10

Derek Bickerton and John McWhorter both have studied pidgins and creoles. A general observation is that communities that have to deal with other communities who don't speak their language, but still have to communicate resort to using pidgins, creoles which are simplified, grammatically speaking. McWhorter says English lost it's complex grammar when Vikings ...


9

This is merely a marginal answer and I’m sure there’s a lot more data that might prove valuable, but in multiple Romance languages (at least Spanish and Romansh) the preposition a has developed into an accusative marker for particularly animate objects. This preposition derives from Latin ad “to(wards)” and is in both languages somewhat equivalent to English ...


8

The first class of verbs that is often highly irregular are the auxiliary verbs. This does not only comprise to be and to have but also the modal auxiliaries (like must, can, shall, and will). They are used very frequently and tend to erode phonetically, and they are also prone to suppletion (showing a mixture of different stems from originally different ...


8

Well, y'know, ANADEW and all that, but... As far as I know, there is no natural language with a grammaticalized antiperfect aspect--i.e., an aspect where the time of the action is after the reference point, rather than before. Present Perfect: "He has come." Past Perfect (pluperfect): "He had come." Future Perfect: "He will have come." In each case, the ...


7

Outside of Toki Pona, there haven't been any "majorly" successful attempts at making an oligomorphemic language — as far as I know. While derivational and inflectional morphology could be done away with (and its information load transferred to syntax I guess), the question is how many semantic morphemes is too few before a language becomes incomprehensibly ...


7

Lojban differentiates between inalienable possession, alienable possession, and association: po'e, po, pe. But Lojban does so because its design aspired to typological completeness: it's followed the textbooks in its differentiation between alienable and inalienable possession. See http://www.lojban.org/static/publications/refgram_chunked/cllc/8/3/ "...


7

As a matter of fact, Mandarin Chinese can be considered to be such a language - it treats every noun as a mass noun. Every noun requires a "measure word" for counting, like "bottle" in "four bottles of water" or "sheet" in "ten sheets of paper". Chinese has a considerable list of these (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Chinese_classifiers) but there's ...


7

There are a lot of hypotheses and conjectures floating around the linguistic community regarding typological features (like phoneme inventories, inflecting or isolating type etc.) and size of the speech community. However, almost none of these conjectures is currently backed up by real world data (and, on the other side, real world data are often ...


7

The phonotactics of a language, what you have described, is the silent partner of phonology. The analogy I like to use is that a language's phonology is its periodic table (with individual phonemes as individual elements), while its phonotactics are the entire rest of its chemistry. Higher level stuff, like morphology, semantics, pragmatics, are things like ...


6

Ignoring the lost natlang, I'll just answer the title question: There are several possibilities to let nouns end in any phoneme of the language and still have case inflections: Most simple: Have a zero ending in the nominative singular Base your inflection on prefixes (like in Bantu languages) or infixes (like in Semitic languages) BTW, inflections with ...


5

It is a two-step process, and both steps are very natural and frequently encountered in natural languages. The steps may occur in the other order as well, but the order here deems more common to me. Loss of the final stop let -> le. This occurs very often, French is a prominent example of this because the final stops are preserved in writing, but lost in ...


5

Both Proto-Germanic and Proto-Slavic had the dual grammatical number. So you could just say that your conlang retained it the whole time. Alternatively you could say that it lost it and then subsequently borrowed it again from one of the Slavic languages which retained it. If you were after a specific source, Old Church Slavonic could be ideal because it ...


5

WALS Chapter 27 describes a number of functions for reduplication. All examples below come from chapter 27 unless otherwise noted. On nouns Pangasinan uses reduplication to mark plurals: báley "town" balbáley "towns" Ilocano uses reduplication on nouns to mark a distributive plural: sábong "flower" sabsábong "various flowers" Ilocano also uses ...


5

Answering this question is tricky. As you obtain higher and higher levels of information density, you have to sacrifice some naturalism or some simplicity in order to get there. Marking the point where you've sacrificed too much naturalism or simplicity to be learnable is a judgment call. Short answer: Possibly guaspi, but it's obscure. One famous example ...


5

There is a general trade-off between two aspects of any encoding or language: redundancy versus information density. If you have an information-dense language, that means there won't be much redundancy (as every symbol has a distinct meaning). This makes for efficient communication in perfect conditions, but as soon as there is any noise (in the widest sense ...


