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Expressing irony/sarcasm morphologically (was: Re: Fwd: "Even if")

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  • Lisa Weißbach
    2013/7/25 H. S. Teoh ... (I thought this might warrant a new thread.) I ve read about your finalizers before, and I must say that even
    Message 1 of 13 , Jul 26 7:12 AM
      2013/7/25 H. S. Teoh <hsteoh@...>

      > On Wed, Jul 24, 2013 at 09:53:02PM +0200, Lisa Weißbach wrote:
      >
      > Hm, in order to keep this from turning into a usage thread and to
      > > steer back in the conlang direction: have any of you developed ways to
      > > express irony through morphology in your conlangs, such as these verb
      > > forms? [explanation: progressive verb forms in the past, indicating,
      > amongst other meanings, a sarcastic relationship between the speaker and
      > the person spoken about, as in my example sentence: "She was always selling
      > the house - never did", uttered by "her" real estate agent confronted with
      > the fact that "she" won't ever sell the house, given the circumstances of
      > the story]
      >
      > Tatari Faran has some ironic expressions, though none of them involve
      > verbs. One such expression is:
      >
      > jibin nari.
      > child(N) FIN
      >
      > This is one of a series of 2-word idioms involving a class of words
      > called "finalizers" that have no English equivalent. Usually, finalizers
      > are synonymous with the main verb or predicative adjective, and serve as
      > end-of-clause markers. Native speakers often give colorful glosses when
      > asked what a finalizer means, but these glosses actually carry no
      > factual meaning. Instead, they add color to a particular statement. One
      > example of this is:
      >
      > sura sei pirat inai.
      > woman's_garments CVY:FEM yellow bright(FIN)
      > The woman's garments are yellow.
      >
      > The finalizer _inai_ is glossed as "bright", however, the sentence
      > doesn't actually state that the garments are *bright* yellow; even a
      > dull yellow would be described as _pirat inai_, simply because yellow is
      > regarded as a "bright" color. One could think of finalizers as relics of
      > ancient adjectives or verbs that have since been bleached of all
      > semantic content, remaining only to serve a grammatical function.
      >
      > Coming back to idioms: these finalizers form a series of 2-word idioms
      > when combined with one other word, usually a noun that overtly lack the
      > usually-obligatory case particle. The most common of these is:
      >
      > peira ta'an
      > rain down(FIN)
      > It is raining.
      >
      > This construction is unusual because nouns like _peira_ usually require
      > a trailing case particle in order to form a proper NP. The overt lack of
      > the case particle indicates that a special meaning is intended. The
      > finalizer _ta'an_ carries the overtones of "descending" or "down to the
      > ground", so _peira ta'an_ is the phrase for "It's raining".
      >
      > Coming back to the original expression _jibin nari_: _jibin_ means
      > "child", and _nari_ is usually used with expressions of happiness or
      > fun. So _jibin nari_ is an interjection meaning something along the
      > lines of "the child is having his fun", usually said of children who are
      > enjoying themselves playing.
      >
      > The irony comes in when this phrase is applied to an adult: then it
      > acquires overtones of "he's still naïve and childish at heart, and
      > hasn't seen the worst side of things yet". One may encounter such an
      > utterance when person A says something naïve about a possibly serious
      > situation, and person B would reply, _jibin nari!_ with a dismissive
      > tone -- meaning that what person A said was something naïve, like
      > child's play, and inapplicable to the situation at hand.
      >
      > (Argh, I can't believe it took me 7 paragraphs and 3 interlinears to
      > explain a 2-word utterance! Symptoms of a hardcore conlanger... :-P)
      >

      (I thought this might warrant a new thread.)

      I've read about your finalizers before, and I must say that even though
      they seemed a little unwieldy at first (more speaking effort for apparently
      no semantic gain), the concept has grown on me considerably because they
      turn out to offer so many possibilities of subtle alteration of utterances
      and to gain so many syntactic functions, especially, it seems, in
      combination with the presence or absence of case markers. I feel reminded
      of the French negation particle "pas", which at some point was used only as
      a content word but underwent semantic bleaching in order to function as
      part of a grammatical negation marker (and which in the meantime has taken
      on the entire load of negation due to the dropping of "ne" in speech - this
      step seems not to have happened yet in Tatari Faran, at least not as
      systematically, probably because there are so many finalizers, where French
      mainly decided on one for general negation purposes). Tl;dr: I really like
      them now, and their ironic use is especially creative! That's certainly a
      constructive way of filling seemingly empty words with useful functions :)

      I haven't figured out how to construct irony in my own conlang yet. I can't
      use/expand on your idea because my conlang doesn't have finalizers. I was
      thinking about adding a separate irony marker, say, at the end of sentences
      or as a verbal affix (it's VSO), but this struck me as too obvious, which,
      in my opinion, undermines the whole concept of irony, which is supposed to
      be more implicit. It would have offered the advantage of marking irony in
      writing, an idea which seems useful at first, especially when thinking
      about online communication. On the other hand, this is what we have smiley
      faces for, so no real gain there either. You'll understand why it had to go.

      The next step was to consider one or more of my many existing affixes with
      roughly "affirming" meanings to take on the additional meaning of irony,
      but I'm not really happy with any of them yet. These are the ones I
      considered:

      1) ki(t)-: usually indicates sameness or repetition:
      zunsi 'move'
      kikunzi 'repeat, imitate'
      nipuki 'he died'
      nikipuki '?he died again; he really had to go and die, didn't he?'
      This would work perfectly with verbs denoting actions that can by
      definition only be carried out once - a very small range of function.
      Compare it to this:
      nikróki 'he came'
      nikikróki 'he came back (again); ?he really had to come back, didn't he?'
      Hm... :-/

      2) si-: usually indicates fullness:
      faink 'bottle'; akur 'room'
      sifaink 'full bottle (of water)'; sikur 'full room (filled with people -
      maybe also furniture?)'
      It would be nice to have some more use for this affix, actually; as it is,
      it doesn't crop up too often, although I really like it. Also, I haven't
      used it on verbs so far, so that would be quite an innovation. I'm not too
      sure about the semantics, though - would an affix meaning 'full' really
      turn into a marker of 'he really did'-irony? Seems like quite a long way to
      go.

      3) -eis-: usually indicates bigness, intensity or intentionality:
      pukosi 'kill'
      pukoseisi 'massacre'
      This might work for verbs with an inherently unintentional meaning in some
      contexts:
      nipuki 'he died'
      nipukeisi 'he really had to go and die, didn't he?'
      One might misunderstand this as 'he chose death', though. However, my cases
      (volitive vs. patientive) also cover intentionality, so maybe I could shift
      this intentional semantics to case morphology and restrict the affix -eis-
      to the ironic/sarcastic meaning for inherently unintentional verbs? But
      wouldn't this come close to an explicit irony marker again? Also, I was
      planning to make this a dialectal difference: dialect A prefers to use case
      morphology for indicating intentionality, whereas dialect B prefers to use
      -eis-. If I assign different meanings to these two methods in the standard
      dialect, that could lead to some pretty drastic cultural
      misunderstandings...

      Yet another idea that came to me would be the use of an adjective instead
      of a verb à la:
      nkari puku
      3.SG-person-VERB death-ADJ
      'he is a dying one/he is the dying kind'
      nkari terrumpttautlosu
      3.SG-person-VERB house-sell-ADJ
      'she was always selling the house'
      But the first example could be misconstrued as simply 'he is a mortal man'
      or even 'he is a deadly man', and although these interpretations do partly
      fit the irony to be conveyed, under other aspects they don't.

      Maybe I could kind of mix and match: nsikari puku? Although that could well
      mean 'he is a full, mortal man' or even 'he is a full (complete?) man who
      is mortal' - how about that for an idiomatic way of expressing irony? :-P
      Well, I wonder what my next idea will bring.

      Lisa
    • Leonardo Castro
      ... Once I have already considered irony marker as well and came to the same conclusion that the best irony must be written just if it were serious. ... A
      Message 2 of 13 , Jul 26 9:19 AM
        2013/7/26 Lisa Weißbach <purereasonrevoluzzer@...>:
        > 2013/7/25 H. S. Teoh <hsteoh@...>
        >
        >> On Wed, Jul 24, 2013 at 09:53:02PM +0200, Lisa Weißbach wrote:
        >>
        >> Hm, in order to keep this from turning into a usage thread and to
        >> > steer back in the conlang direction: have any of you developed ways to
        >> > express irony through morphology in your conlangs, such as these verb
        >> > forms? [explanation: progressive verb forms in the past, indicating,
        >> amongst other meanings, a sarcastic relationship between the speaker and
        >> the person spoken about, as in my example sentence: "She was always selling
        >> the house - never did", uttered by "her" real estate agent confronted with
        >> the fact that "she" won't ever sell the house, given the circumstances of
        >> the story]
        >>
        >> Tatari Faran has some ironic expressions, though none of them involve
        >> verbs. One such expression is:
        >>
        >> jibin nari.
        >> child(N) FIN
        >>
        >> This is one of a series of 2-word idioms involving a class of words
        >> called "finalizers" that have no English equivalent. Usually, finalizers
        >> are synonymous with the main verb or predicative adjective, and serve as
        >> end-of-clause markers. Native speakers often give colorful glosses when
        >> asked what a finalizer means, but these glosses actually carry no
        >> factual meaning. Instead, they add color to a particular statement. One
        >> example of this is:
        >>
        >> sura sei pirat inai.
        >> woman's_garments CVY:FEM yellow bright(FIN)
        >> The woman's garments are yellow.
        >>
        >> The finalizer _inai_ is glossed as "bright", however, the sentence
        >> doesn't actually state that the garments are *bright* yellow; even a
        >> dull yellow would be described as _pirat inai_, simply because yellow is
        >> regarded as a "bright" color. One could think of finalizers as relics of
        >> ancient adjectives or verbs that have since been bleached of all
        >> semantic content, remaining only to serve a grammatical function.
        >>
        >> Coming back to idioms: these finalizers form a series of 2-word idioms
        >> when combined with one other word, usually a noun that overtly lack the
        >> usually-obligatory case particle. The most common of these is:
        >>
        >> peira ta'an
        >> rain down(FIN)
        >> It is raining.
        >>
        >> This construction is unusual because nouns like _peira_ usually require
        >> a trailing case particle in order to form a proper NP. The overt lack of
        >> the case particle indicates that a special meaning is intended. The
        >> finalizer _ta'an_ carries the overtones of "descending" or "down to the
        >> ground", so _peira ta'an_ is the phrase for "It's raining".
        >>
        >> Coming back to the original expression _jibin nari_: _jibin_ means
        >> "child", and _nari_ is usually used with expressions of happiness or
        >> fun. So _jibin nari_ is an interjection meaning something along the
        >> lines of "the child is having his fun", usually said of children who are
        >> enjoying themselves playing.
        >>
        >> The irony comes in when this phrase is applied to an adult: then it
        >> acquires overtones of "he's still naïve and childish at heart, and
        >> hasn't seen the worst side of things yet". One may encounter such an
        >> utterance when person A says something naïve about a possibly serious
        >> situation, and person B would reply, _jibin nari!_ with a dismissive
        >> tone -- meaning that what person A said was something naïve, like
        >> child's play, and inapplicable to the situation at hand.
        >>
        >> (Argh, I can't believe it took me 7 paragraphs and 3 interlinears to
        >> explain a 2-word utterance! Symptoms of a hardcore conlanger... :-P)
        >>
        >
        > (I thought this might warrant a new thread.)
        >
        > I've read about your finalizers before, and I must say that even though
        > they seemed a little unwieldy at first (more speaking effort for apparently
        > no semantic gain), the concept has grown on me considerably because they
        > turn out to offer so many possibilities of subtle alteration of utterances
        > and to gain so many syntactic functions, especially, it seems, in
        > combination with the presence or absence of case markers. I feel reminded
        > of the French negation particle "pas", which at some point was used only as
        > a content word but underwent semantic bleaching in order to function as
        > part of a grammatical negation marker (and which in the meantime has taken
        > on the entire load of negation due to the dropping of "ne" in speech - this
        > step seems not to have happened yet in Tatari Faran, at least not as
        > systematically, probably because there are so many finalizers, where French
        > mainly decided on one for general negation purposes). Tl;dr: I really like
        > them now, and their ironic use is especially creative! That's certainly a
        > constructive way of filling seemingly empty words with useful functions :)
        >
        > I haven't figured out how to construct irony in my own conlang yet. I can't
        > use/expand on your idea because my conlang doesn't have finalizers. I was
        > thinking about adding a separate irony marker, say, at the end of sentences
        > or as a verbal affix (it's VSO), but this struck me as too obvious, which,
        > in my opinion, undermines the whole concept of irony, which is supposed to
        > be more implicit.

        Once I have already considered irony marker as well and came to the
        same conclusion that the best irony must be written just if it were
        serious.

        > It would have offered the advantage of marking irony in
        > writing, an idea which seems useful at first, especially when thinking
        > about online communication. On the other hand, this is what we have smiley
        > faces for, so no real gain there either.

        A "just kidding" marker would be more useful than a proper irony marker.

