Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Detail #62: That case system

The case system I made up as an example case system to describe some possible adverbial quirks was, imho, surprisingly good, so I figure I might take and develop it a bit further. I have generally avoided large case systems in my conlanging, settling for at most eight or so standard cases (although the Bryatesle case system arguably consists of more, but that is due to how they stack). To make it easier to speak of this language, I've given it a tentative name, Ćwarmin.

Here's the basic set of cases, given in set theoretical notation:
{nominative, accusative, reflexively possessed accusative, nominative complement, accusative complement, genitive, dative, {{towards, from, at}×{on, in, by}}/{towards,by}, general ablative, instrumental, comitative-with, comitative-to, negative}

Nominative is same-oldy, as is accusative. Reflexively possessed accusative is a special version of the accusative (but also takes on dative functions). The nominative and accusative complements are used both for copula-like and causative-like constructions. The nominative complement is a reduced copula-like particle. The genitive does its usual things but also partitive-like stuff, the dative does its usual things (but also some more classical object-like things). The locative cases, of course, by and large, do their usual things (and some other stuff, which I may design and describe later).

The Locatives

Towards-by is not distinguished from at-by.

General ablative
This case expresses a few different notions, some not necessarily locative in nature - avoided things, objects of reference (three miles from X), objects of comparison, a variety of uses with nominalized verbs, the onset of durations.

The Comitatives
The two comitatives and the instrumental form a sort of forked towards/at-like structure. The towards-comitative sometimes does duty as a towards-instrumental, but giving it the designation of towards-comitative is more justified as it covers that kind of 'abstract, ideal case-space' for this language more perfectly. The lack of a from-instrumental/from-comitative is in part a result of the way comitatives and instrumentals are conceived of in Ćwarmin. To the extent such cases would be called for, they are somewhat haphazardly distributed over the different from-cases, including the general ablative.

An example of the comitative-to would be most notions of joining, marrying or setting out to visit, whereas comitative-with express the usual comitative notions as well as staying at someone or a group, being married to someone or being a member of some group.

The Negative
A case by such a name may sound a bit unjustified, but as it covers several somewhat negation-related functions, the name is better than abessive or negative concord or any such. It covers the following roles:

  • absent existential arguments (subjects of negative existential statements, objects of negative existential statements)
  • that which is lacked (without X).
  • frequent with nominalized verbs (not having Xed, without Xing, not intending to X)
  • frequent with negative objects when an indirect object is present (X didn't give Y Z.neg)
  • frequent with negative, definite singular objects (didn't verb X)
  • in the plural, negative indefinite for intransitive subjects or objects ('no X'). Negative, indefinite transitive subjects and other noun phrases are formed using a negative determiner instead.
  • sometimes for 'instead of'. In these cases, it is generally preceded by a conjunction. 

More on these and how they interact with some verb system later.

No comments:

Post a Comment