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Language

Pitch and Tone for Conlangs

Some time ago I was in the company of my girlfriend’s teenage son. At one point he responded to a question with a non-committal grunt. Not to be outdone I grunted back. There then followed about five minutes of “conversation” using only grunts, shrugs and other occasional gestures. It was quite surprising what nuances of emotion and information that could be communicated by such means.
There is a hypothesis that before true language existed early homids communicated with body language, gestures and vocalizations. Possibly one of the earliest “sentences” was something that meant “look at me, pay attention to what I am showing”. Modern greetings effectively do the same. “Give me your attention/ Acknowledge me”.
Below is an interesting experiment that had subjects trying to communicate a variety of concepts with grunts. What is interesting is that subjects choose rising noises for concepts like “big” or “high” and lowering ones for “small” or “low”. If one concept used a rising tone the paired opposite would get a lowered one. Would we see the same results with non-English speakers? What if the experiment was made with speakers of tonal languages such as Mandarin? Is there a correlation between concepts and the tones used for them in languages such as Cantonese and Mandarin?
Interesting stuff, and of relevance to Conlang creators too. Hence Diinlang uses “ta” and “up” and pairs them with tonal opposites “ko” and “loh”.

Human language may have started differently than thought
Caption: The plots show the acoustic characteristics of each of the 18 meanings. The five variables are represented on the x-axis: D, duration; H, harmonics to noise ratio; I, intensity; P, pitch; C, pitch change. All values are normalized (z-scored) for each of the five measures. The red line shows the median and the blue box spans the first and third quartiles. The up and down arrows indicate variables that differed reliably between antonymic meanings. For example, vocalizations for bad differed from those for good by having a lower harmonics to noise ratio and pitch. The variables marked with arrows were the basis for the iconic template of each meaning. Credit: Royal Society Open Science, DOI: 10.1098/rsos.150152
(Phys.org)—A trio of researchers, two with the University of Wisconsin, the other with the University of California, has conducted a study, the results of which suggest that maybe humans did not get a start on language using only hand gestures as many scientists have theorized. Instead, as Marcus Perlman, Rick Dale and Gary Lupyan note in their paper published in Royal Society Open Science, it may have been a result of both noise-making and gesturing.
Nobody can say for sure how it was that we humans first began speaking to one another—surely it was a gradual process with different groups and individuals using various signals such as eye contact, body language, gesturing with arms, hands and fingers, or as the researchers with this new effort suggest, noises that were meant to convey some degree of meaning.
To come to this conclusion, the research trio conducted a study whereby volunteers were asked to make noises to convey the meaning of different words, without using body language or even facial expressions. Nine pairs of volunteers were asked to play what amounted to vocal charades, taking turns trying to get their partner to understand which of 18 contrasting word ideas (up, down, big, small, etc.) were being expressed. The researchers recorded their efforts and then compared the results among the different pairs. In so doing, they found that there was a discernible pattern—people attempting to convey the idea of “up” for example tended to use a rising pitch, whereas they did the opposite for “down.” The researchers discovered that the pairs tended to improve when going multiple rounds, eventually getting to a point where the partners could figure out which word idea was being expressed on average 82.2 percent of the time. It also carried over to a non-lab environment. When the voice sounds were played for anonymous people over a crowd-sourced site, listeners were able to guess correctly on average 35.6 percent of the time, far better than chance would suggest.
These findings, the researchers claim, suggest that it appears more likely that our ancestors used both hand-signals and noises to convey meaning, which over a long period of time, evolved into more complex sounds that came to be associated with common ideas among multiple people.
Abstract
Studies of gestural communication systems find that they originate from spontaneously created iconic gestures. Yet, we know little about how people create vocal communication systems, and many have suggested that vocalizations do not afford iconicity beyond trivial instances of onomatopoeia. It is unknown whether people can generate vocal communication systems through a process of iconic creation similar to gestural systems. Here, we examine the creation and development of a rudimentary vocal symbol system in a laboratory setting. Pairs of participants generated novel vocalizations for 18 different meanings in an iterative ‘vocal’ charades communication game. The communicators quickly converged on stable vocalizations, and naive listeners could correctly infer their meanings in subsequent playback experiments. People’s ability to guess the meanings of these novel vocalizations was predicted by how close the vocalization was to an iconic ‘meaning template’ we derived from the production data. These results strongly suggest that the meaningfulness of these vocalizations derived from iconicity. Our findings illuminate a mechanism by which iconicity can ground the creation of vocal symbols, analogous to the function of iconicity in gestural communication systems.

