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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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3 votes
2 answers
69 views

Evolving tense from a tenseless proto-language

I'm trying to come up with a verb system as confusing as Georgian, where expressing TAM involves the combination of many affixes whose individual meaning has been lost to time. I want the daughter ...
2 votes
1 answer
45 views

With infix connectives, how to handle edge cases?

Suppose we have a language containing an infix connective for building some sort of sequence. For example, perhaps our terminals are natural numbers and commas, and we are considering fragments like &...
0 votes
1 answer
54 views

Need help putting modality in my language bad (realis irrealis system)

For my conlang, which is just a proto language so far, I want a realis-irrealis grammatical mood system because other than the verbs, it's pretty analytical, so it would make sense to use more ...
3 votes
2 answers
57 views

Is there a good natural reason for a language to declare infinite cardinalities as "plural" and finite cardinalities as "paucal"?

Nowadays, mathematicians have a number of ways of dealing with infinities, prominently the notions of cardinalities and ordinal numbers. As such, I wondered whether we would incorporate such notions ...
5 votes
3 answers
200 views

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 ...
1 vote
0 answers
41 views

Attempt to define verb inflection that is phonologically featural

My native language is Korean, which has a featural script, namely Hangul. Though my conlang isn't going to adopt Hangul, I came up with one question of curiosity: "Can there be a featural grammar?...
0 votes
0 answers
29 views

Question about selma'o FA

Is the fi elidable in sentences such as the following: fe tu’a lo karce fa mi djica [fi] lo nu litru?
1 vote
0 answers
17 views

How do I say "minimum age" in lojban?

Would "lo sarcyselna'a" be grammatically correct? Are there any specific rules on where to put sel and other cmavo rafsi in lujvo?
3 votes
1 answer
156 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 ...
0 votes
1 answer
46 views

For writing a grammar, benefit of linguistic vs "readable" terminology

I am writing a grammar for my conlang. I imagine finishing it and hiring a grad student or somebody to read it for comments, but otherwise, realistically, it probably has no other audience than myself ...
5 votes
1 answer
40 views

Is this lojban sentence grammatically correct?

Is "ta se klama" grammatically correct? Could I say "That is gone to" in lojban, without adding a zo'e to my sentence? Or would it have to be "That is gone to by something&...
6 votes
3 answers
163 views

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 ...
3 votes
1 answer
76 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 ...
5 votes
1 answer
42 views

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 ...
4 votes
1 answer
67 views

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 ...
1 vote
1 answer
95 views

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 ...
4 votes
0 answers
94 views

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 ...
5 votes
1 answer
694 views

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 ...
13 votes
4 answers
711 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 ...
-1 votes
1 answer
108 views

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" ...
1 vote
2 answers
75 views

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 ...
-1 votes
2 answers
80 views

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 ...
6 votes
1 answer
147 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 ...
1 vote
1 answer
97 views

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 ...
2 votes
3 answers
354 views

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 ...
7 votes
3 answers
161 views

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 ...
13 votes
2 answers
289 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 ...
4 votes
1 answer
1k views

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 ...
11 votes
3 answers
648 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 ...
1 vote
1 answer
70 views

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....
5 votes
2 answers
148 views

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 ...
4 votes
6 answers
196 views

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 ...
2 votes
1 answer
110 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 ...
5 votes
2 answers
394 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 ...
4 votes
2 answers
133 views

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 ...
3 votes
3 answers
179 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 ("...
2 votes
1 answer
60 views

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 ...
2 votes
1 answer
213 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 ...
4 votes
1 answer
130 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 ...
4 votes
1 answer
64 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 ...
6 votes
1 answer
103 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 ...
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 ...
4 votes
0 answers
52 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 ...
2 votes
1 answer
126 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 ...
4 votes
1 answer
229 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 ...
5 votes
2 answers
277 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 (...
2 votes
0 answers
127 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 ...
9 votes
2 answers
390 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 ...
10 votes
3 answers
246 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, ...
3 votes
1 answer
439 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 ...