Friday, April 29, 2016

Detail #274: Negation and Alignment

Imagine a language with verbs having slots for both subject and object markers, thus:
Oh, this language is ergative, btw, so 
is maybe more accurate.

Let's further imagine that certain other things go on the verb, e.g. negation. Let's further imagine that negation (and maybe something else) occupies the object slot, and intransitive congruence moves to the ergative slot, whereas objects of transitive verbs just don't get congruence at all. (Consider how, for instance, subjects don't get congruence on the main verb at all in negative clauses in certain Finnic languages – having this for objects seems even less weird, really.) 

Now we've created a situation where the ergative is the nominative in negative clauses, which iirc is typologically uncommon. In fact, the ergative serving a nominative role in splits is generally speaking uncommon.

Other things than the negative might occupy the same slot.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Detail #273: Passives and Semantic Roles

One thing that could be interesting is to have the passive more sensitive to the semantic role of the object of the verb; thus, objects that are stimuli acquire different passive markers than objects that are patients, etc.

But what if we want to mark a subject's role with similar precision? Simple, use a voice that turns the subject into an object (and drops the regular object, and makes the verb lack subject), then stack the passive on top of it, giving us the following:
verb_stem-antiactive-passive[semantic role]

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Detail #272: A Potentially Weird Grammaticalization Path

Consider comparatives and plurals; we could imagine combining the two to form the meaning of 'even more than previously mentioned'. Thus,
our side had soldier-s, they had soldier-s-er
our side had soldiers, they had more soldiers
This goes on to things like
I had students, and they had student-s-er
I had students, and they in turn had students
Now we're getting to the point where the plural comparative may be losing its comparative sentiment. Originally, it signifies |S1| < |S2|, but slowly, the meaning is turning into |S1| < |S1 + S2|, i.e. the comparative's frame of comparison no longer is S1 but the size of the whole set of things - i.e. we're no longer comparing the number of my students to the number of "my grand-students", we're comparing the number of everyone who can trace their educational lineage to me to the number of my direct students.

As this meaning is slowly entrenched, the comparative form's comparative meaning is lost, and the meaning turns more into 'here, new nouns of a type previously mentioned are introduced', so student-s-er simply means '(more) new (as far as the discourse goes) students'.

At this point, the comparative might turn into a marker that is basically an indefinite article for nouns, maybe restricted to nouns of types already participating in the discourse?

Detail #271: A Really Minor Detail

Consider a morpheme along the lines of English 'too'. This word has multiple meanings:
~even: a baboon, too, was set to appear on stage ~ even a baboon was set to appear on stage

~also: me too!

~exceeding some kind of limit: that is too big
Historically, too is the same as to, but has gone through slightly different sound changes in most dialects due to different prosodical situations obtaining for the different meanings. Now, cognates to to are used for slightly different meanings as well:
en till: one more (as in one to (the ones already counted/included))
to, obviously, also has a locative and dative meaning. To me this suggests a nice little thing for a language with postpositions: conflate the (singular) dative, the nominative plural, and something along the line of -que (morphemes similar to -que exist in Finnish (-kin), and Georgian (-ts), so I am convinced they're not all that unusual elsewhere either). Obviously it's no huge idea or anything, but it's the kind of nice little twist that has an air of realism to it, while also not being quite identical to, say, English conflating plurals, singular genitives and plural genitives.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Detail #270: Experiment with Minimal Words

Let's consider a word whose earlier form has been one along the lines of
or something else very very small. Let's also assume it's exceptional in some way - e.g. the only word to begin with ʕ, or the only onsetless syllable with a syllabic nasal or something else along those lines. Now let's imagine sound changes where this leads to this word turning into ∅, except also leaving traces on the previous word's last syllable - maybe some tonal thing, or nasalization or whatever.

