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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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 ...
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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 ...
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5 votes
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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 ...
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4 votes
2 answers
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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 ...
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4 votes
2 answers
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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 ...
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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 ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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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 ...
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4 votes
1 answer
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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 ...
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5 votes
2 answers
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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 (...
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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 ...
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3 votes
1 answer
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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 ...
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9 votes
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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 ...
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7 votes
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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 ...
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7 votes
3 answers
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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 ...
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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, ...
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9 votes
2 answers
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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 ...
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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 ...
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9 votes
3 answers
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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 ...
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4 votes
1 answer
122 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. ...
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6 votes
0 answers
74 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 ...
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5 votes
1 answer
126 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 ...
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2 answers
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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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7 votes
1 answer
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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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8 votes
1 answer
170 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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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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11 votes
3 answers
449 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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3 votes
1 answer
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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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6 votes
2 answers
170 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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9 votes
2 answers
171 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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9 votes
1 answer
239 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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6 votes
3 answers
258 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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9 votes
5 answers
348 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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12 votes
3 answers
500 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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10 votes
2 answers
352 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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13 votes
2 answers
243 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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5 votes
2 answers
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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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11 votes
5 answers
1k 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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13 votes
3 answers
628 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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14 votes
2 answers
1k 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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20 votes
7 answers
796 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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8 votes
2 answers
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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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31 votes
2 answers
762 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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11 votes
2 answers
292 views

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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3 votes
0 answers
159 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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32 votes
6 answers
851 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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5 votes
1 answer
120 views

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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14 votes
3 answers
796 views

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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49 votes
5 answers
1k 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 ...
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