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 Post subject: Dơk Nhuang: Beginnings
PostPosted: Fri Apr 29, 2011 12:12 am 
Avisaru
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So I got onto a Vietnamese kick today, for some who knows ungodly reason, and ever since about 2pm I've been sketching up a phonology and thinking about grammar for something inspired by the language that until about 1pm today I knew (close to) nothing about. I'm going to sketch out a couple ideas here I've had for grammar. I'll make a phonology post later, but just so you know the lay of the land a little bit, look at these two posts I made: you can see the consonant inventory here and the basic vowel inventory here. The orthography isn't totally settled, so I'll post about that later too.

Also, the language's name is Dơk Nhuang [ɗɤk ɲu̯aŋ], which means something like 'Language of the Nhuang', though I'll be calling it Nhuang for the remainder of the post. Nhuang is monosyllabic (though it doesn't have tone, at this point) and isolating. The only morphological processes are reduplication (which is mostly used to derive extended words with the same meaning as the base) and compounding. The basic word order is SVO, though there is flexible placement of non-core arguments/constituents. They may occur to the left or right of the VP.

Word classes
The major word classes in Nhuang are noun and verb. Nouns are differentiated from verbs in that they 1) may form the head of NPs and 2) must follow the copula le [lɛ] to form a predicate. Verbs may form the head of predicates without the copula and may be preceded by the future marker keu [kɛw] and the verbal negator [sɤ]. Verbs are further subdivided into stative and active verbs; they are distinguished by syntactic tests. Stative verbs may be preceded by degree adverbs (i.e. bi [ɓi] 'very') and may not follow imperative markers (of which there will be several). Active verbs may not be preceded by degree adverbs, but may follow imperative markers. Stative verbs may also be used as postnominal modifiers, while active verbs must occur in a relative clause. This distinction is probably gonna get split up somehow, but I'm not sure how yet.

In addition to these two broad open classes, there are several closed classes: pronouns, demonstratives, classifiers, numerals, quantifiers, prepositions, adverbs and sentence level particles.

Reduplication
There is no inflectional morphology in Nhuang, though there are a couple derivational morphological processes that are quite productive. One of these is reduplication, of which there are two types of reduplication: (1) intensifying reduplication and (2) alliterative reduplication. The first type applies stative verbs and adverbs and involves full reduplication of the word in question. It indicates a more intense meaning: vưà [vɨɜ̯] 'red' > vưà vưà 'very red, deep red'. The second type of reduplication is also quite productive, and is not limited to specific lexical classes. Alliterative reduplication reduplicates only the first consonant of the base word in question, adding to this a vowel nucleus that is different from the base's nucleus, but predictable based on regular rules. Every base nucleus has one or two corresponding alliterative nuclei. This type of reduplication is stylistic in nature; the reduplicated version of a word (usually) has the same meaning as the base. In some cases, there is some sort of semantic drift and the alliterative form has been lexicalized. Some examples of alliterative reduplication are:

rieu [ʐjɛw] 'mask' > rieu rê [ʐjɛw ʐe:] ibid.
dak [ɗak] 'black' > dak dai [ɗak ɗəj] 'night' (example of semantic drift)

I still haven't worked out the exact correspondences between the base and reduplicant vowels here.

Nouns and the NP
Nouns are divided into three broad classes: inanimate, feminine and non-feminine. The second two classes are animate. Membership in these classes is generally based on semantics, though I haven't figured out the specifics of how this works. Each class is associated with a classifier or classifiers (haven't decided how many for each there will be), and demonstratives are sensitive to class membership in their form. The order of elements in the noun phrase are:

Article - {Demonstrative} - Numeral - Classifier / Measure word - Head Noun - Attributive modifiers - {Demonstrative} - Possessive - Relative Clause

The only obligatory element is the head noun. The demonstrative may occur on either side of the head noun. Right now this is just a sketch, so I don't know the details of how this total structure works.

Basic clause structure
The basic word order in Nhuang is SVO. This order is fairly rigid for the core arguments of the clause: subjects precede the verb, while objects follow it. The VP (= [V O]) combo forms a tight constituent, and the object may not be separated from the verb complex by any elements. The subject NP is usually the first constituent in the clause. The peripheral elements of a clause- such as adverbs, prepositional phrases, etc- usually after the VP. However, it is possible to place peripheral constituents between the VP and the subject NP. Thus SVOX and SXVO are both valid word orders.

