Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Nouns: A Progress Report...

I decided to completely scrap my set of personal pronouns and to revise how nouns are marked for number and case. It's taking me a while to come up with the set of pronouns that I really like, but in the meantime, I can share this much about nouns:

Nouns & Pronouns (Again.)

I’ve never been ecstatically happy with the noun and pronoun systems of Nevashi, so this seems like a good time to try something new.

Currently, there are a set of declensions based on suffixes. This proposal is for a system that parallels the way that verbs work, as suggested (by David Peterson?) at one point when I was kvetching on CONLANG-L about how unhappy I was with my nouns. While I am overhauling nouns, pronouns are getting reworked too.

The genitive has shifted to -i, which is also the most common adjectival ending. This was a change that mainly had to do with sound, but it is also consistent with the established (alternative) practice of using adjectives to show possession.

There are two sets of things that can precede nouns that can carry number and case markings. The first set is for use in any case where the noun, like the cheese, stands alone. The second set is case-and-number-marked definite article, demonstrative adjectives, and prepositions:

singular dual plural
Nom. (Optional) i il in
Genitive i’i ili ini
Accusative im ilim inim
Dative it ilit init

(I had thought, at first, that the nominative and genitive singular would be the same, but the glottal stop just isn’t getting enough play, so there it is, where it will suddenly become extremely common.)

Ya (The definite article, now with fabulous new marking)
Singular Dual Plural
Nominative ya yal yan
Genitive yai yalai yanai
Accusative yam yalam yanam
Dative *etc* yat yalat yanat

(And, of course, it butchered the tables in the copy & paste. Y'all are bright. You'll figure it out.)

Everything else will likely follow the pattern of ya there, except for some vowel changes as necessary. As usual, any ending that requires a vowel will echo the last vowel before it.

There's the possibility, under this system, of an empty, placeholder noun (similar to the magical verb an.) I am not sure what that would be or how it would be used, but the possibility is intriguing to me.

These changes will require me to change (or at least provide the alternative using this system) for every example in the documentation. I haven't decided if I will simply replace the existing noun-related section or present this as an alternative scheme.

Nevashi has always had alternate versions, which is one of the things I've lost in the existing documentation online. This is a shame because I've always enjoyed that aspect of this particular project. At one point, I had been working on a Babel text translation, and three versions emerged that were radically different in terms of structure, using exactly the same vocabulary set. I wish I had kept that, because it would give some insight into the overall development of Standard Teliya Nevashi, and also demonstrate how broad the shadow grammar really is.

(I can't think of a better way to describe the undocumented or underdocumented alternative grammars than "shadow grammar".)

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