 
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Language

Adjectives from Novial.

Rereading texts about Novial causes me to again return to the subject of adjectives for Diinlang. Diinlang is going to need to use suffixes and compounding of words to create a versatile and flexible system. Ideally the number of these should be kept small to make them easy to learn.

Many adjectives can be created from the active or passive versions of the Diinlang verb. In Diinlang these have the prefix “is-” or “ge-”.

This Novial source lists ten adjective suffixes, although arguably some of the other general and substantive suffixes may also form adjectives. Adjectives in Novial tend to have an “-i” on the end, although this may be dropped, particularly for words ending in “-n”. There are some non-adjective words that end in “-i” too.

The first Novial adjective suffixes to consider are “-al”, “-iv”, “-asi”, “-osi” and “-ari”. “-al” and “-iv” can be written with an “–i” on the end and this may be pronounced if the speaker prefers. Dropping the “–i” gives the words a more English sound.

“-al” conveys the meaning “pertaining to, to do with, relating to, concerning” and is the general purpose adjectival suffix, as it is in English. Most English adjectives that end in “-al” are “-al(i)” adjectives in Novial, as are also most that end in “-ic”. Lingua Franca Nova and several other IALs also use this ending and its use is proposed for Diinlang.

“-iv(i)” means “doing naturally or capable of doing”. Novial words using this include “instruktiv”, “sugestiv” and “atraktiv” which are “instructive”, “suggestive” and “attractive” in English. “Positive” is another word of this class.

“-asi” means “has a tendency or inclination to” while “-osi” means “having, especially in a great quantity of”. “-asi” is used in “disputasi” (quarrelsome), “laborasi” (hardworking) and “atakasi” (combative). “-osi” is used for “porosi” (porous), “kurajosi” (courageous) anf “danjerosi” (dangerous).

“-ari” means “agreeing with or fit for”. This meaning becomes clear when we consider the words “regulari” (regular), “populari” (popular) and “ordinary” (ordinary).

These are the Novial adjective suffixes that seem most likely to be useful for Diinlang. Jespersen offers the suffix “-isi” but cautions against overuse. It appears to be an augmentative derived from “-issimo” so in Diinlang its use would conflict with “ta”. “-osi” would probably meet most situations where Novial might use “-isi”.

“-indi” and “-endi” I don’t see much immediate use for. The suffix “-an” I will deal with elsewhere.

The final adjective suffix is “-bli”. “Bli” is also a standalone word in Novial used to make passive voice constructions and Jespersen does describe adjectives made with “-bli” as passive. “-bli” appears to be the Novial equivalent of the English suffix “-able” and its variants. Unfortunately “-able” in English is a suffix with a broad range of uses. According to wikitionary it forms adjectives meaning:
1.Able to be done; fit to be done.
movable: able to be moved
amendable: able to be amended
breakable: liable to broken
blamable: fit to be blamed
salable: fit to be sold
2.Relevant to or suitable to, in accordance with.
fashionable: relevant to fashion
seasonable: suitable to season
3.Giving, or inclined to.
pleasurable: giving pleasure
peaceable: inclined to peace
4.Subject to.
reportable: subject to be reported
taxable: subject to be taxed
5.Due to be.
payable: due to pay

 Consider “laughable”, fit to be laughed at and “honourable”, which means having honour. For this reason I think it is best to avoid using a suffix too close to English. In previous drafts I suggested compounding with the word “zhan”, which is the Diinlang verb “to be able”. This does not end in “-i”, although in Diinlang this is not compulsory for adjectives and many are likely to in fact end in “-n” or “-al”. “-avel” or “-ivel” derived from Portuguese may be alternatives.

The Novial suffixes are a good starting point but I think a few more may be useful.

“-yi” exploits the English mechanism of creating adjectives or adjective-like words by adding a “-y”. It forms adjectives that mean “having the quality of” or (with verbs) “inclined to”. It has a lesser magnitude than “-osi”. For example “hairy” means something has hair, but not necessarily in abundance. Combination with the word “kom” (with) is an alternate construction. We can say something is “sugary” or “with sugar”.