        > You'll understand why it had to go.
        > The next step was to consider one or more of my many existing affixes with
        > roughly "affirming" meanings to take on the additional meaning of irony,
        > but I'm not really happy with any of them yet. These are the ones I
        > considered:
        >
        > 1) ki(t)-: usually indicates sameness or repetition:
        > zunsi 'move'
        > kikunzi 'repeat, imitate'
        > nipuki 'he died'
        > nikipuki '?he died again; he really had to go and die, didn't he?'
        > This would work perfectly with verbs denoting actions that can by
        > definition only be carried out once - a very small range of function.
        > Compare it to this:
        > nikróki 'he came'
        > nikikróki 'he came back (again); ?he really had to come back, didn't he?'
        > Hm... :-/
        >
        > 2) si-: usually indicates fullness:
        > faink 'bottle'; akur 'room'
        > sifaink 'full bottle (of water)'; sikur 'full room (filled with people -
        > maybe also furniture?)'
        > It would be nice to have some more use for this affix, actually; as it is,
        > it doesn't crop up too often, although I really like it. Also, I haven't
        > used it on verbs so far, so that would be quite an innovation. I'm not too
        > sure about the semantics, though - would an affix meaning 'full' really
        > turn into a marker of 'he really did'-irony? Seems like quite a long way to
        > go.
        >
        > 3) -eis-: usually indicates bigness, intensity or intentionality:
        > pukosi 'kill'
        > pukoseisi 'massacre'
        > This might work for verbs with an inherently unintentional meaning in some
        > contexts:
        > nipuki 'he died'
        > nipukeisi 'he really had to go and die, didn't he?'
        > One might misunderstand this as 'he chose death', though. However, my cases
        > (volitive vs. patientive) also cover intentionality, so maybe I could shift
        > this intentional semantics to case morphology and restrict the affix -eis-
        > to the ironic/sarcastic meaning for inherently unintentional verbs? But
        > wouldn't this come close to an explicit irony marker again? Also, I was
        > planning to make this a dialectal difference: dialect A prefers to use case
        > morphology for indicating intentionality, whereas dialect B prefers to use
        > -eis-. If I assign different meanings to these two methods in the standard
        > dialect, that could lead to some pretty drastic cultural
        > misunderstandings...
        >
        > Yet another idea that came to me would be the use of an adjective instead
        > of a verb à la:
        > nkari puku
        > 3.SG-person-VERB death-ADJ
        > 'he is a dying one/he is the dying kind'
        > nkari terrumpttautlosu
        > 3.SG-person-VERB house-sell-ADJ
        > 'she was always selling the house'
        > But the first example could be misconstrued as simply 'he is a mortal man'
        > or even 'he is a deadly man', and although these interpretations do partly
        > fit the irony to be conveyed, under other aspects they don't.
        >
        > Maybe I could kind of mix and match: nsikari puku? Although that could well
        > mean 'he is a full, mortal man' or even 'he is a full (complete?) man who
        > is mortal' - how about that for an idiomatic way of expressing irony? :-P
        > Well, I wonder what my next idea will bring.
        >
        > Lisa
      • H. S. Teoh
        On Fri, Jul 26, 2013 at 04:12:50PM +0200, Lisa Weißbach wrote: [...] ... Finalizers *are* unwieldy, to be frank. However, the san faran are an easy-going
        Message 3 of 13 , Jul 26 1:59 PM
          On Fri, Jul 26, 2013 at 04:12:50PM +0200, Lisa Weißbach wrote:
          [...]
          > I've read about your finalizers before, and I must say that even
          > though they seemed a little unwieldy at first (more speaking effort
          > for apparently no semantic gain), the concept has grown on me
          > considerably because they turn out to offer so many possibilities of
          > subtle alteration of utterances and to gain so many syntactic
          > functions, especially, it seems, in combination with the presence or
          > absence of case markers.

          Finalizers *are* unwieldy, to be frank. However, the san faran are an
          easy-going people; they aren't in a hurry to finish the sentence and
          rush to the next thing on their to-do list. They don't mind taking the
          time to throw in an extra splash of color while they sniff at the roses
          by the roadside while simultaneously carrying out a conversation. :)

          On a serious note, though, finalizers do serve other purposes as well.
          They are really only mandatory in the indicative mood -- I like the way
          Alex Fink described them: it's as though in ancient times they had
          utterances of the form "I killed him to a corpse!", and over time, the
          "to a corpse" part became a calcified phrase that you just throw in
          whenever you use the verb "to kill". This calcified phrase then loses
          its original force, and becomes bleached of meaning -- the original
          words are still there, perhaps in abbreviated form, but the semantic
          content is gone. If this happened with enough ancient verbs (kill to a
          corpse, fill to the brim, darken to a pitch black, laugh till our sides
          split, etc.), analogy might have taken over and generalized it to *all*
          verbs.

          In non-indicative moods, however, these ancient tacked-on phrases would
          not be present (if I haven't killed him yet, there would be no corpse to
          speak of; if I haven't filled the cup yet, there's nothing reaching the
          brim, etc.) -- this is reflected in the modern language where finalizers
          are omitted in non-indicative moods. By the time of modern TF,
          finalizers have acquired the function of giving a sound conclusion to an
          indicative clause, like the final chord of a symphony that says "the
          end". When this final chord is missing, you have an open cadence: it
          leaves the listener hanging, expecting more to come.

          Thus, in the interrogative mood, for example, there is no finalizer.
          When the speech comes to an abrupt stop without the expected "the end",
          the listener feels compelled to utter a reply (that *does* have a
          finalizer).

          Another good example of this overt "unterminated" feeling caused by the
          omission of the finalizer is in if-then statements. The if-part doesn't
          have a finalizer, which leaves the antecedent hanging (awaiting
          fulfilment, in order to reach the consequent). This allows us to switch
          the order of antecedent and consequent while still maintaining this
          sense of unfinished business with the antecedent:

          tse na hamra tara' ka aram, akuka era tse sa kuen na.
          2SG RCP see 3SG ORG FIN climb if 2SG CVY tree RCP
          You will see him, if you climb the tree.

          The lack of a finalizer at the end of the sentence feels unfinished,
          almost as if one feels compelled to want to climb the tree so that one
          can bring the statement to a proper conclusion.

          In "because" constructions, this idea is taken one step further: in TF,
          the word for "because" is _isi_, but it occurs in *both* the cause and
          effect clauses! The way one distinguishes between cause and effect is by
          the presence of the finalizer in the effect clause, and its absence from
          the cause.

          huu na isi kukai aha', huu na isi hamra nian kei.
          1SG RCP because scare FIN, 1SG RCP because see ghost ORG.
          I'm scared, because I see a ghost.

          One could perhaps gloss _isi_ as "therefore" in the first clause, where
          the finalizer is present.

          Similarly, imperative statements usually have no finalizer -- it leaves
          the listener hanging, feeling compelled to carry out the order in order
          to bring closure to it.

          Paradoxically, however, finalizers *can* be used with imperatives -- to
          emphasize that the action demanded must be carried out *to the end*.
          This is consistent with the postulated origin of finalizers: in the
          ancient language, they might have said, "I want you to kill him -- kill
          him thoroughly *to a corpse*!" In the modern language, then, the
          presence of a finalizer in an imperative strengthens its force: "I want
          you to bring this to the chief -- bring it *all the way* until it
          reaches him!".

          An interesting twist also happens with negated statements:

          huu sa tapa be buara na beibata.
          huu sa tapa be buara na bei-bata
          1SG CVY walk NEG volcano RCP NEG-FIN
          I did not walk to the volcano.

          Here, the negated finalizer strengthens the denial: "I didn't walk to
          the volcano -- didn't even get there!" IOW, what normally strengthens
          the completion of the action is now turned upon its head to emphasize
          the *non*-completion of the negated action.


          > I feel reminded of the French negation particle "pas", which at some
          > point was used only as a content word but underwent semantic bleaching
          > in order to function as part of a grammatical negation marker (and
          > which in the meantime has taken on the entire load of negation due to
          > the dropping of "ne" in speech - this step seems not to have happened
          > yet in Tatari Faran, at least not as systematically, probably because
          > there are so many finalizers, where French mainly decided on one for
          > general negation purposes).

          Well, Tatari Faran does have a series of cognate negation morphemes:
          _be_ (adv. "not"), _bai_ (interj. "no"), _bei-_ (neg. prefix "not"). The
          latter modifies finalizers. :)

          Present-day Tatari Faran sorta considers finalizers as the "second half
          of the verb/adjective", so at least for now, they're sticking around.
          But I did consider the possibility that in future Tatari Faran, perhaps
          in the descendent of the city dialect, finalizers might fall out of use.
          City people are less concerned about taking the time to draw out their
          speech; they're in a rush to get from A to B and get things done, so
          they're likely to start omitting finalizers where they could get away
          with it. Given enough time, finalizers might become marginalized and
          eventually replaced / outright disappear.

          The village folk, though, will in all likelihood continue to spin
          colorful old yarns with the word-play of finalizers adding or removing
          (by their absence) the sense of conclusion to important dramatic moments
          in the story. This last usage of finalizers is already in vogue in
          present-day Tatari Faran: when you have a series of indicative
          statements back-to-back, sometimes finalizers are omitted in all but the
          last clause in order to produce a dramatic conclusion to a long series
          of events. Something along the lines of: "So then yesterday I went up
          the hill and went around the corner of this huge boulder then I saw this
          giant evil-looking monstrous being who picked up a tree trunk and was
          about to crush me when I slipped through a crevice in the rock and
          climbed up on a cliff where there's a boulder teetering on the edge and
          I waited for him to pass by underneath then I pushed the rock and the
          rock hit him on the head BAM!".


          > Tl;dr: I really like them now, and their ironic use is especially
          > creative! That's certainly a constructive way of filling seemingly
          > empty words with useful functions :)

          There are more such uses, though they don't really fall into the
          category of irony. One example is a series of 2-word idioms that
          juxtapose opposite words in a paradoxical manner:

          kura miin.
          hunger satiated(FIN)
          (Refers to hunger to the point of numbness, such that one's
          appetite is gone as though one was full.)

          airan imim.
          freshness slumber(FIN)
          (Refers to that dreamy yet stubbornly awake mental state after a
          night's conscious effort to not fall asleep.)

          Another use of finalizers is in repeated exhortations: in English, for
          example, when cheering someone on, we might say "throw it, Bob! throw
          it, throw it!" In Tatari Faran, it's not the verb that's repeated, but
          the finalizer:

          tampa beira so tuu. tuu, tuu!
          throw rock CVY FIN FIN FIN
          Throw the rock! Throw, throw!

          The idea is that one wishes to see the action of throwing completed; the
          repetition of the finalizer emphasizes this wish of completion.


          > I haven't figured out how to construct irony in my own conlang yet. I
          > can't use/expand on your idea because my conlang doesn't have
          > finalizers. I was thinking about adding a separate irony marker, say,
          > at the end of sentences or as a verbal affix (it's VSO), but this
          > struck me as too obvious, which, in my opinion, undermines the whole
          > concept of irony, which is supposed to be more implicit. It would have
          > offered the advantage of marking irony in writing, an idea which seems
          > useful at first, especially when thinking about online communication.
          > On the other hand, this is what we have smiley faces for, so no real
          > gain there either. You'll understand why it had to go.

          Hmm. While trying to formulate a reply, I realized that I actually
          wasn't that clear about the difference between irony, sarcasm, and
          paradoxical statements. So I did a little research online, and found
          this helpful summary of it:

          Irony consists in stating the contrary of what is meant. -- Eric
          Partridge

          Sarcasm is related to irony, but carries with it an additional demeaning
          or mocking tone meant to express concealed annoyance or to provoke a
          negative reaction.

          It would seem to me that the whole point of "stating the contrary of
          what is meant" would exclude any explicit markings for irony, since
          otherwise you wouldn't be stating contrary to what is meant, but saying
          it outright.

          However, I think it's permissible to allow the inclusion of subtle hints
          that indicate that what is said isn't completely what is meant. In
          English, this usually comes in the form of contextual information
          (someone enters a room with a tiny chair and exclaims, "What a large
          chair they've provided me!"), situational information (it's raining
          outside and I exclaim "what a beautiful day!"), or perhaps a change in
          tone of voice as a subtle sign to those in-the-know that I don't
          *really* mean what I say.

          My Tatari Faran example is a case of situational information: _jibin
          nari_ is usually said of little children playing, so to use it in
          referring to an adult constitutes a subtle hint that its surface meaning
          isn't what's actually meant.

          But one may not need to be confined to situational/environmental cues.
          One common hint is deliberate overstatement of the facts -- exaggeration
          being the clue that something is amiss, and that the surface words
          aren't really what's meant. This then leads to the following conlang
          possibilities:

          - Tack on redundant adverbs to a verb that already has those additional
          meanings. Deliberate redundancy could hint at irony. For example, if
          your conlang has a verb "to return", say, you could add a touch of
          exaggeration by adding the equivalent of "again" or "yet again". The
          unnecessary repetition of "again" (har har) could be the hint at
          irony.

          - You could substitute a common verb with a less common, but still
          understood one. In English, for example, sarcasm is sometimes
          expressed by deliberately using the pronouns "thee" and "thou" that
          are no longer in use in the modern language.

          - You could use an archaic phrasing that would normally be expressed
          another way in the modern language, e.g., "I tremble before your
          awesome powers!" -- "to tremble before" is no longer used in
          contemporary English except in an ironic sense. Adding the adjective
          "awesome" also adds a touch of exaggeration to hint at the irony.

          - Analogues of sarcasm markers like "as if" or "like" in English: "Are
          you going to go back up to get my watch that I forgot to take with me?
          Yeah, _like_ I would go all the way back up!" -- "like" indicates
          sarcasm. "As if" can also be used in its place: "_As if_ I'd go back
          up!"


          > The next step was to consider one or more of my many existing affixes
          > with roughly "affirming" meanings to take on the additional meaning of
          > irony, but I'm not really happy with any of them yet. These are the
          > ones I considered:
          >
          > 1) ki(t)-: usually indicates sameness or repetition:
          > zunsi 'move'
          > kikunzi 'repeat, imitate'
          > nipuki 'he died'
          > nikipuki '?he died again; he really had to go and die, didn't he?'
          > This would work perfectly with verbs denoting actions that can by
          > definition only be carried out once - a very small range of function.
          > Compare it to this:
          > nikróki 'he came'
          > nikikróki 'he came back (again); ?he really had to come back, didn't he?'
          > Hm... :-/

          This could work if you have enough synonyms for "again". If there are
          two synonyms for "again" and usually only one or the other is used,
          using both at the same time could be your hint at irony.


          > 2) si-: usually indicates fullness:
          > faink 'bottle'; akur 'room'
          > sifaink 'full bottle (of water)'; sikur 'full room (filled with people -
          > maybe also furniture?)'
          > It would be nice to have some more use for this affix, actually; as it
          > is, it doesn't crop up too often, although I really like it. Also, I
          > haven't used it on verbs so far, so that would be quite an innovation.
          > I'm not too sure about the semantics, though - would an affix meaning
          > 'full' really turn into a marker of 'he really did'-irony? Seems like
          > quite a long way to go.

