be. I decided that that, not a rigidly VO language, was what you were probably going for.

There are certain things about this language that seem 'Dwarvish' to me--the harsh, heavy sound with the preponderance of dorsals, and the focus on building and craftsmanship. Any influence there? Of course, I don't know exactly what phonemes I'm supposed to be reading, but it looks pretty """guttural""" any way you slice it. Could you give a rundown of the Romanization?


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2011 7:13 am 
Avisaru
Avisaru

Joined: Sat Sep 20, 2008 2:37 pm
Posts: 329
cromulant wrote:
There are certain things about this language that seem 'Dwarvish' to me--the harsh, heavy sound with the preponderance of dorsals, and the focus on building and craftsmanship. Any influence there? Of course, I don't know exactly what phonemes I'm supposed to be reading, but it looks pretty """guttural""" any way you slice it. Could you give a rundown of the Romanization?

IIRC, this would be the "Brumese Dwarven" language that Trailsend was working on, so I think you're correct.


(Now in queue: pun from TomHChappell about whether this is "Burmese" from South-East Asia or "Brumese" from Birmingham, UK. :D )


Any chance you'll be putting up a website or something about this lang soon, Trailsend?




EDIT: Corrected spelling on "Brumese".

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2011 9:59 am 
Lebom
Lebom

Joined: Fri Mar 27, 2009 5:50 pm
Posts: 169
cromulant wrote:
The penny didn't really drop until I saw the alternate word orders. Then, the constituent phrases became obvious. My first thought after seeing this was that this was an isolating, prepositional grammar with free constituent order--the one constraint being that the 'object' always immediately followed the 'verb.' I was even thinking that as I began my post, but I thought further and wondered whether there was any reason at all to think of qqhar any differently from at and khe, (and now, ppor). The more I looked at it, the less verby qqhar seemed to be. I decided that that, not a rigidly VO language, was what you were probably going for.

Mmm, that's interesting to know. Gracias!

cromulant wrote:
There are certain things about this language that seem 'Dwarvish' to me--the harsh, heavy sound with the preponderance of dorsals, and the focus on building and craftsmanship. Any influence there? Of course, I don't know exactly what phonemes I'm supposed to be reading, but it looks pretty """guttural""" any way you slice it.

:) :) And once again, that's exactly what I was going for, so it's greatly encouraging that it's apparent to someone else without me mentioning it first!

cromulant wrote:
Could you give a rundown of the Romanization?

Plosives: /p t k q/ <p t k q>
Ejectives: /p' t' k' q'/ <pp tt kk qq>
Affricates: /ts͡ kx͡ qχ͡/ <ts kh qh>
Ej. affricates: /ts͡' kx͡' qχ͡'/ <tts kkh qqh>
Fricatives: /s x/ <s x>
Liquids: /ɹ l ʟ ʀ/ <r l ll r> (The first three of these occur only in codas, the last only in onsets)
Nasals: /m n ŋ ɴ/ <m n ng nh> (/m/ occurs only in onsets, /nh/ only in codas)
Vowels: /a ə i o/ <a e i o>

Vardelm wrote:
IIRC, this would be the "Brumese Dwarven" language that Trailsend was working on, so I think you're correct.

Indeed!

Vardelm wrote:
(Now in queue: pun from TomHChappell about whether this is "Burmese" from South-East Asia or "Brumese" from Birmingham, UK. :D )

I've started calling the language Brumanish to address the name conflict :P

Vardelm wrote:
Any chance you'll be putting up a website or something about this lang soon, Trailsend?

For some value of "soon." If the basic premise seems sound, that's encouraging, and I can start generating more data to work with.


I should probably make specific mention of some of the points folks brought up in the last thread.

roninbodhisattva wrote:
How would you construct these:

The man is walking.
The man killed the goat.

My given translation for the second sentence still holds, but I've simplified my translation for the first.

At qox khe poppak qqhar rell.
AG man IMPL foot PRD any_place
"The man is going somewhere by foot."


Yiuel wrote:
Ronin's points are valid. It seems that your language hides it verbs behind a lack of agreement. Indeed, one could say that the mere use of walk-er could be verblike. You're using it as a copula, and you make it into the sentence's core.

The problem is really the presence of a core structure. If you have a sentence where all other elements can relate to, you have a core "I" which in turn becomes the sentence's verb. Said core can be silent (that is, implicit). Your product sounds much like a core as well.

Granted, the product phrase often does semantically approximate a verb--but the flavor of verblessness I'm specifically shooting for is the absence of any morphosyntactic category of "verbs" that can be usefully set aside from the other categories. Since the product phrase doesn't exhibit any behavior that other phrases do not also exhibit (and the same is true of its parts), then Occam's Razor suggests a verbless morphosyntactic analysis...or so I hope.


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