Small Discussions — 11-02-2020 to 23-02-2020

  1. This SD thread is getting prolongated until next Monday (March 2). Automod has missed posting the thread twice in a row, so we'll be looking into that a bit if it happens again.

  2. I'm new to conlanging and im a little unsure on pronoun gendering. By that i mean having one word for I that's masculine and one that's feminine. My only issue with doing this would be the pronoun 'You'. It can be singular or plural and i was also considering having a sort of neutral form of the word that would be used to target a mixed group of people or can be used for informal conversation. I made a list and narrowed it down as much as possible and this is what ive got (S= singular, P= plural, M= masculine, F= feminine, N= neutral) I - SM SF He - SM She - SF They - PM PF PN We - PM PF PN You - SM SF SN PM PF PN I originally also has singular variants for 'They' but i decided against it along with neutral form for 'I'. Is this too much or would you say its about right?

  3. What's the stronger trend: for the reflexive/reciprocal to never be the subject or for it to never precede its referent? I ask because my language typically handles judgements through a passive construction (I like fruit. -> Denxtra qyarb zok imasü. -> To me, fruit is liked), which presents the problem of which role the reflexive/reciprocal should fill. "They dislike each other" could theoretically either be "Zwixtra xöb zok ötimasü" (To each other, they are disliked) or "Xöbxtra zwi zok ötimasü" (To them, each are disliked), and I can't tell which one should be preferred. There is another solution, namely rewording it in active voice as "Xöb cek ötimarö zwixtra" (They have hatred towards each other) but that phrasing emphasizes the feeling, turning it into "They hate each other" instead.

  4. So my conlang has polypersonal agreement and a proximate and obviative distinction in the third person. I know that the third person object is normally unmarked when there is polypersonal agreement, but what about when it's the subject, or the both arguments are in the third person? Would they both be unmarked?

  5. I need some help wordbuilding, I don't want to just slap sounds on a piece of paper and call it a day, but it's hard to follow any set order, anyone have any advice?

  6. Decide how exotic you want your language. This informs what part of the vocabulary you can borrow and what part you can invent from scratch. If you want a lot of words from scratch, it's useful to use a generator, which takes into account the relative frequencies of phonemes. Borrowing can be trickier, especially if you don't want the loans to be too obvious. In either case, it's useful to codify derivational affixes or processes of compounding early in the process, because it gives you a feel for what longer words in your language generally are like.

  7. The short answer is yes. It might be possible to go into some more detail if you explained what you think it means for a verb to have a conjugation.

  8. So how do languages know when they have enough syllables for roots or not? For example, many Hawaiian roots are two syllables long because the language doesn't have many possible syllables, but how does the language know this? How does the Hawaiian language "know" that it needs two syllable roots, because it doesn't have many possible syllables? How does this evolve?

  9. it doesn't know, it just does. since not many syllable combinations exist, the language will simply use more syllables because it just has to.

  10. When words become affixes, what happens to stress? I am thinking about taking the auxiliary verb that marks the future in my conlang, [əɸ], and turning it into a prefix. So, for example, the verb meaning start is [aˈdat], which would make the future tense form [əɸadat]. I'm guessing that it would be naturalistic to have stress stay where it is in the root word (to become [əɸaˈdat]), but I'm wondering if there are systems where new prefixes that evolve pull stress towards them. If they do exist, how do they work, and how do they evolve?

  11. Most of the time, if not always, words merge with each other because one is unstressed, usually the dependent, especially in stress-timed languages, so [əɸ] + [aˈdat] = [əɸaˈdat].

  12. Not a question about conlanging per se, but what do you all think is the cause for the explosion in translation posts recently?

  13. So far, I've decided on the basic grammatical and phonological evolutions of the Draenic languages, and I'm currently satisfied with them… mostly.

  14. Suppletion happens when two forms with etymologically distinct roots come to be perceived as forms of the same word. That'll usually happen when you have two words with similar meanings, for example "go" and "wend" (which originally meant "to turn, to follow a path"). Over time, people started to use "went," the original past tense of "wend" instead of the original past tense of "go" (which apparently was "yede"). Now we just think of "went" as being part of "go" rather than "wend."

  15. I just wanted to share a small thing that I made in Evra right now, but which doesn't really need a full post. So, here I am.

  16. Does anybody have a compact ressource for etymology across languages? I know where the english word "person" comes from, but what about semantically similar words in arabic, finnish, hebrew, navajo, etc?