Now, this wouldn't be so surprising with a grammatical marker, but let's imagine this word means something like, I dunno, 'man' or 'thing' or 'house' or something. Suddenly, you have a word with no syllables, yet it does have phonological form in some sense.

Could a human keep trace of such a thing, which behaves syntactically like a noun (or maybe a verb), yet does not provide its own syllable?

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Historical Linguistics - Some Thoughts

Historical Conlinguistics are hard. I am currently trying to figure out Proto-Ćwarmin-Ŋʒädär(-Dagurib), so that I can get on with developing both (or all three) in greater detail without fearing that I'll break "historical compatibility".

I'm currently trying to come up with some neat ways of connecting these two vowel systems:

iü <ı> ɯ u
eö <ə> ɤo

Notice the orthographic reform regarding how /ɯ/ and /ɤ/ will be written. This in part to reduce visual conflict with regards to /ɣ/
& Centre


Currently, I'm thinking that Proto-CŊD had a vowel system that is slightly richer than Modern Finnish, but with a very similar vowel harmony:


Here, we get a number of mergers; Ŋʒädär pulls /i e/ to /ı ə/ in the presence of /u o ɔ a/ and also in the presence of certain back consonants. I might just let ü and ä cover a greater area of the articulatory space, though, making ö disappear as a phoneme entirely.

However, all this mucking about with historical conlinguistics leads me to thinking about some epistemology of historical linguistics things: I don't want this proto-language to be entirely by fiat, but I want it to be close enough to a realistic reconstruction of two conlangs. See, there are methodological things with regards to historical linguistics that are not all that obvious, and which affect my work on this proto-conlang. I want my reconstruction to suffer from the flaws that real reconstructions must suffer from by the nature of the very methods used.

I recall a while ago a discussion on a facebook conlanging group, where someone - I don't recall who - pointed out, to a  newcomer, that in historical linguistics, the unit we deal with is the phoneme. I was under the same impression for the longest time, but had gotten the opposite stance pointed out to me. At this point I decided it was time to think a bit about what was the more reasonable position.

It turns out that when we look at a language in its modern, living form, we generally have an idea of the phonemes involved - although even there, they may exist unclear spots. (Say /ɨ/ vs /i/ in Russian, or maybe which exact sets of fricatives form phonemes together in Standard Swedish).

It seems, however, that sound changes don't operate on the level of phonemes all that often, but more often hit phones or features. Thus, while undoing the sound changes, we end up with the particular phone or cluster of features that the proto-language had.

Given that lots of vocabulary gets lost between the proto-language and its descendants – for proto-Uralic (including Samoyed), about 200 lexemes can be reconstructed – we don't really end up with a lot of vocabulary to work with.

This is probably only a fraction of the size of the words of the language; potentially, several hundred more of the words of the proto-language may still have extant descendants, but if a word only has cognates in one branch of descendants, we cannot know whether they were part of the proto-language (and even if there's cognates in two branches, we might not recognize them as such, if one or both sets have gone through very crazy reductions or semantic changes or whatever). Sometimes, we may have reason to suspect that some word has been in the proto-language, but also have reasons to suspect that its being present in several branches is due to early loaning between branches - failure to conform to some sound changes may indicate such a thing. If a word just happens not to have been hit by any early sound changes in either of two branches, knowing whether it's got a shared origin, or has been loaned can be difficult as well. Each of these introduce uncertainty.

So, we have few vocabulary items to work with. How is this relevant for phonemes vs. phones? Easy! We test whether two phones belong to the same phoneme by minimal pairs. Once you've shedded 90% of the vocabulary or more, coming up with minimal pairs is not necessarily possible at all – and the opposite, failing to find minimal pairs is clearly way less significant.

