Coming Soon: Phonology

I kept the old phonology sketch from the first posts and came up with suitable set of constraints. Allophony will be dealt with as I create and pronounce new words.
There are now 4 vowels, all monphthongs. I want to incorporate a vowel harmony.
At the moment I work on the morphophonology of the verb, because I want the suffixes to neatly fit together.
You will read a post on this soon!

— Blogged from my phone.

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The very first word.

Today, I made up the very first word: Kaalajur! I finally figured out what it means!

Kaa-la<ju>r
1PL.INCL-speak<NTR>
We speak.

I figured the following patterns for the verb conjugation:

Agent-root<negative><transitivity>-aspect-degree-volition-epistemic-patient, where the negative and the transitive/intransitive distinction are realized as infixes to the root.

The Agent-Patient pattern changes with the sentence being in standart/question or polite word order:

Standard/Question: Agent-V-Patient

Politeness: Patient-V-Agent

The rest of the affixes stays the same.

Questions

For questions, I said I’d include an interrogative marker on the verb. I won’t do so. Instead, I’ll add an interrogative marker (a case in that sense) on the noun specifying the question! The word order stays as posted before.

  • 0: V N-Q
  • 1: V N-Q Subject
  • 2: V N-Q Agent Patient
  • 3: V N-Q Agent Receiver Theme

In the case of a binary question (“Is this it?”), there will be a special expletive.

Update on Noun Affixes & Word Order/Questions

I want to include definiteness and number on the noun affixes now. So we get, encoded on the noun:

  • ABS
  • ERG
  • DAT
  • PREP
  • ALL
  • ABL
  • LOC
  • SG.DEF
  • PL.DEF
  • SG.NDEF
  • PL.NDEF

Dual is substituted under plural for the nouns.

For the word order, I settled on “SVO” as a standard. But this is far to imprecise for me.

Standard is (number is valency):

  • 0: V
  • 1: Subject V
  • 2: Agent V Patient
  • 3: Agent V Receiver Theme

Polite Form:

  • 0: V
  • 1: V Subject
  • 2: Patient V Agent
  • 3: Receiver V Agent Theme

Question Form:

  • 0: V-Q
  • 1: V-Q Subject
  • 2: V-Q Agent Patient
  • 3: V-Q Agent Receiver Theme

Ah, I also included a interrogative marker on verbs. But more on questions in the next post. Tomorrow.

Morphosyntactic Alignment

Today, during a nice lecture on artificial intelligence (which was not boring at all), I came up with a nicely unambiguous morphosyntactic alignment for Kaalajur.

I don’t know if there’s a nice term for the phenomenon I came up with. In Kaalajur, the case affixes of nouns can either be suffixes or prefixes depending on their position relative to the verb. When in front of the verb (that means left hand side in left-to-right writing), the case affix is a suffix. When after the verb, the case affix is a prefix. Hence we get (for intransitives):

  • N-ABS V or V ABS-N

I call this mirroring.

At this stage of development, word order is completely free.

Note that it makes sense in a language without expletives, to talk about valency rather than transitivity, though the terms cover essentially the same phenomenon. Kaalajur has verbs with a valency of zero, which there is no term for in transitivity. That’s why I will stick to the notions of “nonvalent”, “monovalent”, “divalent” and “trivalent”.

Okay, anyways. Let’s have a look at trivalent verbs, because all cases with less valency can be deduced from that. I will just list a few combinations, so you may get the idea:

  • N-ABS N-ERG V DAT-N
  • N-DAT V ERG-N ABS-N
  • V ABS-N ERG-N DAT-N

Now, I denote a noun before a verb as “->” and a noun after a verb as “<-“. I can now write things like “-> V <- <-” which means that there are two nouns after the verb and one before it, with their case affix properly attached respectively.

These were just the preliminaries. Now relative clauses. Relative clauses may be inserted in every gap between the verb phrase consituents: “| -> | -> | V | <- |”. They form a new verb phrase in themselves. There is a relative marker clitic (REL). If the relative clauses uses a gap before the main verb, the REL clitic comes at the beginning of the verb phrase; if the relative clause uses a gap after the main verb, the REL clitic comes after the verb phrase:

-> REL -> V.relative <- -> V.main <-
^-----------------------^----------^-- those belong to the main verb
-------^--------------^--------------- those belong to the relative verb
-> V.main <- -> V.relative <- <- REL <-
^----------^--------------------------^-- those belong to the main verb
-------------^--------------^--^--------- those belong to the relative verb

I hope that this was halfway understandable. It makes considerably sense. It allows for any combination of verb phrase constituents in any order to be unambigously distinguished.