A suffix or compound word element that means “-like” will also be needed. This will most likely be whatever word is chosen for “like” in Diinlang.  Lingua Franca Nova suggests “-in” for this application, which may be too simple and generic! The suffix “-oid” used in words such as humanoid and rhomboid is widely understood. This would be spelt “-oyd” in Diinlang and does break the pattern of “-i” endings. “-ish” can have a similar meaning to “-oid” or “like” but with the implication of a lesser degree. While I like the idea of “ish” as a standalone word meaning “approximate” in Diinlang in English it is a word that has several different meanings.

The adjective uses of the English suffix “-ful” can probably be covered by “-osi”, possibly using an augmentative if necessary. To create a noun such as “handful” Novial offers us “-ede”.
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Language

Suffixes that create Verbs.

Many words in Diinlang will serve as verbs or nouns without modification or inflection. This is a feature that Diinlang shares with English. For example the word “hunt” can be used as “a hunt, the hunt” or “to hunt”. Many English verbs are created from the name of a tool or instrument. “Brush” gives “to brush” and spawns the noun “brushing” for the act of the noun. This is not always the case in English. “Stone” has a very different meaning to “to stone”. This verb has two different meanings, one being to throw stones at something, the other to remove a certain form of fruit seed. Adjectives may also be used as verbs.

New verbs, or clearly related groups of verbs may be constructed in Diinlang by use of a small number of suffixes. These suffixes have been adapted from Otto Jespersen’s IAL “Novial”.

Some nouns are not suited for unmodified use as verbs. Jespersen uses nouns denoted from living beings as an example of these. For such words the suffix “-ira” is added. In Novial “king” is “rego”. “to reign” is “regira” and the derived noun “reign” is “regiro”. “-ira” or a similar mechanism may be used in Diinlang for the same purposes.

To create verbs that have the meaning of “transforming into, render” Jespersen offers two suffixes, “-isa” and “-ifika”. Lesson 3 tells us:

“The suffixes –isa and –ifika are used to make verbs meaning to make, make into or render. For example:

  • liberi – liberisa (free – liberate, make free, free)
  • real – realisa (real – make real, realize)

  • kurti – kurtifika (short – shorten, make short)
  • veri – verifika (true – verify)
    Verbs meaning to provide with , cover with are made with –isa(but not with –ifika):

  • alkohole – alkoholisa (alcohol – alcoholize)
  • lume – lumisa (light – light (up))

What is made clearer elsewhere is that while the two suffixes have overlapping roles “-isa” is used for “provide, supply with or cover with” and “-ifika” is used for “make into or cause”. Thus “carbonize” is “karbonisa” and “dormifika” from “dormi” is “lull asleep”.

Interestingly “fika” can be used in Novial as a standalone verb. This echoes my own ideas that suffixed words in Diinlang should be considered to be compound words.

In Diinlang we may use “-isa” and “-ifa”.

Novial has the suffix “-ada” to create a verb for a repetitive (or continuous) action. “frapada” = “to go on beating”, “kantada” = “to keep on singing”, “parlada” = “to keep on speaking”. This resembles many English words adopted from French such as “cannonade”, “fusillade” and “promenade”. Since “to” is “ad” in Diinlang “-ada” seems a suitable word, having within itself a suggestion of repetition.

The final Novial verbal suffix of interest is “-eska”. This is used to create inchoative verbs. Added to a verb it denotes the beginning an action or state. Added to an adjective it means begin to be (become). Therefore “dormieska” = “fall asleep”.

In Diinlang “-eska” is likely to prove very useful. It may possibly be used as a standalone verb with the meaning “begin”.
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Language

Verb System Quick Update.

This is a new page describing the updated verb system for Diinlang. See here for changes to pronouns and definite article.

The most recent change is that I have changed the past tense marker to “wen”, taken from Hawaiian Creole. This frees up the word “pre” for other uses, such as meaning “before”. The future marker, “gon” was also from Hawaiian Creole. The progressive affix has recently been changed to “is-” and the perfect marker to “dun-”. “ge-” makes a clause passive.

