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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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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, ...
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1answer
28 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 ...
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71 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 ...
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2answers
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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 ...
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3answers
129 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 ...
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1answer
93 views

A Hypothetical Mediterranean Language Inspired by Both Greek and Latin

Here is the scenario: In or before the Classical Period, a king from some Greek city-state--it doesn't matter which--first brought all the other Greek city-states together to become one unified ...
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2answers
65 views

How can I explain the origin of the dual number in my Slavic-influenced East Nordic conlang?

The language I am creating is derived from East Norse and heavily influenced by Slavic. It has a quite complex grammatical structure - for example, it has not only taken over the two additional cases ...
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122 views

In what ways are grammatical genders useful?

In a previous question about making a language easy to learn as a second language I suggested that grammatical genders have very little usefulness. A couple of people, however, suggested that ...
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129 views

How to conjugate “fhtagn” in R'lyehian?

The accepted translation of Lovecraft's "Cthulhu fhtagn" seems to be "Cthulhu dreams". How would one conjugate "fhtagn" to get the word derivations "dream", "dreamer", "dreaming". This answer had a ...
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3answers
120 views

Conlang where the initial consonants of words have meaning?

A lot of languages, both natural and constructed, mark things like part of speech, gender/noun class, tense, and what not with suffixes. But what about prefixes? I think that would make more sense ...
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3answers
126 views

Syntactic word that carries no meaning - is there a name for that?

Is there a name for words that exist purely for syntactic reasons and carry no lexical meaning? Reason: Some forms of sentence in my language don't have verbs, but information such as tense and mood ...
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3answers
217 views

Should I use “double o” in Toki Pona?

In Toki Pona, the small word o has several meanings. In the official book Toki Pona: The Language of Good, it says The particle o has three uses: (1) after a noun phrase to show who is being ...
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2answers
120 views

How would the grammar of a conlang develop as a creole from other languages?

Assume that the backstory of a conlang is that it developed from a set of other languages. In other words, speakers of these (different) languages were living in the same area and were communicating ...
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2answers
165 views

Is the concept of “spatial aspect” attested in any natural language?

As described here, Aspect refers to the grammatical marking of the relation between topic and eventuality time, that is, it marking in what way the time an action actually occurs relates to the time ...
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2answers
104 views

Soudwegian: A Swedish-German process similar to what happened to English and French?

The idea is that the Swedes retain a small bit of what is nowadays German territory that they conquered in the 17th century. This is now independent territory, Soudway, with a language of its own ...
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195 views

What is the word “li” in Toki pona, grammatically?

In Toki pona, words are never inflected, and many words can act as a noun, verb or adjective in different contexts. The word "li" usually separates the subject from a predicate, and “e” goes before ...
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3answers
272 views

What are the defining traits of a Euro-centric conlang?

I know that a Euro-centric conlang is a conlang based mostly on Indo-European grammar, or more generally a conlang that is written from a worldview (conscious or not) that the "normal" language is ...
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2answers
452 views

What is the difference between tense and aspect?

Many conlangs contain tense, some contain aspect as well or instead, and much of the recommended reading for conlangers assumes that you know what tense and aspect are and what the difference between ...
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353 views

How do languages manage to make sense with a free word order?

Many of the world's natural languages, and some conlangs, have a free word order, so that the words can be put in any order with it still making sense. If they can't use word order to indicate the ...
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69 views

What are some options for alternative contrasts in demonstratives?

Most languages contrast demonstrative in a "here/there/over there" distance system, with two to five grades (with some referring to the hearer's location too). I'm looking for a different concept for ...
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2answers
417 views

Are there any grammatical aspects which do not have parallels in natural languages?

In Describing Morphosyntax, Payne uses a number of diagrams for visually explaining aspects and what they say about actions relative to time. Payne outlines the following, all of which occur in ...
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1answer
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Languages where the part of speech of a root is “fixed”?

By way of introduction, this question is about a quirk of Esperanto, but there is a general conlang question at the end, I promise. In Esperanto, every root has a natural grammatical part of speech, ...
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0answers
106 views

Should adjectives agree with the noun in all aspects? [closed]

I am making a conlang in which the writing system is based off of Arabic but the grammar is not all that similar to Arabic or English(more justification for calling it a conlang if grammar has little ...
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4answers
355 views

How can syntactic ambiguity with pronouns be avoided?

Due to the way pronouns work in place of any particular noun (subject or object) in the sentence, this often leads to ambiguous grammatical constructions. Take this phrase in English for example: ...
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1answer
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Does Dovahzul have the same grammar rules as English, or are they different?

I have recently been reading this page about the Dragon Language, and I was curious about whether if it and the English language share grammer rules. They seem to have similar bases (organized ...
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3answers
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Grammar concepts required for every conlang

Is there a method to make sure that a constructed language contains all the necessary grammar concepts, e.g. to make sure that a concept like genitive case or a construct state is present? For ...
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600 views

“Turing-completeness” in conlangs

Programming languages & programs are often said to be Turing complete when it's possible to simulate any Turing machine with it. I'm now designing a constructed language for my game and I want ...