N'ketle

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Re: N'ketle

Postby Kietl » Wed 19 May 2010 6:58 am

Alright, I understand. :) Once again, as I mentioned, we (as conlangers) simply appear to have different preferences when it comes to constructing languages. While you personally may go for culture when you are creating a language, I simply don’t. There’s nothing wrong with either method, of course, but the tone of your previous comments certainly seemed to assume that concultures are essential to a conlang, an idea that I couldn’t really identify with.

My main objection was your comment:
I guess that I am saying that the language is meaningless to me, because who speaks it is just as important as what is spoken.

Perhaps I’ve misunderstood you, or perhaps this isn’t quite what you meant. But whatever the case, I appreciate your interest in N’ketle and your willingness to converse. :)
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Re: N'ketle

Postby Kietl » Fri 21 May 2010 7:42 am

3 Tle’kete, “N’omnanam a’natha oetl tlem a’artha ka para." N’omnanam tl’amel nor’om aje oetl n’omorom tl’amel nar’naom aje.
3 And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for mortar.


Continuing ever on, here we have a summary of the verb-system of N’ketle, including issues of Tense, Aspect, and Person/Number, followed by a general explanation of the usage of the ever-tricky apostrophe.

Verbs:

Historically, verb stems took the determiner ’+vowel (glottal stop+vowel). As with nouns, the vowel of the determiner changed to match the vowel of the stem. However, unlike with nouns, the verb-determiners have been almost completely reanalyzed and cannot now be explicitly identified as “determiners.” Instead, the determiner-morphemes have become bound to the stem and transferred the information which they previously carried to the stem as affixes.

The verb-determiners functioned in much the same way as the noun-determiners at an early stage of the language, and the remnants of the older structure can still be seen in some places, although the system has undergone extensive change. Originally, the verb-determiners were used to indicate tense (past, present, or future), aspect (simple or imperfect), number (singular or plural), and person (first, second, or third).

Basic verb stems were of the same form as noun stems: VC or CV and followed the same processes of assimilation regarding the determiner vowels (no oj > n’oj, etc.) where possible. In this post I have only given the paradigm for the CV stems, anticipating a further post explaining any irregularities for VC stems (as well as the various possible polysyllabic stems).

-Tense:

There are three primary tenses: past, present, and future. In older forms of N’ketle, these tenses were indicated by the addition of an affix to the determiner for the past and future (the present tense was left unmarked). Simple past tense was indicated with the prefix t- (resulting in tV), while simple future was indicated by a suffix -t (Vt):

Code: Select all
-Archaic Paradigm:

*e ke “to speak”

Past:      *te ke   “spoke”
Present:   *e ke    “speak”
Future:    *et ke   “will speak”


Eventually, however, this system broke down due to the influence of the affixes for aspect, person, and (most importantly) number. The result of this was that the tense affixes were eventually removed from the determiner and suffixed to the stem itself, although the form of the future tense suggests that, originally, the entire determiner was suffixed, with later leveling of the paradigm in order to fully distinguish the tenses:

Code: Select all
-N’ketle Paradigm:

e’ke “to speak”

Past:      ket      “spoke”
Present:   ke       “speak”
Future:    keet     “will speak”


-Aspect:

There were two aspects: simple (for completed actions) and imperfect (for incomplete actions or description).

The simple aspect had no overt inflection (or was simply indicated by leaving the determiner unmarked), while the imperfect aspect was indicated by the affix -s, which was added to the determiner as a suffix. This may have originated from an older particle *es (mirroring the case particles for accusative and genitive in nouns).

Code: Select all
-Archaic Paradigm:

           Simple   Imperfect
Past:      *te ke   *tes ke
Present:   *e ke    *es ke
Future:    *et ke   *ets ke


This imperfect affix was later detached from the determiner and actually became prefixed to the following stem during the breakdown and reanalysis of the verb-determiner structure. If one proceeds with the idea that the affix was originally *es, this process might have followed much the same course as nounal VC stems, where the case-particle was eventually affixed to the determiner and now acts as a prefix (although still, more or less, distinct from the stem). This interplay between the development of the Noun and Verb heads is apparent in

Code: Select all
-N’ketle Paradigm:

           Simple   Imperfect
Past:      ket      sket
Present:   ke       ske
Future:    keet     skeet


-Person and Number:

There were three persons, indicated by prefixes attached to the determiner between the determiner vowel and the tense affix. The first person was unmarked, while the second and third persons were indicated by the prefixes h- and l-, respectively. However, when combined with the past tense affix these were altered slightly to th- (only a consonant cluster in “proto-N’ketle”) and tl-.

Plural number, on the other hand, was indicated by doubling the determiner, with tense affix intact, and adding it to the stem as a suffix in much the same way observed in nouns above.

