Questions tagged [grammar]

The grammar of a language, or its "rules", covers its phonology, morphology, syntax, as well as the semantics of its affixes and function words

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Tips for making a conlang that uses an abjad?

I've been looking at Classical Hebrew a lot for inspiration on some features it has. Turns out, it wasn't what I expected (such as that its not actually a VSO language, it just looks like that due to ...
user8600's user avatar
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6 votes
3 answers
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Can a language exist without transitive verbs?

I'm developing my first conlang (no name yet) for a story and came up with an interesting idea: all verbs are intransitive, and objects are added with prepositions. So, a sentence like "I eat ...
solarisNT's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
117 views

How to prevent your conlang from explosively growing

I have made many conlangs in my life but they all wind up facing the same issues, and I am not sure how to prevent it. I wind up with countless different forms of each word as modifiers stack up onto ...
DanceroftheStars's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
72 views

Question on if I am doing Split-Ergativity right

I am making a split ergative language, and I am struggling a lot on it. So, I am doing a Dyirbal-type pronominal split, where 1st and 2nd person are nominative-accusative and everything else is ...
DanceroftheStars's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
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Lower than / Covered by

I am wondering if there is a distinction in any natural language between a preposition or postposition with the meaning "lower than" and a different preposition or postposition with the ...
Cheelin's user avatar
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Can core argument markers swap roles? If so, how?

I have been trying for some time to figure out how to smoosh a bunch of my originally-unrelated languages into a larger family. They have a fair amount of noun and verb morphology that was ...
Arcaeca's user avatar
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Non-decomposable TAM strategies

The agglutinative language I'm most familiar with is Hungarian, and the way Hungarian handles TAM is, I think, incredibly boring: separate T-A-M markers with no allomorphs that just get concatenated ...
Arcaeca's user avatar
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Does the grammatical and polysynthetic structure of my language preclude poetry?

My conlang, called Pandemonic for now, is a language with OSV word order, that uses synthetic prefixes and postfixes to both nouns and verbs. Only adjectives and adverbs, which always follow the word ...
Monty Wild's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
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How many tense subcategories are there across languages, or conceptually?

I have this: That is 3 tenses, but a total of 4 5 4 = 13 "subcategories". This boils down to more abstract concepts such as continuity and completeness. This is a nice table: Could there ...
Lance's user avatar
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What exactly is meant by gerund words in English, and how to translate them into this conlang?

I have a conlang with a very simple grammar. All words are "base words" and start and end with a consonant, and there are 5 vowel suffixes to convert those base words to the 5 forms of words ...
Lance's user avatar
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How do you figure out sentence structures in a conlang (or even when natlangs emerge)?

For example, the different types of language: Pidgin Creole Standard natural language Conlang It seems we could create a stepping-stone map going from pidgin -> "stereotypical natlang" ...
Lance's user avatar
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1 vote
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For analytic / isolating languages, how complex are the grammar rules for ordering the words in a sentence?

For a language like Chinese, or other conlangs which are mostly analytic/isolating, how complex does the grammar get in terms of ordering words in a sentence. After looking at Mandarin Chinese (not ...
Lance's user avatar
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2 votes
3 answers
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Are there any general rules for creating verb conjugation for a conlang?

So I have been thinking a lot about trying to make my own conlang. I have attempted before to create one in the past, however, all of them have sadly been abandoned. Looking back at them (since I ...
CrSb0001's user avatar
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1 answer
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Do I really need plural grammatical number when my conlang deals with existence and uniqueness?

I continued building my conlang, and it's time to deal with grammars of nouns. In my conlang, nouns are categorized into three: countable, measurable, and abstract. This question is about countable ...
Dannyu NDos's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
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How do atomic languages handle breaking down and sequencing complex English noun-phrases?

Along the lines of How do languages which have adjectives after the noun work with complex phrases? (my last question), I am wondering now more about compound English words and how to break these ...
Lance's user avatar
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1 vote
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How do languages which have adjectives after the noun work with complex phrases?

Say I have a phrase like these: The seat of the great rock of the north. = The north('s) great rock's seat - 北方(的)巨石的基座/底盤. The man of the forest of the east. = The east('s) forest's man - 東方(的)叢林的男人....
Lance's user avatar
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7 votes
3 answers
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What features should I include in a presentation of a heavily inflected conlang that copies the format of 19th century grammars?

