10 votes
Accepted

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

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 ...
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9 votes

What are common origins of accusative case markers?

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 ...
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  • 3,252
9 votes

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

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 ...
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8 votes

What verbs should be irregular in a naturalistic conlang?

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 ...
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7 votes

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

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 ...
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  • 1,334
7 votes

Which categories of inalienable possession have conlangs expressed?

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 ...
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7 votes
Accepted

Is a naturalistic language without countable nouns possible?

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 ...
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7 votes

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

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 ...
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7 votes

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

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 ...
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  • 171
6 votes

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

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 ...
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6 votes
Accepted

By what means might the roots "let" and "ly" mean the same thing in a naturalistic conlang?

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. ...
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6 votes
Accepted

What is reduplication used for in natural languages?

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 "...
6 votes
Accepted

Evolution of irregular declensions and conjugations from reconstructed proto-languages

I know some fellow conlangers are much more proficient in Greek and its history than me, therefore I want to concentrate on some more general aspects of the question. First of all, you are the conlang ...
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5 votes

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

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 ...
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  • 3,511
5 votes
Accepted

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

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 ...
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  • 1,580
5 votes

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

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 ...
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  • 3,331
5 votes
Accepted

How do conlangs/natlangs have prefixes suffixes and not get them jumbled up?

If ending in a consonant, it can end in a sibilant/fricative like s or f, or a nasal like m or n, so you have pairs like "mas" and "mam", and you pick one depending on the ...
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  • 531
4 votes
Accepted

Use of string reversion in conlangs

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, ...
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4 votes

Are Esperanto's part of speech endings actually beneficial?

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 ...
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4 votes
Accepted

State-based analogue to distributive case

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 ...
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4 votes
Accepted

What verbs should be irregular in a naturalistic conlang?

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 ...
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  • 286
4 votes

How can I add irregularities to a morphological paradigm?

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 ...
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  • 2,910
4 votes

How can I add irregularities to a morphological paradigm?

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 ...
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4 votes

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

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 ...
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4 votes

Finding Sentence Structure in VSO

This sentence is in the imperative mood, so there is no subject (it´s implied to be the addressee). The verb is give, me is the indirect object (the target of give), and the rest of the sentence is ...
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  • 3,331
4 votes
Accepted

How important/useful is it to derive words from smaller parts in a conlang?

All languages have some way to combine atomic units to make more complex or elaborate meanings. Sometimes the result is considered a single word; sometimes it's not. But the underlying principles are ...
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  • 531
3 votes

By what means might the roots "let" and "ly" mean the same thing in a naturalistic conlang?

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 /...
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  • 3,331
3 votes

State-based analogue to distributive case

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-...
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  • 2,910
3 votes
Accepted

What language uses the most amount of phonemes?

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....
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  • 956
3 votes

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

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 ...
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  • 1,512

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