Code: Select all
-Archaic Paradigm:   

           Sg.      Pl.      
Past
1          te ke    te kete      
2          the ke   the kete   
3          tle ke   tle kete      
Present
1          e ke     e kee      
2          he ke    he kee      
3          le ke    le kee      
Future
1          et ke    et keet      
2          het ke   het keet   
3          let ke   let keet      


It was primarily the influence of the number-affix which motivated the shift in emphasis from the determiner to the stem itself, working along with processes of analogy and regularization (between singular and plural, for example, as well as amongst the various imperfect forms). The result of these changes is contained in the following paradigm, along with some comments on the minor irregularities:

-Summary:

Code: Select all
-N’ketle Paradigm

           Simple                Imperfect
           Sg.        Pl.        Sg.         Pl.
Past
1          e ket      e kete     sket        skete
2          he ket     he kete    he sket     he skete
3          tle ke(t)  tle kee    tle ske(t)  tle skee
Present
1          e ke       e kee      ske         skee
2          he ke      he kee     he ske      he skee
3          le ke      le kee     le ske      le skee
Future
1          e keet     keete      skeet       skeete
2          he keet    he keete   he skeet    he skeete
3          le keet    le keete   le skeet    le skeete

Notes:
- The t- prefix is retained in all third person sg. forms of the Past tense (and, consequently, the -t suffix is not obligatory, although it can still be used to avoid ambiguity).
- The second person pronoun also appears rarely as a variant th- (a cluster [tx]) in the past tense when the stem is VC.
- The first person pronoun is usually dropped in the singular and plural of the imperfect, as well as in the plural of the simple future.
- The second and third person pronouns can be contracted to h’- and (t)l’- with all stems, but especially with VC stems (in which case the first person pronoun is written V’-).

-Usage of the Apostrophe

[As a preliminary note, in the formulation of orthography for N’ketle, I have gone under the assumption that it was written with a script other than the Latin alphabet, but that this unknown script included a character equivalent in usage to the apostrophe.]

Orthographically, the apostrophe is used to represent more than one pronunciation and also serves as a graphemic aid in the writing of some inflectional constructions. From a historical perspective, the apostrophe was at first used only to represent a glottal stop, but as the system of “proto-N’ketle” developed and change occurred in the phonology of the language, the usage of the apostrophe was expanded.

As mentioned, the apostrophe was exclusively used to represent the glottal stop in “proto-N’ketle,” however in N’ketle it can also be used to represent a reduced form of a vowel (basically a schwa) resulting in such inflectional forms as ne kenem > n’kenem [n@”kEnEm]. This interpretation holds for all cases where the apostrophe occurs between consonants (see also the pronoun prefixes h’- and tl’- in verbs).

However, in instances where the apostrophe is found between a consonant and a vowel, it represents a glottal stop once more. In nouns, for example: ne en > n’en [n?En], nom’or [nOm”?Or]. This could be viewed as a kind of “glottal strengthening” which occurs in VC stems in order to further separate the stem from the attached morpheme. One exception to the rule would be in instances where the preceding consonant is [x], in which the glottal stop can be dropped.

In all other situations, the apostrophe is used simply as a graphemic aid indicating the relationship between two morphemes (without reference to pronunciation). In verbs, for example, the apostrophe may be used to visibly connect the pronoun to the stem: tla’sachta “they went (imperfect).” This is particularly relevant when the verb is of the stem form CV (in other cases, the vowel of the pronoun would be automatically absorbed; c.f. tl’amel “they had”).

---

Next I am considering moving on to a brief discussion of Modifiers (adjectives and adverbs), which may lead to some issues of syntax (regarding word order particularly and classification of constituents); after which I may attempt to gloss the three Babel-verses with more coherency (and with less need for explanation). Anyways, thanks for the comments thus far.
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Re: N'ketle

Postby Kloiten » Mon 24 May 2010 5:19 am

Like linguoboy, I find it unique and interesting that you thought about the origin of your inflections. I want to take it a step further and ask how the modifications of the determiners were made. If there was no reason, it's okay.

Likewise I wanted to know how "oj" and your other words came into being. Were they just an arbitrary creation, were they older combinations of other basic lexical entries, or perhaps even words that meant something slightly different in the proto-language? I just happen to love etymologies, so I'm curious. And since your language is about the process of evolution, I thought I'd might as well ask.

I think you've inspired me to put more thought into the etymologies and origin on my own conlangs. Keep up the good work and keep on posting! Your language is actually very interesting and it looks like you've put a lot of thought into it.
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Re: N'ketle

Postby Kietl » Sat 29 May 2010 4:11 am

4 Tle’kete, “Nem’efenel eetl fanelechem katl na faaj n’effam las faal a’natha. Na pa-jeelem a’natha eatl e’enasa n’omor ee."
4 And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.


This post ended up as a mish-mash of several different subjects, ranging from Modifiers to some issues of syntax and phonotactics, and finishing with a gloss of the first verse from the Tower of Babel.

Modifiers:

The determiner for modifiers can be represented as kV (k+stem vowel). Thus, k’or “watery, wet,” ka pa “strong.” However, the modifier-determiner is rather more variable than the noun-determiner, due to certain phonological developments.

The most obvious of these is the fricativization of the determiner from /k/ to /h/ and a subsequent loss of “independence” from the stem itself. In VC stems where the consonant is a stop or a semi-vowel, the determiner is attached directly to the stem as h’: *ka-ap > h’ap “juicy, ripe”, *ko-oj > h’oj “thoughtful.”

Modifiers derived from stems can be used as both adjectives and adverbs, depending on the head which they are used to modify (noun or verb). However, there are some distinctions to be made between the two types (which were, at an earlier form of the language, distinct, being formed with distinct determiners).

