First conlang troubleshooting

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First conlang troubleshooting

Postby Jarhead » Sun 03 Oct 2010 9:32 pm

Hi all :)
This is my first post so I'll take the chance to say that you have a really nice board here.
I lurked the topics for weeks looking for inspiration for my first conlang. I've been working on it for less than three months, and I've already revised it completely many times.
I'm not trying to create a pseudo-natural language since I want it to be free from exceptions, irregularities and such: rather, I'm trying to make a logical language, but which could be still more or less pleasing to hear or speak (not like lojban :P ) and possible to apprend (not like ithkuil, even if it is a primary source of inspiration for me :D ).
I think I've come to a standstill, as I've defined six different cases to decline words in (nominative, accusative, genitive, dative, locative, instuctive) and nine different "quantities" of an object (singular, monadic, associated, complessive, grouped, organized, undefined, set and unitive) plus five word modifiers (that express negation, opposite meaning, equality, intensive meaning, and positivity) and I think that, starting from a relatively narrow list of word stems, I could possibly derive loads of words. It works this way: starting from the stem that means soldier, I can add the complessive suffix and get the word for army or add the grouped suffix to get the word for soldier team, or even use the locative suffix as an affix and have the word for barracks, and so on.
The problem I'm faced with right now is that I would love to give my language an ear-pleasing sound, beyond a logical structure, but I can't figure out what kinds of rules could I use while creating affixes and declinations to obtain nice combination of sounds! I'm trying to achieve a sound more or like resembling northen languages, like gaelic, celtic, or viking's language which name I don't remember right now :P And I'm absolutely in love with the sound of what I think is ancient irish.
If you happen to have any particular suggestion about the structure I'm trying to give to the language, i.e. the cases you chose to put in suck or something like that, I would be really happy in reading them! I'm quite an apprentice in conlanging, so I'm up for any suggestion. I'm not even an expert in glottology, phonology, or any other language-involving discipline, so forgive me if I make newbie mistakes.

Thanks in advance for any help :)
Jarhead

P.S. I'm not even a native english speaker, if any of you didn't get that :P So please forgive my mistakes another time.
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Re: First conlang troubleshooting

Postby Kloiten » Mon 04 Oct 2010 7:18 am

*scratches head*

You know, the only thing I can come up with is a huge chart of possible euphonic syllables; that is, (in SAMPA) [ka], [ni], [to], [fE(l)] and so on which you can use. And then you can create a chart of non-euphonic syllables to avoid.
Or you can set some phonological rules that guarantee euphony. But that's basically the euphonic syllable chart thingy above.

Hope that helped, even if just a little.
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Re: First conlang troubleshooting

Postby Jarhead » Mon 04 Oct 2010 2:41 pm

Thanks for the reply Kloiten ;) I would love to try to buil phonological rules instead of just writing down all the syllabes I like, but I don't think I have sufficent knowledge... So I think I'll go for the first option :P Or maybe I'll just copy loads of syllabes if I can find a text in ancient irish :P Again thanks, read you soon :mrgreen:
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Re: First conlang troubleshooting

Postby linguoboy » Mon 04 Oct 2010 4:11 pm

Jarhead wrote:If you happen to have any particular suggestion about the structure I'm trying to give to the language, i.e. the cases you chose to put in suck or something like that, I would be really happy in reading them!

I can't really give any suggestions without knowing seeing any examples. I don't even know what "instuctive case" means or what use it might have in a conlang.

I am curious to know what you think the sound of ancient Irish was, since all we have to go by are reconstructions.
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Re: First conlang troubleshooting

Postby Jarhead » Mon 04 Oct 2010 6:48 pm

linguoboy wrote:I can't really give any suggestions without knowing seeing any examples. I don't even know what "instuctive case" means or what use it might have in a conlang.

I am curious to know what you think the sound of ancient Irish was, since all we have to go by are reconstructions.

I base my knowledge mainly on sound samples found on the net... As I mentioned, I'm not a linguist, so I can't tell if their correct or completely messed up, but I don't really care about what exactly ancient irish sounded like, as long as it sounds good as inspiration ;)

I misspelled, my fault. But if you look for instructive in google, the instructive case is like, the third result.

Don't take it seriously -> http://lmgtfy.com/?q=instructive :P

And its use is quite not limited to conlangery ;)
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Re: First conlang troubleshooting

Postby linguoboy » Mon 04 Oct 2010 7:35 pm

Jarhead wrote:I base my knowledge mainly on sound samples found on the net... As I mentioned, I'm not a linguist, so I can't tell if their correct or completely messed up, but I don't really care about what exactly ancient irish sounded like, as long as it sounds good as inspiration ;)

I'd be interested in hearing some of these (particularly those recorded from native speakers). It would give me an idea what sound you are going for.