I'm toying with an idea for my next project: Remember those old-fashioned grammars of heavily infected languages with reams of paradigms for declensions, conjugations, and agreement rules--not to ...
James Grossmann's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
107 views

Treat the gerund and/or infinitive as a case

Basic questions: Do we know of any property of a gerund or infinitive which prevents it being treated totally like a type of noun? Do we know any language which expresses gerunds or infinitives as a ...
Vir's user avatar
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4 votes
2 answers
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I need help with understanding perfect, perfective, perterite, and pluperfect

After reading the definitions of perfect past, perfective past, preterite past, and pluperfect past, I am confused as to what their distinctions are. They all are past tense forms indicating a ...
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5 votes
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How can I make complex relative clauses?

I can make simple relative clauses that share arguments just fine, but I struggle with certain clauses. Take the following English sentences: Someone killed* a person* I hated the killing*. You saw a ...
Mlvluu's user avatar
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4 votes
6 answers
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Help, drowning in Dative---What should inform my conlang's exact usage of it? Do languages ever have a "miscellaneous" case?

I am a native English speaker that wanted to make a conlang.... recipe for disaster, I know. My language has Nominative, Accusative, Dative and Genitive. I was having difficulty internalizing how to ...
CJ Lynx's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
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How to tell if having trailing noun/verb/adjective modifiers will work?

I have basically landed on the desire to create a conlang with the following features (for now): Only one syllable base words, which have the form cvc ccvc or cvcc (consonant and vowel). There are ...
Lance's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
196 views

For a strict SVO language, how do you handle complex sentences?

All of the SVO example sentences I see are very basic, such as this from Mini: [subject] i [verb] a [object] Tu i manja. You eat. Man i bibe a vasa. Someone drinks water. Bobi i ...
Lance's user avatar
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3 votes
3 answers
177 views

How to structure sentences to be able to distinguish between verbs, nouns, and adjectives etc.?

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 ("...
Lance's user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer
128 views

What is the second most elaborate constructed language up to date after Esperanto?

What would be the most elaborate constructed language today in terms of size of vocabulary, complexity of grammar, number of exceptions to the rules of the language, etc.? If we exclude Esperanto, of ...
Maksim's user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer
61 views

is it naturalistic for a language to change alignment like this?

I'm working on another conlang for my world and its evolution, and one of the defining qualities of its handling for transitive verbs in sentences is using nominative-accusative alignment, but ...
Zackbuildit777's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
98 views

How to Indicate Idea Flow

Are there any other schemes to indicate the flow of words/thoughts in writing? (Outside of what I have researched.) I am specifically asking about how languages present complete grammatical statements ...
PipperChip's user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
96 views

Are words based on acronyms treated differently when the language changes over time?

Do sound and grammar changes affect acronyms, that can be pronounced as words, differently than other words in a language? Are words based on acronyms treated differently or not when sound/grammar ...
EveryBitHelps's user avatar
5 votes
2 answers
380 views

How to break out of the English mold when creating a conlang (specifically in regards to word modifiers)?

I am working on a conlang. I have to some degree (i.e. a little bit) studied the grammar of Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese, Sanskrit, and Hebrew, and know Spanish relatively well in comparison from ...
Lance's user avatar
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4 votes
0 answers
51 views

How do you handle the distinction between "modifiers" (adjectives and adverbs) and "determiners" in a generic way?

I am working on a conlang and am trying to better handle the distinction between adverbs, adjectives, and determiners. Adverbs modify verbs (and other things), and adjectives modify nouns, but ...
Lance's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
113 views

Finding Sentence Structure in VSO

I'm making a Conlang, and this conlang uses a Verb-Subject-Object Sentence Structure. I'm trying to convert part of the poem "The New Colossus" into the Conlang, but I'm stuck trying to ...
A Can of Beans's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
225 views

How to prevent pronoun dropping in my language?

I have an idea for a language I am toying with where sentences have a fairly rigid structure, unfortunately I get the feeling that if I were to start with a precursor protolang (as part of me ...
AncientSwordRage's user avatar
5 votes
2 answers
264 views

Do we know languages which think about subordinate conjunctions (like 'as,' 'even,' 'while') differently than English does?

for my conlang, I am trying to think of how to do the subordinating conjunction 'as,' 'even,' 'while' (and related: 'even though,' etc.). In the languages that I know well enough to use these words (...
Vir's user avatar
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2 votes
0 answers
122 views

Does My Conlang, After Looking At My Grammar, Meet the Qualifications For a Legitimate IAL? [closed]

At the end of this question I will provide a link to the grammar in question. I have created an Auxlang that I call Ulimi (because ulimi porridge is simple. It's a stupid pun). I have also got a ...
Itsuki Ookami's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
414 views

How do you remove the confusion in a conlang when creating and distinguishing nouns, verbs, adjectives, and particles?

