Hmmm. That is good to know, I think English was affecting my perception of tense quite drastically. I'll have to pay special attention. Thank you for the explanation Xing.
:) Breaking out of my English brain was one of my main motivations when I got into conlanging. I remember talking with someone about a project I was working on that had seven tenses, and they responded, "But everything happens in the past, or the present, or the future! That's just the way time
Alright, that makes sense. It may take a while for me to pick up on what the correct lemma forms of words are to use. But you did say "most" so perhaps it isn't required?
A general rule in glossing is that you should fudge the gloss according to what you're trying to show. Here's an extreme example from my WIP:
Take the two words:lukkàorhxáxkoshokwkw
, the meat is over the firelukkàorhkúxkoshokwkw
, the meat was put over the fire
If I wanted to gloss them in highest-possible detail, it would look like this:lukkàorhxáxkoshokwkw
place<LEADING-fire<ABLATIVE.INAN>-STAT-INTRANSITIVE-meat;INAN.SG-space_above<LOC.INAN>>the meat is over the firelukkàorhkúxkoshokwkw
place<LEADING-fire<ABLATIVE.INAN>-PRFV-CAUSATIVE-meat;INAN.SG-space_above<LOC.INAN>>the meat was put over the fire
Which is a little bit
, right? But what if I'm just trying to use these examples to explain how causatives and intransitives work in the language? Then all of this detail is not actually helpful, and it's just going to distract people from what is actually important in the example. So I can do something like this:lukkàorhxáxkoshokwkw
there_is_meat_over_fire<STATIVE.INTRANSITIVE>the meat is over the firelukkàorhkúxkoshokwkw
there_is_meat_over_fire<PERFECTIVE.CAUSATIVE>the meat was put over the fire
Notice how I collapsed all the information from the first version into the lemma. The "true" lemma for this word is the base root, l*kw
. But in the second version, I pretended that the root was actually lukkàorh*xkoshokwkw, which means something like there is meat over the fire
So for your glosses, if you really want to separate out as much detail as possible, a good rule of thumb for lemma forms is to get the barest form of the English word you can find. For verbs this is typically the one you find in infinitives (to eat
); for nouns it's typically the singular form. But, you can also collapse things onto the lemma to better focus on the specific feature you're actually talking about.
I suppose I'll try updating the opening post with glosses and morphology. I hope I get this right.
Looks great! I only see one thing amiss: the second and third lines of your glosses should always have exactly the same number of hyphens.Pii atam tay sijir.
Pi-i atam tay sijir
1s.POS-PRS PRS-son be PRS-warriorMy son is a warrior.
The second line has only 1 hyphen, but the third line has 3. So the gloss is telling me that the word atam
should be segmentable into one piece meaning PRS, and one piece meaning son. But the second line doesn't show me what that segmentation is.
It looks like the problem is that your present marking for non-pronouns is actually to leave the word unmarked, right? For future you would add u-, for past you would add a-, but for present you add nothing at all.
There are a couple of ways to deal with this, but it looks to me like the best one to use in this case is the "null" symbol, Ø, which linguists use to represent nothing
. So the gloss would look like this:Pii atam tay sijir.
Pi-i Ø-atam tay Ø-sijir
1s.POS-PRS PRS-son be PRS-warriorMy son is a warrior.
Now all of the hyphens match up, and I can quickly see that the "present" form of nouns is unmarked.
Ah, that is the related but separate issue of phonotactics.
Phonotactics is a little easier to handle than allophony because it typically deals just with phonemes rather than specific allophones. It's also more important early on in the sense that it guides how you actually build words. Allophony you can totally put off until later, because you can still invent words even if you don't know exactly
how to pronounce them. But phonotactics governs how you put those words together in the first place.
(Granted, it's perfectly possible to put off the phonotactics as well. I still
, after several years, can't give you a clear answer about the phonotactic restrictions in my WIP. I just have a sense of what words look like they fit in the language and what words don't—the way dobble
looks like it could fit in English, but ngibr
doesn't. One of these days I'll sit down and actually translate those impressions of mine into clear phonotactic rules, but that day is not today.)
It is quite... exhilarating. I would never have thought constructing a language could keep me so excited as to make me unable to sleep. Surprising doesn't do it justice, though, I am loving every minute of it.
That is useful, I'm unsure if I'll tackle allophones yet, but it is good to know. Thanks.
Good call. Allophony is a bottomless rabbit hole of potential detail; you could go in and never come out. (For some conlangers, phonology and phonetics are their favorite parts of conlanging, so this is precisely what they prefer to do.) Fortunately, having no or minimal allophony sketched will almost never cause problems for you as you develop the morphology or syntax of the language.
I feel like I'm missing out on some great pronunciation trick here. I suppose I'll have to bribe some American friends into using latter in a sentence several times.
Ha! My coworkers had to get used to getting lots of weird questions from me. The trick is that you can't just say "Hey Bob, say 'ladder'!" because now you've primed his pronunciation. You have to trick him into saying the word without actually saying it yourself. "Hey Bob, strange question. What do you use to climb up on a roof?" "Hey Bob, fill in the blank: It's not the former, it's the..."
What dialect do you speak?
That's cool. At first I was curious how it would work but your example makes a lot of sense. It also seems... dare I say, natural? I suppose a laymans insight is rather useless, but it does inspire me to attempt some of this within Aylæs as it shows complexity serving a purpose beyond mere complexity.
One of the benefits of allophony for actual conversation is that it builds in informational redundancy. This isn't something that people consciously think about, but because sounds condition nearby sounds, we have a much easier time correctly hearing words even in noisy environments. (The "source-filter theory" of speech production even suggests that what we really use for information exchange is just vowels, and how those vowels have been modified by other sounds.) If we're in a crowded room and one of your consonants gets blurred by noise, my brain is so good at recognizing patterns that it can use what it heard of the nearby sounds to work out what the blurred sound must have been—and all of this happens so quickly, I don't even consciously notice
. It just sounds to me like you made the sound my brain thinks you must have made. Brains are really cool.
Everyone has been incredibly polite and in depth in their help. It's unusual on the internet, though certainly not unwelcome, and greatly appreciated.
It helps when the person asking for help has done their own research in advance, is open to feedback, and asks good questions about the information they receive