          "He knows _full well_ that he's gonna suffer for it, yet what did he do?
          He did it anyway!" :)

          Well, OK, that's just the surface meaning. The ironic equivalent might
          be: "He's just so *full* of useful advice!" (i.e., he doesn't know what
          he's talking about / his advice is worthless).


          > 3) -eis-: usually indicates bigness, intensity or intentionality:
          > pukosi 'kill'
          > pukoseisi 'massacre'
          > This might work for verbs with an inherently unintentional meaning in
          > some contexts:
          > nipuki 'he died'
          > nipukeisi 'he really had to go and die, didn't he?'
          > One might misunderstand this as 'he chose death', though. However, my
          > cases (volitive vs. patientive) also cover intentionality, so maybe I
          > could shift this intentional semantics to case morphology and restrict
          > the affix -eis- to the ironic/sarcastic meaning for inherently
          > unintentional verbs? But wouldn't this come close to an explicit irony
          > marker again?

          Hmm. What about deliberately inverting the sense of the verb, while
          adding -eis- as a manner of exaggeration? Like "he really had to go and
          *live*, didn't he?!" -- i.e., he died.


          > Also, I was planning to make this a dialectal difference: dialect A
          > prefers to use case morphology for indicating intentionality, whereas
          > dialect B prefers to use -eis-. If I assign different meanings to
          > these two methods in the standard dialect, that could lead to some
          > pretty drastic cultural misunderstandings...

          Haha, I can see it coming...

          A: "Why did you get into a fight with him?"
          B: "He insulted my mother! He called her beautiful!"
          A: "What's so insulting about that?"
          B: "He used the sarcastic form of 'beautiful'!"
          A: "No he didn't, he was just speaking another dialect!"


          > Yet another idea that came to me would be the use of an adjective
          > instead of a verb à la:
          > nkari puku
          > 3.SG-person-VERB death-ADJ
          > 'he is a dying one/he is the dying kind'
          > nkari terrumpttautlosu
          > 3.SG-person-VERB house-sell-ADJ
          > 'she was always selling the house'
          > But the first example could be misconstrued as simply 'he is a mortal
          > man' or even 'he is a deadly man', and although these interpretations
          > do partly fit the irony to be conveyed, under other aspects they
          > don't.
          >
          > Maybe I could kind of mix and match: nsikari puku? Although that could
          > well mean 'he is a full, mortal man' or even 'he is a full (complete?)
          > man who is mortal' - how about that for an idiomatic way of expressing
          > irony? :-P Well, I wonder what my next idea will bring.
          [...]

          What about using paradoxical expressions as hints at irony? Something
          like "she has sold the same house again!" -- i.e., none of her sales
          were real. Or "he's unmovingly alive!" -- i.e., he's dead. Or "he's dead
          and kicking!" -- i.e., he's thought to be dead but is actually alive.


          T

          --
          To provoke is to call someone stupid; to argue is to call each other stupid.
        • Leonardo Castro
          ... This sound a little Chinese to me, but it s probably because I didn t get the function of some words when studied a little of it. ... This reminds me of a
          Message 4 of 13 , Jul 26 7:26 PM
            2013/7/26 H. S. Teoh <hsteoh@...>:
            > On Fri, Jul 26, 2013 at 04:12:50PM +0200, Lisa Weißbach wrote:
            > [...]
            >> I've read about your finalizers before, and I must say that even
            >> though they seemed a little unwieldy at first (more speaking effort
            >> for apparently no semantic gain), the concept has grown on me
            >> considerably because they turn out to offer so many possibilities of
            >> subtle alteration of utterances and to gain so many syntactic
            >> functions, especially, it seems, in combination with the presence or
            >> absence of case markers.
            >
            > Finalizers *are* unwieldy, to be frank. However, the san faran are an
            > easy-going people; they aren't in a hurry to finish the sentence and
            > rush to the next thing on their to-do list. They don't mind taking the
            > time to throw in an extra splash of color while they sniff at the roses
            > by the roadside while simultaneously carrying out a conversation. :)

            This sound a little Chinese to me, but it's probably because I didn't
            get the function of some words when studied a little of it.

            >
            > On a serious note, though, finalizers do serve other purposes as well.
            > They are really only mandatory in the indicative mood -- I like the way
            > Alex Fink described them: it's as though in ancient times they had
            > utterances of the form "I killed him to a corpse!", and over time, the
            > "to a corpse" part became a calcified phrase that you just throw in
            > whenever you use the verb "to kill". This calcified phrase then loses
            > its original force, and becomes bleached of meaning -- the original
            > words are still there, perhaps in abbreviated form, but the semantic
            > content is gone. If this happened with enough ancient verbs (kill to a
            > corpse, fill to the brim, darken to a pitch black, laugh till our sides
            > split, etc.), analogy might have taken over and generalized it to *all*
            > verbs.
            >
            > In non-indicative moods, however, these ancient tacked-on phrases would
            > not be present (if I haven't killed him yet, there would be no corpse to
            > speak of; if I haven't filled the cup yet, there's nothing reaching the
            > brim, etc.) -- this is reflected in the modern language where finalizers
            > are omitted in non-indicative moods. By the time of modern TF,
            > finalizers have acquired the function of giving a sound conclusion to an
            > indicative clause, like the final chord of a symphony that says "the
            > end". When this final chord is missing, you have an open cadence: it
            > leaves the listener hanging, expecting more to come.
            >
            > Thus, in the interrogative mood, for example, there is no finalizer.
            > When the speech comes to an abrupt stop without the expected "the end",
            > the listener feels compelled to utter a reply (that *does* have a
            > finalizer).

            This reminds me of a bilingual booklet in an Amerindian language (I
            don't remember its name) with translation to Portuguese that I have
            once read in the "Memorial dos Povos Indígenas". In the end of each
            speech of that language, they said something that were translated as
            "It's over" or "I've said". I interpreted that expressions (there are
            more than one, but all similar) as "speech finalizers".

            >
            > Another good example of this overt "unterminated" feeling caused by the
            > omission of the finalizer is in if-then statements. The if-part doesn't
            > have a finalizer, which leaves the antecedent hanging (awaiting
            > fulfilment, in order to reach the consequent). This allows us to switch
            > the order of antecedent and consequent while still maintaining this
            > sense of unfinished business with the antecedent:
            >
            > tse na hamra tara' ka aram, akuka era tse sa kuen na.
            > 2SG RCP see 3SG ORG FIN climb if 2SG CVY tree RCP
            > You will see him, if you climb the tree.
            >
            > The lack of a finalizer at the end of the sentence feels unfinished,
            > almost as if one feels compelled to want to climb the tree so that one
            > can bring the statement to a proper conclusion.
            >
            > In "because" constructions, this idea is taken one step further: in TF,
            > the word for "because" is _isi_, but it occurs in *both* the cause and
            > effect clauses! The way one distinguishes between cause and effect is by
            > the presence of the finalizer in the effect clause, and its absence from
            > the cause.
            >
            > huu na isi kukai aha', huu na isi hamra nian kei.
            > 1SG RCP because scare FIN, 1SG RCP because see ghost ORG.
            > I'm scared, because I see a ghost.
            >
            > One could perhaps gloss _isi_ as "therefore" in the first clause, where
            > the finalizer is present.
            >
            > Similarly, imperative statements usually have no finalizer -- it leaves
            > the listener hanging, feeling compelled to carry out the order in order
            > to bring closure to it.
            >
            > Paradoxically, however, finalizers *can* be used with imperatives -- to
            > emphasize that the action demanded must be carried out *to the end*.
            > This is consistent with the postulated origin of finalizers: in the
            > ancient language, they might have said, "I want you to kill him -- kill
            > him thoroughly *to a corpse*!" In the modern language, then, the
            > presence of a finalizer in an imperative strengthens its force: "I want
            > you to bring this to the chief -- bring it *all the way* until it
            > reaches him!".
            >
            > An interesting twist also happens with negated statements:
            >
            > huu sa tapa be buara na beibata.
            > huu sa tapa be buara na bei-bata
            > 1SG CVY walk NEG volcano RCP NEG-FIN
            > I did not walk to the volcano.
            >
            > Here, the negated finalizer strengthens the denial: "I didn't walk to
            > the volcano -- didn't even get there!" IOW, what normally strengthens
            > the completion of the action is now turned upon its head to emphasize
            > the *non*-completion of the negated action.
            >
            >
            >> I feel reminded of the French negation particle "pas", which at some
            >> point was used only as a content word but underwent semantic bleaching
            >> in order to function as part of a grammatical negation marker (and
            >> which in the meantime has taken on the entire load of negation due to
            >> the dropping of "ne" in speech - this step seems not to have happened
            >> yet in Tatari Faran, at least not as systematically, probably because
            >> there are so many finalizers, where French mainly decided on one for
            >> general negation purposes).
            >
            > Well, Tatari Faran does have a series of cognate negation morphemes:
            > _be_ (adv. "not"), _bai_ (interj. "no"), _bei-_ (neg. prefix "not"). The
            > latter modifies finalizers. :)
            >
            > Present-day Tatari Faran sorta considers finalizers as the "second half
            > of the verb/adjective", so at least for now, they're sticking around.
            > But I did consider the possibility that in future Tatari Faran, perhaps
            > in the descendent of the city dialect, finalizers might fall out of use.
            > City people are less concerned about taking the time to draw out their
            > speech; they're in a rush to get from A to B and get things done, so
            > they're likely to start omitting finalizers where they could get away
            > with it. Given enough time, finalizers might become marginalized and
            > eventually replaced / outright disappear.
            >
            > The village folk, though, will in all likelihood continue to spin
            > colorful old yarns with the word-play of finalizers adding or removing
            > (by their absence) the sense of conclusion to important dramatic moments
            > in the story. This last usage of finalizers is already in vogue in
            > present-day Tatari Faran: when you have a series of indicative
            > statements back-to-back, sometimes finalizers are omitted in all but the
            > last clause in order to produce a dramatic conclusion to a long series
            > of events. Something along the lines of: "So then yesterday I went up
            > the hill and went around the corner of this huge boulder then I saw this
            > giant evil-looking monstrous being who picked up a tree trunk and was
            > about to crush me when I slipped through a crevice in the rock and
            > climbed up on a cliff where there's a boulder teetering on the edge and
            > I waited for him to pass by underneath then I pushed the rock and the
            > rock hit him on the head BAM!".
            >
            >
            >> Tl;dr: I really like them now, and their ironic use is especially
            >> creative! That's certainly a constructive way of filling seemingly
            >> empty words with useful functions :)
            >
            > There are more such uses, though they don't really fall into the
            > category of irony. One example is a series of 2-word idioms that
            > juxtapose opposite words in a paradoxical manner:
            >
            > kura miin.
            > hunger satiated(FIN)
            > (Refers to hunger to the point of numbness, such that one's
            > appetite is gone as though one was full.)
            >
            > airan imim.
            > freshness slumber(FIN)
            > (Refers to that dreamy yet stubbornly awake mental state after a
            > night's conscious effort to not fall asleep.)
            >
            > Another use of finalizers is in repeated exhortations: in English, for
            > example, when cheering someone on, we might say "throw it, Bob! throw
            > it, throw it!" In Tatari Faran, it's not the verb that's repeated, but
            > the finalizer:
            >
            > tampa beira so tuu. tuu, tuu!
            > throw rock CVY FIN FIN FIN
            > Throw the rock! Throw, throw!
            >
            > The idea is that one wishes to see the action of throwing completed; the
            > repetition of the finalizer emphasizes this wish of completion.
            >
            >
            >> I haven't figured out how to construct irony in my own conlang yet. I
            >> can't use/expand on your idea because my conlang doesn't have
            >> finalizers. I was thinking about adding a separate irony marker, say,
            >> at the end of sentences or as a verbal affix (it's VSO), but this
            >> struck me as too obvious, which, in my opinion, undermines the whole
            >> concept of irony, which is supposed to be more implicit. It would have
            >> offered the advantage of marking irony in writing, an idea which seems
            >> useful at first, especially when thinking about online communication.
            >> On the other hand, this is what we have smiley faces for, so no real
            >> gain there either. You'll understand why it had to go.
            >
            > Hmm. While trying to formulate a reply, I realized that I actually
            > wasn't that clear about the difference between irony, sarcasm, and
            > paradoxical statements. So I did a little research online, and found
            > this helpful summary of it:
            >
            > Irony consists in stating the contrary of what is meant. -- Eric
            > Partridge
            >
            > Sarcasm is related to irony, but carries with it an additional demeaning
            > or mocking tone meant to express concealed annoyance or to provoke a
            > negative reaction.
            >
            > It would seem to me that the whole point of "stating the contrary of
            > what is meant" would exclude any explicit markings for irony, since
            > otherwise you wouldn't be stating contrary to what is meant, but saying
            > it outright.
            >
            > However, I think it's permissible to allow the inclusion of subtle hints
            > that indicate that what is said isn't completely what is meant. In
            > English, this usually comes in the form of contextual information
            > (someone enters a room with a tiny chair and exclaims, "What a large
            > chair they've provided me!"), situational information (it's raining
            > outside and I exclaim "what a beautiful day!"), or perhaps a change in
            > tone of voice as a subtle sign to those in-the-know that I don't
            > *really* mean what I say.
            >
            > My Tatari Faran example is a case of situational information: _jibin
            > nari_ is usually said of little children playing, so to use it in
            > referring to an adult constitutes a subtle hint that its surface meaning
            > isn't what's actually meant.
            >
            > But one may not need to be confined to situational/environmental cues.
            > One common hint is deliberate overstatement of the facts -- exaggeration
            > being the clue that something is amiss, and that the surface words
            > aren't really what's meant. This then leads to the following conlang
            > possibilities:
            >
            > - Tack on redundant adverbs to a verb that already has those additional
            > meanings. Deliberate redundancy could hint at irony. For example, if
            > your conlang has a verb "to return", say, you could add a touch of
            > exaggeration by adding the equivalent of "again" or "yet again". The
            > unnecessary repetition of "again" (har har) could be the hint at
            > irony.
            >
            > - You could substitute a common verb with a less common, but still
            > understood one. In English, for example, sarcasm is sometimes
            > expressed by deliberately using the pronouns "thee" and "thou" that
            > are no longer in use in the modern language.
            >
            > - You could use an archaic phrasing that would normally be expressed
            > another way in the modern language, e.g., "I tremble before your
            > awesome powers!" -- "to tremble before" is no longer used in
            > contemporary English except in an ironic sense. Adding the adjective
            > "awesome" also adds a touch of exaggeration to hint at the irony.
            >
            > - Analogues of sarcasm markers like "as if" or "like" in English: "Are
            > you going to go back up to get my watch that I forgot to take with me?
            > Yeah, _like_ I would go all the way back up!" -- "like" indicates
            > sarcasm. "As if" can also be used in its place: "_As if_ I'd go back
            > up!"
            >
            >
            >> The next step was to consider one or more of my many existing affixes
            >> with roughly "affirming" meanings to take on the additional meaning of
            >> irony, but I'm not really happy with any of them yet. These are the
            >> ones I considered:
            >>
            >> 1) ki(t)-: usually indicates sameness or repetition:
            >> zunsi 'move'
            >> kikunzi 'repeat, imitate'
            >> nipuki 'he died'
            >> nikipuki '?he died again; he really had to go and die, didn't he?'
            >> This would work perfectly with verbs denoting actions that can by
            >> definition only be carried out once - a very small range of function.
            >> Compare it to this:
            >> nikróki 'he came'
            >> nikikróki 'he came back (again); ?he really had to come back, didn't he?'
            >> Hm... :-/
            >
            > This could work if you have enough synonyms for "again". If there are
            > two synonyms for "again" and usually only one or the other is used,
            > using both at the same time could be your hint at irony.
            >
            >
            >> 2) si-: usually indicates fullness:
            >> faink 'bottle'; akur 'room'
            >> sifaink 'full bottle (of water)'; sikur 'full room (filled with people -
            >> maybe also furniture?)'
            >> It would be nice to have some more use for this affix, actually; as it
            >> is, it doesn't crop up too often, although I really like it. Also, I
            >> haven't used it on verbs so far, so that would be quite an innovation.
            >> I'm not too sure about the semantics, though - would an affix meaning
            >> 'full' really turn into a marker of 'he really did'-irony? Seems like
            >> quite a long way to go.
            >
            > "He knows _full well_ that he's gonna suffer for it, yet what did he do?
            > He did it anyway!" :)
            >
            > Well, OK, that's just the surface meaning. The ironic equivalent might
            > be: "He's just so *full* of useful advice!" (i.e., he doesn't know what
            > he's talking about / his advice is worthless).
            >
            >
            >> 3) -eis-: usually indicates bigness, intensity or intentionality:
            >> pukosi 'kill'
            >> pukoseisi 'massacre'
            >> This might work for verbs with an inherently unintentional meaning in
            >> some contexts:
            >> nipuki 'he died'
            >> nipukeisi 'he really had to go and die, didn't he?'
            >> One might misunderstand this as 'he chose death', though. However, my
            >> cases (volitive vs. patientive) also cover intentionality, so maybe I
            >> could shift this intentional semantics to case morphology and restrict
            >> the affix -eis- to the ironic/sarcastic meaning for inherently
            >> unintentional verbs? But wouldn't this come close to an explicit irony
            >> marker again?
            >
            > Hmm. What about deliberately inverting the sense of the verb, while
            > adding -eis- as a manner of exaggeration? Like "he really had to go and
            > *live*, didn't he?!" -- i.e., he died.
            >
            >
            >> Also, I was planning to make this a dialectal difference: dialect A
            >> prefers to use case morphology for indicating intentionality, whereas
            >> dialect B prefers to use -eis-. If I assign different meanings to
            >> these two methods in the standard dialect, that could lead to some
            >> pretty drastic cultural misunderstandings...
            >
            > Haha, I can see it coming...
            >
            > A: "Why did you get into a fight with him?"
            > B: "He insulted my mother! He called her beautiful!"
            > A: "What's so insulting about that?"
            > B: "He used the sarcastic form of 'beautiful'!"
            > A: "No he didn't, he was just speaking another dialect!"
            >
            >
            >> Yet another idea that came to me would be the use of an adjective
            >> instead of a verb ą la:
            >> nkari puku
            >> 3.SG-person-VERB death-ADJ
            >> 'he is a dying one/he is the dying kind'
            >> nkari terrumpttautlosu
            >> 3.SG-person-VERB house-sell-ADJ
            >> 'she was always selling the house'
            >> But the first example could be misconstrued as simply 'he is a mortal
            >> man' or even 'he is a deadly man', and although these interpretations
            >> do partly fit the irony to be conveyed, under other aspects they
            >> don't.
            >>
            >> Maybe I could kind of mix and match: nsikari puku? Although that could
            >> well mean 'he is a full, mortal man' or even 'he is a full (complete?)
            >> man who is mortal' - how about that for an idiomatic way of expressing
            >> irony? :-P Well, I wonder what my next idea will bring.
            > [...]
            >
            > What about using paradoxical expressions as hints at irony? Something
            > like "she has sold the same house again!" -- i.e., none of her sales
            > were real. Or "he's unmovingly alive!" -- i.e., he's dead. Or "he's dead
            > and kicking!" -- i.e., he's thought to be dead but is actually alive.
            >
            >
            > T
            >
            > --
            > To provoke is to call someone stupid; to argue is to call each other stupid.
          • Leonardo Castro
            ... Bazinga!
            Message 5 of 13 , Jul 26 7:28 PM
              2013/7/26 Leonardo Castro <leolucas1980@...>:
              > A "just kidding" marker would be more useful than a proper irony marker.