  17. When I first started out, I wrote it on paper, but that's a nightmare. Paper is not easily searchable and you can run out of space pretty quickly.

  18. I've been playing around with a fun way to turn nouns into adjectives, but I want to make sure it's realistic.

  19. I think Old Georgian genitives agree in gender and number as well as case with the head noun, so that's one example.

  20. I understand that most of you are probably busy with your own projects but I really need some advice on sound changes with regards to evolving my protolang into my modern language.

  21. Are you looking for what sort of sound changes can take you from the proto-language to the modern language? If so, it would help to know the phonotactics of the languages and how long of a time span this is supposed to be, because those things determine what sorts of changes are plausible to get your desired result.

  22. I sort of haphazardly put clicks into my protolang, because I want to experiment with how clicks evolve. But, after doing more research on click languages, I'm afraid I might be breaking too many "rules". What are the main "rules" click languages follow, if there are any?

  23. My understanding is that clicks largely pattern with the stops, so if the stops have a certain distinction, they're also made in clicks. In your case, I'd expect the clicks to have nasal and aspirated variants.

  24. As an example, almost all of your consonants have a distinction in articulation: either tenuis vs aspirated or voiced vs unvoiced. It would be very natural (and even somewhat expected) for your clicks to have the same kind of distinction (e.g. ʘ ʘʰ) and possibly others as well (e.g. pre-nasalization)

  25. Given that languages with clicks are almost entirely within the same geographical area and have influenced each other, it's hard to say what the "rules" are per se. To my knowledge, all of the ones spoken in Southern Africa (so basically everything but Damin, which was a ritual register of a language in Australia) have multiple series of clicks with secondary articulations like nasalization, glottalization, frication, aspiration, voicing, and so on. I don't know if any of the languages allow clicks to form parts of clusters, either.

  26. Has anyone tried to make a mostly agglutinative conlang with consonantal roots? Does it even sound feasible? I’m tempted to try but the idea of such roots seems to lend itself invariably to become fusional.

  27. Languages with consonantal roots are a type of fusional language. Agglutinative languages work by sticking affixes to a root, in fusional languages these have worn down the roots and suffixes to more complex, irregular systems. The classical example is complex systems of irregular affixes like Russian and Latin have, but complicated vowel change systems are just as fusional. The closest agglutinative equivalent would be a complex system of infixation (which is rare in natlangs but is most common in Polynesian languages, perhaps due to the simple syllable structure.)

  28. So, I have my protolang and have developed some sound changes that I like for my first conlang. To make words in my modern lang do I need to make them for my protolang and evolve them each time I create a new word? Or is there some obvious method I'm just missing?

  29. Akamchinjir has the answer you were looking for, but as a note, it isn't strictly necessary to evolve a conlang from a protolang even for naturalistic conlangs. It can be fun to play with and useful in certain contexts, but if it ever starts to feel like more trouble than it's worth to you, do feel free to ditch it. Happy conlanging! ^^

  30. For native vocabulary, that's pretty much it. Many people automate the process using a sound change applier, like zompist's

  31. Do any of you know where I can learn more about how tone systems change over time? I have a tonal language I want to develop dialects for and I'm trying to figure out how the tones would differ between dialects.

  32. I'm currently trying my hand at creating a heavily bantu-inspired noun class system. I'd really appreciate some feedback on just the classes I've selected so far (concord system is still in the works). For classes 1-14, the odd ones are singular and the following even one is a corresponding plural.

  33. Honestly, it's not realistic to not have one. Language without homophones just sounds too logical.

  34. What sounds evil or not is culturally dependent and dependent on your native language. The cultural factors tend to be pretty nasty; in recent history, German, Russian and Arabic have all been imagined as "evil" languages by Americans and Europeans at different times for political reasons, mostly through propaganda. So, drawing inspiration from real-life languages for your evil aesthetics is not really a good idea because there's all kinds of iffy implications. In fantasy, the evil languages usually do draw on Black Speech, with lots of consonants in the back of the mouth, closed syllables and voiced consonants. The main recommendation I have is to play with a generator program (like the Zompist Language Text Generator or Vulgar) to see if you can get something that's suitably evil and unique sounding by experimentation. For examples of evil fantasy languages other than Black Speech, I'd check out Munkhâshi and Dhekhnami on the Zompist website, because they're the only conlangs I know of from the top of my head that are both worked out and play on the "evil language" archetype.

