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Re: [CONLANG] Rhodese articles (Was: Terkunan: help with decision)

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  • Benct Philip Jonsson
    I would like to know what you Romlang buffs think of this! On Conlang Herrig {Thaill/i} (Henrik Theilling) wrote in ... That s exacly what one part of me is
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 8, 2009
      I would like to know what you Romlang buffs think of this!

      On Conlang Herrig {Thaill/i} (Henrik Theilling) wrote in
      response to me:

      > > I'm ATM in woes WRT the Rhodrese
      > > indefinite article. I feel that the changes I've
      > > made to the feminine indefinite and plural
      > > definite forms call for a change in the plural
      > > indefinite as well. Consider the following
      > > patterns:
      > >
      > > masc. sing. fem. sing. plur.
      > > _#C _#V _#C _#V _#C _#V
      > > ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
      > > def. el el la l' li gl'
      > > indef. un un na n' eun eun
      > >
      > > OR
      > >
      > > masc. sing. fem. sing. plur.
      > > _#C _#V _#C _#V _#C _#V
      > > ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
      > > def. el el la l' li gl'
      > > indef. un un na n' ni gn'
      > >
      > > Is the latter preferable or am I over-regularizing?
      > >
      > > NB _eun_ would still mean 'some, a few',
      > > while _{aoc/u}_ means 'some, any' and _{naoc/u}_
      > > means 'not any, none'.
      > My gut feeling for Rhodese is that the first alternative is more like
      > it. It has that nice vowel change. And the system should not be made
      > too regular I think.

      That's exacly what one part of me is saying, but I'm not
      qute sure that the language doesn't want otherwise...

      > Note that my answer disregards any aspect but aesthetics, because I
      > basically have no idea how the modern words are derived exactly and
      > why you would think you're overgeneralising in the second alternative.

      The basic idea is that since the forms of ILLE which ended in
      a long vowel developed forms stressed on the ending, why
      could not
      the forms of UNUS do the same? There are essentially two

      1. UNUS probably became an indefinite article
      much later than ILLE became a definite
      article, and so should not develop in parallel
      with it.
      2. {|UNUS} had a long vowel in the first
      syllable, which would be a stress attractor.

      Contra objection 1. can be said that the field
      should be rife for analogies with the definite

      Contra objection 2. can be said that ILLE also
      began with a heavy syllable, due to the double

      In fact I suspect that one factor which made the
      ending-stressed forms of ILLE arise in the
      first place may have been the way assignment of
      secondary stress affected them once they became
      proclitic. Recall that secondary stress in Latin
      apparently tended to fall on every second syllable
      before the main stress:


      apparently a first syllable immediately before the
      stressed syllable received a secondary stress even
      though no unstressed syllable intervened:


      but I think that a first syllable of a word with
      three syllables before the stressed syllable
      (which was uncommon in Latin) did not, or at least
      did not always receive secondary stress, or
      attract it from the following syllable:


      At least that seems to be the pattern which seems
      to apply in modern Italian.

      Now consider what would happen when the disyllabic
      forms of ILLE were procliticized to words
      stressed on the first and second syllable




      The nominative singular masculine apparently got
      special treatment. The short unstressed final
      )E must have been prone to disappear for
      its own reasons as part of the cliticization
      process; probably it was already [@] already
      and could not receive contextual stress. Whatever
      the particular reason we get


      as well as


      (NB French _le cheval, le {p\ere}_ are from the
      accusative with ILLUM -- it was still _lo_
      in Old French.)

      Now what I think happened nect was that the
      unstressed initial vowel in _il-,la-ta-'ber-na_
      fell off, giving _,la-ta-'ber-na_, and the thus
      arisen allomorph LA was later generalized to
      all cases. Actually I think the burden of proof
      rests on those who would claim that forms of
      ILLE received stress on the endings in some
      other way!

      Finally even if the 'articulization' of UNUS
      was later it shared two important features with
      ILLE: it was disyllabic and it began with a
      vowel, which in Vulgar Latin was just as short as
      I in ILLE in proclitic position. To be
      sure UNUS CABALLUS would not regularly become
      UN CABALLUS but rather *NUS CABALLUS
      according to my theory above, but UNUS PATER
      *would* become UN(U)S PATER and in the
      accusative UNU PATRE with stress on _un_ and
      _pa_, and analogy with the definite article could
      take care of the rest.

      > Note that I really miss the _u_ in some of the indefinite articles.
      > For me, _u_ is the essence of that article, not _n_, but of course,
      > that's pure aesthetics again. :-) Maybe that's why I like _eun_ more
      > than _ni_. (Terkunan has _nus_ with an _u_...)

      To me the essence of the Romance definite article
      is _l_, yet look at Portuguese and the Italian
      masculine plural! :-)

      There would be some factors in Rhodrese which
      could tip the scales towards the _n_-based forms:
      the regular Old Rhodrese reflex of *UNI before
      a pause or a fricative would be _*eu_, but that
      would be homophonous with HABES 'thou hast',
      which probably would favor forms with preserved
      _n_ -- though that may just as well be _eun_,
      so that's another matter. However there is one
      possibility which I imagine could have happened
      in some Romance natlang somewhere, though I never
      heard of it, namely that {|UNUS} got reanalysed
      as {)UNNUS} on analogy with ILLE -- that
      would both explain Rhodrese stressed forms with
      _-n_ and encourage total analogy with {)ILLE}
      as per above. I guess compound forms like
      might be exempt from this and keep single _*-n_
      which would then be lost before a pause or a
      fricative as usual in Rhodrese[^1].

      [^1]: I operate with the hopefully plausible
      assumption that before a stop there was free
      variation between

      nasalized vowel + nasal + stop


      nasalized vowel + stop

      where the vowel nasalization would later get lost,
      which gives quite some room for variation in
      resulting forms in standard modern Rhodrese
      where word boundaries are involved.

      I need to sort out the possible {r<ole} of pronominal _eun_.
      Your overview of Spanish indefinite pronouns will be most
      helpful! Now if I could only find that French grammar...

      BTW the name of the language is _Rhod*r*ese_ with
      a _dr_ in the middle -- it derives from
      {RH/ODANUS} _Rhuodre_ '{Rh<one}' and has nothing to
      do with Rhodes RHODUS _Rhuod_, although the
      names end up similar. I used to have a list
      of other words with D'N > _dr_ somewhere.
      Primary DR of course becomes _rr_, as does

      /BP 8^)>
      Benct Philip Jonsson -- melroch atte melroch dotte se
      "C'est en vain que nos {Josu/es} {litt/eraires} crient
      {\a} la langue de s'{arr<eter}; les langues ni le soleil
      ne s'{arr<etent} plus. Le jour {o\u} elles se *fixent*,
      c'est qu'elles meurent." (Victor Hugo)
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