4

Solresol actually reverses the syllable order of a word to denote an opposite meaning, though this occurrence is inconsistent through the creator's published dictionary. For example, fala means good, but lafa means bad, and falaredo means accessible, but dorelafa means inaccessible.


4

For those unfamiliar with Esperanto POS suffixes, -o noun -i verb (infinitive) -a adjective -e adverb For example: sano - health sani - to be healthy sana - healthy sane - healthily Since Esperanto has free word order, having POS markers allows the differentiation between the following phrases: ĝoje knabino ludas - a girl plays happily ĝoja ...


4

Interesting concept for a case. In my interpretation this kind of an abstract distributive case would apply in sentences like this one (a probably very clumsy reformulation of a famous first sentence in literature) Every unhappy family is different in their unhappiness. I looked up the really case-rich conlang Ithkuil and did not find a precedent for this ...


4

The more used a verb is, the more likely it is to resist evolution. So the most popular verbs are likely to be the most odd. Think of the activities which were more common during the evolution of the language. A conlang spoken by a prosperous society might have more irregular verbs related to possession, social interactions and art - while a conlang spoken ...


4

One possibility: perhaps your "-a- for plural" derives from an ancient word for "many" that was of a different declension, having different endings, so you could posit: S -o / -og / -ot / -om / -ol vs P -a / -az / -asis / -amis / -ay Another possibility: the historical importation of a foreign declension pattern into words of certain classes, which ...


4

Introduce sound changes. For a simple example, say that the sequence -om- becomes -um- in all situations at one point in the language's history, and -at- becomes -it-. This would (using your examples) mean that instead of -o/ -og/ -ot/ -om/ -ol -a/ -ag/ -at/ -am/ -al you'd have: -o/ -og/ -ot/ -um/ -ol -a/ -ag/ -it/ -am/ -al Now introduce another one: ...


4

To use your example from Japanese: ika-se-rare-ta-kuna-katta Yes, all one word. A word of 10 syllables, 6 morphenes. What, precisely, is the advantage over "didn't want to be made to go" (8 syllables, and 8 morphenes)? It only works if you decide that "word" is the most basic unit to measure against, but "word" can be a very ...


3

In order to see whether -let and -ly are related, there are several options: One of them is the 'original' morpheme indicating a settlement, and the other one is derived from it. Maybe the /e/ in /let/ was pronounced [i:] at some point, and then the /t/ dropped. They both have a common ancestor, maybe /ley/. In distinct geographic regions it ended up being ...


3

I suspect you could just make up a name. That's certainly a legitimate glossopoetical strategy. In English, i'd just call it a distributive sense of the state-noun and have done with it: Such-and-such only happens thrice per childhood, you know! Or ...thrice childhoodly if you prefer! I frankly don't get the difference between LOC/ABL/ALL & ESS/...


3

You're gonna have a hard time with "majority of the entire IPA". Non-pulmonic consonants are rare, and some consonants are hard to contrast (e.g. /β/ vs. /v/), while vowels are often highly allophonic. Natural languages tend to have fewer IPA places and distinction via aspiration, labialization, etc. My best answer to your question would be Ithkuil (...


3

There are some languages with unusually irregular plurals or verbal forms, but I don't think any language has something quite as stark as what you're demanding here. Mostly because, as you point out yourself, a system that basically makes it impossible to recognize what case a noun is in unless it was previously learned by rote would be so taxing on the mind ...


3

Morotuncanian has some verbal aspects that I rather doubt appear in natural languages of the primary world. Sedative and Excitative verbal aspects. The former aspect expresses the nature of the action, through time, as calming and steady in nature. The latter aspect expresses the nature of the action, through time, as unsteady or agitated in nature, but not ...


3

Part of the confusion here is that the loss of the grammatical markers you note are a logical consequence of the the semantic use of incorporation. An incorporated noun may be best compared, in my opinion, to a nonfinite verb, which will also typically lack much of the morphological features of a normal verb. This alone makes it evident why the standard ...


3

5000 years is a really long time for linguistic evolution, and after such a long time little resemblance between the original and the final outcome is left. So almost anything is a plausible outcome. The feature "written language and spoken are completely separate things and are not interchangeable" has a nice scientific name alloglottography and ...


2

Yes. A language can treat all nouns as mass nouns and require classifiers when counting objects.


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