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8 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 ...
Reese Johnston's user avatar
6 votes
Accepted

Do I really need plural grammatical number when my conlang deals with existence and uniqueness?

No, you do not. Plenty of natural languages get along fine without a grammatical plural. On any situation where it actually matters, you can just use an explicit numeral.
Logan R. Kearsley's user avatar
5 votes

Do I need a Dative Case?

Yours is a very interesting and legitimate question, but in the light of what we know from the languages of the world, what you ask might not be what you mean to ask. Let me expand a bit below. To ...
Stefano's user avatar
  • 151
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 ...
curiousdannii's user avatar
  • 3,740
4 votes
Accepted

Treat the gerund and/or infinitive as a case

You'd want to think about constructions like "a talent for swimming" or "the art of cooking", but if it can combine with other "cases", this isn't an issue. My question ...
Draconis's user avatar
  • 4,616
4 votes
Accepted

Structure only conlang? Nouns?

It happens with sign languages - often there are two "versions" of a sign language, the first one (less official, natural) is generally used by the community and has its own grammar, the second one (...
Radovan Garabík's user avatar
3 votes
Accepted

How to handle denoting the noun in a sentence when there are noun-modifiers present?

What you call "multi-word nouns" are usually called "noun phrases". It is a peculiarity of English (but not uncommon; isolating languages tend to do this, see Chinese) that you can ...
Radovan Garabík's user avatar
2 votes

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

I think taking the dual retained in old Indo-European languages is a good idea. However, if your language is settled in Skandinavia, you could attribute it to contact with an Uralic language. While ...
Cecilia's user avatar
  • 1,188
2 votes

Is a naturalistic language without countable nouns possible?

Yes. A language can treat all nouns as mass nouns and require classifiers when counting objects.
bb94's user avatar
  • 361
2 votes
Accepted

How to handle modifiers within modifiers in noun phrases?

In Sumerian, the first noun of a phrase is the "head" (the thing the others are modifying), and the end of a phrase (whether it's one word or multiple words) is marked with a clitic that ...
Draconis's user avatar
  • 4,616
1 vote

How to handle modifiers within modifiers in noun phrases?

In Lingála, modifiers are tagged with the gender of the noun they modify. Since Lingála has at least fourteen genders in the literary dialect, this tends to eliminate any ambiguity. Numbers in the ...
Draconis's user avatar
  • 4,616
1 vote

Do I need a Dative Case?

Your lang, your rules. But generally speaking, no, you don't need a dative case. Funny thing is, you don't even need a dative case even if you were to wrack your brain and come up with handfuls of ...
elemtilas's user avatar
  • 3,275
1 vote

What parts of speech (nouns, adj., verbs, etc.) could be limited to make a language with fewer words?

This question is probably more suited for the English stackexchange, where it would be promptly closed (or at least that's my gut feeling). However, there is a way to estimate the number: the (English)...
Radovan Garabík's user avatar
1 vote

What parts of speech (nouns, adj., verbs, etc.) could be limited to make a language with fewer words?

The thing about languages is that they can all say the same things. If it can't say something, it hasn't come across the concept yet. And when it has, it will make up or borrow a word to fill the gap. ...
No Name's user avatar
  • 323
1 vote
Accepted

Is num-det-n-adj-rel a reasonable order for a noun phrase?

It is reasonable, but I'm having trouble finding unambiguous precedent for it in natural languages. This handout shows the frequency of different orders of demonstratives, adjectives, nouns, and ...
Greg Nisbet's user avatar
  • 1,715
1 vote

Is num-det-n-adj-rel a reasonable order for a noun phrase?

Reasonable: sure! We do this in English, fronting the number for emphasis or for poetry. There's no reason why you couldn't do this as a matter of ordinary in your language. Five the orange balls ...
elemtilas's user avatar
  • 3,275
1 vote

Do I need a Dative Case?

You might consider something like: "I gave you it" > "I gave it so that you recieved it" "I told you it" > "I said it so that you heard it" "I passed ...
user31355's user avatar

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