  35. So the big thing with vowel harmony is that there must be some attribute of the vowels (backness, height, rounding) which triggers the vowels around them to assimilate. And this is usually done in pairs. For example, /y/ and /u/ form a front/back pair in Finnish. The most naturalistic three vowel system is /i/, /a/, /u/ or some very minor variant, which does not leave a lot of room for defining any such pairs. /i/ and /u/, for example, would not naturally develop as a front/back pair because they do not share the same rounding. There are a few ways around this though.

  36. This is actually a question about writing systems but do characters for numbers ever come to be letters?

  37. By far the most common way of getting breathy stops is from voiced stops, resulting in either a loss of plain-voiced consonants or implosives de-glottalizing to fill in the gap. If the resulting system is just a two-way voiceless-breathy contrast, it's likely to further "advance" to voiceless-aspirated. It can also come from clusters with /h/ or other fricatives, but as far as I've seen in it's much less common. It can also shift to consonants from vowels, I believe, but I assume that's not helpful for most situations.

  38. Hey! All of your vocab is translated as a single English word, but with real languages, words never correspond 1:1. Instead of translating, think about what the words can mean. For example you define haçoa as "chest." Is this "chest" as in the upper torso? A "chest" where pirates keep their treasure? A "chest" of drawers? Maybe "chest" as a euphemistic way of referring to breasts? Although some of these are related (1&4 and 2&3), it's conceivable for a language to have four separate words for these meanings. It's also imaginable that a language might group in other related concepts like "tree trunk" with "torso" or "wardrobe/cupboard" with "chest of drawers".

  39. Do sound changes typically effect both a lexicon and its words' conjugations/inflections, or do the conjugations/infections change independently of sound changes to the lexicon?

  40. It seems that some sound changes CAN vary depending on the location. In many Athabaskan languages, /ə/ in the stem and the prefix has different outcome, although there is possibility that the prefix is far away from the root (and hence less stressed).

  41. Usually, the sound changes apply across the board, so the affix becomes -a instead of -ai. There are several oddities concerning affixes though: languages generally tolerate a certain level of complexity of the conjugational system, but if sound changes render the system too opaque, either the system is regularised through analogy with other parts of the systems or entire dimensions fall out of use. Also important to note that in general (although there are many, many exceptions) in noun case specifically, cases follow a hierarchy where if a language has a certain case low in the hierarchy, it is bound to have all the cases up in the hierarchy. Check out the conlanger's thesaurus for details. It is not plausible that final -i is lost entirely and the accusative case is lost entirely if the language has a bunch more cases; it's more likely that speakers will, by analogy, form new rules about how the accusative should be formed, for instance by analogy with the new accusatives ending in -a from -ai, or through some residual effect the -i left behind like lenited consonants or vowel umlaut.

  42. I would like my new conlang to have subject and object marking on verbs, but I'm also thinking of having auxiliaries for the negative and for future tense. So I would have something like

  43. Algonquian languages (on the east coast, at least), do something like this. These examples are from Mohegan, an extinct Algonquian language that was spoken on Long Island and southern Connecticut. Granted it's not exactly what you're looking for, but it may help. Also, Mohegan verbs do not have infinitive forms that differ from the root morpheme.

  44. Yes, it could, especially given how the second person already doesn't distinguish singular and plural (although many dialects have evolved special plural forms such as "you guys" and "y'all", so there's a tendency to rectify that). On the other hand, old English was very close to merging "he" and "she" and "she" came into existence as a pronoun emphatically distinguishing gendered pronouns, though that concerned a language that still had gendered nouns. Nevertheless, there's a cultural climate where there's a push towards gender neutral language which could accelerate the process, plus English has the weakest remnants of grammatical gender of any Indo-European language I can think of right now.

  45. Does anyone have resouces on the development of the noun case systems in the bantu languages? I'm interested in how exactly all these irregularities have come to be.

  46. Random question, but do affixes always change the stress of a word? And are there languages where stress does not change with affixation at all? Furthermore, how does stress evolve as words become affixes and new paradigms are created?

  47. In Biblaridions most recent video he says that case suffix are far more common than case prefixes, even in languages which otherwise are head-initial. Why is this?

