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zompist bboard • View topic - Free/Construct Noun States with unmarked plural

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2016 9:52 pm 
Sanci
Sanci

Joined: Sat Apr 23, 2016 4:55 pm
Posts: 26
I started toying with my oldest conlang's grammar, and I decided to scrap all of the noun cases and just two "states", which basically end up being the nominative and oblique cases, as I'm making the "construct" state used anytime there is a preposition, number, or genitive construction with the noun. But anyway... the nouns so far end up falling into 3 categories of declension: strong, weak, and mixed. In the strong series, which is very common, it ends up looking like this:

...........................S..............................P
Free.................chani............................chani

Construct...........achani...........................achani


So basically "Strong Nouns" end up having absolutely no distinction between the singular and plural. The ambiguity is solved because in this conlang a noun must ALWAYS be followed by a determiner/article, which includes both definite and indefinite singular, plural, and partitive articles. So since the article always encodes the number, it's technically not a problem. But it still seems weird. From what I know of, usually if a language encodes number mostly by a particle, then it is analytic. But this language is not analytic. It seems like having more than half of the nouns barely even change, especially for number, defeats the purpose of there being declension at all. Or am I being paranoid?

So is this abnormal/awkward? Basically my conlang will end up having up to 50% of its nouns showing no inflection on the word for number, even though it will be declined for state and the other 50 percent give or take will be declined for both. TBH, the "strong" noun paradigm like this mostly came about because of aesthetics; I liked certain words shaped certain ways to retain their sound and didn't like the way they sounded when changed. Should I just think of a better way to do this, or think of a sound change to apply that I will find aesthetically "ok"? I suppose one of the easiest solutions to the weird/unnatural-ness would be to simply switch things: in strong nouns, the change could be in the plural (duplicating initial vowel and adding it as an affix; "achani") and the part that doesn't change in strong nouns could be the construct form. That sounds more believable.
Or can I just leave it the way it is?


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2016 12:44 pm 
Smeric
Smeric
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Joined: Thu Oct 29, 2015 6:44 am
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Some languages do without plurals at all, so I'd guess that you're fine.

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Last edited by mèþru on Fri Dec 16, 2016 8:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2016 8:54 pm 
Sanci
Sanci

Joined: Sun Jan 31, 2010 4:56 pm
Posts: 25
Location: Montréal (Concordia University)
I don't think this is abnormal or awkward at all. Lots of languages have ambiguities like this, even without resolving them e.g. in articles. And there's no hard and fast distinction between analytic and inflecting languages - almost all languages use a bit of both strategies, these are just tendencies we use to categorize them.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 17, 2016 2:56 pm 
Avisaru
Avisaru

Joined: Fri Jul 03, 2009 3:17 pm
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Location: Llundain

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tà yi póbo tsùtsùr ciivà dè!





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PostPosted: Sun Dec 18, 2016 10:33 pm 
Avisaru
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French primarily marks noun number on preceding articles and is moderately synthetic. (Most of these nouns still have distinct plural marking in writing, but, well, that's written French for you.)

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