Thursday, April 26, 2012

Kahtsaai: a year old

I just noticed that the document sketch.pdf in my Kahtsaai directory is dated to April 23, 2011, meaning I just missed Kahtsaai's birthday. Taking a quick look at that sketch, it's interesting how much of the basic character of the language was firmly settled in just three not-very-dense pages with a whopping 20-word vocabulary.

For example, the conjugation table of subject and object prefixes is very similar, with the biggest change being the addition of several conditioned variants for the third person inanimate object, and the indefinites (thank you, Nahuatl). The sound system is completely unchanged, which shows serious restraint for me. The inchoative went from being a suffix, -píí to an aspectual prefix, -yé'-. The verb chain got a new slot just for those aspectual and adverbial prefixes.

I somehow derived an entire system of deixis from the single word hó'owa, thus.

Amusingly, the clause-final discourse particle łaai, undefined in the sketch, was briefly turned into the word yes, but now again sits without definition. It was used in the phrase, "s/he will make tea łaai." I suppose I really should find a meaning for it, given it's seniority.

It's at 973 lexical entries, including sublemmata. Perhaps I can spend the weekend getting that up to 1000.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Agreement of What?

I recently ran across this page about transitivity. Section six, "Problem Cases," mentions two languages in which it appears that the verb transitivity is cross-referenced on other constituents in the clause, in particular, adverbs and noun phrases acting adverbially. The first of the Shipibo-Conibo examples has two other elements in the clause so marked, Jain-xon-ra there-TRNS-EV and xobo-n-xon house-LOC-TRNS.

I don't think I'm going to be using this feature any time soon, but some people might find it alluring.

Words of Immiseration

You never know what's going to lead your conlang to new grammar. More than a month ago I was reading a bit by and about Hannah Arendt,...