We may have words where k and kʰ appear, and they might even appear in words that suggest complementary distribution - but given that k maybe appears in 8% of syllables, and kʰ maybe in 8%, we find that for some string of letters - ....kʰ..., WonsetkWcoda, – where the onset and coda only are the relevant part of a syllable (but here, onset and coda mean 'goes before' and 'goes after' k/kʰ, not 'onset of syllable' vs. coda of syllable'), we could expect a minimal pair for 0.08² of syllables – 0.64% of syllables will provide evidence for that particular minimal pair. If we've lost 90% (which is a low estimate) of the vocabulary we can probably just cheat a bit and also say we've lost 90% of the syllables. It's quite probable we've also lost all the places where the two formed minimal pairs. However, we cannot decide whether such a thing were lost or not unless we find evidence of such a thing! The probability will vary with the frequencies of the phonemes, obviously.

Obviously, we have a few extra things to note: 
  • Since there's lots of phonemes in a language, even if the likelihood of a minimal pair for any specific pair of them might be low, several phoneme pairs may have minimal pairs coming up.
  • But since our reconstruction might be flawed – our methodology might make us favour certain other sounds in our reconstructed roots, which might make it likely for us to create a minimal pair that never existed in the first place.
  • For reconstructions that are not very deep in time - e.g. Proto-Germanic or Proto-Slavic or the like, we may very well get sufficient vocabulary to be able to come up with sufficient minimal pairs.
  • We might be able to somehow use our knowledge of the sound changes from phones to phones and our knowledge of the phoneme systems of the descendants to make well-informed guesses about the phoneme system of the ancestral language; for a family with many branches, we might even be able to reiterate this process, but every step along this line introduces more uncertainty.
So, to get back to conlanging: I want there to be signs of these problems in the reconstructed form, I don't just want there to be a set, certain list of roots and a set of sound changes applied algorithmically that churns out descendant forms. I want there to be space for uncertainty.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Sargaĺk: Basic Directions and Direction-Metaphors

Sargaĺk has several different important directional adverbs, and also a number of related locational adverbs.

A few directional adverbs are mostly used in hunting and fishing:

sak'ĺy - downwind
p'ankŕ - upwind
sak'ĺyas (at a location that is) upwind
p'ankŕas (at a location that is) downwind
However, these also are used metaphorically to mean 'into the house' or 'out of the house', with upwind being outside, and downwind being inside.
kimŕ - out from land
dĺaŕ - in towards land

kimŕas, dĺŕas, analogously signify on land/off land.
Two of the Sargaĺk islands are mountaneous - mainly fairly old, worn mountains. However, among the settlers of these larger islands, some have settled some way inland as well, and brought reindeer herding into those areas since encountering it with the Ćwarmin. A few adverbials of direction are restricted to these two islands, and in different forms on both:
galurne - up the mountains, inland
galuru - up in the mountains, located inland
galusta - down the mountains, to the shore
from galu, hill.
from ĺte, high. 

Your home island, home village, and home bay are three rather important locations each referred to as kufŋa, with adverbials kufru, kutsa, kuffe.

In addition, any direction can combine with the morphemes teʒ or sox in the daytime, where teʒ signifies "on the sun's side of the direction", and sox signifies the other side. In the nighttime, the meanings of the markers it combines with vary: teʒ signifies the moon if visible, and sox the other side, but if the moon is missing, a polar star-like star takes its place as point of reference.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Bryatesle: The Passive and Related Concerns

Bryatesle has a single morpheme for changing transitivity as well as valency of a verb; this thus serves multiple roles - passives, applicatives, adjutatives, circumstantials, reflexives, otherwise detransitives, and so on.

The morphological processes involved consist of finding the passive root. In the atelic, this most often is the third person plural, with the last consonant lopped off. In the telic, it's the second person plural, with the last consonant, or the last syllable's nucleus and coda lopped off. To this is added -l(i)v-, after which -an, -an, -a, -am, -e, -as, -a is suffixed depending on person of the subject.

Distinguishing the different potential meanings is achieved by use of the rich case system of Bryatesle. For the causative, the introduction of a causee as an accusative or dative object marked in addition by the secondary subject case, gives a causative. The object of the causative verb remains in whichever case it is expected to go in.