-Adjectives:

Adjectives modify noun-heads. They are inflected for case to match the head using similar methods as appear in nouns, although to a much more limited extent (the lack of inflection for number, for example). Monosyllabic stem forms follow the same trends as in nouns and verbs, being in many cases derived directly from the original stem only by means of the modifier-determiner.

--Case:

The nominative case was unmarked, while the accusative and genitive cases were inflected by means of the particles *mV and *rV, respectively. The development of these particles progressed similarly to that of nouns in that they were eventually applied as suffixes.

[Tangent: The fact that the case particles for adjectives were not applied to the determiners of singular VC stems in the same way as with nouns (n’or > nom’or, nor’or) lends evidence to the idea that this change in noun stems was, in fact, a process of differentiation between the singular and plural forms (which would have otherwise resulted in nearly identical inflections).]

Adjectives of both stem types were inflected for case as follows:

Code: Select all
-CV paradigm:

N   ka pa      
A   ka pama      
G   ka para      

-VC paradigm:
      
N   k’ar      
A   k’arma      
G   k’arra


[Adverbs will be discussed in detail at a later date]

----

Tangent into Phonotactics:

After going over the various inflected forms of nouns and verbs, it has become necessary to better define the phonotactic limitations placed upon words in N’ketle. Thus far, I’m afraid that the classification of stems and the various paradigms of inflection into categories of CV, VC, etc., may lead one to the conclusion that syllable structure in N’ketle is, more or less, bound to these patterns.

So, first of all, a distinction must be made between the syllabic limits of the “proto-stems” from which all lexical categories are derived and the overall phonotactic structure of “proto-N’ketle” and N’ketle themselves. Proto-stems can be either CV or VC, and these patterns also apply to many of the derivative affixes which are attached to the stems. Other morphemes, however, do not follow these rules. Compare, for example, the t-affixes for Tense and the -s suffix for the Imperfect which are attached to verb-determiners.

The syllabic structure of “proto-N’ketle” can be summarized as (C)V(C), while in N’ketle this structure is expanded to (C(C))V(C(C)). The expansion is due to the invariable assimilation of morphemes to the stems themselves, which results in a higher tolerance for initial and final consonant clusters (c.f. the contraction of the determiner in VC nouns to n’- and also the -Ct clusters in the Past tense for VC verbs).

Most of the words used in examples of paradigms thus far belong to the category of Monosyllabic Stems, the class of words which derive directly from the proto-stems simply via the usage of determiners. Because of this, the VC/CV paradigms are necessary because they preserve the distinct variations in the development of various inflections. However, the various derivative affixes, combined with processes of compounding, have resulted in other paradigms for Polysyllabic Stems, which follow many of the same inflectional patterns as Monosyllabics, but deviate at various points.

Syntax:

-Word Order:

The first issue that needs to be clarified is Word Order. In general, there was a distinct tendency from “proto-N’ketle” to place the verb as the final constituent in a clause. SOV was the most common order; however, due to the fact that a case-system was also used, word order was relaxed in cases where a word was emphasized: SVO and OSV were allowable in such instances (emphasizing the verb and the object, respectively).

Word Order in N’ketle has become rather more rigid, especially in independent clauses. SOV is still the most common word order, and it is superseded by OSV only when there is no distinct nounal subject (or when the noun does not have a determiner, as in the case of pronouns). Thus:

SOV: N’en ne keejm le'ket. “(The) man spoke (the) language.”
OSV: N’apa l’amele. “They have fruit (pl.).”

N’ketle is generally head-initial when it comes to modifiers and adpositions (=postpositions), although there are instances where head-final structures are allowable. Therefore, adjectives and adverbs generally follow their heads. This is a departure from the original system of “proto-N’ketle,” which was primarily head-final with modifiers.

----

And finally, here is a gloss of the first verse from Genesis 11, followed by a short discussion. Please let me know if the clarity of the gloss can be improved, as I am unsure of the proper notation:

N’omo | ne | keejm | uch | eetl | kem | uch | tl’amel.
det.earth.NOMpl | det | language.ACCsg | one | and | speech.ACCsg | one | past.3sg.have

amel v. to have, possess
eetl conj. and (coordinates nouns)
ke n. speech (abstract)
keej, n. language (countable noun)
om, n. earth
uch, adj. one

There are several things to note in this gloss. First, the word order is SOV, with two coordinated objects. Coordination is a subject that will be discussed later, but it is relevant to note here that the second noun in the coordination structure (ke) does not require a determiner.

On a related note, the cardinal number uch "one" appears here without the modifier-determiner. This is an inherent feature of cardinal numbers in general, partly due to their methods of derivation, as well as the possible involvement of the cardinal numbers in the structure of noun-determiners (something which does not appear here).

Other than these things, there is little more to comment on. The accusative case can be seen for both objects, and the usage of the prefix tl- on the verb amel indicates both the Person (3rd sg.) and the Tense (past). Also, in rendering the phrase “all the earth,” I have used the plural inflection of om “earth” (omo), however, this usage may change later.