Morphemes!

I came up with a list of all grammatical (inflectional) morphemes. Here it is:

VERBS

  • 1.SG: I
  • 1.PL.INCL: we (including the hearer)
  • 1.DU: we both
  • 1.PL.EXCL: we (excluding the hearer)
  • 2.SG.F: you (addressing female)
  • 2.SG.M: you (addressing male)
  • 2.PL: you
  • 3.SG.F: she
  • 3.SG.M: he
  • 3.PL: they
  • INF: infinitve
  • STV: stative
  • STV.PST: stative + past tense
  • PRF: perfective aspect
  • PRF.PST: perfective aspect + past tense
  • IPFV: imperfective aspect
  • IPFV.PST: imperfective aspect + past tense
  • INT: intensive
  • ATT: attenuative
  • NEG: negative
  • VOL.DIR: wanted & planned
  • VOL: wanted & unplanned
  • DIR: unwanted & planned
  • DEO: unwanted & unplanned
  • EPIS: epistemic (“What may be”)

NOUNS

  • ABS: absolutive
  • ERG: ergative
  • DAT: secundative
  • PREP: prepositional
  • ALL: allative (“motion to”)
  • ABL: ablative (“motion from”)
  • LOC: locative

Each grouping is mutually exclusive. The members from different groups may be stacked. Here’s a worst case scenario:

walk-1.SG-PRF.PST-INT-NEG-VOL.DIR-EPIS ALL-2.SG.F

“I may have not intensely been walking to you, whilst wanting and planning it.” Whatever that is supposed to mean.

I just noticed that, despite derivational morphemes, the structure of the nouns is quite simple. So maybe I resurrect the idea of joining the verb with all its constituents.

Mashing It All Together

Yay, let’s try things out. I don’t know if this will make sense in the first place (I actually doubt it), but I will try to make sense of it as I progress.

First of all, I said I’d have OVS or SVO word order. As a matter of fact, word order is free for now. The only important thing is the position of the verb. Everything coming  before the verb is head-final, everything coming after it is head-initial. Consider this:

  • man-ABS love
  • love ABS-man
  • man-ERG love ABS-woman
  • woman-ABS love ERG-man
  • man-ABS woman-ERG love
  • love ABS-man ERG-woman

This unambiguously relates the noun phrases to the verb.

It gets more complicated with adjectives/relative clauses (which are the same syntactical structure). There is a significant difference in hierarchy concerning those “modifing verbs”. Consider that:

  • man-ABS love-STV-REL hate

“The loving man hates”. If I now added a subject or a patient and agent to the “modifing verb”, I’d get some trouble:

  • man-ABS woman-ABS love-STV-REL hate

This ought to be “The man that the woman loves hates”, but somehow it could also be “The woman that the man loves hates”.

– Oh. What a mess. I just decided to include a clitic which delimits the relative clause. The head-final and head-initial notion before and after the main verb remains:

  • man-ABS love-STV woman-ABS=REL hate
  • man-ABS hate woman-ABS love-STV=REL

“The woman loving man hates.” Though I’m not sure where to place the clitic in the head-initial case. Maybe it should be like this:

  • man-ABS hate REL=woman-ABS love-STV

So basically, the relative clause is delimited by the stative verb and the relational clitic. I like that.

These relative clause also work to translate adjectives (because there are non in Kaalajur):

  • car-ABS be.red-STV=REL crash
  • car-ABS crash REL=be.red-STV
  • crash ABS-car REL=be.red-STV

“The red car crashes.” I think a copular is not necessary, I just have a stative verb with no relative-marker clitic:

  • car-ABS be.red-STV
  • be.red-STV ABS-car

Okay, so I guess I can deal with relative clauses and adjectives now in a very nice way. I think I’ll now start working out the derivational morphemes and the order in which morphemes attach to their roots. Also, verb agreement awaits. That was a huge step!