              Bazinga!
            • Padraic Brown
              ... French used to have several: ne...mie, ne...goutte, ne...point, etc. ... Exactly. It s like the guy who tells a joke and ends with a dissertation
              Message 6 of 13 , Jul 28 11:30 AM
                > From: Lisa Weißbach <purereasonrevoluzzer@...>

                >
                > I've read about your finalizers before, and I must say that even though
                > they seemed a little unwieldy at first (more speaking effort for apparently
                > no semantic gain), the concept has grown on me considerably because they
                > turn out to offer so many possibilities of subtle alteration of utterances
                > and to gain so many syntactic functions, especially, it seems, in
                > combination with the presence or absence of case markers. I feel reminded
                > of the French negation particle "pas", which at some point was used
                > only as
                > a content word but underwent semantic bleaching in order to function as
                > part of a grammatical negation marker (and which in the meantime has taken
                > on the entire load of negation due to the dropping of "ne" in speech -
                > this
                > step seems not to have happened yet in Tatari Faran, at least not as
                > systematically, probably because there are so many finalizers, where French
                > mainly decided on one for general negation purposes).

                French used to have several: ne...mie, ne...goutte, ne...point, etc.

                > Tl;dr: I really like
                > them now, and their ironic use is especially creative! That's certainly a
                > constructive way of filling seemingly empty words with useful functions :)
                >
                > I haven't figured out how to construct irony in my own conlang yet. I  can't
                > use/expand on your idea because my conlang doesn't have finalizers. I was
                > thinking about adding a separate irony marker, say, at the end of sentences
                > or as a verbal affix (it's VSO), but this struck me as too obvious, which,
                > in my opinion, undermines the whole concept of irony, which is supposed to
                > be more implicit.

                Exactly. It's like the guy who tells a joke and ends with a dissertation explaining
                the joke -- spoils the effect!

                > It would have offered the advantage of marking irony in
                > writing, an idea which seems useful at first, especially when thinking
                > about online communication. On the other hand, this is what we have smiley
                > faces for, so no real gain there either. You'll understand why it had to go.

                Indeed, this method of communication I think truly benefits from such markers.
                Sometimes real people can be hurt by words misunderstood or poorly marked
                for irony / sarcasm / etc. They are relatively inconspicuous and can be placed
                in such a way so as to not spoil the overall effect.

                Doesn't work in speech so well!

                > The next step was to consider one or more of my many existing affixes with
                > roughly "affirming" meanings to take on the additional meaning of
                > irony,
                > but I'm not really happy with any of them yet. These are the ones I
                > considered:
                >
                > 1) ki(t)-: usually indicates sameness or repetition:
                > zunsi 'move'
                > kikunzi 'repeat, imitate'
                > nipuki 'he died'
                > nikipuki '?he died again; he really had to go and die, didn't he?'
                > This would work perfectly with verbs denoting actions that can by
                > definition only be carried out once - a very small range of function.
                > Compare it to this:
                > nikróki 'he came'
                > nikikróki 'he came back (again); ?he really had to come back, didn't
                > he?'
                > Hm... :-/

                It could work if perhaps the language developed another way of saying
                the straight "again" while the older one comes more and more to mean
                an ironic meaning.

                A similar case in point is the English negative. It used to be entirely
                normal to negate a verb by appending "not" -- I saw not, I know not,
                etc. Anymore, we create a novel negative structure with "do" as a sort
                of content-negative dummy verb, plus the negatory particle "-n't" tacked
                on: I didn't see, I don't know. So what about V+not? Well, it's still
                perfectly valid English, but in ordinary speech its meaning has shifted to
                a kind of affected fanciness or an ironic archaism.

                This is actually a symptom of a pretty radical alteration within the English
                language, and it may not be appropriate for your conlang. Just something
                for you to consider!

                > 2) si-: usually indicates fullness:
                > faink 'bottle'; akur 'room'
                > sifaink 'full bottle (of water)'; sikur 'full room (filled with
                > people -
                > maybe also furniture?)'
                > It would be nice to have some more use for this affix, actually; as it is,
                > it doesn't crop up too often, although I really like it. Also, I haven't
                > used it on verbs so far, so that would be quite an innovation. I'm not too
                > sure about the semantics, though - would an affix meaning 'full' really
                > turn into a marker of 'he really did'-irony? Seems like quite a long way
                > to go.

                Could it be used with other, less literal, senses of "full"? Like arrogance
                (full of himself), burgeoning spring growth (full of green vigour), drunk-
                enness (full of liquor), pregnancy (full with child), etc.?

                > 3) -eis-: usually indicates bigness, intensity or intentionality:
                > pukosi 'kill'
                > pukoseisi 'massacre'
                > This might work for verbs with an inherently unintentional meaning in some
                > contexts:
                > nipuki 'he died'
                > nipukeisi 'he really had to go and die, didn't he?'

                Yep. He's well and truly dead this time...

                > One might misunderstand this as 'he chose death', though.

                All the better reason to choose that one! Can lead to all sorts of
                interesting wordplay.

                > However, my cases
                > (volitive vs. patientive) also cover intentionality, so maybe I could shift
                > this intentional semantics to case morphology and restrict the affix -eis-
                > to the ironic/sarcastic meaning for inherently unintentional verbs? But
                > wouldn't this come close to an explicit irony marker again?

                I do think it would help if whatever irony marker you settle on also has
                one or more "straight" uses. Like the sentence above, he's well and truly
                dead, can mean that there is simply no question about the present state
                of his body; but it can also take on subtler shades (so to speak) and secondary
                meanings that allow ironical subreadings while also freely admitting the
                basic straight reading.

                > Also, I was
                > planning to make this a dialectal difference: dialect A prefers to use case
                > morphology for indicating intentionality, whereas dialect B prefers to use
                > -eis-. If I assign different meanings to these two methods in the standard
                > dialect, that could lead to some pretty drastic cultural
                > misunderstandings...

                Indeed. This happens in real languages all the time.

                > Yet another idea that came to me would be the use of an adjective instead
                > of a verb à la:
                > nkari puku
                > 3.SG-person-VERB death-ADJ
                > 'he is a dying one/he is the dying kind'
                > nkari terrumpttautlosu
                > 3.SG-person-VERB house-sell-ADJ
                > 'she was always selling the house'
                > But the first example could be misconstrued as simply 'he is a mortal
                > man'
                > or even 'he is a deadly man', and although these interpretations do
                > partly fit the irony to be conveyed, under other aspects they don't.

                Great! All the better! Irony is best sown in ground where confusion
                and confoundibulation abound! This allows someone to quite frankly
                say "he's a mortal man, after all", all the while meaning something
                entirely different. That's pretty deep conlangery, that.

                Let people take it how they will, and let those who get the ironic
                reading enjoy the moment!

                > Maybe I could kind of mix and match: nsikari puku? Although that could well
                > mean 'he is a full, mortal man' or even 'he is a full (complete?)
                > man who
                > is mortal' - how about that for an idiomatic way of expressing irony? :-P
                > Well, I wonder what my next idea will bring.

                Can hardly wait! (No irony at all!)

                Padraic

                >
                > Lisa
                >
              • H. S. Teoh
                ... [...] ... Yeah, any marking for irony/sarcasm/etc. should be subtle or at least not blindingly obvious. ... Well, in writing it s a bit more important to
                Message 7 of 13 , Jul 28 3:50 PM
                  On Sun, Jul 28, 2013 at 11:30:38AM -0700, Padraic Brown wrote:
                  > > From: Lisa Weißbach <purereasonrevoluzzer@...>
                  [...]
                  > > I haven't figured out how to construct irony in my own conlang yet.
                  > > I  can't use/expand on your idea because my conlang doesn't have
                  > > finalizers. I was thinking about adding a separate irony marker,
                  > > say, at the end of sentences or as a verbal affix (it's VSO), but
                  > > this struck me as too obvious, which, in my opinion, undermines the
                  > > whole concept of irony, which is supposed to be more implicit.
                  >
                  > Exactly. It's like the guy who tells a joke and ends with a
                  > dissertation explaining the joke -- spoils the effect!

                  Yeah, any marking for irony/sarcasm/etc. should be subtle or at least
                  not blindingly obvious.


                  > > It would have offered the advantage of marking irony in writing, an
                  > > idea which seems useful at first, especially when thinking about
                  > > online communication. On the other hand, this is what we have smiley
                  > > faces for, so no real gain there either. You'll understand why it
                  > > had to go.
                  >
                  > Indeed, this method of communication I think truly benefits from such
                  > markers. Sometimes real people can be hurt by words misunderstood or
                  > poorly marked for irony / sarcasm / etc. They are relatively
                  > inconspicuous and can be placed in such a way so as to not spoil the
                  > overall effect.
                  >
                  > Doesn't work in speech so well!

