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Re: A few things I find underused in conlangs

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  • Mark J. Reed
    Okaikiar has three noun declensions (or more if you count the specific endings, but there are only three distinct patterns). Only one conjugation, though. A
    Message 1 of 44 , Jan 1, 2010
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      Okaikiar has three noun declensions (or more if you count the specific
      endings, but there are only three distinct patterns). Only one
      conjugation, though. A few prefixes (like the temporalizing O- in its
      name). No tones - can't produce/recognize them reliably. No
      reduplication.

      On Friday, January 1, 2010, Shair Ahmed <aeetlrcreejl@...> wrote:
      > Lorošae has tone and prefixing reduplication. So there!
      >
      > I do think Eugene Oh is right about how most of these features aren't used.
      >
      >
      > On Fri, Jan 1, 2010 at 4:57 PM, Herman Miller <hmiller@...> wrote:
      >
      >> Kenner Gordon wrote:
      >>
      >>> This is a list of features that I find aesthetically pleasing, are common
      >>> (or at least relatively common) in natlangs but underused in conlangs, and
      >>> I
      >>> would like to see used more.
      >>>
      >>>   - Tone.
      >>>   - Prefixes for grammatical purposes.
      >>>   - Celtic-style mutations (perhaps using .
      >>>   - Reduplication.
      >>>   - Innate features.
      >>>
      >>> Here I must pause, as "innate feature" is not standard linguistics jargon
      >>> (or perhaps it is, but if it is I'm using it incorrectly), and I must
      >>> explain "my" definition.
      >>>
      >>> An innate feature is a grammatical "part" of a word which does not change
      >>> with inflection. Examples include declension, conjugation, and, in nouns
      >>> (not adjectives), gender, in Latin. Features which are non-innate in Latin
      >>> include tense, number, person, etc. Note that innate features in and of
      >>> themselves aren't underused, but most conlangs that use them only have
      >>> one,
      >>> or sometimes two. Languages that have many are IMHO more interesting.
      >>>
      >>> I challenge anyone who reads this to create an artlang using all 5
      >>> features
      >>> in the list.
      >>>
      >>
      >> I've actually started a new language and I've been considering using
      >> reduplication, as that's a feature I haven't used in my languages. I really
      >> should use it more. Tone is actually fairly common in Zireen languages.
      >> Yasaro has a tone system which developed from shifting stress (in a
      >> situation much like what happened in Serbo-Croatian). Some other languages
      >> (like Virelli) have a constrast between high and low tones; in Simik this
      >> developed further into a set of four tones (high and low rising, high and
      >> low falling).
      >>
      >> So, none of my languages have all these features, but I do have languages
      >> with most of these features. Besides having phonemic tone, Virelli has five
      >> noun declensions and three verb conjugations. But it's a suffixing language
      >> and doesn't have any Celtic-style mutations or reduplication. Lindiga uses
      >> prefixes for subject and object agreement, and voice (antipassive, middle)
      >> on verbs, but has none of the other features. I do have consonant mutations
      >> in some languages, but they're more like the Japanese "rendaku" than the
      >> Celtic mutations.
      >>
      >

      --
      Mark J. Reed <markjreed@...>
    • Roger Mills
      ... As I understand it, that s contrary to the usual evolution. Egyptian hieroglyphics were pictorial with some phonetic features, then developed the faster
      Message 44 of 44 , Jan 16, 2010
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        --- On Sat, 1/16/10, Daniel Demski <dranorter@...> wrote:

        > On Sat, Jan 2, 2010 at 7:46 PM, Shair
        > Ahmed <aeetlrcreejl@...>
        > wrote:
        > > Personally, I find logographic writing systems to be
        > underused. Lorošae (my
        > > conlang) is the only conlang that uses one. What do
        > your conlangs use?
        > >

        > I'm currently struggling with the decision of whether to
        > make a
        > logographic (or more likely some sort of "mixed system")
        > script. Much
        > like tone I don't know whether I could pull it off.
        > Actually my
        > original plan was to chart a script's evolution from
        > phonographic to
        > logographic....

        As I understand it, that's contrary to the usual evolution. Egyptian hieroglyphics were pictorial with some phonetic features, then developed the faster "cursive" (demotic) versions, which IIRC were the inspiration for Semitic/Phoenician "alphabets", and ultimately ours (and Indic scripts too, IIRC again). Ir's probable that Sumerian cuneiform was originally pictorial, but I think there's debate whether it was inspired by Egyptian, or vice versa, or was an independent development. It ultimately became a mix of pictographs + syllabary for Akkadian and Hittite.

        Chinese is also pictorial in origin and probably was an independent development.

        The type of material used for ancient writing also determined to some extent how the characters will be shaped.


        > However, the more I read about writing systems the more I
        > feel
        > ideography is the 'right' way to go. Not that it's better
        > in a
        > technical sense, juts more... satisfying.
        >
        > Anyone have advice on how possible it is to create a good
        > logography?

        I'm assuming you mean something like Egyptian or Chinese? How good are you at drawing? :-))) because it would involve lots of stylized little pictures of things, then fiddle with them to derive less obvious "pictures". It would be doubly difficult if your language is not of this world, as you'd need to imagine flora, fauna etc. etc.

        I've assumed that my Gwr and Kash scripts developed out of pictographs, but have no idea what the originals would have looked like, or what they would have represented. For all I know, my Kash character for [tS], which looks a bit like a rounded-off W, might have been a depiction of a womans's breasts, and might have been pronounced [ki...] in whatever language first produced writing :-(((






        > Without it seeming 'inconsistent' or made-up... To me there
        > are
        > similar hurdles here as with trying to invent vocabulary,
        > except
        > additionally there is no phonotactics to resort to.
        >
        > On Sat, Jan 2, 2010 at 11:45 PM, Lee <waywardwretch@...>
        > wrote:
        > <...>
        > >
        > > All of my conlangs have used a Latin alphabet, mainly
        > because one my goals is minimal fuss with electronic storage
        > and decades later retrieval of information written in them.
        > >
        > > Granted, ASCII boring, but all my conlang data carried
        > forward from about a dozen different platforms going back to
        > my Apple ][+ days is still readable on the OSs I use today
        > without any funky character conversions other than EOL
        > translations.
        > >
        > > Lee
        >
        > I've just switched operating systems and can no longer use
        > my OneNote
        > files with my hand-drawn characters. So yes, good point.
        >
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