  48. does anyone know of a halfway decent english-urartian dictionary, or even just a basic wordlist? i can't seem to find much beyond short things on sumerian-urartian and armenian-urartian cognates (with less focus on urartian than the other language) and an urartian-georgian dictionary. any help at all would be super appreciated!

  49. Naturalistic means that a conlang follows behaviors/trends/rules/parameters that are observed in real-world languages. This might be the goal if you are building a conlang for humans in a fictional world, or if you are trying to understand or replicate the behavior of language as a whole.

  50. Is there a tool that converts drawings into similar characters for making a writing system? I thought I saw one a few months ago but cannot remember it's name. Thanks in advance.

  51. I think I know the one you're talking about, but I can't find it in my bookmarks. I'll search on my desktop when I get home today.

  52. Korean used to have front-back vowel harmony, but not so much anymore, except for onomatopoeia, interjections, and a few other cases.

  53. Probably yes. I'm no expert, but I have a few suggestions. The vowel system could merge a number of features used in the harmony system, causing the system to collapse in on itself (say, the distinction is roundedness and front rounded vowels lose their rounding). Additionally, the language may start concatenating roots from different classes (perhaps as a way to disambiguate homophones, for instance), which start forming a large part of the basic lexicon, rendering the system opaque to speakers. Or, the language adopts a large part of its vocabulary from an unrelated language, most of those not obeying the vowel harmony, causing the native vowel harmony system to stop being productive for any new words, although I'd expect the vowel harmony to stay in place for older words.

  54. Does anyone have a language with the Polynesian grammar or phonetics? I would be really glad to learn it

  55. Let me know if you're interested in any specific Polynesian languages, and I can get you learning information! I know in the Stack/Pile/Heap we have things on Hawaiian, Samoan, Maori, Tahitian and a few others.

  56. I would also include [l~ɺ] as variants of /r/ to deal with languages that have /l/ sounds without /r/, and [ɣ~ɰ] seem like better variants for /g/ than [d͡ʒ]. Other than that, the only other change that would increase accessibility would be eliminating voice, which might make the inventory stiflingly small.

  57. I've tried to work backwards like this before, from descendent to proto-language, and it is very hard work. My suggestion would be setting out the phonology of the proto-language, working out some sound changes, and then applying these by hand backwards from your language to the proto-language. In future though, I would suggest you make the proto-language first, and then evolve the daughter language from it. Hope this helps

  58. You make a proto-language like any other language, but you don't have to worry about its history or giving it a lot of detail. After all, we can only know so much about languages of the past.

  59. A couple years ago I had this tarball that had a random collection of mostly Perl scripts for conlanging (I remember it including gleb, as well). Anyone have any clue what it was called or where I could get another copy?

  60. How do I make a posteori vocabulary without being too derivative? I want to do something similar to Esperanto, like how it’s vocabulary is mostly derived from Romance and Germanic languishes. Is it a matter of taking words and modifying them to for my phonology? For example, I wanted to make a language with vocabulary based on Castilian Spanish and modern greek, two phonetically similar languages, how would I go about doing that?

  61. I think a good way to do this is to work out standard morphology in your language and apply them to roots when you borrow them. For example, does your language have gender? Spanish has masculine and feminine, and Greek also has neuter in addition to those. Will you borrow words as the gender they are in the source lang, or based on the sounds in their endings, or just reassign them arbitrarily? How do you handle irregular cases like Spanish la mano?

  62. Language games and cipher languages are very fascinating. I would like it if there were some sort of community for them.

  63. So I have a list of sound changes which do give me the phonaesthetics, phonemes and allophones I'm going for but I'm noticing one big issue. Between all the consonant mergers, vowel assimilation/loss etc, a lot of words are starting to look very similar if not identical.

  64. It could help to have some standard derivations for broad classes of words that can be applied to homophones to distinguish different words between classes that have become homophones. Say, a word or affix for "person" or "tool" or "do" gets appended to words that already refer to a person, tool or verb to distinguish between homophones, if there's a homophone in another class. For verbs, it's useful to append adpositions to invent new forms, especially for verbs that are often used with an adposition (think "go to", "think about", "look at").

  65. I'm working on a Chinese conlang which roughly preserves the four-tone system of Middle Chinese. The four tones can be pigeonholed into two phonemic contrasts (vowel length and pitch) as shown:

  66. I’m reading a book about the Nart Sagas of the Caucasus and just had the thought that it would be pretty fun to try and draft up a language for them.

