Questions tagged [morphology]

Questions concerning the study of the forms of words, their internal structure, and how they are formed from one another through processes like inflection, derivation, and compounding.

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History of world language

If we look at world history—I am speaking a little vaguely, since it is not possible to be completely accurate. The human race began from a single region, as you can see in the bottom image. What ...
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109 views

Syllabic restriction/word boundaries set by IPA? Or it is decided by language creator

When creating syllables we basically require an onset, nucleus, and a coda. Now, usually, all language have an onset, and the coda is fairly optional. Before creating a phonetic system, we first ...
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How could the future “Kesh” language from the book “Always Coming Home” by Ursula K. Le Guin develop from modern languages?

In the book Always Coming Home, by Ursula K. Le Guin, the author created the future Kesh language and Aiha alphabet. Does anyone with an anthropological or etymological background and experience with ...
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249 views

Are there any successful conlangs using information density as a design goal?

I'm interested in the idea of a conlang which could be used to create extremely information dense statements - such that, for example, a single word could be built up from morphemes to express a ...
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72 views

What is a realistic *upper bound* on the complexity of nominals that can be incorporated into a verb?

Some languages feature noun incorporation. Here's an example from Lahkota from the Wikipedia article on incorporation. I suspect the difference in meaning is similar to the man chopped the wood vs the ...
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How much ambiguity for argument roles is possible without sacrificing comprehensibility?

For the purposes of this question, I'm specifically interested in marking theta-roles of verb arguments and possessive constructs, i.e. the things prototypically marked by case in languages that have ...
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100 views

What is reduplication used for in natural languages?

According to WALS Feature 27A, 278/368 languages surveyed have productive full and partial reduplication. Chapter 27 gives the following example of partial reduplication in Pangasinan: báley "town" -&...
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Strategies for marking boundaries between potentially discontinuous top-level clauses

What are some strategies for making boundaries between top-level clauses obvious? I think the most straightforward strategy is some kind of collection of sentence-final particles, but I'm curious ...
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3answers
109 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 ...
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77 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 ...
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Are suffixes in Ido agglutinative?

I was thinking what is the correct way to say "Little princess" in Ido. (EN) Little princess - Little (indicates the "size") Princess (descendant of some royal crown and that descendant is female). (...
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147 views

How to naturally evolve verbs into adverbs or dependent clauses?

Currently I have a very simple proto-language which I'm trying to evolve. For example: slishi hu ho shofli shofli pfufi tushi repair person tool fish.V fish.V succeed cause Person ...
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By what means might the roots “let” and “ly” mean the same thing in a naturalistic conlang?

I apologize for how this question may be perceived. I am casually learning linguistics with no curriculum. I can understand that this question may have many possible answers, but I am not quite sure ...
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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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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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362 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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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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192 views

What language uses the most amount of phonemes?

I'm constructing an auxlang/artlang (temporarily named Syn). The Syn is (being) designed to interface with any known human language, with a wildly uniform set of simplistic, unambiguous symbols. I ...
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109 views

Which categories of inalienable possession have conlangs expressed?

In many natlangs a grammatical distinction is made between alienable and inalienable possession. Inalienable possession is used for things which are in some way conceptualised as being inseparable ...
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Free word building in Interlingua

There is even a Wikipedia article on Free word building in Interlingua stating that it is feasible to apply derivational affixes in Interlingua productively even when none of the so-called control ...
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196 views

Is a naturalistic language without countable nouns possible?

Is a naturalistic language without count nouns possible, thus having only mass nouns? This would mean having many words for things with water: a sea, an ocean, a bottle of water, a puddle, etc. What ...
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282 views

Is it possible to make a declension system that DOESN'T limit what nouns can end in?

This has always been a conundrum for me. I like how grammatical case frees up word order, but hate how it puts a limit on what nouns can end in. Years ago someone told me of a natlang that uses 6 ...
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119 views

Use of string reversion in conlangs

I came across the Esperantido Universal where reversion of stems (e.g., mega "big" ⁒ gema "small", -a is the adjective ending) is used to denote antonymy. Are there other conlangs using this unusual ...
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181 views

Are Esperanto's part of speech endings actually beneficial?

I was wondering if they really serve any practical advantage. For one, what they mean depends on what the innate part of speech of the root is, which isn't marked except through the part of speech ...
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243 views

Consider an isolated, close-knit community; which characteristics is their language likely to have?

For the sake of concreteness, let's say my low-tech conculture is living in a few villages on a smallish island in the middle of the ocean (Pitcairn Islands comes to mind). Basically, this would ...
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276 views

What are common origins of accusative case markers?

What are the primary way(s) accusative case markers can develop? The primary way of development of oblique case markers seems relatively straightforward, with attachment of adpositions (which can ...
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672 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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How can we define words? [closed]

Even though the question seems trivial, it's still a hotly debated topic (as far as I'm aware). For example, in the Oxford Handbook for Polysynthesis, Fernando Zúñiga says: Recent literature (e.g. ...
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208 views

Is there a practical lower limit to the number of morphemes required in a language?

Many conlangers have tried (and occasionally succeeded in) creating oligomorphemic¹ languages. What are the most minimalistic successful attempts? From this, can we extrapolate a lower bound? ¹also ...