These markers are used in a set order:

Wen/ gon ; (zou) ; dun ; is– ; ge

If you know a statement will be past continuous you will know to place “wen” before “is”. If a statement is future passive progressive “gon”, “is”, “ge” is the correct order. A past perfect statement uses “wen dun”. A conditional perfect statement uses “zou dun”.

is-” and “ge-” are used as prefixes when creating active and passive adjectives. It needs to be decided if this is also done with verbal usage. For passive progressive marking they may be combined into one word “isge”.

I have made a little progress towards modal verbs/ markers. In addition to the conditional “zou” we possibly have:

Fi –indicating obligation, ie “should”, “ought to”.

Afi -indicating necessity.

Gofi -indicating inceptive, intent, planned actions etc.

(Adapted from Jamaican Patois)


Simple Present, Past and Future.
        These are formed with the bare infinitive and a tense marker if necessary. When a verb in future or past tense is being used as a copula the infinitive may be dropped if the meaning remains clear.

Mi du

I do

Zo du

He does

Zo wen du

He did

Zo gon du

He will do/ He is going to do.

Za zou du

She would do


Transitive and Intransitive Verbs
        Transitivity is flexible. If an object is added after an intransitive verb, the verb becomes transitive. This may alter the meaning of the verb so that it has a meaning similar to “causes (the object) to …”
        Compare the English “I burn”. with “I burn it.”


Progressive/ Continuous Aspect.
        The progressive/continuous aspect is formed using the “
is-” prefix. In English this verb aspect is accompanied by some form of the auxiliary/copular verb “to be”. In Diinlang the addition of the auxiliary is not necessary.

Mi isdu

I am doing

Zo isdu

He is doing

Zo wen isdu

He was doing

Zo gon isdu

He will be doing/ He is going to be doing.

Za zou isdu

She would be doing


Perfect Aspect.
        The perfect aspect is formed using “
dun”. In English this verb aspect is accompanied by some form of the auxiliary verb “to have”. In Diinlang the addition of the auxiliary is not necessary. Perfect aspect in regular English verbs takes an –ed ending. Many irregular verbs take –en as an ending (eaten, riden, beaten etc).

Mi dun du

I have done

Zo dun du

He has done

Zo wen dun du

He had done

Zo gon dun du 

He will have done/ He going to have done.

Za zou dun du

She would have done


Perfect Progressive.
        The perfect and progressive (continuous) aspects can be combined, usually in referring to the completed portion of a continuing action or temporary state: “I have been doing…” In Diinlang this is formed by combination of “
dun before a continuous form of the main verb.

Mi dun isdu

I have been doing

Zo dun isdu

He has been doing

Zo wen dun isdu

He had been doing

Zo gon dun isdu

He will have been doing/ He going to have been doing

Za zou dun isdu

She would have been doing.


Passive Voice.
        To form the passive voice (where the subject denotes the undergoer, or patient, of the action) the prefix “
ge-” is used. In English passive voice is formed either with the verb “to be” or “to get” and a past-participle verb form. “get” is used in the meaning of “becoming” or “becomes”. (Remember perfect tense uses “have” with the past participle form in English) If “to be” can be replaced with “to get” or “to become” without a loss of meaning the sentence is passive voice and requires the “ge-” prefix in Diinlang. Some perfect construction clauses are inherently passive. “It ge du” and “It dun du” have the same meaning.
        In many languages the passive voice is formed by a combination of the perfect form of the verb used with the verb for “to be”. This construction may also be used in Diinlang. Often in Diinlang there will be more than one correct way to do something!

Tense

Subject

Tense and Aspect.

Past-Participle/ Infinitive.

Present passive

It
It

is/ gets/ becomes
ge-

done
du

Past passive

It
It

were/ got/ became
wen ge-

done
du

Future passive

It
It

will be/ get/ become
gon ge-

done
du

Present perfect passive

It
It

has been/ has got/ has become
dun ge-

done
du

Past perfect passive

It
It

had been/ had got/ had became
wen dun ge-

done
du

Future perfect passive

It
It

will have been/ will have got/ will have became
gon dun ge-

done
du.

