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One aspect of Shabkiuza that bothered me was its regularity. In particular, the verbal system was far too regular, with only one verb with any irregularity, and that only in one form. Clearly that's not realistic, even with a language academy to maintain order.
Originally, all words had stress of the first syllable, no matter what the morphology. So gamma- became gammat, gammanat, gammanatet, etc. For the most part, this is still the case, although the last example has secondary stress on the penult. I started running into problems with my gerand form, which uses -kko as the ending.
Since consonant length is phonemic, I got forms like gammakko, which two double consonants in a row. It dragged down the pronunciation, and it just didn't sound r…Read more >
As I've mentioned before, Shabkiuza has a high degree of regularity, but I don't want it to be completely regular. This dichotomy is emerging, at the moment, in my attempts to build a vocabulary.
I downloaded a list of the word base of Simple English, and I have been assigning words to it. I have also found a list of all English language words, which includes not just root words but every plural form, every -ing and -ed on the end of the verb, as a separate entry.
When I enter a gloss in the simple list, it appears automatically in the full list. I can then visit it, fill in the glosses for the morphological forms. But that doesn't address the other associated words. For example, -ness and -ive and -tion and -ful and -ly endings. These…Read more >
One of the most challenging, and almost most fun parts of Shabkiuza for me has been the development of complex grammatical structures: relative clauses, other subordinate clauses, if/then constructions, why and because, etc. In the initial stages of a language, attention so often falls on simple declaratives, and perhaps interrogatives. Grammar books may direct us towards paying attention to command forms or vocatives or many of the other uses that language has.
However, I feel that subordinate clauses often get neglected. In my language, which uses particles to indicate relationship between noun and verb, the system emerged quite naturally. Normally, these markers behave like prepositions, introducing a relationship between the verb a…Read more >
Like many conlangers, when confronted with the task of building vocabulary, I turned to the idea of a generator. However, I did not like any of the extant choices, and so I built my own.
It was not such a difficult task--I built the whole thing in Excel. I have a fairly simple syllable structure in Shabkiuza, with a limited number of syllables per word. I made a list of which sounds could fit into each place, then assigned each a percent chance of occurring. Some of the results were not sounds at all, but rather zero values, duplication of a following consonant or preceding vowel, or assimilation of N to the following consonant.
Each letter gets its own random seed, and the results are concatenated in one of several combinations. For ea…Read more >
Another topic that fascinates me in language is that of evidentiality. Since the Wikipedia link puts it better than I could myself, I won't go into detail, but to summarize, evidentials are a category of grammar that marks the source of information.
Once again, I used existing world languages as a jumping off point. I decided to make this category in the form of an optional pre-verbal modal. Aside from information sources, such as direct observation or secondhand knowledge, I also included elements of the speaker's opinion about what he or she has seen. For example:
(1) He opened the door.
(2) I saw him open the door.
(3) I heard he opened the door.
(4) Obviously he opened the door.
(5) I felt him open the door.
(6) I hope he opened the…Read more >