  67. i am attempting to make a language and subsequently a language family from the very beginning; from no worde to a handful of arbitrary interjections, a number of onomatopoeic terms, and a few vocalisms-turned-words from music, to a pidgin-esque simple tongue, to a fullblown language. this presents a great number of interesting challenges: how do i innovate words like “i, now, no” etc. from onomatopoeia and interjections? how do i innovate a plural, considering i can’t use reduplications, since most terms already reduplicated (tsɪ́u̯tsɪ́u̯ songbird, i can’t say tsɪ́u̯tsɪ́u̯tsɪu̯)? furthermore, is it even possible? it would seem as though most proto-languages’ basic vocabulary pops out of nowhere with no etymology—seemingly no origin apart from being made up. where can i read more about the origins of words in protolanguages? there is no known etymology for PIE éǵh², but surely they didn’t just make it up?

  68. You don't necessarily need to innovate a plural from the get-go, you could and probably should build such changes by stages. Take your example "tsɪ́u̯tsɪ́u̯", what if instead of trying to reduplicate an already reduplicated word, you frist apply some sound changes?

  69. You should remember that conlangers use the term “proto-language” differently from how it’s used in Linguistics. When conlangers say “proto-language”, they typically mean a conlang created for the purpose of applying sound changes and creating daughter languages. In contrast, when Linguists say “proto-language”, they refer to a hypothetical reconstructed parent language of a group of languages. Proto-languages are just approximate models of what we think some otherwise normal language was like in the past.

  70. Actual protolanguages we know about are limited by how far we can get with reconstruction - beyond about 6000 years ago everything has decayed beyond any recognition, so in that sense yes, the vocabulary comes out of nowhere. Grammar words are routinely derived from content words. There doesn't need to be any change to the surface form of the word, usually the word just falls out of use as a content word and is replaced by another word. The conlanger's thesaurus lists a few common patterns of grammaticalization.

  71. I'd like to have different word orders depending on the verbs: like stative verbs would imply e.g SVO and for the others would it be SOV.

  72. I saw a post a while back here, like about 2 months I think, about a Romance language in Britain but the reddit search function hates me so I can't find it, does anyone have any idea what the post was or how to find it?

  73. What kind of sounds can wolves produce? I’m just curious due to how there is a race in my world that can transform into wolves and it is making me think on how limited are the sounds that wolves make

  74. If there was some old dative case in a protolang which then got replaced by a new paradigm, what are some of the marks this old case could leave on the language?

  75. It would probably be fossilised in set expressions, although what these expressions are depend on the details of your conlang. Adverbial expressions, that wouldn’t need to inflect for any reason, are a good place to start. Also words that are very common in the dative case. Pronouns are likely to retain more cases than regular nouns, so that’s also an option.

  76. I passed the part of Goblet of Fire where Ludo Bagman is complaining to Harry about the goblins' English and his not understanding Gobbledegook. I got curious—has anyone attempted to develop Gobbledegook as a conlang?

  77. I'm working on a VSO language and formal syntax is completely wrecking my brain. I kind of understand the idea of moving the verb up the tree to TP, however, I was reading an old

  78. I think we actually predict a VAuxSO language to exist (though I'm not actually aware of any such language); as

  79. So first, my bias: I have little formal linguistics training, and definitely not in formal syntax. From what I've pieced together, though, it deals very poorly with verb-initial languages. The syntax theories I've seen all assume V1 languages are fundamentally structured as SVO with verb movement. I can't understate the lack of training on my part, so it's entirely possible or likely that I'm missing something, but this seem extraordinarily handwavy to me, rearranging the data to fit the theory rather than making a theory that matches the data. It seems especially inept, again with my limited exposure, at describing V1 languages from the Americas, which makes me think it's pure Eurocentrism. And while it may exist, I've seen little or no explanation of how assuming V1 languages are "underlyingly" SVO results in verb-initial languages having different typological correlations than SVO languages.

  80. I think having a general sense of how syntax trees work can only be a good thing, but that it's worth learning any particular bit of theory (government and binding, minimalism, whatever) only if you're independently interested in that theory.

  81. So in my proto-lang I have 3 locative cases, inessive/adessive, elative/ablative, & illative/allative, now they both cover what two different terms because of the distinction between internal & external cases that I think is common. My idea to handle the distinction is like, so like *ad-aḱʰ- means that & *id-aḱʰ- means this so like *ad would be used as an adposition to specify external locatives & *id for internal.