Present progressive passive

It
It

is being/ is getting/ is becoming
isge-

done
du

Past progressive passive

It
It

was being/ was getting/ was becoming
wen isge-

done
du

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Language

Prepositions and Directions for Diinlang Part Two

Some further thoughts on directives and the related field of prepositions. I find it helpful to envision a cube. There are six directions that we can be from the cube: Above, below, left, right, beyond and before. We can also be outside the cube or inside it. The cube has six surfaces, although these surfaces may have an outside or inside.
Suppose, for Diinlang, we designate each of these eight parameters with a single syllable word. These are:
Up/ Loh
Lev/ Deks
Van/ Hin
In/ Eks
These are, respectively, up/ down, left/ right, front/ back, in/ out. Some of these may change, since eks and deks are similar in sound.
Up refers to height and positive vertical distance in general. It can take the diminutives and augmentative suffixes to become “upta” and “upko”, meaning “high/ very high” or “not-high”. “Lohko” would mean shallow and “lohta” would mean “deep”.
These words can also take –ha and –ho to create comparative and superlative forms: loh, lohha, lohho = low, lower, lowest.
The above terms assume egocentric relative directions are being used. In other words it treats the side of an object nearest to the viewer as the front, the farthest as the back etc. When it is necessary to indicate the “proper left” or an equivalent the objective marker “-em” can be added. The starboard side of a ship is therefore “deksem”. Something in front of a bird would be “vanem”. It may be simpler and clearer to instead suffix with pronouns so proper left is “zelev”. This also gives us “tulev” = “your left” and “milev” =“my left”.  
The suffix “-ru indicates a static place or surface. Therefore the top of an object is upru, the left side/ surface is levru, the underside lohru etc.
When dimensions need to be expressed the syllable “leng” is added. In English the question “how high is the plane” can be ambivalent. It may mean the distance from bottom to top or its distance above the ground. In Diinlang the first would be “ke upleng?” and the second “ke up?” or “ke upta?”. “Uplengta” means “tall” and “uplengko” means “short”. “Width” is “spanleng”, with “spanglengta” being thick or wide and “spanlengko” being narrow or thin. Horizontal depth or thickness is “traleng” from the word “tra” for “through”. A thin wall would be “tralengko”.
Another suffix is used to indicate movement in one of these directions. In a previous blog I suggested “-ki” for this. “upki” is therefore “upwards”, “inki” is inwards and “levski” leftwards. It would be useful to have an afferent and efferent form of “ki”. This could compactly convey such actions as something rising towards a point of reference or something rising away. “-ka” and “-ke” cannot be uses since “ke” is already in use. Possibly “-aki” and “-eki”?
“-pas”, derived from “pass” can be used to form additional turns. “Uppas” would mean to go over so has the meaning “across”. “inpas” and “ekspas” would mean “entrance” and  “exit”.
These directives would work with some prepositions. In previous posts I have called “del” a generic conjunction. In practice its use may be more specific, having the meaning “of”, “from” (to indicate origin) and possibly “for”. It will see frequent use with directive phrases. “Vanen del ze aves” = “In front of the bird/ to the bird’s front”. “Up del ship” =”above the ship”.
On” is used similarly to how it is used in English, but has the added sense of being in contact with something. Something can be on surfaces other than the top. Something could be up on” or on up(ru)” but also could be on van” or on lev”. “On” also has some of the applications of the English word “at”. You can say you will meet “on a bridge” but also “on the café”. This can be thought of as being “on the same location as…”
Ad” in Diinlang means “to” and “apo” is “from”. These are from ISV and may be used instead of or in addition to afferent and efferent forms of “-ki”. “Upki ad mi”= “asending to me”. “Upki apo mi” = “rising up away from me”. These words can be used with some of the other suffixes suggested in this blog. “Adki”= “towards”, “apoki” = “from-wards”, in ad” = into”. eks ad” = out to”, eks apo”=out from”.
Veng” means “near” and is used in many of the instances that “at”, “by”, “on” or “in” might be used in English. The use of these prepositions in English is eccentric and can be confusing to the learner. Diinlang generally uses “veng” for indicating near or outside a location or “in” for a location within something.
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Language

Conjunctions in Diinlang Part One

Version 1.2

I have noticed that I have not posted anything on the blog about conjunctions in Diinlang. The section below is taken from a draft I wrote when the project first started. As with most Diinlang, nothing is carved in stone and may be subject to change and modification.