                  Well, in writing it's a bit more important to have written markers,
                  because often the cues for irony are extralinguistic -- body language,
                  modified tone of voice, gestures, etc.. These are absent in writing,
                  which leads to misunderstandings esp. in an online setting where
                  communication is pure text, and any cues like intonation, body language,
                  a twinkle in the eye, etc., aren't included unless you consciously type
                  a smiley or some such explicit sign.

                  In speech, there's room for more subtlety because you can insert a
                  subtle twinkle in the eye or gesture that only those in the know will
                  pick up -- something rather hard to achieve in a written medium for
                  irony. (For non-irony one could, of course, employ jargon, but that's
                  another topic.)

                  Having said that, though, human language is flexible enough that this
                  kind of "selective irony" can still work by means of references -- if
                  your audience includes people from circle A and circle B, you can make a
                  reference to something only circle A would be aware of, which adds an
                  extra layer of irony/humour/etc. that circle B is oblivious to.


                  > > The next step was to consider one or more of my many existing
                  > > affixes with roughly "affirming" meanings to take on the additional
                  > > meaning of irony, but I'm not really happy with any of them yet.
                  > > These are the ones I considered:
                  > >
                  > > 1) ki(t)-: usually indicates sameness or repetition:
                  > > zunsi 'move'
                  > > kikunzi 'repeat, imitate'
                  > > nipuki 'he died'
                  > > nikipuki '?he died again; he really had to go and die, didn't he?'
                  > > This would work perfectly with verbs denoting actions that can by
                  > > definition only be carried out once - a very small range of function.
                  > > Compare it to this:
                  > > nikróki 'he came'
                  > > nikikróki 'he came back (again); ?he really had to come back, didn't
                  > > he?'
                  > > Hm... :-/
                  >
                  > It could work if perhaps the language developed another way of saying
                  > the straight "again" while the older one comes more and more to mean
                  > an ironic meaning.
                  >
                  > A similar case in point is the English negative. It used to be
                  > entirely normal to negate a verb by appending "not" -- I saw not, I
                  > know not, etc. Anymore, we create a novel negative structure with "do"
                  > as a sort of content-negative dummy verb, plus the negatory particle
                  > "-n't" tacked on: I didn't see, I don't know. So what about V+not?
                  > Well, it's still perfectly valid English, but in ordinary speech its
                  > meaning has shifted to a kind of affected fanciness or an ironic
                  > archaism.

                  Yeah, if somebody were to ask me something and I replied "I know not"
                  instead of the more usual "I don't know", it would be taken either as an
                  odd archaism, or a sign of sarcasm.

                  Which is why I said in an earlier reply that deliberately switching to
                  archaic structures can constitute a cue to irony.


                  > This is actually a symptom of a pretty radical alteration within the
                  > English language, and it may not be appropriate for your conlang. Just
                  > something for you to consider!

                  Well, that specific construction is probably too English-specific to be
                  of use in a conlang, but if you constructed your conlang with diachronic
                  change in mind (even if you didn't *actually* build it by way of
                  diachronic change), you should have plenty of material to use for these
                  hiding-in-plain-sight irony cues.

                  In Tatari Faran, I've inserted a number of hints at archaic language
                  structures / words, even though I haven't actually used it for marking
                  irony, but if I wanted to, I could probably find a lot of material to
                  use. One thing that came to mind is the ancient word _fii_ "heavens",
                  which has since been replaced by _sinkan_ "daytime sky" and _panikan_
                  "nighttime sky". The word _fii_ is no longer in common use, but it still
                  survives in some words, such as the finalizer _fai_, which is paired
                  with the verb _tuharas_ "to have a plinian eruption", carrying the force
                  of "erupting to the heavens". Another relic is in the word _fiiranas_,
                  which is the number 3125 (i.e. 5^5: TF uses a base-5 counting system).
                  Its original meaning refers to a number so large it reaches the heavens,
                  and it is still used in that approximate sense sometimes. Its exact
                  value of 3125 is something layered on top later. This double meaning
                  allows occasion for, say, a spokesperson to crack jokes about the
                  heavens when speaking to an audience of 3000+.


                  > > 2) si-: usually indicates fullness:
                  > > faink 'bottle'; akur 'room'
                  > > sifaink 'full bottle (of water)'; sikur 'full room (filled with
                  > > people -
                  > > maybe also furniture?)'
                  > > It would be nice to have some more use for this affix, actually; as
                  > > it is, it doesn't crop up too often, although I really like it.
                  > > Also, I haven't used it on verbs so far, so that would be quite an
                  > > innovation. I'm not too sure about the semantics, though - would an
                  > > affix meaning 'full' really turn into a marker of 'he really
                  > > did'-irony? Seems like quite a long way to go.
                  >
                  > Could it be used with other, less literal, senses of "full"? Like
                  > arrogance (full of himself), burgeoning spring growth (full of green
                  > vigour), drunk- enness (full of liquor), pregnancy (full with child),
                  > etc.?

                  "He is full of heroism" -- i.e., he's trying a bit too hard to impress
                  somebody.


                  > > 3) -eis-: usually indicates bigness, intensity or intentionality:
                  > > pukosi 'kill'
                  > > pukoseisi 'massacre'
                  > > This might work for verbs with an inherently unintentional meaning in some
                  > > contexts:
                  > > nipuki 'he died'
                  > > nipukeisi 'he really had to go and die, didn't he?'
                  >
                  > Yep. He's well and truly dead this time...

                  >
                  > > One might misunderstand this as 'he chose death', though.
                  >
                  > All the better reason to choose that one! Can lead to all sorts of
                  > interesting wordplay.

                  It would be better IMO to use a phrase that is close to, but
                  deliberately contradicts the situation at hand. The defining
                  characteristic of irony is that the literal meaning of what is said
                  doesn't match what is meant; one way to hint at it is to say something
                  that (obviously or subtly) contradicts the plain facts of the situation.

                  If someone has a reputation of proclaiming he will live in spite of
                  taking dangerous risks, then upon his untimely death one could say "now
                  he *really* lives" as an irony. (Though how that is interpreted will
                  depend on the cultural norms of the native speakers -- they may
                  interpret that as something offensive.)


                  > > However, my cases (volitive vs. patientive) also cover
                  > > intentionality, so maybe I could shift this intentional semantics to
                  > > case morphology and restrict the affix -eis- to the ironic/sarcastic
                  > > meaning for inherently unintentional verbs? But wouldn't this come
                  > > close to an explicit irony marker again?
                  >
                  > I do think it would help if whatever irony marker you settle on also
                  > has one or more "straight" uses. Like the sentence above, he's well
                  > and truly dead, can mean that there is simply no question about the
                  > present state of his body; but it can also take on subtler shades (so
                  > to speak) and secondary meanings that allow ironical subreadings while
                  > also freely admitting the basic straight reading.

                  Like if you have an archaic term for "death", you could use that in
                  place of the normal word as a hint of irony.


                  [...]
                  > > Yet another idea that came to me would be the use of an adjective instead
                  > > of a verb à la:
                  > > nkari puku
                  > > 3.SG-person-VERB death-ADJ
                  > > 'he is a dying one/he is the dying kind'
                  > > nkari terrumpttautlosu
                  > > 3.SG-person-VERB house-sell-ADJ
                  > > 'she was always selling the house'
                  > > But the first example could be misconstrued as simply 'he is a mortal
                  > > man'
                  > > or even 'he is a deadly man', and although these interpretations do
                  > > partly fit the irony to be conveyed, under other aspects they don't.
                  >
                  > Great! All the better! Irony is best sown in ground where confusion
                  > and confoundibulation abound! This allows someone to quite frankly
                  > say "he's a mortal man, after all", all the while meaning something
                  > entirely different. That's pretty deep conlangery, that.
                  [...]

                  There's an especially strong hint of irony if the phrase "he's a mortal
                  man, after all" is spoken of someone who perhaps boasted of their
                  nigh-invincibility while still alive.


                  T

                  --
                  Marketing: the art of convincing people to pay for what they didn't need before which you can't deliver after.
                • George Corley
                  ... Kinda brings up something -- humans can t alter the reflectivity of our eyes, so twinkle in the eye is obviously just a figure of speech. I wonder if
                  Message 8 of 13 , Jul 28 5:50 PM
                    On Sun, Jul 28, 2013 at 5:50 PM, H. S. Teoh <hsteoh@...> wrote:

                    >
                    > In speech, there's room for more subtlety because you can insert a
                    > subtle twinkle in the eye or gesture that only those in the know will
                    > pick up -- something rather hard to achieve in a written medium for
                    > irony. (For non-irony one could, of course, employ jargon, but that's
                    > another topic.)
                    >

                    Kinda brings up something -- humans can't alter the reflectivity of our
                    eyes, so "twinkle in the eye" is obviously just a figure of speech. I
                    wonder if what we refer to there is some subtle facial expression that we
                    don't consciously register, or if it refers to anything physically real at
                    all. What are equivalent expressions in other languages? What do we know
                    about human facial expressions.
                  • Muke Tever
                    On Sun, 28 Jul 2013 18:50:36 -0600, George Corley ... Something in this set off my senses-must-have-changed alarms. ... And the German
                    Message 9 of 13 , Jul 29 6:44 AM
                      On Sun, 28 Jul 2013 18:50:36 -0600, George Corley <gacorley@...>
                      wrote:

                      > On Sun, Jul 28, 2013 at 5:50 PM, H. S. Teoh <hsteoh@...>
                      > wrote:
                      >
                      >>
                      >> In speech, there's room for more subtlety because you can insert a
                      >> subtle twinkle in the eye or gesture that only those in the know will
                      >> pick up -- something rather hard to achieve in a written medium for
                      >> irony. (For non-irony one could, of course, employ jargon, but that's
                      >> another topic.)
                      >>
                      >
                      > Kinda brings up something -- humans can't alter the reflectivity of our
                      > eyes, so "twinkle in the eye" is obviously just a figure of speech. I
                      > wonder if what we refer to there is some subtle facial expression that we
                      > don't consciously register, or if it refers to anything physically real
                      > at all.

                      Something in this set off my senses-must-have-changed alarms.

                      Webster 1913[1] puts the first definition of |twinkle| as:

                      > To open and shut the eye rapidly; to blink; to wink.

                      And the German reflex of the root appears to be |zwinkern| with this
                      meaning.

                      So it looks like the original meaning of the word _was_ the facial
                      expression we'd call winking[2], but as the common sense changed from a
                      flashing movement to a flash _per se_[3], the understanding of twinkling
                      in the eyes changed with it?


                      *Muke!
                      [1]
                      http://machaut.uchicago.edu/?action=search&word=twinkle&resource=Webster%27s
                      [2] Indicating someone has winked seems to mean something different now,
                      but I _have_ observed at least one person who performed this motion when
                      'a twinkle in the eye' could have been called for.
                      [3] Latin |micare| had a similar ambiguity.
                      --
                      frath.net
                    • Lisa Weißbach
                      Wow, this discussion has already provided me with a veritable feast for thought - thanks a lot! I ll have to digest some of it and ponder really hard. You
                      Message 10 of 13 , Jul 29 10:40 AM
                        Wow, this discussion has already provided me with a veritable feast for
                        thought - thanks a lot! I'll have to digest some of it and ponder really
                        hard. You think you know how irony/sarcasm works, but once you have to
                        devise your very own means of expressing it, it seems to slip through your
                        fingers. You have helped me quite a bit in making the concept a little less
                        slippery so I can get a good look at it.


