Strange Syntax, Mortifying Morphology, and Lurid Linguistics

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Strange Syntax, Mortifying Morphology, and Lurid Linguistics

Postby Anoran » Sun 28 Oct 2012 9:46 am

I'd like everyone to try and think about the strangest piece of grammar or any other notable language feature they've seen in a language; natural or constructed. Pretend we're making an alien language or something, and want it to be as far-placed from any natural languages as we can.

For example, we could have a language where all the words are very similar. I'm going to the bizarre bazaar to buy a bezoar. Or perhaps the language has an unusual word order. It get you? It you get?

Come on, let's see how absolutely horrific we can potentially make a language.
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Re: Strange Syntax, Mortifying Morphology, and Lurid Linguis

Postby Dan_ad_nauseam » Sun 28 Oct 2012 8:35 pm

One of the crazier ideas I had for Experimental Conlang A was a double-agreement system. The word following head nouns, regardless of whether subject or object, carry a prefix agreeing agreeing with gender and number. The subject and verb separately agree in gender and number through agglutinative suffixes. Because I use SOV syntax, that means that the object could bear the subject's prefix and its own suffix, and the verb could bear the object's prefix and the subject's suffix.
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Re: Strange Syntax, Mortifying Morphology, and Lurid Linguis

Postby Elijah » Sun 28 Oct 2012 11:32 pm

Make EVERY verb irregular. Oh, wait. Navajo and Archi already do that!
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Re: Strange Syntax, Mortifying Morphology, and Lurid Linguis

Postby Anoran » Sun 28 Oct 2012 11:44 pm

Dan_ad_nauseam wrote:One of the crazier ideas I had for Experimental Conlang A was a double-agreement system.

Your explanation confuses me. Which is good! I'm looking for this sort of thing. It would be nice if I understood what you meant, though. The numbers go where? The gender goes where? Is the verb both masculine and feminine? (Sample sentences would probably help a lot)

Elijah wrote:Make EVERY verb irregular. Oh, wait. Navajo and Archi already do that!

While that is sufficiently horrific, I imagine that would make making a conlang all that much more difficult. You'd have to come up with verb conjugations for every single verb... Separately. Of course, if you don't have that many conjugations, then it doesn't matter too much. (Like in English - we have two conjugations. And about a third of the verbs we use are irregular.)
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Re: Strange Syntax, Mortifying Morphology, and Lurid Linguis

Postby Tikolm » Sat 10 Nov 2012 9:52 pm

About the strangest thing I can think of is the "'have' perfect" in Germanic and Romance languages, but I know that even though it's a totally opaque construction as compared with the "'after' perfect" or the synthetic one, it's not the sort of thing you're looking to find.

Let's see though, what can we come up with. Tikolmian originally had a very simple arrangement with regards to syntax: declarative sentences were SOV, whereas questions were VSO. This held true in all cases; even interrogative questions were VSO, not OVS as they are in (I think) most Indo-European languages, resulting in word orders equivalent to "is the cat where?". No, I'm not done yet. A while after I'd come up with this system, it somehow stopped making sense to me, so I decided to find a better way. First I changed interrogative questions to SOV, so that one would say "the cat where is?", but I wasn't satisfied with that arrangement either. It was a while before I settled on my current scheme of making everything SOV and tagging verbs in polar questions as interrogative; one of the ideas I had before then was pretty strange, so I'll share it with you. In full, it consisted of making polar questions where the main verb was not "to be" not VSO but V1SV2O, where V1 represents an auxiliary, "to be" in this case, and V2 represents a verbnoun form of the main verb. (If the main verb was "to be", one would simply use an interrogative verb form with VSO.) There's nothing weird about this construction itself -- what is in fact weird is that it would be used for questions and normal SOV word order sans auxiliary would be used in statements.
I hope that gives you some ideas. :)
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Re: Strange Syntax, Mortifying Morphology, and Lurid Linguis

Postby Dan_ad_nauseam » Sun 11 Nov 2012 10:34 pm

Anoran wrote:
Dan_ad_nauseam wrote:One of the crazier ideas I had for Experimental Conlang A was a double-agreement system.

Your explanation confuses me. Which is good! I'm looking for this sort of thing. It would be nice if I understood what you meant, though. The numbers go where? The gender goes where? Is the verb both masculine and feminine? (Sample sentences would probably help a lot)

. . . .



(Quoted from my post on Experimental Conlang A, Comment from June 5, 2011, 8:55 p.m.)

Reinforcing agreement is part of a two-level agreement system. All nominals agree with both the following word (reinforcement), and the subject and object show agreement.

With a few exceptions, the word immediately following a head nominal receives reinforcing prefixes showing agreement with gender and number, in that order.

Masc: [θ-]
Fem: [p-]
Neut: [t-]

Number varies according to the following phoneme:

Before:
Vowel:
Sing.: 0
Pauc.: [-w-]
Pl.: [-j-]

Nasal:
Sing.: [-ε-]
Pauc.: [-u-]
Pl.: [-ı-]

Other Cons.:
Sing.: [-eʔ-]
Pauc.: [-uʔ-]
Pl.: [-iʔ-]

Plural polarization carries to the reinforcing affixes.

Note that it is possible for a reinforcing affix either to match or to differ from the inflection of the reinforced word:

fængali-θ-a-g
Fangali-(masc.)-sing.- nom.

θ-[0]-ijana-p-i-ka-t
masc.- [sing]-bread-fem. -pl.-immed.- acc.

p-ı-nam-[0]-[0]-alh-i-bn-e:st
fem.-pl.-eat-[indic.]- [3d]- masc.-pl.-past-vis.

Fangali ate this bread (I see).
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