Originally Diinlang was to observe a CVn format for words. I felt that Diinlang conjunctions should not have to follow CVn format but should be phonetically distinct. They should be short -two letters for the most often used, three for the less common.

I did consider that it might be possible to expand on this basic set to allow some more logical constructions such as Loglan does.

Fourteen short words serve most of the conjugate needs in Diinlang. These can be used in combination and for some uses may need to be combined with simple words like “only” or “even”.

The first conjunctions to learn are “en”, “or”, “enor” and “nor

en means “and” and presents non-contrasting item(s) or idea(s): “Zez gamble en zez smoke.” Following Chinese practice this conjunction may be optional in a sentence if the meaning remains clear. “Kom” (with) is an acceptable alternative. While an English speaker would be inclined to say “Dean en Jon” in Deanlang some nationalities are more inclined to use the construction “Dean kom Jon”.

In the original draft “et” was the word for “and”. Despite its use in French and some other languages a “-t” ending did not seem right for this particular conjunction. Many languages use just “e” but this is not so elegant when “and” is combined into other words, so I have selected “en”, which is used in a number of languages and is phonetically intuitive to English speakers. This may mean the word “enje” for “any” will need changing.  

    or means the same as in English and presents an alternative item or idea: “Every day they gamble or they smoke.”

enor means “and/or” and presents options that may be either inclusive or exclusive. This was originally “etor”. Potentially we could have the word “komor” for “with/or”.

“You may have cake enor ice cream!”

nor presents a non-contrasting negative idea (“They do not gamble, nor do they smoke.”)

Del.
  Del has a role as a non-specific conjunction. If you are unsure of which conjunction to use, use “del”. Scots uses “o”  for  “of/ from” and this may be adopted in Diinlang instead, forming a nice counterpoint for the possessive marker “vo”.

dhen, but, yet, ergo, kos.
dhen is “then” and is a conjunction that is also a preposition. It is used like and/en when the items being described occur in a sequence. In English we say “They got married and had children” but it is more accurate to say “They got married then had children”.  dhen” is likely to be changed.

but / yet are both used to presents a contrast or exception. While their use is similar it is not fully interchangeable in English and the distinctions will become apparent when using subordinating conjunctions.

    “They gamble, but they don’t smoke.”
    “They gamble, yet they don’t smoke.”
Whether it is worth keeping “yet” in Diinlang remains to be decided.

Ergo is “so” or “thus” in English and presents a consequence
“He gambled well last night ergo he smoked a cigar to celebrate.”

It may be more logical to keep the shorter and more versatile English word “so”.

Kos is used for the conjunctions “because” or “for” (freeing “for” for other applications) The use of kos compliments “ergo” since it presents a cause rather than a consequence.

    “We went inside because it rained.” = “Miz pre go intra kos it dunpotsu”.
    “It rained so we went inside” = “It dunpotsu ergo miz pre go intra

Update: “Kos” is unfortunately a homophone of “koz” (few). The word “per” may serve for many of the applications that we use “because” for in English. For some applications constructions such as “per ke”, “per li”, “per sa” may be needed instead. Possibly the most apt construction will be “per ifa”.

Kwah.
kwah” is used like “than” in English and separates things being compared. Unlike “than” in English it can be used in a statement that things are equal or similar if the rest of the sentence is suitably constructed. “Dean bi taha kwah Jon”, “Ray bi iso kwah Jon” (Dean is much bigger than Jon, Ray is equal/same as Jon).

It may be better to use “as” in this application. Scots uses  “nor” for “than”, which I find logical and is my current preference.

If, as.
  If is mainly used with correlative and subordinate conjunctions and indicates a conditional statement.

as presents an explanation (“He is gambling with his health, as he has been smoking far too long.”)  As can mean “the same way” or “at the same time”. It is may be used instead of “than”/”kwah” when the things discussed are even or equivalent or nearly so in some way. Possibly “as” can be used for “too/ also”.

per” is used much the same as in English and can be used as “with respect to/wrt”. It may also mean “for each”, “to each”, “in each”, “in accordance with” or “via the”. Per also serves as a preposition.