Some form of detransitivization is the usual parsing of a transitive verb with the voice marker on it. With the reciprocal object case on the nominative subject, you obtain a reflexive verb. With no marker or the partitive on top of the nominative, it's a regular passive.

Another way of forming reflexivity for third persons is obtained by having a noun or a third person pronoun as subject and a third person pronoun (of the same number and gender) as some other argument (in whichever case is relevant) and the voice marker on the verb. For first and second person, reusing first and second persons in the relevant positions is the usual way of forming reflexives - either of the two ways mentioned here are permissible, and in that case, this emphasizes the reflexivity.

Dropping objects is also possible with the voice marker; this requires having a pronoun of the same number and person as the subject, with the secondary subject marker on it as an argument of the retransitivized verb.

Applicatives and circumstantials are marked the same, but in those, this only promotes a phrase to object (or subject) status without changing its marking. The normal subject (or object) is however demoted. In the case of circumstantial constructions, the normal subject is demoted to being marked with dative with secondary subject status (or omitted), while the phrase that is turned into new subject simply is moved to clause-initial position. In the case of applicatives, the 'normal' object is either omitted or in the ablative partitive.

Finally, impersonal verbs such as 'rain' or 'night falls' or the like, often take the voice morpheme no matter their transitivity.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Ćwarmin Vocabulary: Comestibles

The Ćwarmin vocabulary for comestibles is fairly varied. Some words that are rather stable over the entire area, though, are:

kur - salt
kurćap - salty

ipsər - thyme (or rather, a thyme-like plant)
ipsərv - thyme-flavoured
narwo - parsley
kiri - mint
pokra - onion
wekre - garlic
gəne pokra - 'long onion', leek
ćirgin - horseradish
dop - sweet
dopor - sweet sauce

śalda - blueberries
ćorda - cranberries
wirdə - plums
lendə - apples
marso - reindeer meat
nuna - reindeer milk

wərse - walrus meat (coastal vocabulary, mainly)

woxar - smoked (from wogan, 'to emit smoke')
śenər - blood
śenərv - blood-(food)
milti - liver
maruw - kidneys (always plural)

tulko - sausage

gemi - grains
śeme - flour
garpa, garva, garća - porridge, oatmeal, groats, etc
farso - buckwheat

mewie - milk
kunu - udder(s), non-count

ferkij - cabbage tubers
nopor - cabbage leaves

bordo - edible tubers in general
laŋras - a thin, edible, dark tuber
dimrəs - parsnips
In the parts that previously have been Sargaĺk-speaking, vocabulary for walrus and fish generally has carried over from Sargaĺk. This sometimes fails to adhere to vowel harmony:
barin - walrus meat
skense - salmon-like fish
dintan - bass
remuk - basically 'herring'
vasni - another salmon-like fish
kupni - a type of whitefish
Methods of preparing fish among the formerly Sargaĺk include (as adjectives):
raxta - grilled close to a fire
morja - smoked and salted
gaĺ - heavily salted, and kept in a cold place (and not heated at all)
mirjija - flavoured by vinegar and brine
xorba - cooked
sarsa - fried in walrus fat
Other coastal Ćwarmin seem to have borrowed some of these names - the species of fish and terms like sarsa, mirjija, raxta, and gal. This in part because the Ćwarmin previously were an inland population which did not do much fishing (although some lacustrine and fluvial fishing did take place. However, fish terminology never got very universal).