Wh-questions are generally in situ, though it is possible to front a question wh-word/-phrase. In this case, if the wh-word is a core argument, a resumptive pronoun occupies the argument slot. This is also the case in focus fronting.

There is a large inventory of clause final particles used for various purposes that I haven't quite figured out yet. for example, yes-no questions are formed with the interrogative particle [mɨ].

---

Phew. That's all I cant type out right now. My brain is buzzing with ideas, but they'll have to wait til tomorrow. I should be posting on the verb complex and perhaps focus/wh-fronting. Feedback is welcome as always!


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PostPosted: Mon May 02, 2011 10:57 pm 
Smeric
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It's surprisingly complex for being such a new conlang.

I would love to see more. I don't see many interesting isolating languages lately.

The reduplication aspect is something that I need to learn how to harness myself.

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PostPosted: Mon May 02, 2011 11:08 pm 
Avisaru
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Thanks! I'm going to be posting the phonology soon, I'm working on getting it all written up


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PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2011 6:16 pm 
Lebom
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*Drool*

As someone who loves isolating East Asian languages, I'm gonna be following this thread with interest. It's also encouraged me to post a proper sketch of my iso-lang, Fuoshi.

Phonology pl0x :)


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PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2011 6:17 pm 
Avisaru
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Lordshrew wrote:
It's also encouraged me to post a proper sketch of my iso-lang, Fuoshi.
I'd actually really like to see a Fuoshi sketch! I've like what I've seen of it!


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PostPosted: Fri May 06, 2011 9:21 pm 
Smeric
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Looks great. I'd love to hear it spoken. I have taught quite a few Vietnamese students over the years and I think their language sounds both strange and cute. I'd be interested to hear if yours has a similar feel to it.
roninbodhisattva wrote:
dak [ɗak] 'black' > dak dai [ɗak ɗəj] 'night' (example of semantic drift)

Dark 'black' > dark day 'night'
Coincidence or design?

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PostPosted: Sat May 07, 2011 12:46 am 
Avisaru
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Imralu wrote:
Dark 'black' > dark day 'night'
Coincidence or design?

Complete and utter coincidence. Or L1 interference. Or...both.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2011 7:24 pm 
Avisaru
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I think I'll be reviving/revising this, though the phonology is going to be something completely different. I want to see if I can pull it off with a vaguely-North-American-yet-Minimalist sound system.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2011 10:18 pm 
Sanci
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Did you post more of Nhuang in other places, perchance? I found it interesting and in some ways enlightening as to how I could keep up with my own conlang.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2011 10:59 pm 
Avisaru
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Unfortunately, there hasn't been a lot more. I do have a I've actually got a somewhat more detailed phonology document going, but it's basically just a description of vocalic nuclei at this point and some stuff on phonotactics. Here's the link, though.

Looking back at this, it's a great project. I'll probably revamp it all the way.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2011 1:33 pm 
Sanci
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Just read it all - I'm still interested in seeing where this is going.

But I didn't get some things; the "-p" means it only appears in minor syllables? If so, why's that?

And why only the implosives are voiced and glottalized? Did you think of putting [(b) d g] as allophones or somesuch?

Keep 'em steady


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2011 7:34 pm 
Avisaru
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Taernsietr wrote:
But I didn't get some things; the "-p" means it only appears in minor syllables? If so, why's that?

Actually, /p/ only occurs in the onsets of minor syllables and codas. In the onsets of main syllables it's become /v/.

Quote:
And why only the implosives are voiced and glottalized? Did you think of putting [(b) d g] as allophones or somesuch?

This isn't completely unheard of in Southeast Asia, having the only voiced stops being implosives. The language this is most heavily based on, Vietnamese, does it very similarly. Though I don't know a lot about the allophony of those stops. As it sits right now, I'm aiming to not have (plain) voiced allophones, but this might change. An early stage of the language (diachronically, that is, not iteration of the conlang) had voiced stops, but they merged with the voiceless stops (in general, there are a few paths).

Also, in other news, I'm thinking about making this language isolating but verb initial. I think that might be interesting.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 2:21 pm 
Avisaru
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I'm having some real troubles working out the prosodic system for this language.


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