In my budding conlang called Tune, I have "base" words which start and end with a consonant, either 3, 4, 5, or 6 sounds, with 1 or 2 vowels. Examples:
- tun ("tune")
- tunan ("tunahn")
- torvan ("torvahn")
- twin ("tween")
(where each Roman/Latin letter has a specific sound associated with it).
I was initially thinking of having these "bases" mean simultaneously a noun, a verb, and an adjective. Basically they would mean the full range of possibilities of that concept. Then you would append a
-a to make it an explicit noun, append a
-i to make it a verb, and a
-u to make it an adjective. But the problem with this is that every word now is at least 2 syllables. I noticed that at least in English, most words are 1 syllable, if I were to guess, most words in regular English conversation are:
- 1 syllable (50%)
- 2 syllables (25%)
- 3 syllables (15%)
- 4+ (10%)
Just a feeling there, but the feeling is many words are simply 1 syllable. I would like to make most words one syllable if possible. But that means ditching my idea of the suffixes potentially.
So I'm wondering, if every word starts/ends with a consonant and is one or two syllables, how will you be able to tell which is a noun, verb, or adjective (or determiner/etc., if it's similar to English or Chinese in structure). What do I need to do to make sure I don't run into complex problems down the road when the language gets more vocabulary? It seems like some sort of fixed sentence word order with word "slots" would be required, but I'm not sure what the possibilities are. Can you outline some things I could do if I get rid of the suffix (or only use it in some cases) to make sure I can effectively include nouns, verbs, and adjectives without confusion? I am not sure what to imagine in trying to solve this.
If I make it so all words fit these patterns (start and end with consonant, 3-6 sounds long), and each word can be used as a noun, verb, or adjective "noun modifiers" (or adverb for verb modifiers), then I could do like
buffalo buffalo buffalo... sentence, if there are no suffixes to distinguish in the common case. I am just not sure if I need to fix the word order or something like that.
It seems hard because:
The tree-y tree treeified treeily.
The [adjective] [noun] [verbed] [adverb]
If tree was written/pronounced
dip ("deep"), then:
dip dip dip dip.
That could mean anything. So it seems like you need in certain context to add the suffixes, but I'm not sure what the possibilities are. The suffix system might have it be:
dipu dipa dipu dipi.
Which would make more sense, but then we are at 2-syllable words for everything again.
What I'm considering doing is the following. Making each "base" mean the most common frame of reference (noun vs. verb vs. adjective), and then the suffixes turn it into the other forms. So the most common reference for a "tree" (base), would be the tree as a noun, not treeify (verb). Then there is "walk" which is most commonly considered an action, but could also be a noun, so the default base means the verb, not the noun in that case. But some cases are in between like "calm" (to calm or the calm?), so those perhaps always distinguish with the suffixes -i or -u. But maybe you are allowed to add the extra information to specify if desired or to disambiguate, but otherwise you can use the base form to mean the most common form of the concept.