Kay's Conlanging Questions

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Re: Kay's Conlanging Questions

Postby Alex » Sat 23 Jul 2011 6:08 am

I have another question, if I may.

It concerns word order. I have been thinking on what to use for a while, and decided on Subject Object Verb because I think it fits my language nicely. But I've run into a problem. I read the wikipedia page three times, but it didn't answer my question.

I may be over thinking it or not, but I felt I had to ask. I was told there are other components to a sentence other than what the "sov" offers. I wasn't sure what he meant (the guy who told me) so I asked, but he said he couldn't explain it so now I am more confused than before.

So here is the question: If my language is SOV, where do I place the other "components" like articles, prepositions etc etc.

I'm pretty confused about this. If anyone could offer some help or a place to read, I would really appreciate it. :oops:

Thank you so much,

Alex.
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Re: Kay's Conlanging Questions

Postby linguoboy » Sun 24 Jul 2011 6:55 pm

It's all there under "Properties" in the Wikipedia article:
SOV languages have a strong tendency to use postpositions rather than prepositions, to place auxiliary verbs after the action verb, to place genitive noun phrases before the possessed noun, to place a name before a title or honorific ("James Uncle" and "Johnson Doctor" rather than "Uncle James" and "Doctor Johnson"), and to have subordinators appear at the end of subordinate clauses. They have a weaker but significant tendency to place demonstrative adjectives before the nouns they modify. Relative clauses preceding the nouns to which they refer usually signals SOV word order, though the reverse does not hold: SOV languages feature prenominal and postnominal relative clauses roughly equally. SOV languages also seem to exhibit a tendency towards using a Time-Manner-Place ordering of adpositional phrases.

None of these tendencies is absolute, but the more of them you violate, the odder your language will appear.
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Re: Kay's Conlanging Questions

Postby Alex » Mon 25 Jul 2011 12:54 am

Thank you linguoboy :)

I was hoping for something a little deeper into detail because of what I was told, but I guess that I shouldn't have over thought things. :lol:

Hmm...I still want SOV, but I will think on it so more than. :)

Thanks again! :33
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Re: Kay's Conlanging Questions

Postby Kietl » Mon 25 Jul 2011 4:42 am

Alex wrote:Thank you linguoboy :)

I was hoping for something a little deeper into detail because of what I was told, but I guess that I shouldn't have over thought things. :lol:

Hmm...I still want SOV, but I will think on it so more than. :)

Thanks again! :33

If it's a question of terminology, here are a few things that might be helpful:

SOV languages have a strong tendency to use postpositions rather than prepositions...

This would mean that, instead of "from America", the language'd be more likely to use something like "America from." The adposition (generic term which includes both post- and prepositions) would come after the noun.

...to place auxiliary verbs after the action verb...

This should be self-explanatory (even though the terminology is pretty ambiguous): an "auxiliary verb" like the English "be" in passive constructions ("be seen") or "have" in perfect constructions ("have seen") would occur after the main verb. So the language would likely exhibit things like "seen be" and "seen have" instead.

...to place genitive noun phrases before the possessed noun...

The phrase "genitive noun phrase" is crushingly imprecise, by syntactic standards, but just think of it as "ball of Mary" vs. "of Mary ball". Here you can see, as linguoboy says, that these constraints are definitely not absolute for any language, since English (an SVO language) can use either "Mary's ball" or "ball of Mary" almost interchangeably without a problem.

...to place a name before a title or honorific ("James Uncle" and "Johnson Doctor" rather than "Uncle James" and "Doctor Johnson"), and to have subordinators appear at the end of subordinate clauses.

Titles/honorifics are pretty simple there. The issue of subordinators pretty much comes down to where you place a subordinate pronoun in a dependent clause. Example:

"I arrived when he left."

In plain terms, the clause "I arrived" is independent--it can stand on its own. The clause "when he left" is dependent upon "I arrived," since it cannot stand on its own. It is marked by the subordinator "when", which precedes the rest of the subordinate clause ("...he left"). In an SOV language, however, there'd be a tendency to have "when" follow the rest of the subordinate clause ("he left when").

They have a weaker but significant tendency to place demonstrative adjectives before the nouns they modify. Relative clauses preceding the nouns to which they refer usually signals SOV word order, though the reverse does not hold: SOV languages feature prenominal and postnominal relative clauses roughly equally.

- "Demonstrative adjectives" = "bad terminology for elements like this, that, these, those"
- "Relative clause" = this is a dependent clause acting as an adjective, and thus, modifying a noun: "The dog that was wet."