----

Hopefully the next post will be more focused on a single subject, rather than jumping between several! Thanks for your comments, Kloiten, I intend to get into the derivation of nouns and verbs soon, but suffice it to say that "proto-N'ketle" begins with a collection of "proto-stems" (mostly a priori) from which all words are derived, either through the application of determiners or derivative affixes. Oj (technically n'oj) is an example of a noun derived directly from a proto-stem (*oj) wholly without augmentation.
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Re: N'ketle

Postby Kloiten » Sat 29 May 2010 5:19 am

Kietl wrote:In VC stems where the consonant is a stop or a semi-vowel, the determiner is attached directly to the stem as h’: *ka-ap > h’ap “juicy, ripe”, *ko-oj > h’oj “thoughtful.”

Code: Select all
-CV paradigm:

N   ka pa      
A   ka pama      
G   ka para      

-VC paradigm:
      
N   k’ar      
A   k’arma      
G   k’arra


Am I missing something here? Isn't it supposed to be h'ar, h'arma, h'arra according to the aforementioned fricativization of the determiner ka before a vowel?

Kietl wrote: SVO and OSV were allowable in such instances (emphasizing the verb and the object, respectively).

So verbs are emphasized in the second position and objects in the first? Does inflection of voice change upon emphasis? When is the subject emphasized?

Kietl wrote:N’omo | ne | keejm | uch | eetl | kem | uch | tl’amel.
det.earth.NOMpl | det | language.ACCsg | one | and | speech.ACCsg | one | past.3sg.have

amel v. to have, possess
eetl conj. and (coordinates nouns)
ke n. speech (abstract)
keej, n. language (countable noun)
om, n. earth
uch, adj. one

...

On a related note, the cardinal number uch "one" appears here without the modifier-determiner. This is an inherent feature of cardinal numbers in general, partly due to their methods of derivation, as well as the possible involvement of the cardinal numbers in the structure of noun-determiners (something which does not appear here).
I assume that this also means that cardinal numbers don't not inflect by case when they act as nouns. Am I right?

Kietl wrote:Thanks for your comments, Kloiten, I intend to get into the derivation of nouns and verbs soon, but suffice it to say that "proto-N'ketle" begins with a collection of "proto-stems" (mostly a priori) from which all words are derived, either through the application of determiners or derivative affixes. Oj (technically n'oj) is an example of a noun derived directly from a proto-stem (*oj) wholly without augmentation.


That's interesting... so the Proto-N'ketle language's roots changed very little over time? And I'm looking forward to more installments of your work. It's definitely fun to read. I'll make sure to ask a lot of questions because I'm really curious. I promise I'll try to make them helpful to your endeavor.

For some reason, the sound (from the Sampa transcription, at least) of the language reminds me of a Semitic language with the C'V kind of thing. I bet this Semitic thing wasn't intentional since the whole language seems to have sprung up from a priori, but it's cool because it sounds pleasant and rich. I don't know why, but most languages here read quite shallow and impersonal. Yours has depth.
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Re: N'ketle

Postby Kietl » Sat 29 May 2010 5:56 am

Am I missing something here? Isn't it supposed to be h'ar, h'arma, h'arra according to the aforementioned fricativization of the determiner ka before a vowel?

Not quite: fricativization only occurs when the consonant of the VC stem is a stop or a semi-vowel. In k'ar it is a "liquid".

So verbs are emphasized in the second position and objects in the first? Does inflection of voice change upon emphasis? When is the subject emphasized?

Yes, in "proto-N'ketle" the verb would be emphasized in second position, which is the closest that the verb ever came (or could come) to the beginning of the clause. In the case of objects, there were no such restrictions, and thus the constituent was moved directly to the start of the clause. In N'ketle, however, I am unsure if these features have survived intact. Intonation may now play more of a part (and that may answer your question about emphasizing subjects. Otherwise, I simply haven't delved that far into it :) ).

I assume that this also means that cardinal numbers don't not inflect by case when they act as nouns. Am I right?

Ah, that's correct. I should have mentioned that. The issue of cardinal numbers is rather tricky, because I have some ideas about them being involved with noun-determiners. The fact that they may have existed as bound morphemes on determiners at some stage of "proto-N'ketle" has prevented them from being subjected to regular adjectival inflection.

That's interesting... so the Proto-N'ketle language's roots changed very little over time?

At least in the case of oj, very little has changed phonologically. I envision applying some more drastic alterations at a later date, but for now suffice it to say that the primary changes have been syntactic and morphological.

For some reason, the sound (from the Sampa transcription, at least) of the language reminds me of a Semitic language with the C'V kind of thing. I bet this Semitic thing wasn't intentional since the whole language seems to have sprung up from a priori, but it's cool because it sounds pleasant and rich. I don't know why, but most languages here read quite shallow and impersonal. Yours has depth.

