When thinking how to build a conlang system of prefixes/suffixes, I get stuck right at the beginning: how do you prevent clashes within the prefix/suffix/base system?
By that I mean the following. Say you have these prefixes:
Then say you have these word "bases":
And you have these suffixes:
I just picked random ones for demonstrative purposes. These will come into conflict in the following scenarios:
- a + amish = aamish?
- an + noise = annoise?
- am + macha + ama = ammachaama?
The point is, some of them won't be able to combine:
- If one ends with a vowel and the other starts with the same vowel (or even a vowel at all), and you don't have long vowels, then what do you do?
- If one ends with a consonant and the other starts with the same consonant (and you don't have long/geminate consonants), then what do you do?
I am vaguely starting to imagine a system where you have two forms to each prefix/base/suffix, so like:
- If ending in a consonant, it can end in a sibilant/fricative like s or f, or a nasal like m or n, so you have pairs like "mas" and "mam", and you pick one depending on the following word chunk you are working with.
- If ending in a vowel, and the next begins with a vowel, you put a y or w between. So a + ama would become "awama".
Otherwise, if you just let them merge together (and remove the head/tail of the joining pair), then you lose some information.
How do natural languages (or conlangs for that matter) deal with this problem? Like in Sanskrit, or Latin, I see these sorts of prefixes/suffixes like my examples, and yet somehow the system seems to work (I haven't studied enough examples in each language though to know how/why it seems to work). What constraints do they place on the system? Etc. How do they create a prefix/suffix system that just works?
I ended up making all prefixes/suffixes/bases have to start/end with a consonant, and to combine you join with a vowel. That means for extra syllables, which I would like to get rid of. So instead of "kan" and "van" combining to form "kanavan", for example, I would like to just do "kanvan". Or even better, just have things that don't start/end with consonants, like "ka" and "an", and have them be, I don't know, "kan" or "kawan". How do you accomplish such a system? What are the range of possibilities which you can use (taking inspiration from natlangs or conlangs the like)?