                        2013/7/26 H. S. Teoh <hsteoh@...>

                        > On Fri, Jul 26, 2013 at 04:12:50PM +0200, Lisa Weißbach wrote:
                        > [...]
                        > > I've read about your finalizers before, and I must say that even
                        > > though they seemed a little unwieldy at first (more speaking effort
                        > > for apparently no semantic gain), the concept has grown on me
                        > > considerably because they turn out to offer so many possibilities of
                        > > subtle alteration of utterances and to gain so many syntactic
                        > > functions, especially, it seems, in combination with the presence or
                        > > absence of case markers.
                        >
                        > Finalizers *are* unwieldy, to be frank. However, the san faran are an
                        > easy-going people; they aren't in a hurry to finish the sentence and
                        > rush to the next thing on their to-do list. They don't mind taking the
                        > time to throw in an extra splash of color while they sniff at the roses
                        > by the roadside while simultaneously carrying out a conversation. :)
                        >
                        > On a serious note, though, finalizers do serve other purposes as well.
                        > They are really only mandatory in the indicative mood -- I like the way
                        > Alex Fink described them: it's as though in ancient times they had
                        > utterances of the form "I killed him to a corpse!", and over time, the
                        > "to a corpse" part became a calcified phrase that you just throw in
                        > whenever you use the verb "to kill". This calcified phrase then loses
                        > its original force, and becomes bleached of meaning -- the original
                        > words are still there, perhaps in abbreviated form, but the semantic
                        > content is gone. If this happened with enough ancient verbs (kill to a
                        > corpse, fill to the brim, darken to a pitch black, laugh till our sides
                        > split, etc.), analogy might have taken over and generalized it to *all*
                        > verbs.
                        >
                        > In non-indicative moods, however, these ancient tacked-on phrases would
                        > not be present (if I haven't killed him yet, there would be no corpse to
                        > speak of; if I haven't filled the cup yet, there's nothing reaching the
                        > brim, etc.) -- this is reflected in the modern language where finalizers
                        > are omitted in non-indicative moods. By the time of modern TF,
                        > finalizers have acquired the function of giving a sound conclusion to an
                        > indicative clause, like the final chord of a symphony that says "the
                        > end". When this final chord is missing, you have an open cadence: it
                        > leaves the listener hanging, expecting more to come.
                        >
                        > Thus, in the interrogative mood, for example, there is no finalizer.
                        > When the speech comes to an abrupt stop without the expected "the end",
                        > the listener feels compelled to utter a reply (that *does* have a
                        > finalizer).
                        >
                        > Another good example of this overt "unterminated" feeling caused by the
                        > omission of the finalizer is in if-then statements. The if-part doesn't
                        > have a finalizer, which leaves the antecedent hanging (awaiting
                        > fulfilment, in order to reach the consequent). This allows us to switch
                        > the order of antecedent and consequent while still maintaining this
                        > sense of unfinished business with the antecedent:
                        >
                        > tse na hamra tara' ka aram, akuka era tse sa kuen na.
                        > 2SG RCP see 3SG ORG FIN climb if 2SG CVY tree RCP
                        > You will see him, if you climb the tree.
                        >
                        > The lack of a finalizer at the end of the sentence feels unfinished,
                        > almost as if one feels compelled to want to climb the tree so that one
                        > can bring the statement to a proper conclusion.
                        >
                        > In "because" constructions, this idea is taken one step further: in TF,
                        > the word for "because" is _isi_, but it occurs in *both* the cause and
                        > effect clauses! The way one distinguishes between cause and effect is by
                        > the presence of the finalizer in the effect clause, and its absence from
                        > the cause.
                        >
                        > huu na isi kukai aha', huu na isi hamra nian kei.
                        > 1SG RCP because scare FIN, 1SG RCP because see ghost ORG.
                        > I'm scared, because I see a ghost.
                        >
                        > One could perhaps gloss _isi_ as "therefore" in the first clause, where
                        > the finalizer is present.
                        >
                        > Similarly, imperative statements usually have no finalizer -- it leaves
                        > the listener hanging, feeling compelled to carry out the order in order
                        > to bring closure to it.
                        >
                        > Paradoxically, however, finalizers *can* be used with imperatives -- to
                        > emphasize that the action demanded must be carried out *to the end*.
                        > This is consistent with the postulated origin of finalizers: in the
                        > ancient language, they might have said, "I want you to kill him -- kill
                        > him thoroughly *to a corpse*!" In the modern language, then, the
                        > presence of a finalizer in an imperative strengthens its force: "I want
                        > you to bring this to the chief -- bring it *all the way* until it
                        > reaches him!".
                        >
                        > An interesting twist also happens with negated statements:
                        >
                        > huu sa tapa be buara na beibata.
                        > huu sa tapa be buara na bei-bata
                        > 1SG CVY walk NEG volcano RCP NEG-FIN
                        > I did not walk to the volcano.
                        >
                        > Here, the negated finalizer strengthens the denial: "I didn't walk to
                        > the volcano -- didn't even get there!" IOW, what normally strengthens
                        > the completion of the action is now turned upon its head to emphasize
                        > the *non*-completion of the negated action.
                        >

                        >
                        > > I feel reminded of the French negation particle "pas", which at some
                        > > point was used only as a content word but underwent semantic bleaching
                        > > in order to function as part of a grammatical negation marker (and
                        > > which in the meantime has taken on the entire load of negation due to
                        > > the dropping of "ne" in speech - this step seems not to have happened
                        > > yet in Tatari Faran, at least not as systematically, probably because
                        > > there are so many finalizers, where French mainly decided on one for
                        > > general negation purposes).
                        >
                        > Well, Tatari Faran does have a series of cognate negation morphemes:
                        > _be_ (adv. "not"), _bai_ (interj. "no"), _bei-_ (neg. prefix "not"). The
                        > latter modifies finalizers. :)
                        >
                        > Present-day Tatari Faran sorta considers finalizers as the "second half
                        > of the verb/adjective", so at least for now, they're sticking around.
                        > But I did consider the possibility that in future Tatari Faran, perhaps
                        > in the descendent of the city dialect, finalizers might fall out of use.
                        > City people are less concerned about taking the time to draw out their
                        > speech; they're in a rush to get from A to B and get things done, so
                        > they're likely to start omitting finalizers where they could get away
                        > with it. Given enough time, finalizers might become marginalized and
                        > eventually replaced / outright disappear.
                        >
                        > The village folk, though, will in all likelihood continue to spin
                        > colorful old yarns with the word-play of finalizers adding or removing
                        > (by their absence) the sense of conclusion to important dramatic moments
                        > in the story. This last usage of finalizers is already in vogue in
                        > present-day Tatari Faran: when you have a series of indicative
                        > statements back-to-back, sometimes finalizers are omitted in all but the
                        > last clause in order to produce a dramatic conclusion to a long series
                        > of events. Something along the lines of: "So then yesterday I went up
                        > the hill and went around the corner of this huge boulder then I saw this
                        > giant evil-looking monstrous being who picked up a tree trunk and was
                        > about to crush me when I slipped through a crevice in the rock and
                        > climbed up on a cliff where there's a boulder teetering on the edge and
                        > I waited for him to pass by underneath then I pushed the rock and the
                        > rock hit him on the head BAM!".
                        >
                        >
                        > > Tl;dr: I really like them now, and their ironic use is especially
                        > > creative! That's certainly a constructive way of filling seemingly
                        > > empty words with useful functions :)
                        >
                        > There are more such uses, though they don't really fall into the
                        > category of irony. One example is a series of 2-word idioms that
                        > juxtapose opposite words in a paradoxical manner:
                        >
                        > kura miin.
                        > hunger satiated(FIN)
                        > (Refers to hunger to the point of numbness, such that one's
                        > appetite is gone as though one was full.)
                        >
                        > airan imim.
                        > freshness slumber(FIN)
                        > (Refers to that dreamy yet stubbornly awake mental state after a
                        > night's conscious effort to not fall asleep.)
                        >
                        > Another use of finalizers is in repeated exhortations: in English, for
                        > example, when cheering someone on, we might say "throw it, Bob! throw
                        > it, throw it!" In Tatari Faran, it's not the verb that's repeated, but
                        > the finalizer:
                        >
                        > tampa beira so tuu. tuu, tuu!
                        > throw rock CVY FIN FIN FIN
                        > Throw the rock! Throw, throw!
                        >
                        > The idea is that one wishes to see the action of throwing completed; the
                        > repetition of the finalizer emphasizes this wish of completion.
                        >

                        This sounds like a carefully constructed concept - thanks for explaining it
                        in such detail and with such patience! It is obvious that you've put a lot
                        of thought into it and managed to squeeze every conceivable,
                        psychologically realistic linguistic use out of it. The additional ironic
                        meaning they can take on seems like a very logical and consistent expansion
                        of what the essence of those finalizers appears to be. The construction of
                        those paradoxes sounds interesting as well - I've never thought about those
                        mental states that way, but they are certainly convincing. This would be a
                        domain where even the city folk would be ill-advised to drop the
                        finalizers. Perhaps they could be reinterpreted as noun-adjective
                        constructions or as compounds?

                        By the way, the san faran (no capitalization there?) sound like a
                        refreshingly nice people :)

                        >
                        >
                        > > I haven't figured out how to construct irony in my own conlang yet. I
                        > > can't use/expand on your idea because my conlang doesn't have
                        > > finalizers. I was thinking about adding a separate irony marker, say,
                        > > at the end of sentences or as a verbal affix (it's VSO), but this
                        > > struck me as too obvious, which, in my opinion, undermines the whole
                        > > concept of irony, which is supposed to be more implicit. It would have
                        > > offered the advantage of marking irony in writing, an idea which seems
                        > > useful at first, especially when thinking about online communication.
                        > > On the other hand, this is what we have smiley faces for, so no real
                        > > gain there either. You'll understand why it had to go.
                        >
                        > Hmm. While trying to formulate a reply, I realized that I actually
                        > wasn't that clear about the difference between irony, sarcasm, and
                        > paradoxical statements. So I did a little research online, and found
                        > this helpful summary of it:
                        >
                        > Irony consists in stating the contrary of what is meant. -- Eric
                        > Partridge
                        >
                        > Sarcasm is related to irony, but carries with it an additional demeaning
                        > or mocking tone meant to express concealed annoyance or to provoke a
                        > negative reaction.
                        >
                        > It would seem to me that the whole point of "stating the contrary of
                        > what is meant" would exclude any explicit markings for irony, since
                        > otherwise you wouldn't be stating contrary to what is meant, but saying
                        > it outright.
                        >

                        You are of course right, I have been using these terms in a less than
                        precise manner; one of the reasons was that they tend to overlap, another
                        was that some of them operate on different levels: sarcasm often refers to
                        the mood, the "feel" of an utterance, and irony is often, although not
                        always, the means to convey sarcasm. I'm aware of the inflation of the use
                        of the word "irony" (probably the best-known example being Alanis
                        Morissette's "Ironic", which Ed Byrne says should be renamed "Unfortunate"
                        ;)), but I'd say that irony means at least a little more than that: for me,
                        it refers not only to the discrepancy between words and their intended
                        meaning, but also between words/deeds and expected words/deeds or between
                        different levels of knowledge in different people. Think of dramatic irony
                        in the tragic hero: the audience knows something that the character doesn't
                        know, and it knows that it's not desirable for him to act in a certain way;
                        he acts that way because he doesn't have the knowledge that would prevent
                        him from doing so; a sudden realization overcomes him, but it's too late,
                        and he has to bear the consequences. Hamlet thinks that Claudius is hiding
                        behind the tapestry, but the audience knows that it is in fact Polonius;
                        Hamlet draws his sword and stabs him, thinking he has done a good deed; he
                        realizes that he has killed Polonius instead of Claudius, which is one more
                        factor that causes his tragic death in the end. This plot point doesn't
                        rely on anyone stating the contrary of what is meant (I don't remember if
                        Hamlet says something like, "Claudius must be hiding behind that tapestry"
                        or something to that effect, but if he does, it is an honest expression of
                        his thoughts); still, we speak of dramatic *irony*.

                        >
                        > However, I think it's permissible to allow the inclusion of subtle hints
                        > that indicate that what is said isn't completely what is meant. In
                        > English, this usually comes in the form of contextual information
                        > (someone enters a room with a tiny chair and exclaims, "What a large
                        > chair they've provided me!"), situational information (it's raining
                        > outside and I exclaim "what a beautiful day!"), or perhaps a change in
                        > tone of voice as a subtle sign to those in-the-know that I don't
                        > *really* mean what I say.
                        >
                        > My Tatari Faran example is a case of situational information: _jibin
                        > nari_ is usually said of little children playing, so to use it in
                        > referring to an adult constitutes a subtle hint that its surface meaning
                        > isn't what's actually meant.
                        >
                        > But one may not need to be confined to situational/environmental cues.
                        > One common hint is deliberate overstatement of the facts -- exaggeration
                        > being the clue that something is amiss, and that the surface words
                        > aren't really what's meant. This then leads to the following conlang
                        > possibilities:
                        >
                        > - Tack on redundant adverbs to a verb that already has those additional
                        > meanings. Deliberate redundancy could hint at irony. For example, if
                        > your conlang has a verb "to return", say, you could add a touch of
                        > exaggeration by adding the equivalent of "again" or "yet again". The
                        > unnecessary repetition of "again" (har har) could be the hint at
                        > irony.
                        >
                        > - You could substitute a common verb with a less common, but still
                        > understood one. In English, for example, sarcasm is sometimes
                        > expressed by deliberately using the pronouns "thee" and "thou" that
                        > are no longer in use in the modern language.
                        >
                        > - You could use an archaic phrasing that would normally be expressed
                        > another way in the modern language, e.g., "I tremble before your
                        > awesome powers!" -- "to tremble before" is no longer used in
                        > contemporary English except in an ironic sense. Adding the adjective
                        > "awesome" also adds a touch of exaggeration to hint at the irony.
                        >
                        > - Analogues of sarcasm markers like "as if" or "like" in English: "Are
                        > you going to go back up to get my watch that I forgot to take with me?
                        > Yeah, _like_ I would go all the way back up!" -- "like" indicates
                        > sarcasm. "As if" can also be used in its place: "_As if_ I'd go back
                        > up!"
                        >

                        Thank you for these suggestions! I really have to think them over and try
                        them out to see if they work in my conlang (unfortunately, I won't be able
                        to do that today - I still have a lot of reading to get through, and
                        Patrick Bateman usually doesn't like to be kept waiting...). Regarding the
                        use of archaic phrases see below.

                        >
                        >
                        > > The next step was to consider one or more of my many existing affixes
                        > > with roughly "affirming" meanings to take on the additional meaning of
                        > > irony, but I'm not really happy with any of them yet. These are the
                        > > ones I considered:
                        > >
                        > > 1) ki(t)-: usually indicates sameness or repetition:
                        > > zunsi 'move'
                        > > kikunzi 'repeat, imitate'
                        > > nipuki 'he died'
                        > > nikipuki '?he died again; he really had to go and die, didn't he?'
                        > > This would work perfectly with verbs denoting actions that can by
                        > > definition only be carried out once - a very small range of function.
                        > > Compare it to this:
                        > > nikróki 'he came'
                        > > nikikróki 'he came back (again); ?he really had to come back, didn't he?'
                        > > Hm... :-/
                        >
                        > This could work if you have enough synonyms for "again". If there are
                        > two synonyms for "again" and usually only one or the other is used,
                        > using both at the same time could be your hint at irony.


                        Up until now, I only have the ki(t)- construction, no separate word for
                        'again'. I'll see what I can think of and if it sounds natural. Thanks to
                        Padraic as well, who offered the same suggestion!