Thanks, I appreciate your interest. :)

----

Ach, in reviewing the post on Verbs I see that I have failed to give a paradigm for VC stems. Thus, rectified:

VC verb stems follow the same inflectional processes as CV stems and have developed in much the same way, eventually de-emphasizing the verb-determiner in favor of affixes to the stem itself:

Code: Select all
-VC Paradigm

           Simple                Imperfect
           Sg.        Pl.        Sg.         Pl.
Past
1          e ent      e ente     sent        sente
2          he ent     he ente    he sent     he sente
3          tle en(t)  tle ene    tle sen(t)  tle sene
Present
1          e en       e ene      sen         sene
2          he en      he ene     he sen      he sene
3          le en      le ene     le sen      le sene
Future
1          e enet     enete      senet       senete
2          he enet    he enete   he senet    he senete
3          le enet    le enete   le senet    le senete


There is little to note here that differs from the CV paradigm, except for the fact that the final consonant clusters formed by the past tense -t inflection are subject to various sound-changes depending on the consonant of the stem. For example, a stem at “to order, repair,“ develops from *at-t to ath (as originally mentioned in the start-post, tt > th).
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Re: N'ketle

Postby Kietl » Sat 19 Jun 2010 4:09 am

5 Jawech Tl’ach. Nem’efenel eetl fanelechem katl n’ensejn n’ener tlas nat, Tl’jet.
6 Jawech Tle’ket, “Tl’jeth. N’enje ku’uch. Ne keejm uch l’amele oetl nj’ech las naele. Foechem katl na naelem l’ojele lo foamelet ul.

5 And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded.
6 And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.”


After a brief period of un-productivity, I've gathered enough inspiration to delve once more into N'ketle. For this post, I’d like to return to the topic of nouns, looking specifically at the various modifications made to noun-determiners, and how these features have developed into N’ketle.

Nouns II:

Several modifications have survived from “proto-N’ketle”: four deictic markers (two distal and two proximal), the definite marker, and the indefinite marker. Another type of modification, which has fallen into relative disuse (but will still be discussed), concerns the relationship of various quantifiers and number-words to the noun-determiners.

-Deictic Markers:

Four deictic categories are still distinguished in N’ketle. The basic distinction is between proximal (near to the speaker, equivalent to the English “this”) and distal (not near to the speaker, English “that”). There are also derivatives of these which might be classified as “emphasized” forms (super-proximal and super-distal), signifying more intensified deictic positions (“very near, this one here” or “very far, that one (over there), etc.”).

Each of these categories is indicated by a modification of the noun-determiner, examples of which are contained in the following table:

Code: Select all
               Base       Proximal     Super-Prox.  Distal      Super-Distal
Stem   CV     (ne) ke     nje ke       jene ke      nwe ke      wene ke   
       VC     (n’)en      nj’en        jen’en       nw’en       wen’en

These four modifications were originally classified as “particles” in much the same way as the morphemes indicating case. They eventually took the form of either a prefix or an infix (originally a suffix) which was introduced into the structure of the determiner. Proximal *-je, Super-Proximal *je-, Distal *-we, and Super-Distal *we-.

Also, as can be seen, the deictic markers normally undergo contraction according to the various principles discussed in previous posts. However, in writing, it is allowable to apply more extensive contractions (especially for CV stems): nje ke > nj’ke, jene ke > jen’ke, nwe ke > nw’ke, wene ke > wen’ke, etc, etc.

--Summary:

Code: Select all
               Base      Proximal   Super-Prox.   Distal      Super-Distal
Stem   CV      nV        njV        jVnV          nwV         wVnV   
       VC      nV, n’    nj’        jVn’          nw’         wVn’

--Usage:

The primary deictic distinctions are between distal and proximal, as well as the basic forms of these versus the super-distal and super-proximal.

The proximal marker is generally equivalent to the English “this”, as in nj’omoch “this stone”. It refers to an object which is in the immediate area of the speaker. The distal marker is equivalent to the English “that” (nw’omoch “that stone”) and refers to an object which is farther away from the speaker (but still within sight).

The super-proximal and super-distal markers are basically emphasized or intensified forms of the proximal and distal:

- The super-proximal refers to an object which is very close to the speaker or in physical contact with the speaker, as well as indicating an object which is closer to the speaker with reference to another proximal object.

For example: there are two stones near the speaker, but one is closer than the other. The closer one would normally be assigned the super-proximal, especially if the other stone were referred to earlier with the proximal. Examples:

N’omochom otso e’je. -- “I see two stones.” (omoch "stone, rock", otso “two”, see below, je "to see")
Njom’omoch e’je. -- “I see this stone.”
Jonom’omoch e’je -- “I see this stone here.” (closer, more emphasized)

- The super-distal follows much the same principle as the super-proximal in that it refers to an object that is very far away from the speaker, even farther away than an object referred to with the distal. However, the super-distal also serves the function of referencing an object that is not within the speaker’s range of vision or whose location is unknown. For this reason, the super-distal might also technically be called Distal/Invisible, although in these cases it is more or less required that the object be referenced earlier (definite).

Nwom’omoch e’je. -- “I see that stone.”
Wonom’omoch e’je -- “I see that stone.” (farther, more emphasized)
Wonom’omoch o’ojel. -- “I imagine that stone.” (unknown location)

-Definiteness vs. Indefiniteness:

The subject of definiteness has not been addressed at all thus far, partially because it is rather obscured in N’ketle and partially because the distinction has become rather deemphasized. However, despite this, the contrast between definite and indefinite can still be made in N’ketle.