Saturday, April 9, 2016

The Use of the Passive in Ćwarmin

 The passives in Ćwarmin have some interesting properties. The first example is that first and second person objects cannot be made subjects of passives. The passive is purely a third person affair. The first and second person, however, obtain similar meaning-changing operations by simply omitting the subject as well as any congruence markers on the verb. The omission of congruence markers will be indicated by a dash here. First and second person obliques can be dealt with in similar manners, and in those cases, a regular object can be present as well. For all these, the personal pronoun has to go first in the clause:
ataś bur-
me hear-
I am heard

bacanś casmun-
you.dat plead.past
you were pleaded for
As for larger scale syntactical things, these pronouns basically are subjects - they can control reflexives:
aranś imrəkemwin digərsin-
me.dat skill.refl_acc-pauc teach.past
I was taught my skills
As a small lexical sidetrack, 'imrək-' signifies 'tricks of the trade' rather than skills in general when in the paucal number.

For third person objects, however, passivization is permissible. What in the corresponding active clause would have been the object is now the subject. It has, syntactically speaking, all the properties of a subject - it controls reflexives, can be referred to by subject gap-anaphora, etc.

i buraśp aji rawwu
(s)he hear-pass, not talk-3sg
(s)he is heard but doesn't say (anything)
There are some semantic restrictions on passivization, however:
  • The action must affect the state of its patient, or pertain to the two main modes of perception - being heard or seen ('... is loved' is thus not possible. This is instead solved by using lexemes with different argument structure.)
  • The action must be performed by animate agents ('... was killed in an accident' is thus not possible.)
The dative-passive is more lax on these, and sometimes is used instead of the regular passive for verbs that fail the first of the two requirements above. The dative-passive is also used with other obliques, for which, however, the case marking is preserved
indirect object:
i kuroduwuc tombažbul
he horse-pauc.acc pay_tribute.dat_pass
(s)he is given a few horses in tribute

lack of physical effect:
i serəžbel
(s)he greet.dat_pass
(s)he is greeted

lack of physical effect:
i caswažbul
(s)he plead.dat_pass
(s)he is pleaded for

lack of physical effect:
i saŋažbul
(s)he love.dat_pass
(s)he is loved
lack of animate agent, particularly odd verb:
i wardažbul
she is menstruating (formed as a passive; the active verb wardan means bleed)
The dative passive's subject is not as fully subject-like as that of the regular passive: it does not pass the gap-coordination test, and the only reflexives it controls is that of the reflexively possessed accusative (which sometimes does pattern differently from reflexives in general):
i ćatansun paražbul
(s)he passage-refl permit.dat_pass
(s)he is permitted his/her passage
his/her passage is permitted

*i1 uta1 ćatnutus paražbul
(s)he his/her passage.acc is permitted
If i and uta refer to different nouns, this is permissible; it then means, basically 'on person 1's account, person 2's passage is permitted'

*inin ćatnutus paražbul
3sg.dist_poss_subj passage.acc permit-dat.pas
The use of distant possessive subjects is fully impossible with all passives.
The dative passive has less markings permissible for TAM distinctions than the regular passive does, thus making the regular passive preferrable whenever permissible.

-Aśp combines with the immediate past -AmcE to form the rather assimilated -aunce, -əince. With the non-immediate past it combines to form -imeśp, -uwaśp. 
The dative passive conflates the two past tenses in the morpheme -inwil, -unwul.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Detail #269: An Idea for Conegative Verbs

Finnish style negative verb; however, the conegative verb is always in some case. The oblique case varies lexically (mostly by the verb, but sometimes by considerations by transitivity, and possibly aspect). So, for instance,
I eat
I not at eating

I sing
I not with singing

he runs
he nots running(nominative!)

you find things
he not find(acc) things(acc)

you slept
you not.past sleep(gen)

I think
I not think(instr)

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Ŋʒädär: Numbers

The Ŋʒädär numbers are as follows:
1 ȝere
2 möre
3 söčö
4 nuro
5 mɯgɤ
6 k'oro
7 na͜ɤgɤ
8 äembä
9 weʒerx

10 t'ostaŋ
11 ȝerelen
12 merelen
13 t'össöčö
14 t'osnuro
15 t'osmɯgɤ

18 t'ösämbä
19 t'esweʒerx
An exceptional set of numbers that appear are these:
16 möräm
17 mörȝere