                        >
                        >
                        > > 2) si-: usually indicates fullness:
                        > > faink 'bottle'; akur 'room'
                        > > sifaink 'full bottle (of water)'; sikur 'full room (filled with people -
                        > > maybe also furniture?)'
                        > > It would be nice to have some more use for this affix, actually; as it
                        > > is, it doesn't crop up too often, although I really like it. Also, I
                        > > haven't used it on verbs so far, so that would be quite an innovation.
                        > > I'm not too sure about the semantics, though - would an affix meaning
                        > > 'full' really turn into a marker of 'he really did'-irony? Seems like
                        > > quite a long way to go.
                        >
                        > "He knows _full well_ that he's gonna suffer for it, yet what did he do?
                        > He did it anyway!" :)
                        >
                        > Well, OK, that's just the surface meaning. The ironic equivalent might
                        > be: "He's just so *full* of useful advice!" (i.e., he doesn't know what
                        > he's talking about / his advice is worthless).
                        >
                        >
                        > > 3) -eis-: usually indicates bigness, intensity or intentionality:
                        > > pukosi 'kill'
                        > > pukoseisi 'massacre'
                        > > This might work for verbs with an inherently unintentional meaning in
                        > > some contexts:
                        > > nipuki 'he died'
                        > > nipukeisi 'he really had to go and die, didn't he?'
                        > > One might misunderstand this as 'he chose death', though. However, my
                        > > cases (volitive vs. patientive) also cover intentionality, so maybe I
                        > > could shift this intentional semantics to case morphology and restrict
                        > > the affix -eis- to the ironic/sarcastic meaning for inherently
                        > > unintentional verbs? But wouldn't this come close to an explicit irony
                        > > marker again?
                        >
                        > Hmm. What about deliberately inverting the sense of the verb, while
                        > adding -eis- as a manner of exaggeration? Like "he really had to go and
                        > *live*, didn't he?!" -- i.e., he died.

                        […]

                        > Yet another idea that came to me would be the use of an adjective
                        > > instead of a verb à la:
                        > > nkari puku
                        > > 3.SG-person-VERB death-ADJ
                        > > 'he is a dying one/he is the dying kind'
                        > > nkari terrumpttautlosu
                        > > 3.SG-person-VERB house-sell-ADJ
                        > > 'she was always selling the house'
                        > > But the first example could be misconstrued as simply 'he is a mortal
                        > > man' or even 'he is a deadly man', and although these interpretations
                        > > do partly fit the irony to be conveyed, under other aspects they
                        > > don't.
                        > >
                        > > Maybe I could kind of mix and match: nsikari puku? Although that could
                        > > well mean 'he is a full, mortal man' or even 'he is a full (complete?)
                        > > man who is mortal' - how about that for an idiomatic way of expressing
                        > > irony? :-P Well, I wonder what my next idea will bring.
                        > [...]
                        >
                        > What about using paradoxical expressions as hints at irony? Something
                        > like "she has sold the same house again!" -- i.e., none of her sales
                        > were real. Or "he's unmovingly alive!" -- i.e., he's dead. Or "he's dead
                        > and kicking!" -- i.e., he's thought to be dead but is actually alive.
                        >

                        Thanks again for all the suggestions! I can see I'll have to dedicate at
                        least one full afternoon to this topic...

                        Leonardo, 27.07.2013 04:26 re Tatari Faran's finalizers:

                        > This reminds me of a bilingual booklet in an Amerindian language (I
                        > don't remember its name) with translation to Portuguese that I have
                        > once read in the "Memorial dos Povos Indígenas". In the end of each
                        > speech of that language, they said something that were translated as
                        > "It's over" or "I've said". I interpreted that expressions (there are
                        > more than one, but all similar) as "speech finalizers".
                        >

                        So these are used on a pragmatic level as indicators for taking turns?
                        That's quite interesting too.

                        Padraic, 28.07.2013 20:30

                        > > I feel reminded
                        > > of the French negation particle "pas", which at some point was used
                        > > only as
                        > > a content word but underwent semantic bleaching in order to function as
                        > > part of a grammatical negation marker (and which in the meantime has
                        > taken
                        > > on the entire load of negation due to the dropping of "ne" in speech -
                        > > this
                        > > step seems not to have happened yet in Tatari Faran, at least not as
                        > > systematically, probably because there are so many finalizers, where
                        > French
                        > > mainly decided on one for general negation purposes).
                        >
                        > French used to have several: ne...mie, ne...goutte, ne...point, etc.
                        >

                        Oh yes, and I know that at least ne... point is still in use today - I
                        didn't encounter the others in everyday speech when I was in France. But
                        there is only one *general* negation marker in contemporary French without
                        added semantics or overtones, and that is (ne...) pas.

                        A similar case in point is the English negative. It used to be entirely
                        > normal to negate a verb by appending "not" -- I saw not, I know not,
                        > etc. Anymore, we create a novel negative structure with "do" as a sort
                        > of content-negative dummy verb, plus the negatory particle "-n't" tacked
                        > on: I didn't see, I don't know. So what about V+not? Well, it's still
                        > perfectly valid English, but in ordinary speech its meaning has shifted to
                        > a kind of affected fanciness or an ironic archaism.
                        >
                        > This is actually a symptom of a pretty radical alteration within the
                        > English
                        > language, and it may not be appropriate for your conlang. Just something
                        > for you to consider!
                        >

                        You've given me an idea there, since my conlang does in fact display a
                        similar diachronic development, only with person markers instead of
                        negation. It used to be:

                        pukini
                        death-PAST-3.SG-VERB
                        'he died'

                        But the person and tense markers moved to the front:

                        nipuki
                        3.SG-PAST-death-VERB

                        The word "ta" 'yes' derived from the old way of saying 'it exists':

                        zistani
                        exist-PRES-3.SG-VERB,

                        which nowadays would read

                        nzisti
                        3.SG-exist-VERB

                        and could not yield a form like "ta". I'm not sure if I should revive those
                        old forms for ironic purposes, it seems a little daring - but sometimes
                        that's just what you have to go for, so I might actually do that, and I
                        will blame you and Teoh for giving me that idea :)

                        > 2) si-: usually indicates fullness:
                        > > faink 'bottle'; akur 'room'
                        > > sifaink 'full bottle (of water)'; sikur 'full room (filled with
                        > > people -
                        > > maybe also furniture?)'
                        > > It would be nice to have some more use for this affix, actually; as it
                        > is,
                        > > it doesn't crop up too often, although I really like it. Also, I haven't
                        > > used it on verbs so far, so that would be quite an innovation. I'm not
                        > too
                        > > sure about the semantics, though - would an affix meaning 'full' really
                        > > turn into a marker of 'he really did'-irony? Seems like quite a long way
                        > > to go.
                        >
                        > Could it be used with other, less literal, senses of "full"? Like arrogance
                        > (full of himself), burgeoning spring growth (full of green vigour), drunk-
                        > enness (full of liquor), pregnancy (full with child), etc.?
                        >
                        Teoh, 29.07.2013 00:50:

                        > "He is full of heroism" -- i.e., he's trying a bit too hard to impress
                        > somebody.
                        >

                        Hm, some of these concepts are partly expressed by means of the preposition
                        "kol", whose overall meaning could be summarized as 'with'. It is used when
                        you give someone or something a character trait, an emotion, a description
                        of any kind:

                        kar kol snempr prasu
                        person with irritability big
                        'a very irritable person/(a bit more florid:) a man full of bile'

                        It's not clear to me yet if si- should encompass more figurative senses of
                        "full"; I'll have to think about it.

                        Padraic:

                        > > However, my cases
                        > > (volitive vs. patientive) also cover intentionality, so maybe I could
                        > shift
                        > > this intentional semantics to case morphology and restrict the affix
                        > -eis-
                        > > to the ironic/sarcastic meaning for inherently unintentional verbs? But
                        > > wouldn't this come close to an explicit irony marker again?
                        >
                        > I do think it would help if whatever irony marker you settle on also has
                        > one or more "straight" uses. Like the sentence above, he's well and truly
                        > dead, can mean that there is simply no question about the present state
                        > of his body; but it can also take on subtler shades (so to speak) and
                        > secondary
                        > meanings that allow ironical subreadings while also freely admitting the
                        > basic straight reading.
                        >

                        Thank you for that statement - I wasn't sure in which of the two directions
                        I should go: whether to collate the irony marker with other meanings or to
                        keep things clearer by separating them. Your reasoning convinced me that
                        trying to avoid an explicit irony marker also entails trying to avoid
                        constructions which can only be meant ironically and to allow for a little
                        polysemy :)

                        > Yet another idea that came to me would be the use of an adjective instead
                        > > of a verb à la:
                        > > nkari puku
                        > > 3.SG-person-VERB death-ADJ
                        > > 'he is a dying one/he is the dying kind'
                        > > nkari terrumpttautlosu
                        > > 3.SG-person-VERB house-sell-ADJ
                        > > 'she was always selling the house'
                        > > But the first example could be misconstrued as simply 'he is a mortal
                        > > man'
                        > > or even 'he is a deadly man', and although these interpretations do
                        > > partly fit the irony to be conveyed, under other aspects they don't.
                        >
                        > Great! All the better! Irony is best sown in ground where confusion
                        > and confoundibulation abound! This allows someone to quite frankly
                        > say "he's a mortal man, after all", all the while meaning something
                        > entirely different. That's pretty deep conlangery, that.
                        >
                        > Let people take it how they will, and let those who get the ironic
                        > reading enjoy the moment!
                        >
                        Teoh:

                        > There's an especially strong hint of irony if the phrase "he's a mortal
                        > man, after all" is spoken of someone who perhaps boasted of their
                        > nigh-invincibility while still alive.
                        >

                        Thanks! I also like the very concise, elliptic nature of these
                        constructions which makes them sound a little like proverbs. I haven't
                        quite grasped the intricacies of Chinese chengyu, but I feel reminded of
                        them with their shortness which nevertheless says so much, every one
                        alluding to a whole story. And yes, the knowledge of the kind of person he
                        was makes the contrast even more exquisite :)

                        > > One might misunderstand this as 'he chose death', though.
                        > >
                        > > All the better reason to choose that one! Can lead to all sorts of
                        > > interesting wordplay.
                        >
                        > It would be better IMO to use a phrase that is close to, but
                        > deliberately contradicts the situation at hand. The defining
                        > characteristic of irony is that the literal meaning of what is said
                        > doesn't match what is meant; one way to hint at it is to say something
                        > that (obviously or subtly) contradicts the plain facts of the situation.
                        >
                        > If someone has a reputation of proclaiming he will live in spite of
                        > taking dangerous risks, then upon his untimely death one could say "now
                        > he *really* lives" as an irony. (Though how that is interpreted will
                        > depend on the cultural norms of the native speakers -- they may
                        > interpret that as something offensive.)
                        >

                        Now I'm really torn between two extremes: 1) saying the opposite of what
                        happened (based on the definition of irony as saying the contrary of what
                        is meant), or 2) essentially saying what happened, just in an exaggerated
                        or distorted fashion (based on the definition of irony as the discrepancy
                        between words/manner of presentation and expected words/manner of
                        presentation). Again, I'll have to ponder very hard ;)

                        But now: back to work! Thanks again for your takes on the concept of irony
                        and for your suggestions!

                        Lisa
                      • Garth Wallace
                        ... Would it be possible to use a verb with a finalizer usually associated with its antonym, like we sometimes do in English by replacing key words in an
                        Message 11 of 13 , Jul 29 12:14 PM
                          On Fri, Jul 26, 2013 at 1:59 PM, H. S. Teoh <hsteoh@...> wrote:
                          >
                          > There are more such uses, though they don't really fall into the
                          > category of irony. One example is a series of 2-word idioms that
                          > juxtapose opposite words in a paradoxical manner:
                          >
                          > kura miin.
                          > hunger satiated(FIN)
                          > (Refers to hunger to the point of numbness, such that one's
                          > appetite is gone as though one was full.)
                          >
                          > airan imim.
                          > freshness slumber(FIN)
                          > (Refers to that dreamy yet stubbornly awake mental state after a
                          > night's conscious effort to not fall asleep.)

                          Would it be possible to use a verb with a finalizer usually associated
                          with its antonym, like we sometimes do in English by replacing key
                          words in an idiomatic phrase (e.g. "he failed with flying colors")? Or
                          are verb/finalizer pairs so closely connected that using a different
                          finalizer would seem incoherent?
                        • H. S. Teoh
                          ... This mailing list kinda does that sometimes. :) When I first stumbled upon it, I had almost zero knowledge of linguistics (aside from some interesting
                          Message 12 of 13 , Jul 30 12:26 PM
                            On Mon, Jul 29, 2013 at 07:40:14PM +0200, Lisa Weißbach wrote:
                            > Wow, this discussion has already provided me with a veritable feast
                            > for thought - thanks a lot! I'll have to digest some of it and ponder
                            > really hard. You think you know how irony/sarcasm works, but once you
                            > have to devise your very own means of expressing it, it seems to slip
                            > through your fingers. You have helped me quite a bit in making the
                            > concept a little less slippery so I can get a good look at it.

                            This mailing list kinda does that sometimes. :) When I first stumbled
                            upon it, I had almost zero knowledge of linguistics (aside from some
                            interesting points of grammar I picked up from my natlangs and from a
                            course in Classical Greek that I took in college). Today I probably know
                            far more about linguistics than I should. :-P It's become one of my
                            party tricks to point out curious aspects of linguistics that normal
                            people aren't aware of.


                            > 2013/7/26 H. S. Teoh <hsteoh@...>
                            [...]
                            > > Another use of finalizers is in repeated exhortations: in English,
                            > > for example, when cheering someone on, we might say "throw it, Bob!
                            > > throw it, throw it!" In Tatari Faran, it's not the verb that's
                            > > repeated, but the finalizer:
                            > >
                            > > tampa beira so tuu. tuu, tuu!
                            > > throw rock CVY FIN FIN FIN
                            > > Throw the rock! Throw, throw!
                            > >
                            > > The idea is that one wishes to see the action of throwing completed;
                            > > the repetition of the finalizer emphasizes this wish of completion.
                            > >
                            >
                            > This sounds like a carefully constructed concept - thanks for
                            > explaining it in such detail and with such patience! It is obvious
                            > that you've put a lot of thought into it and managed to squeeze every
                            > conceivable, psychologically realistic linguistic use out of it.

                            I'll freely admit that after I first conceived of the notion of
                            finalizers, I feared that perhaps it was too unrealistic to have stuck
                            around long enough to become a permanent feature of the grammar (after
                            all, as you point out, it does add a lot of additional verbiage to the
                            speech stream without adding much semantic value, so one would expect it
                            should drop out of the language rather quickly!). So I set out to find
                            as many use cases for it as I could, so that it would have more reasons
                            to remain in the language. :-P


                            > The additional ironic meaning they can take on seems like a very
                            > logical and consistent expansion of what the essence of those
                            > finalizers appears to be. The construction of those paradoxes sounds
                            > interesting as well - I've never thought about those mental states
                            > that way, but they are certainly convincing. This would be a domain
                            > where even the city folk would be ill-advised to drop the finalizers.
                            > Perhaps they could be reinterpreted as noun-adjective constructions or
                            > as compounds?