Definiteness (English “the”) is indicated by “doubling” the vowel of the noun-determiner (technically reduplicating the determiner-vowel as a suffix), while indefiniteness (English “a[n]”) is indicated by duplicating the determiner-vowel as a prefix. Both morphological forms follow the same principle of adding another vowel, but in the case of the definite marking, the suffixed vowel is ultimately analyzed as a long vowel. The following chart lists these forms:

Code: Select all
               Definite   Indefinite
Def.   CV      nee ke     ene ke   
       VC      nee’en     en’en

The processes of contraction all still apply to the augmented determiners, although the long vowel of the definite determiner is retained before VC stems (unlike the standard short vowel which is dropped: ne en > n’en but nee en > nee’en).

The definite marker is generally more frequent and widespread in usage than the indefinite, which has experienced a distinct decline. One of the factors for this disparity can be linked to the methods of noun-derivation employed in N’ketle, specifically an increasing reliance on derivative suffixes and prefixes, many of which indicate specifically countable nouns (“action [abstract]” > “(an) action [countable],” etc.).

The increase in prevalence of these derivative forms has gradually diminished the effectiveness and necessity of the indefinite marking, with the basic form of the determiner-noun structure taking on these functions in many situations.

There are, however, still some situations where the indefinite is systematically used. For example, the indefinite marker is commonly employed with the object of a sentence in SVO sentence structures (which are used to emphasize objects or verbs). In such an instance, the indefinite marker selects the object out of an (implied) set of objects. However, this usage is somewhat limited due to the fact that the object must normally be modified by a following subordinate clause. Examples:

N’ensejm a’amel. -- “I have (a) child.” (ensej "child")
A’amel en’ensejm katl ne keejem tla na. -- “I have a child (out of a set of children) who makes languages.” (katl "relative pronoun", na "to make")

[Tangent: The SVO word order, in this case, is a remnant of the older system from “proto-N’ketle”, which used SVO to emphasize verbs and OSV to emphasize objects. In N’ketle, however, emphasis of verbs and objects has been collapsed into a single word order, with intonation, as well as modifying phrases and clauses, indicating the exact emphasis.]

-Numbers/Quantifiers:

The development of quantifiers and numbers (cardinal, ordinal, etc.) in N’ketle is rather convoluted, primarily because the prototypical (bound) morphemes from which the current forms descended were originally a part of the determiner-structure in nouns, but were eventually separated and reanalyzed into free-morphemes. The following is an attempt to explain in some detail the various issues involved.

The number-system of “proto-N’ketle” could technically be classified as “base-3”, because of the fact that there were originally only three basic morphemes from which all other numbers were derived. These were affixed to the noun-determiners as suffixes (in the same manner as the particles for case, deixis, definiteness, etc.):
Code: Select all
        Base      Example
One     *-Vch     *ne-ech en > nech en         
Two     *-Vs      *ne-es en > nes en         
Three   *-Vf      *ne-ef en > nef en

Number-morphemes higher than three were originally formed with systematic combinations of these three morphemes, following a pattern. For example: the morpheme for four was formed by reduplicating the two-morpheme, the morpheme for six was made up of those for four and two, eight was six and two, etc. Odd numbers progressed in the same manner (5 = 3+2, 7 = 5+2, 9 = 7+2, etc.).

However, this original system was eventually discarded in favor of free-morphemes, which were derived, according to a similar system as described above, from the original three determiner-affixes. These new number-words, which, at an early stage, were not yet clearly organized into noun and modifier categories, eventually developed into the common number-system of N’ketle, including both cardinal and ordinal numbers, as well as various other quantifiers.

The following chart illustrates the original forms of number-words up to 10 in “proto-N’ketle”, followed by “intermediate” forms and finally the common forms in N’ketle itself.

Code: Select all
        Proto-N'ketle       Intermed.       N’ketle
One     *-Vch           >   *och        >   uch         
Two     *-Vs            >   *ots        >   ucho, otso      
Three   *-Vf            >   *of         >   uchotso, uchos, ofo   
Four    *-Vs-Vs, *-Vss  >   *otso-os    >   otsus         
Five    *-Vf-Vs, *-Vfs  >   *ofo-os     >   ofus          
Six     *-Vss-Vs        >   *otso-os-o  >   soso         
Seven   *-Vfs-Vs        >   *ofo-otso   >   fotso, foso      
Eight   *-Vss-Vss       >   *soso-os    >   sosus         
Nine    *-Vfs-Vss       >   *foso-os-o  >   fuso         
Ten     *-Vfs-Vfs       >   *soso-os-o  >   suso         

Notes:
- The number ucho “two” is originally derived from a generalized plural form of uch, with the variant otso being derived directly from the morpheme ots. The two forms are interchangeable.
- The number uchotso “three” is derived in similar fashion from a compound uch-otso “one-two”, which is also interchangeable with the variant ofo.
- When a number is used as an adjective to modify a noun, no modifier-determiner is commonly used. Also, when a noun is modified by a number higher than one, it is common, but not absolutely required, to use the plural form of the noun.

----

And that concludes this post. I will probably follow this up with another short post on Quantifiers, after which I hope to get more into posting an actual lexicon/etymology and glossing the Babel story (with all the grammatical explication that entails). Wish me luck. I appreciate any and all comments.
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Re: N'ketle

Postby Kietl » Wed 03 Nov 2010 6:23 am

7 “A’achatha oetl ne keejm tler o’foathat oetlo ne kem tler l’fojeelet.”
7 Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech.