24 söčäm
25 söčȝere
Bigger numbers are formed using -t[o|e|ö|ɤ]l after the number root: söčtöl, "thirty", k'ortol, "fifty". Hundred is tVtVl, where V follows the same harmony pattern as in -tVl. Thousand has a name of its own, k'[a|ä|e]mr[a|e]; ten thousand is formed by reduplication: k'V1mkV2mrV2, where V2 is [a|e], and V1 is [a|ä|e]. The default harmony is ä-e-e.

Larger units of counting are generally not known by most speakers, although the adjective p'acro 'large' combined with kämre and kämkemre is used among philosophers and scribes to form 100,000 and a million.


Inaninimate nouns do not take plural marking when quantified by a number - you would say 'seven house', not 'seven houses'. However, animate nouns do take plural marking. In the absolutive, there's further a congruence detail going on for animates: each number, even each part of a larger number, is marked for plural (with the nominative plural morphology), obtaining things like:
naɤgɤ rügvä
seven houses

ɤgɤ rügväŋä
seven house-loc
in seven house(s)

͜ɤgar iqest'er
seven-plur man-plur

na͜ɤgɤ iqest'inye
at seven men

In other cases, however, only the main noun takes any case marker. (As for congruence, only non-numeral determiners take case and number congruence.)

Monday, April 4, 2016

Detail #268: Birds

Birds, like lightning and thunder, are a phenomenon we mainly observe by two different modes of perception: by sound, and by sight.

It is conceivable a language could have different words for the same type of bird depending on which of these modes it was perceived by; maybe there's a ranking whereby if it's been perceived by both modes, one of them wins over the other. Maybe the mode of perception that is most relevant with regards to the moment wins?

The auditory lexeme might often be somewhat more onomatopoetic, although not necessarily throughout the bird lexicon. 

Further, for some birds, it's even conceivable that some of the identities are unknown, i.e. some, most, or even all speakers might be unaware that certain auditory and visual bird lexemes denote the same species, or even that certain auditory profiles belong to the same bird as some other auditory profiles.

Mimicking birds might be ascribed some almost supernatural properties - they carry, maybe, multiple 'aural essences' (thanks Cev!). (Notice that several bird species have had various supernatural associations in religions and other superstitions.)

To go even deeper, maybe certain bird phenomena more often appear as species-specific verbs than as nouns - maybe a flock of whatever birds is expressed as 'it finches' than as 'there's a flock of finches' – birds suddenly share a property with meteorological phenomena. Maybe specifically the auditory bird is a verbal thing, and the visual bird is nominal?

Further, we can imagine things like the arrival of migratory birds and the departure of migratory birds as aspectual forms - inchoative and cessative - of the bird verbs; perception of birds (by whichever mode prefers the verbal forms) is a causative, where the perceiver is the object. So, to hear finches is to be enfinched. Or maybe hearing a blackbird is 'it entwiprrrtwitwetid me', while seeing one is 'it enblackbirded me'.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Detail #267: Extracting Certain Verbal Markers in Coordinated Structures

Think of structures along the lines of coordinating things like
go-past or go-fut?
in the context of, say, clarifying that you are not sure you heard right.
What if certain TAM markers were somehow extractable -
go-3sg-past or-3sg-fut?
In essence, "or" would be partially verbal there. We could also have things like
talk-3sg-pres and-3sg-pres and-3sg-pres
he talks and talks and talks
Maybe one could form larger complexes of extracted TAM markers:
sing-1sg-past and-1sg-present-and-(1sg)-future
I sang, I sing, and I will sing
Maybe the person can be omitted, maybe this only is permissible with the same person carrying over or maybe even a change in person could be introduced as well:
sing1-sg-present and-2sg-present
I sing and so do you
Maybe we don't even need to extract the TAM:
sing-1sg-present and-2sg
I sing and so do you

Detail #266: A Different Case System

For the longest while, I've wanted to come up with something that is like a case system, but still differs enough from the usual case systems that its "caseness" could even be questioned. I think I have come up with at least the core of such an idea now.