 The fourteen basic conjunctions are therefore en, or, enor, nor, dhen, but, yet, ergo, kos, kwah, if, as, per, del.
 
Correlative Conjunctions
Correlative conjunctions are formed using combinations of the above words.
either…or                           (or)…or  The first “or” is optional.
not only…but (also)           but….but (?)
neither…nor                       nor…nor
both…and                          probably redundant! Diinlang has singular and plural, no dual.
whether…or                           if…or
if…or                                       if…or   
if…and                                    if…et
if…then                                  if…dhen
just as…so                               ergo…ergo / / if…ergo
Categories
Language

“Too” in Diinlang.

Version 1.1
The English word “too” is one that seems to confuse many writers on the internet. It has two common and distinct meanings.

  1. It can been “as well”, “in addition”, “besides”, “as well” “along with”, “likewise” or “also”. Effectively it is a synonym for “also”.

  2. It can also mean “to an excessive degree”, “more than enough”, “excessively”, “extremely” etc.

We cannot use the word “too” in Diinlang since it is a homophone with “tu”. Its two distinct meanings would also require it to be replaced by two words.

For the first meaning the TV conlang Trigedasleng uses the word seintaim” from “same-time”. In Diinlang phonetics this would be “saymtiym”. It is a bit long and does not cover all of the nuances of “also”, for example in the sentence above “it can also mean…”. Perhaps just the word “saym” will serve. The scientific prefix “iso-” means “same”, “equal” or “equivalent” so “iyso” could serve as the Diinlang equivalent of “also”.

For the second meaning words meaning “overmuch”, “overmany”, “undersize” may serve. We already haveta” for large quantities, “ko” for small quantities and “taz” and “koz” for large and small numbers. In this use “too” usually accompanies another word so the French word “trop” might be adopted and used with a Diinlang word for quantities. “trop ta”= “too much”, “trop ko”= “too little”, “trop koz”= “too few”,
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Language

Comparatives and Superlatives Part Four

Establishing the comparative and superlative system for Diinlang has proved troublesome. Part of the problem is that English words like “more” and “most” are also used as nouns, pronouns and determiners as well as being adverbs.

My most recent strategy is to approach these words from a different direction by considering their use as quantifiers. The new Diinlang system of pluralizing the determiner rather than the noun has actually helped clarify things.

Wikipedia tells us that:

English has the following quantifier pronouns:
Uncountable (thus, with a singular verb form)
  • enough – Enough is enough.
  • little – Little is known about this period of history.
  • less – Less is known about this period of history.
  • much – Much was discussed at the meeting.
  • more – More is better. (Also countable plural; see there.)
  • most – Most was rotten. (Usually specified, such as in most of the food.) (Also countable plural; see there.)
  • plenty – Thanks, that’s plenty.

Countable, singular
  • one – One has got through. (Often modified or specified, such as in a single one, one of them etc.)
Countable, plural
  • several – Several were chosen.
  • few – Few were chosen.
  • fewer – Fewer are going to church these days.
  • many – Many were chosen.
  • more – More were ignored. (Often specified, such as in more of us.) (Also uncountable, see there.)
  • most – Most would agree. (Also uncountable, see there.)
The original Diinlang comparative and superlative system used –ha and –ho as suffixes, the equivalent of the English system of using –er and –est. “Good, better, best” becomes “bon, bonha, bonho” in Diinlang.

-ta” has been introduced as an augmentative in Diinlang and “-ko” as a diminutive. Logically these words on their own would mean “big/ large quantitiy/ much” or “small/ little/ not much”. It therefore logically follows that taha and taho would mean “more” or “most” of an uncountable quantity. Koha and koho would mean a lesser or least amount. (Bear in mind that in English “less” is sometimes used as a comparative instead of “lesser”).

When used with countable nouns “many”, “more” and “most” are only used with plural nouns and often mean “high number of”, “higher number of” and “highest number of/ majority of”). Since in Diinlang the determiner is usually pluralized rather than the noun we get taz, tazha and tazho (or taz, tahaz or tahoz). Few, fewer etc, meaning “a small number of” and so on become koz, kozha etc.
Words concerned with numbers  of things therefore have a plural “-z” ending while those concerned with size or other quantities that may be uncountable do not.