  82. This is totally naturalistic. My conlang Aeranir has the exact same system with its dative, ablative, and locative cases. Here are some examples with tellun (table).

  83. Small question: does any of you know if somebody has developed the Gorean language appearing in John Norman novels?

  84. Honestly, all future is uncertain to a degree, so I expect that the certain/uncertain distinction would become instead a near-immediate/far distinction.

  85. Is there an upper limit to number size cross-linguistically? I just decided to create the largest possible number within my system without adding any new words, and it ended up being the equivalent of 5555.555...*105555 (roughly 6.6*101010 in base 10). English runs out of words far before this point, and I'm wondering if I went overboard here.

  86. I don't think there's real upper limit, although in general names for bigger numbers are limited to languages that are used to do math in and therefore have a use for big numbers. Generally, number words are only invented if there's a use for them, and if your society has a use for talking about very big numbers (say in cosmology) then it's plausible they'll have vocabulary for those numbers.

  87. It's a specific form of assimilation, skimming the wikipedia article gave me "coalescence" or "fusion", but that doesn't necessarily require the consonants to be very similar to begin with. I'd personally just describe it as assimilation.

  88. Does anyone know of any languages which have auxiliary verbs, and the main verbs are inflected more than the auxiliarys affecting them?

  89. Is it realistic for stress to shift places in a word in different forms, eg. when a plural suffix is added to the word?

  90. As others have said, this is completely realistic, and it's what you'd expect if your stress rule assigns stress to the Nth-last syllable (for some N).

  91. Just as a further example, stress shifts are common in Spanish: háblo I speak vs habló he spoke vs hablaré I will speak. Although these are all forms of the same verb, they each have the stress on a different syllable

  92. Morphemes affecting stress doesn't sound unnaturalistic to me. IIRC, in Classical Nahuatl the word-final vocative suffix -e always absorbs stress when it attaches to a noun; stress is penultimate elsewhere.

  93. To me, either way is ok. The stress may or may not shift for various reasons, but I think the choice here is merely artistic, and depends more on whether you like it or not.

  94. In the evolution of a language, how naturalistic is it to have a simplification to a morphological paradigm outside of normal sound changes. For example, my proto-language is agglutinating, and for nouns it uses the suffix /e/ to mark plurality and /is/ to mark the genitive case. When they are combined to mark the plural genitive, they become /ehis/ (the h is inserted because my language does not allow vowel hiatus. Note that h is also inserted when the suffix is being attached to a noun that ends in a vowel). In the daughter lang, this suffix becomes /ɛhɛs/, or /hɛhɛs/ when appended to a word ending in a vowel. I find this double h to be unwieldy and unaesthetic, so I am thinking of enacting a simplification across the plural genitive paradigm that would delete the second h in these cases and change the suffix to /hɛːs/. Thus /kat/ would inflect to /katɛhɛs/ and /kata/ would inflect to /katahɛːs/. Would this change be naturalistic if I applied it across the entire paradigm?

  95. Something like this happens in Modern Standard Arabic. In Classical, ʔVʔ > ʔV:, creating a new verb conjugation, the hamzated verbs. They obligatorily undergo this change in

  96. I actually just find it easier and faster in the long run to learn to type tables by hand. Here's an example of a valid input and its result:

  97. It is not a stupid question. In my lifetime, those stupid questions I didn't ask were the ones I needed to ask.

  98. Are there any resources on the evolution of cases? I'm especially interested in how a terminative and an instrumental can evolve

  99. If you can find a copy of the world lexicon of grammaticalization online that would be good. Cases come from adpositions, with the same meanings as the cases, which come from verbs or nouns. In particular the terminative comes from something meaning to, and instrumental comes from something like to use.

  100. Georgian uses a [word? particle? I don't actually know] at the end of a quote to express that it is a quote.

  101. Many languages use evidentiality to do so. The majority lump direct and indirect quotes into a reportative evidential, but a few have distinct hearsay (indirect) and quotative (direct) evidentials. I'd recommend checking out

  102. Punctuation tends to be a later development in writing. Classical writers in a variety of different languages wrote for centuries without it. Back in uni I had to read a lot of old Japanese plays (and also the Old Slavonic bible due to poor decision making), and you just have to figure out from context when quotes (and sentences for that matter) begin and end. Old Latin and Greek didn’t even have spaces.