I am trying to implement a conlang and am confused how we as humans are able to distinguish nouns, verbs, adjectives, particles, etc. in a sentence. I get that word order is a factor, as well as the ...
Lance's user avatar
  • 1,688
9 votes
1 answer
172 views

good naturalistic system for Germanic language?

I hope this isn't too redundant of a question... I was hoping somebody could briefly summarize what general features languages descended from proto-Germanic tend to have? I understand all the ...
helsy's user avatar
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7 votes
2 answers
180 views

Where should I start planning my grammar?

I'm about creating my first conlang grammar, I know a few general characteristics yet I don't truly know where or how I should start to outline it. I only have messy pieces of informations about. From ...
Meymey's user avatar
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7 votes
3 answers
225 views

Is Irrealis and Evidentials Compatible?

I and other people are making a collaborative conlang. It features mood/evidentiality contrast. There are 4 moods: Indicative Imperative Optative Conditional There are also 6 evidentials: Direct ...
Xwtek's user avatar
  • 173
10 votes
3 answers
241 views

Usage of different plural systems in the same language

Let's assume a language once had an extensive plural system, indicating singular/dual/paucal/plural distinctions on nouns, pronouns, verbs, et cetera. Over time, as has happened in real languages, ...
Keith Morrison's user avatar
9 votes
2 answers
379 views

Should I include morphology in my proto language?

Most, if not all natural languages have some form of morphology, such as noun case or poly-personal agreement. However, these features are usually evolved from prepositions and auxiliary verbs, and ...
Tateran's user avatar
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9 votes
3 answers
197 views

How can I add irregularities to a morphological paradigm?

So, I'm trying to make something with a naturalistic feel, even though the current phonetic system distinguishes about 38 phonemes... Let's say I'll tackle this later. I have issues with grammar... I ...
user avatar
9 votes
3 answers
99 views

State-based analogue to distributive case

I am developing conlang that has grammatical cases system for nominals that for each spatial case there is state-based case. In Finnic languages grammatical cases that denote states occur, examples ...
Мікалас Кaрыбутоў's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
135 views

How would I make an efficient, written, language while still providing the least ambiguity that is reasonable?

I plan on having some ambiguity for stuff like wordplay (and to make the language feel natural). By efficient, I mean the language takes up little space on the document it is conveying information on. ...
Alexis Evelyn's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
146 views

How to reanalyse collectives in High Valyrian?

Note: For the purposes of this question, please do not assume that the Tongues of Ice and Fire Wiki is correct1 unless it references somewhere else. The High Valyrian [grammatical] number page of the ...
Mithrandir24601's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
167 views

Structure only conlang? Nouns?

Are there examples of conlangs that are used by applying their structure such as grammar, sentence structure, intonation, means of combining words, etc… with other features of a given language or ...
alan2here's user avatar
  • 153
3 votes
2 answers
155 views

Can Root Words Be Derived From Other Root Words

If I said "I" was "Zha" would it be plausible to say "you" is "Zho" and from there naturally begin forming grammatical gender, or would that be too early in the language to add complexities? Also, ...
Wa-Nous Deslouches's user avatar
7 votes
1 answer
107 views

Term for the converse of "instrumental"

We can make a noun for the instrument of an action, by taking the verb for the action and adding an instrumental marker.[1] For instance, in English, we can add "-er",[2] like so: I cut the box ...
Tim Pederick's user avatar
8 votes
1 answer
188 views

Would these features be naturalistic in this scenario?

Background I am planning a naturalistic Goidelic language which shall have quite an influence from Old Norse – probably at least 1/4 or 1/3 of the vocabulary to be of North Germanic origin, as well ...
Tomsk's user avatar
  • 195
5 votes
2 answers
299 views

Language with nominal TAM and no verbs: Ergative or tripartite?

I'm working on a language with nominal tense–aspect–mood (TAM), i.e. inflecting nouns instead of verbs. So, a sentence like "the woman sees the man", could be roughly translated to something like "the ...
MoholyNagy's user avatar
11 votes
3 answers
626 views

What verbs should be irregular in a naturalistic conlang?

I've read that the most commonly used verbs in a language are almost always irregular, and for the most part the irregular forms of verbs can be traced to an archaic form being preserved in the ...
Scriptifex's user avatar