I misspelled, my fault. But if you look for instructive in google, the instructive case is like, the third result.

Unfortunately the results I find don't really clarify how it differs from the instrumental case. Moreover, reading how it works in other languages won't necessarily tell me how it functions in yours. The "dative case", for instance, is a good example of one whose actual usage varies widely between languages.
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Re: First conlang troubleshooting

Postby Jarhead » Mon 04 Oct 2010 8:59 pm

linguoboy wrote:
Jarhead wrote:I base my knowledge mainly on sound samples found on the net... As I mentioned, I'm not a linguist, so I can't tell if their correct or completely messed up, but I don't really care about what exactly ancient irish sounded like, as long as it sounds good as inspiration ;)

I'd be interested in hearing some of these (particularly those recorded from native speakers). It would give me an idea what sound you are going for.

I misspelled, my fault. But if you look for instructive in google, the instructive case is like, the third result.

linguoboy wrote:Unfortunately the results I find don't really clarify how it differs from the instrumental case. Moreover, reading how it works in other languages won't necessarily tell me how it functions in yours. The "dative case", for instance, is a good example of one whose actual usage varies widely between languages.

Oh! Sorry, I didn't know that :P Seen that someone looks intrerested at least in learning how it works, I'm explaining my whole bunch of cases ;) Please forgive me if the translation of complements isn't right.
Nominative and Accusative can be applied to nouns to make subject and object, or tu adjectives to make predicative complements of subject and object.
Locative is combined with other different suffixes to make different place complements (like motion to, motion from and motion through).
Dative is used in sentences like: Abe gave food to the cat (the cat would be in dative case).
Genitive works just like saxon genitive.
Finally... Istruttive! Works just like instrumental :P
I'm taking the chance to ask you why do we call a case with the same name if express different things in a language! For example, the dative case! Why do we always call it the same if in other languages means something else?

EDIT: You can find recordings here on omniglot (http://www.omniglot.com/writing/irish.htm) though it's not a native. Here is recorded every letter's pronuntation (http://www.smo.uhi.ac.uk/gaeilge/gramadach/aibitir/) and you've got many words here (http://angaelmagazine.com/pronunciation ... nglish.htm). I think I also saw a text somewhere, maybe wikimedia, but I'm not sure ;)
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Re: First conlang troubleshooting

Postby linguoboy » Mon 04 Oct 2010 9:46 pm

Jarhead wrote:I'm taking the chance to ask you why do we call a case with the same name if express different things in a language! For example, the dative case! Why do we always call it the same if in other languages means something else?

Because the core usage is always the same. That is, if something is called the "dative case", it will always express the indirect object of a ditransitive verb. What varies, however, is what else is used for.

For instance, many languages have a so-called benefactive dative. In this construction, the dative is used to indicate the person for whom an action is performed. (In terms of thematic relations, they are beneficiaries but not recipients.) For instance, "My brother sang me a song." In this example, no physical object has changed hands, but one person has directly benefitted from another's action. In dialectal English, the benefactive dative is often reflexive and even more difficult to relate back to the core notion of giving, e.g. "I loves me some pie". Other languages don't allow these kinds of constructions and still others (e.g. Basque) even have a distinctive benefactive case.

In Standard German, the experiencer (another thematic relation) is often in the dative, e.g. "Mir ist hier kalt." ("I.DAT be-3S.PRS here cold", i.e. "I'm cold here".) In colloquial German, the dative can even replace the "Saxon genitive", e.g. Sterb ich in meinem Vater seinem Haus "[if] die I in my.DAT father his.DAT house" (instead of Sterb ich im Haus meines Vaters). Furthermore, it can also be used ablatively, i.e. to express exactly the converse of the core usage for the dative, i.e. Ich kaufe meinem Vater sein Haus auf Rentenbasis ab. ("I'm buying my father's house from him on a rent-to-own basis.").

Again, all of these usages are reasonable extensions of the core dative notion of someone being a recipient, but not all we be expressed the same way in all languages with a so-called "dative case".
Last edited by linguoboy on Mon 04 Oct 2010 10:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: First conlang troubleshooting

Postby Jarhead » Mon 04 Oct 2010 9:53 pm

Now I understand better! Thanks for the explanation. You made it very clear ;) Furthermore, your link about thematic relation made me think about my case system. Maybe I'll rewrite them to fit them better xD Did you find my links of any help?
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Re: First conlang troubleshooting

Postby linguoboy » Mon 04 Oct 2010 10:05 pm

Jarhead wrote:Did you find my links of any help?

Oh, I know what modern Irish sounds like--I speak it myself. But you said were "in love with the sound of what I think is ancient irish". And that's what has me intrigued, since there are no recordings of "ancient Irish". So where do you get your notion of what it sounded like?
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