Well, it’s been a while. Too long! Life has been rather busy. But now, here’s a continuation of quantifiers (which has been typed out for about a month now), and some info on coordination, specifically how it relates to “determiner-drop”. But more importantly, I’ve also been able to prepare a somewhat-extensive dictionary (linked at the bottom of the post).

More on Quantifiers:

In addition to the more distinctive number-quantifiers, there are several more vague or general quantifiers that can be identified. These are collected in the following list:

onuch “some, many”
fonuch, monuch “few, not many”

k’aa / aa “all”
k’faa, k’maa / faa, maa “no, none”

aatsa “both”
faatsa “neither (of the two)”

aafa “all three”
maafa “none (of the three)”

Notes:
- All of these quantifiers except for the forms aa and faa/maa are placed after the noun.
- Aa “all” was originally prefixed to the determiner, but was later separated as a particle, and eventually developed a modifier-form with a modifier-determiner. It can be placed before the noun when it is not emphasized. Otherwise k’aa (< ka aa) is used after the noun.
- This usage is mirrored by k’faa/k’maa (< ka fo-aa, mo-aa) and faa/maa (< fo-aa, mo-aa).

One thing which distinguishes these quantifiers from the other quantifiers listed in the previous post is the fact that they can be inflected for case in the same way that normal adjectives are (although such inflection is not absolutely required).

This excludes, however, onuch and fonuch/monuch, which are never inflected, being derived directly from an older form of uch and, consequently, being more associated with the development of the number-words. At first glance, it might be considered unusual that aatsa and aafa are not also exceptions (because of their relation to the stems otso and ofo). However, these quantifiers are later innovations and have instead taken on many of the characteristics of adjectives.

Examples:

n’keonto – “dog”
n’keonton onuch – “some dogs”
aa n’keonton – “all dogs”
n’keonton k’aa – “all (more emphasized) dogs”
n’keonton aatsa – “both dogs”
n’keonton aafa – “all three dogs”

Coordination and “Determiner Drop”:

Although, in the dialect of proto-N’ketle from which N’ketle derives, the various determiners are still strongly retained, there are still instances where they can be dropped. These usually involve situations where the determiner is absorbed by a preceding element in the syntactic structure or is separated from the head-word through grammaticalization. The most common environment in which this is occurs is coordination.

For nouns, coordination involves a conjunction (ee(t)l “and” will be used as an example), which is placed between the coordinated nouns. The noun following the conjunction loses its determiner. This may be a development from an older structure where the determiner of the second noun was modified to form the conjunction, after which the determiner itself was lost and the remaining morpheme underwent grammaticalization. Thus:

n’en eetl haan – “man and woman”
n’om eetl or – “earth and water”

For adjectives, the situation is much the same. The conjunction used is keetl or heetl (interchangeable), and the adjective following the conjunction does not require its determiner (unless in the instances where the determiner has been absorbed and fricativized, as with many VC stems):

k’ar keetl pa – “bright and strong”

But:

h’ap keetl h’apel – “juicy and sweet”

In the case of nouns, when modifications are made to the noun-determiner indicating (in)definiteness or deixis, usually the modified noun is placed first (also, if the modification is applied to both coordinated nouns: “this/that man and woman, etc.”). When the coordinated nouns differ, the modified determiner is usually preserved on the second noun.

A variety of conjunctions exist in N’ketle beyond eetl and keetl/heetl. These will be discussed in more detail at a later date, but it is helpful to know that determiner-drop is a common aspect of environments involving them.

----------

And finally, here is a “dictionary” of N’ketle: Link

Most of the information included is relatively up-to-date. Thus far, I’ve included examples of variant forms for many words, as well as plural forms (for most nouns), infinitives, and imperatives (for most verbs). Imperatives and infinitives haven’t been discussed yet, but they should be somewhat self-explanatory. I’ve also tried to include some “irregular” inflected forms that might occur, although these aren’t explicitly labeled as such.

As always, comments and suggestions are appreciated.
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Re: N'ketle

Postby Kietl » Thu 11 Nov 2010 8:02 pm

8 Oetl Jawech tlem Tl’enas n’omel n’omor ee oetl na nam ner’efenel tlo foachala.
8 So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city.


Hello again, fellow Omniglites. It’s been quite a while. Life gets busier the longer it runs, I think. But in that space of time, N’ketle has developed slowly but steadily. Some changes in orthography and pronunciation have occurred, and the grammar has become a little more coherent.

For this post, though, we’re going to turn toward something long overdue:

Pronouns:

Thus far, the only pronouns that have been discussed are the pronoun prefixes which have survived as inflections on verbs. In addition to these, there do exist distinct forms for pronouns when they are not used as the subject. These forms have undergone a series of developments from Proto-N’ketle.

The primary changes that have occurred in pronouns can be seen in the system of possessive (technically genitive case) and objective (accusative case) pronouns. At the earliest stages of Proto-N’ketle, pronouns did not frequently appear as independent free-morphemes, and were instead limited to inflections on nouns and (as already discussed) verbs.

On nouns, consequently, they were not originally inflected for case, and thus I have chosen to refer to them as possessive and objective pronouns at this early stage in order to distinguish the early system from the later system of N’ketle, when pronouns were eventually inflected for case.