In the language, scope is a much more actively manipulated thing than it is in English. Not only the scope of negatives, but also of adverbs, verbs and even nouns are manipulated in some sense. However, manipulating the scope itself, and manipulating how a noun interacts with scope is done with the same markers, and some of the combinations of possible manipulations are not distinguished.

This is not a very thoroughly described system, more like the germinating seeds for one. 

The Cases

1. NominativeScope 1
Nominative is the noun with the topmost scope. It can, but needs not, include the verb in its scope. The verb can have separate markers depending on how it interacts with scope. No other case can have a finite verb in its scope.

Here are examples of the differences between "scope-internal" and "scope-external" verbs:
internal: John ate cheese and drank beer every friday

external: John ate cheese and Eric ate tofu: ate is left-extracted to give
ate John cheese, Eric tofu
Verbs external to nominative scope usually happen with coordinated structures as the one given above, and with constructions serving roles a bit like clefting.

A nominative noun signals the onset of a new scope.

2. ObliqueScope 1
The pseudo-nominative can create it own, embedded scope, possibly with a non-finite verb. A non-finite verb can come in the spot previous to the noun itself as well. The pseudo-nominative appears as objects with complements (either verbs or adjectives), on relative pronouns, and on indirect objects, for whom a direct object is the 'complement'. Thus, the direct object is in the scope of the indirect object, which itself is in the pseudo-nominative. The pseudo-nominative can also be the possessor of the Nominative.

3. AccusativeScope 2
The accusative is the main non-nominative NP of the scope under the verb (or under the indirect object). One of the main things scope 2 is affected by is negation. There are different negatives - one for every different scope.

4. ObliqueScope 2
Same scope as Scope 2/Accusative, but less central. Often used with adpositions in the same scope. It is also basically the genitive attribute for non-nominatives. Most adverbials are scope 2.

5. AccusativeScope3
Accusative/Scope 3 serves many of the same roles as the accusative and oblique, but is in a separate scope. Scope 3 is less often used, and therefore, case distinctions are fewer. Adverbials pertaining only to scope 3, arguments only pertaining to other scope 3 objects and obliques, etc, all go in this form.

6. Scopeless
Scopeless nouns appear as adverbials that are either sort of "semantically independent" - 'unfortunately' and the like. Things that do not express properties of the events, but rather the speaker's opinions of the things he says. They can also be topics, adverbs that apply to several scopes, etc. The scopeless negator only negates the very next scopeless word.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Detail #265: Inverse with Fluid-S

Let's consider a language where the direct/inverse markers appear also in intransitive verbs. In these, however, the congruence marker for the subject makes it clear that the verb is intransitive. Here's the basic template slots, without any order information:
{verb stem, person1, person2, inv/dir, other stuff}
For an intransitive verb, we prototypically would have
{verb stem, person1, other stuff}
but what if we went for
{verb stem, person1, inv/dir, other stuff}
and had inv/dir encode different things in the intransitive, much like how erg/abs encode different things in split-S languages?

Consider then verbs that are single lexemes but mean things like 'to leave for a hunting trek'; the inverse could then signify 'return from the woods'. Here, direct/inverse could easily become a direction marker, which seems to reflect the name of the markers a bit too aptly. For verbs like 'sleep', the obvious thing would be 'fall/be asleep'/'wake up'. The 'fall/be asleep' pair might be conflated, or maybe other stuff contains aspect markers or the like that provide distinctions. 

Here, having pretty few systematic rules and a lot of impressionistic or possibly just lexical stuff going on could be the most interesting approach, and give the most 'lived-in' feeling to the language.