                            Well, the way I conceived of finalizers is that they were ancient
                            obligatory adverbs/adjectives that have stuck around long enough to be
                            bleached of semantic content. So I don't really see them as moving back
                            in the direction of becoming adjectives again.

                            But they could easily become eventually unanalyzable compounds (sorta
                            like the "cran" in "cranberry"). So, for example, the phrase _peira
                            ta'an_ "it's raining" could be contracted into a single word
                            _peirata'an_, perhaps phonologically simplified into something like
                            _peiratan_, then retroactively reanalyzed as the genitive of *_peirat_ +
                            -an (genitive ending). Thus, it would become nominalized, and may even
                            begin to be used as a noun.


                            > By the way, the san faran (no capitalization there?) sound like a
                            > refreshingly nice people :)

                            When I designed the Tatari Faran orthography, I wanted to capture the
                            informality of all-lowercase text (like in text messages or online chat
                            rooms), so I precluded all uppercase letters. :) So "san faran" comes
                            without capitalization, and simply means "person/people of Fara":

                            san fara-n
                            person Fara-GEN

                            _fara_ itself means "the Plain", referring to the floor of the large
                            volcanically-active caldera where they live. The language actually has
                            the word _faranui_ (fara + [n] + -ui (directional suffix)), meaning
                            "downwards", i.e., to descend to the Plain from the slopes of the
                            mountains that surround the caldera.

                            As for being nice people... they are generally rather relaxed and
                            easy-going, and love spinning elaborate yarns (they're perfectly at home
                            with all the frilly verbiage that having finalizers entails). They're
                            informal enough that the vocative marker is just the 2nd person pronoun:
                            _san tse!_ "hello!" (lit. "you person!"), and adding "you" to an
                            imperative actually makes it *less* forceful (unlike in English, where
                            it makes it stronger).

                            Never cross a well-established san faran, though: they keep guard wolves
                            in pens around their territories as defence against intruders and
                            trespassers, and it is not a nice thing to have wolves let loose upon
                            you!


                            [...]
                            > > Hmm. While trying to formulate a reply, I realized that I actually
                            > > wasn't that clear about the difference between irony, sarcasm, and
                            > > paradoxical statements. So I did a little research online, and found
                            > > this helpful summary of it:
                            > >
                            > > Irony consists in stating the contrary of what is meant. --
                            > > Eric Partridge
                            > >
                            > > Sarcasm is related to irony, but carries with it an additional
                            > > demeaning or mocking tone meant to express concealed annoyance or to
                            > > provoke a negative reaction.
                            > >
                            > > It would seem to me that the whole point of "stating the contrary of
                            > > what is meant" would exclude any explicit markings for irony, since
                            > > otherwise you wouldn't be stating contrary to what is meant, but
                            > > saying it outright.
                            > >
                            >
                            > You are of course right, I have been using these terms in a less than
                            > precise manner; one of the reasons was that they tend to overlap,
                            > another was that some of them operate on different levels: sarcasm
                            > often refers to the mood, the "feel" of an utterance, and irony is
                            > often, although not always, the means to convey sarcasm. I'm aware of
                            > the inflation of the use of the word "irony" (probably the best-known
                            > example being Alanis Morissette's "Ironic", which Ed Byrne says should
                            > be renamed "Unfortunate" ;)), but I'd say that irony means at least a
                            > little more than that: for me, it refers not only to the discrepancy
                            > between words and their intended meaning, but also between words/deeds
                            > and expected words/deeds or between different levels of knowledge in
                            > different people. Think of dramatic irony in the tragic hero: the
                            > audience knows something that the character doesn't know, and it knows
                            > that it's not desirable for him to act in a certain way; he acts that
                            > way because he doesn't have the knowledge that would prevent him from
                            > doing so; a sudden realization overcomes him, but it's too late, and
                            > he has to bear the consequences. Hamlet thinks that Claudius is hiding
                            > behind the tapestry, but the audience knows that it is in fact
                            > Polonius; Hamlet draws his sword and stabs him, thinking he has done a
                            > good deed; he realizes that he has killed Polonius instead of
                            > Claudius, which is one more factor that causes his tragic death in the
                            > end. This plot point doesn't rely on anyone stating the contrary of
                            > what is meant (I don't remember if Hamlet says something like,
                            > "Claudius must be hiding behind that tapestry" or something to that
                            > effect, but if he does, it is an honest expression of his thoughts);
                            > still, we speak of dramatic *irony*.

                            Yeah, I think part of the difficulty is that the word "irony" has been
                            extended in many ways, not all compatible, since its origin from the
                            ancient Greek plays. (Sounds similar to the situation with math
                            terminology related to polyhedra/polytopes, but that's another topic.)
                            According to Wikipedia, its original meaning was "saying less than is
                            meant" -- perhaps as a kind of white lie, but since then the word has
                            been extended in various ways -- saying opposite of what is meant,
                            dramatic irony ("irony of life"), seeing a "no litter" sign with a
                            mountain of litter piled up around it, etc..

                            This makes it fertile ground for conlangs to express each shade of
                            meaning by completely unrelated structures. ;-)


                            [...]
                            > Padraic, 28.07.2013 20:30
                            [...]
                            > > A similar case in point is the English negative. It used to be
                            > > entirely normal to negate a verb by appending "not" -- I saw not, I
                            > > know not, etc. Anymore, we create a novel negative structure with
                            > > "do" as a sort of content-negative dummy verb, plus the negatory
                            > > particle "-n't" tacked on: I didn't see, I don't know. So what about
                            > > V+not? Well, it's still perfectly valid English, but in ordinary
                            > > speech its meaning has shifted to a kind of affected fanciness or an
                            > > ironic archaism.
                            > >
                            > > This is actually a symptom of a pretty radical alteration within the
                            > > English language, and it may not be appropriate for your conlang.
                            > > Just something for you to consider!
                            > >
                            >
                            > You've given me an idea there, since my conlang does in fact display a
                            > similar diachronic development, only with person markers instead of
                            > negation. It used to be:
                            >
                            > pukini
                            > death-PAST-3.SG-VERB
                            > 'he died'
                            >
                            > But the person and tense markers moved to the front:
                            >
                            > nipuki
                            > 3.SG-PAST-death-VERB
                            >
                            > The word "ta" 'yes' derived from the old way of saying 'it exists':
                            >
                            > zistani
                            > exist-PRES-3.SG-VERB,
                            >
                            > which nowadays would read
                            >
                            > nzisti
                            > 3.SG-exist-VERB
                            >
                            > and could not yield a form like "ta". I'm not sure if I should revive
                            > those old forms for ironic purposes, it seems a little daring - but
                            > sometimes that's just what you have to go for, so I might actually do
                            > that, and I will blame you and Teoh for giving me that idea :)

                            I'll readily take the blame. ;-)

                            Recently I've been thinking about how real natlangs often have layers of
                            archaisms and neologisms stacked on top of each other, all in use at the
                            same time (only in different contexts). In English, for example, "thee"
                            and "thou" are no longer in use as everyday 2nd person pronouns, but
                            they are still lingering around enough that (most) people will still
                            understand them.

                            So I don't see why _pukini_ should be completely forgotten already. It's
                            not as though the march of language development has a specific date on
                            which all instances of _pukini_ vanished from the language and were
                            completely replaced by _nipuki_. In all likelihood, there was a
                            transition period in which sometimes _pukini_ was used, and sometimes
                            _nipuki_, and with time, _nipuki_ became more common, and now _nipuki_
                            has pretty much taken over the scene. So _pukini_ is probably still
                            lingering in the people's memories, in spite of it not being used in
                            everyday speech anymore. Hence, a perfect candidate for ironic
                            expressions. :)

                            After all, if Yoda could pull off verb-final English, why can't your
                            conlang pull off person-final verb morphology? :) It will come across
                            sounding stinted or strangely archaic, but that's the ideal candidate
                            for hinting at irony.


                            [...]
                            > Padraic:
                            [...]
                            > > I do think it would help if whatever irony marker you settle on also
                            > > has one or more "straight" uses. Like the sentence above, he's well
                            > > and truly dead, can mean that there is simply no question about the
                            > > present state of his body; but it can also take on subtler shades
                            > > (so to speak) and secondary meanings that allow ironical subreadings
                            > > while also freely admitting the basic straight reading.
                            > >
                            >
                            > Thank you for that statement - I wasn't sure in which of the two
                            > directions I should go: whether to collate the irony marker with other
                            > meanings or to keep things clearer by separating them. Your reasoning
                            > convinced me that trying to avoid an explicit irony marker also
                            > entails trying to avoid constructions which can only be meant
                            > ironically and to allow for a little polysemy :)

                            Polysemy: the hallmark of wordplay, a keystone of irony. :) (If you'll
                            excuse the construction puns...)


                            [...]
                            > Teoh:
                            >
                            > > There's an especially strong hint of irony if the phrase "he's a
                            > > mortal man, after all" is spoken of someone who perhaps boasted of
                            > > their nigh-invincibility while still alive.
                            > >
                            >
                            > Thanks! I also like the very concise, elliptic nature of these
                            > constructions which makes them sound a little like proverbs. I haven't
                            > quite grasped the intricacies of Chinese chengyu, but I feel reminded
                            > of them with their shortness which nevertheless says so much, every
                            > one alluding to a whole story. And yes, the knowledge of the kind of
                            > person he was makes the contrast even more exquisite :)

                            Ahhh, chengyu, the torment of every schoolboy (who has to memorize
                            them), and the trusty sword of every elocutor (who uses them to his own
                            ends)! Used correctly, chengyu is one of the best ways to draw a laugh
                            from your audience, especially if done with the artistry of wordplay.

                            Unfortunately, chengyu is also the bitter regret of everyone who didn't
                            do their homework when they were young (among whom I number :-/), since
                            that makes you gape in dumb incomprehension while everybody else is
                            splitting their sides laughing.

                            It's one of the fine products of the ancient Chinese scribes of old, who
                            pushed the ideal of one word per syllable to its logical conclusion,
                            resulting in the distillation of entire epics (OK, OK, I exaggerate)
                            into the space of mere syllables, readily available for instant
                            application at your nearest Chinese imported goods corner store.
                            Encapsulated in that fine distilled powder is the essence of a story or
                            moral, a valuable gem of ancient culture, but woe betide the slothful
                            schoolboy who didn't do his homework, for he will fail to recognize the
                            magic incantation when it is uttered! To reconstitute the original story
                            from its distilled form requires the overnight marination in warm water
                            of studious textbook memorization and meditation over ancient grammar
                            encoded in characters rarely used elsewhere, without which the
                            incantation sounds like a string of mere gibberish! Thus, the wise and
                            prudent may be distinguished from the slothful and ignorant. Ah, the
                            irony of it all. ;-)

                            Ahem.

                            On a more serious note, one of my favorite aphorisms is, to
                            transliterate, "hang a pig's head, sell dog meat", a reference to the
                            custom of putting a stuffed animal head (or a bust thereof) outside a
                            shop to indicate what kind of meat is sold. To hang a pig's head and
                            sell dog meat instead, therefore, refers to deceptive advertisement:
                            what one advertises is different from the real product sold. To persuade
                            people by telling them how good something is, in order to mask an
                            inferior product. The essence of bait-and-switch. :)


                            On Mon, Jul 29, 2013 at 12:14:53PM -0700, Garth Wallace wrote:
                            > On Fri, Jul 26, 2013 at 1:59 PM, H. S. Teoh <hsteoh@...> wrote:
                            > >
                            > > There are more such uses, though they don't really fall into the
                            > > category of irony. One example is a series of 2-word idioms that
                            > > juxtapose opposite words in a paradoxical manner:
                            > >
                            > > kura miin.
                            > > hunger satiated(FIN)
                            > > (Refers to hunger to the point of numbness, such that one's
                            > > appetite is gone as though one was full.)
                            > >
                            > > airan imim.
                            > > freshness slumber(FIN)
                            > > (Refers to that dreamy yet stubbornly awake mental state after a
                            > > night's conscious effort to not fall asleep.)
                            >
                            > Would it be possible to use a verb with a finalizer usually associated
                            > with its antonym, like we sometimes do in English by replacing key
                            > words in an idiomatic phrase (e.g. "he failed with flying colors")? Or
                            > are verb/finalizer pairs so closely connected that using a different
                            > finalizer would seem incoherent?

                            You know, that's a very clever idea! I've never really thought about
                            that. Conceivably, one could express irony by deliberately substituting
                            an unusual finalizer. Some verbs already have multiple possible
                            finalizers that express different shades of meaning (_kiapitai nana_ -
                            to insult, to provoke; _kiapitai ihia_ - to quarrel), so using a
                            finalizer with opposite meaning is definitely a possibility. I'll have
                            to think about it.

                            Thanks for the idea!


                            T

                            --
                            Questions are the beginning of intelligence, but the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.
                          • Anthony Miles
                            In Siye, a sarcastic question equivalent to Would you like some wine with that cheese? is Neneke pe tupini yapeliputekanamumo? nene-ke-0 pe
                            Message 13 of 13 , Jul 30 2:54 PM
                              In Siye, a sarcastic question equivalent to "Would you like some wine with that cheese?" is
                              Neneke pe tupini yapeliputekanamumo?
                              nene-ke-0 pe tupini ya-pe-li-pu-teka-na-me-umo?
                              [ne.ne.ke pe tsu.Ci.ni ja.pe.li.fu.te.ka.na.mu.mo]
                              bug-PAUC-ABS 2.NOM bird-COM 3-2-eat.IMPFV-SG-VOL.SUBJ-DIR.ALL-SUBJ.POS-Q.POS

                              /li ... na/ is the root 'to eat'. -teka- triggers the subjunctive -me- or -meku- rather than the indicative -ma- or -mu-. But the meanness of the phrase comes from the false politeness rather than a dedicated perjorative morpheme.
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