Wheesh, I hope that helps out a bit.
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Re: Kay's Conlanging Questions

Postby linguoboy » Mon 25 Jul 2011 1:56 pm

Good work, Kietl!

Kietl wrote:The phrase "genitive noun phrase" is crushingly imprecise, by syntactic standards, but just think of it as "ball of Mary" vs. "of Mary ball".

Combining this with the preference for postpositions already mentioned and what you end up with is actually "Mary-of ball". (E.g. Japanese Merī no mari, Hindi Mērī kī gēnda.)
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Re: Kay's Conlanging Questions

Postby Alex » Thu 28 Jul 2011 4:38 am

@Kietl:
Thank you so much Kietl! Amazingly easy post! It helped a lot -- thank you, thank you, thank you! :D

If I may ask though, could you explain the "subordinators" part and the end of your post a little more? :oops: I'm not quiet sure I understand those two fully.
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Re: Kay's Conlanging Questions

Postby Kietl » Mon 01 Aug 2011 12:26 am

Alex wrote:@Kietl:
Thank you so much Kietl! Amazingly easy post! It helped a lot -- thank you, thank you, thank you! :D

My pleasure.

If I may ask though, could you explain the "subordinators" part and the end of your post a little more? :oops: I'm not quiet sure I understand those two fully.

Okay, I'll attempt subordinators first. It's a big subject, really, so forgive me if this explanation also fails. ;p

"Subordinators" could also be called "subordinating conjunctions". The term "conjunction" may be a bit more familiar to you (if a bit dated in syntactic terminology). In traditional grammar, there are two major contrasting types of these conjunctions, and each is associated with a type of clause. These two types of clauses are independent clauses, which can stand on their own (“John saw Mary.”), and dependent clauses, which cannot stand on their own and must be attached to an independent clause (“John saw Mary while he drove.”).

In English, dependent clauses are generally introduced by a subordinator such as “that, when, while, although, since, as if, etc. etc.” These subordinators always precede the clause which they introduce. So, in the example above, the dependent clause “while he drove” is introduced by the subordinator “while”, which simultaneously marks the clause as subordinate to the preceding independent clause.

The simple fact is that, in an SOV language, “while” would most likely follow the clause, rather than precede it, so that the entire sentence would look like “John saw Mary [he drove while].”

Does that make sense? It’s basically the same idea as with prepositions and postpositions: an SOV language tends to have adpositions which follow nouns and subordinators which follow clauses.

------

Concerning the last part of my post, basically I was just defining some of the terms from the article: "demonstrative adjectives" and "relative clauses".

The category of "demonstrative adjectives" should just be called "demonstratives", since they aren't adjectives at all: words like "this, that, these, those, etc." According to the article, in an SOV language they would tend to precede a noun rather than follow it, much as in English ("that dog, this cat").

A "relative clause" is in the same vein as the "dependent clause" above, the only difference being that it is used as an adjective and therefore modifies a noun. Example: "the dog [that was black]." The clause "that was black" is a dependent clause used to modify "the dog". You can even see that it is introduced by a subordinator: "that".
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Re: Kay's Conlanging Questions

Postby Alex » Sun 07 Aug 2011 8:50 pm

Sorry this is late. The forum wouldn't let me on because of connections errors. :(

@theSubordinatorspart:
Yes! That makes absolutely perfect sense Kietl!

Thank you so much once again! :D

@the end:
If I may, let me see if I understand :)

So the demonstratives (this, that, these, those, etc) precede the noun in SOV and basically the relative clause is a dependent clause that modifies a noun? :oops:
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Re: Kay's Conlanging Questions

Postby Kietl » Sun 07 Aug 2011 11:57 pm

Alex wrote:@the end:
If I may, let me see if I understand :)

So the demonstratives (this, that, these, those, etc) precede the noun in SOV and basically the relative clause is a dependent clause that modifies a noun? :oops:

Exactly.
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Re: Kay's Conlanging Questions

Postby Alex » Mon 08 Aug 2011 4:54 am

That's the first time regarding this subject that I learned that fast. :lol:

Is there anything else the article doesn't mention that I should read up (where articles etc etc go)? I tried googling SOV order, but only wikipedia comes up. :p

Thanks again, Kietl! I don't know why Wikipedia doesn't tell us in easy to understand wording. Well, it probably is and I'm just too slow to understand it. :lol:
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