-Possessives:

The pronoun prefixes exhibited on verbs in Proto-N’ketle appear in a similar way on nouns to denote possessives. They were prefixed to the noun-determiner in the same manner as verbs; however, the prefix for the 2nd and 3rd persons commonly inserted a vowel between prefix and determiner, while the 1st person was simply represented by a vowel matching the stem vowel. The following table uses the stem *en as an example:

Code: Select all
         Sg.            Pl.
1 *V-    *e-ne-en       *en-ne-en
2 *hV-   *he-ne-en      *hen-ne-en (also: *he-ne-en-eh)
3 *lV-   *le-ne-en      *len-ne-en (also: *le-ne-en-el)


These forms were increasingly prone to ambiguity (between singular and plural, for example), especially as the marking of deixis and (in)definiteness was further developed in Proto-N’ketle.

Eventually this system fell by the wayside and was superseded by free-morpheme pronouns, which were then inflected for the genitive case, employing the same paradigm as nouns. This shift probably affected the plural forms and the first person singular earliest. The first person singular apparently developed an independent form er (e.g. e-r ne-en) very early in Proto-N’ketle, most likely due to the ambiguity of the older inflection.

Code: Select all
-N’ketle Genitive Pronouns:

  Sg.             Pl.
1 eer, er         ener
2 her             hener
3 tler            tlener   


-Objectives:

The system of objective pronouns in Proto-N’ketle differed from possessives in that there were, in fact, independent forms. However, these were based upon a derivational process involving a “bare” noun-determiner, which was then inflected for each person, as well as for the accusative case. This resulted in the following paradigm:

Code: Select all
-Proto-N’ketle Objective Pronouns:

  Sg.             Pl.
1 *V-nV-Vm        *V-Vm-nV
2 *hV-nV-Vm       *hV-Vm-nV
3 *lV-nV-Vm       *lV-Vm-nV      

-Example:

  Sg.             Pl.
1 *e-ne-em        *e-em-ne
2 *he-ne-em       *he-em-ne
3 *le-ne-em       *le-em-ne


The development of the system into N’ketle can be divided into two primary periods: Early and Late. The Early Accusative Pronouns were direct developments from the system of Proto-N’ketle above, while the Late system emerged from the widespread tendency toward standardization, which brought the pronouns more into line with the inflectional patterns of nouns themselves (following the same route as the Genitive pronouns).

Code: Select all
-Early Accusative Pronouns:

  Sg.             Pl.
1 V(nV)m          mVnV, VmnV
2 h’nVm           h’mVnV
3 l’nVm           l’mVnV

-Example:

  Sg.             Pl.
1 e(ne)m          mene, emne
2 h’nem           h’mene (-emne)
3 l’nem           l’mene (-emne)


It is possible that these divergent forms were motivated by issues of stress and emphasis. In general, determiners are not stressed, but the fact that a bare determiner is used as the core for the objective pronominal forms may have caused a degree of variation in the formulation of such forms.
Ultimately, the stress in the standardized forms falls upon an epenthesized vowel instead of directly upon the determiner, and this pattern seems to have been extended to the entire paradigm (although, in the first person plural, the older form still remains).

Another issue of note in both the Early Accusative Pronouns and the Objective Pronouns of Proto-N’ketle is the variability of the stem vowels. The vowel of the stem most frequently corresponded to the primary vowel of the verb, especially in SOV constructions, when the object directly preceded the verb. Eventually, as the pronouns have taken on more independent forms and usage, the vowel /e/ as come to be used in most cases.

Code: Select all
-Late Accusative Pronouns:

  Sg.             Pl.
1 em              enem
2 hem             henem
3 tlem            tlenem   


It must be stressed that the separation between the Early and Late systems is not at all strict, and many Early forms can still be freely used. As can be seen, the stem vowel of the Late period pronouns is always /e/.

-Reflexive Pronouns:

Reflexive pronoun constructions are formed by three separate, yet interrelated, methods. The first, and most common, is to use an objective pronoun followed by the postposition se, here used to mean “same, -self.” The second method is much more context-dependent and could be considered a contracted form of the first method—simply use se without an objective pronoun.

The final method is more commonly used when the stem vowel of the verb is not /e/. It is a development from an older system, which transitioned along the same Early to Late timeline as the objective pronouns: the early accusative pronoun form is commonly used, but the stem vowel is changed to match the primary stem vowel of the verb. Late accusative pronouns can also be used, but the first method is more preferred in such cases.

--Examples:

l’nem se tl’je (also tlem se tl’je)
3sg.ACC | reflex. | past.3sg.see
him | -self | he-saw
“He saw himself”

se tl’je
reflex. | past.3sg.see
-self | he saw
“He saw himself.”

l’nom tl’oj (also tlom tl’oj)
3sg.ACC | past.3sg.see
him (reflex.) | he-saw
“He saw himself.”

As can be seen, the reflexive constructions still follow the OSV/SOV word orders.

------------

There are several additional pronoun forms that will be discussed later (impersonal forms, emphasized pronouns, etc.), but for now I wanted to get the system sketched out. Next post will probably focus in-depth on developments in Coordination. As always, comments are appreciated.
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