  103. Markers for direct and indirect speech are a thing. Something like the Konjunktiv I in german perhaps, which states information from someone else. But it alters the form of words. So perhaps instead a particle could be a different option. Like iirc in Yakut you can use dien at the end of direct speech, it means just "its said", I think its part of a larger evidentiality system. Sure you can of course refine such a system for a conlang.

  104. Well, in English you can say "quote" and "unquote" at the start and end of the words you are quoting. That is a fairly recent innovation, and clearly the spoken language borrowed the format from the written language. But it does what you asked for :-)

  105. It might help if you would give some details about the project. What your goals and expectations are, what you want from it, what you would not want from it...

  106. Tense is just an expression of when in time something is happening. You can have past, present, future, near past, far past, near future, far future, specific tenses for today in the past, today in the future, yesterday, tomorrow, two days ago, two days from now, etc, you can have a separate mythological past, tenseless constructions, you can just split between past and non-past or future and non-future, or have many tense distinctions in the past vs a simple non-past, anything that can convey the time what happens relative to now (and some languages even allow for a more relative tense where "now" can be a point in the past or future, so you have "future" in the past or "past" in the future). All of these can be marked on the verb or the subject or as separate particles, etc. The tenses can overlap with the aspect marking and/or modal marking. You can mark absolutely no tense in your entire language and rely on aspect and/or context to make the time clear. The choices are basically limitless.

  107. If you’re talking about a url, you can buy any url that isn’t already taken. A guy in the 90s got rich doing this by purchasing and before those teams moved out of LA. (He also spent a bunch of money purchasing other team/city combinations that didn’t pan out, but since he hit the jackpot, it was money well spent.) If your conlang has a unique name, you can probably purchase the url, as chances are low that it will have been taken. (Note: I own,, and

  108. Yes, it is possible. You can either purchase a domain through a provider (e.g. GoDaddy, et al), or you can join the

  109. Who is this auxlang designed for? A specific community, or the whole human race? I ask because the languages your target community speak and the reason they have for needing to create an auxlang—instead of just using the hegemonic language—will influence, among other things, what phonemes you include. The choices you've already made with the consonant phonemes and the script lead me to believe that your target community isn't the human race or the international community, for example.

  110. If you want it to be easy for speakers of lots of different languages, then /i a u/. According to PHOIBLE, 92% of languages have /i/, 88% /u/, and 86% /a/. If you want to have a bigger inventory, then you would add /e/ and /o/, which PHOIBLE says are in 61% and 60% of languages respectively, for /i e a o u/, which is the inventory of Esperanto iirc. Adding more to that just makes things complicated for an auxlang, imo, and with a small inventory, then speakers can just make the closest approximation they can from their native vowel-set, and I'd be willing to bet very few people will have no way of approximating /i a u/.

  111. In PIE, the demonstrative pronoun in the nominative case has two different roots, so/seh and tod. I understand that this difference comes from the fact that the s- and t- were defining animate and inanimate objects. However, all other cases only have the t- root. How can this happen?

  112. I can't say how, but having not having all cases for all genders or not all genders for all cases isn't impossible. There are languages, where the set of cases of inanimates and animates are different or animateness being only important in one case. For example Sumerian has human and non-human noun-classes, the dative case is unique to the human class. Another example, Ket has three/two genders: male, female, neuter, animate, inanimate. They are different for singular and plural and different for case, some cases, notably those using genitive base, make gender distinction, others don't. Third examples, Chukchi, where the so called High-animate class has more cases than other classes. There is a certain discrepancy of class/case/number. So its not entirely unthinkable that PIE was the same and the animate-inanimte contrast was only visible in the nominative there.

  113. According to the Wikipedia article on nasal vowels, nasalisation as a result of assimilation often causes the raising of the vowel, but when the nasal vowel is phonemic it is lowered. However, phonemic nasal vowels are often (normally?) created as a result of assimilation (e.g. in French), and the language evolving afterwards, making it phonemic, so where do they change from being raised to lowered?

  114. What I suspect it means is that vowels adjacent to a nasal stop are raised, but once the actual nasal stop has been dropped, there isn't as much a motivator to raise the vowel, and the vowel is oft gradually lowered, eventually to lower than before the whole process started; if that makes any sense?

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