Sunday, April 20, 2008

novial. rigid word order in lieu of other indicators. stress.

"Novial was first introduced in Jespersen's book An International Language in 1928. It was updated in his dictionary, Novial Lexike, published two years later and further modifications were proposed in the 1930s, but the language became dormant with Jespersen's death in 1943. In the 1990s, with the revival of interest in artificial languages brought on by the Internet, many people rediscovered Novial."

D: yet another example of a founder who functions as "charismatic leadership". With their demise, ardour is dampened and the language falls by the wayside as a historical footnote.

"Note that in Novial the Nominative and Accusative pronouns are the same.

The standard word order is, as in English, subject-verb-object. Therefore, the object need not be marked to distinguish it from the subject: E.g:

  • me observa vu – "I observe you"
  • vu observa me – "you observe me"
D: note how many aspects of language are not needed if rigid word order takes care of it.

"The personal possessive adjectives are formed from the pronouns by adding -n or after a consonant -en. This is in fact the genitive (possessive) of the pronoun so men means both "my" and "mine" ("of me"): E.g:

  • "My dog" = Men Hunde
  • "The dog is mine" = Li Hunde es men

Possession may also be expressed with the pronoun de: de me, de vu, and so on."

D: I like the idea of an optional explicit indicator though.

Many English-speakers say "You and me" instead of "You and I". This rule confuses us.


All adjectives end in -i, but this may be dropped if it is easy enough to pronounce and no confusion will be caused. Adjectives precede the noun qualified. Adjectives do not agree with the noun but may be given noun endings if there is no noun present to receive them.

[edit] Adverbs

An adjective is converted to a corresponding adverb by adding -m after the -i ending of the adjective."

D: English has word order SVO - subject verb object.

With details, adjective-noun verb-adverb adjective-noun. There are exceptions in common parlance. Star Trek's "to boldly go where no man has gone before..." technically ought to be "to go boldly". However, the -ly makes it clear enough. Alternatively, very rigid word order in the form of adjective/adverb-noun- adjective/adverb-verb ... is also clear. My Decimese will count on this. I write it sSvVoO for (adjective to noun/subject) subject (adverb to verb) et al. I can use the same indicator for adjectives and adverbs, since word order renders which it is clear.

Decimese standard vocabulary items (other than closed class function words and certain special core concepts) terminate in a Mandarin-esque style in -N, -M and -NG. These are simple enough for Cantonese speakers. If adjectives and adverbs terminate in, say, -N then only one possible interpretation is possible.

I.e. word terminations -N -M -N -NG... MUST be adjective-subject adverb-verb...

Note how very clear the word boundaries will be. In fact, I have possibly FOUR indicators of word boundaries at any one time:

1) nasal consonant ending,

2) voiced or voiceless consonants by word start or mid-word position,

3) long or short vowels by same, and

4) completely predictable syllable stress.

To be frank, I was not completely sure which method to use. There is a trend in languages to stress the first syllable if heavily suffixing or the penultimate (second last) syllable if heavily prefixing. But what is a heavily taxonomic system? It really is not either. I will likely stress the syllable with the nasal consonant word-ending. Stress is actually a fairly flexible concept. Is it pitch, loudness, or duration? All 3? 2? Which 2? Or just 1?

Anyone that has ever heard New Zealand English will realize how much this can throw a listener off.

Predictable stress if a good quality of Finnish, and part of what makes it so easy to learn.

English has certain tendencies. PUP-py. KIT-ty. But then: gi-RAFFE. Lotsa kids think "RAF" is the first syllable by over-applying this rule. Contrast contrast and contrast. The noun form tends to stress the first syllable, the verb form the second.
D: Ygyde, while not as simple as Finnish, is a whole lot more regular than English.
"If the last letter (phoneme) of Ygyde word is a or i, the last syllable is stressed. If the last letter of Ygyde word is neither a nor i, the syllable preceding the last syllable is stressed (stressed antepenultima). Stressed syllables are underlined: ooo, oooo, ooooo, oooooo, ooooooo. The stress helps distinguish similar words, for example, iby (right) and ibi (along)."

D: but then their alternative pronunciation, in itself a good idea, opens a can of worms.
"Long Ygyde syllables are made of three letters. They are called long syllables. Different speakers of Long Ygyde can use different phonemes in the same place of the same word. For example, vowel a and vowel e are interchangeable. Those who cannot pronounce a can pronounce e and vice versa. Long Ygyde's phonemes are divided into 11 groups; 3 vowels: first vowel is a or e, second vowel is u or o, third vowel is i or y, and 8 consonants: first consonant is b or p, second consonant is d or t, third consonant is g or k, fourth consonant is w or f, fifth consonant is z or s, sixth consonant is j or c, seventh consonant is m or n, and eighth consonant is l or r. Letter r may be pronounced like r in the word car and in many other ways. The remaining letters are pronounced like the Standard Ygyde letters. The total number of the long syllables is the same as the total number of the standard syllables. The Long Ygyde is a spoken only language of those who cannot pronounce some phonemes of the Standard Ygyde."

"The following table explains how to translate vowels and syllables from Standard Ygyde to Long Ygyde. If the compound word has any Long Ygyde syllables, its last syllable is stressed to distinguish the word from Short Ygyde words."
D: I confess thatI am quite intimidated by this.

English quirk of the day: syllable stress rules.

1 Stress on first syllable

Most 2-syllable nounsPRESent, EXport, CHIna, TAble
Most 2-syllable adjectivesPRESent, SLENder, CLEVer, HAPpy

2 Stress on last syllable

Most 2-syllable verbsto preSENT, to exPORT, to deCIDE, to beGIN
D: I was not even aware of how any particular suffix can indicate advanced stress rules!


“The limits of my language mean the limits of my world”

Ludwig Wittgenstein quotes

1 comment:

Bill Chapman said...

Your comment on Novial whichj follows is an interesting one: 'yet another example of a founder who functions as "charismatic leader(ship)". With their demise, ardour is dampened and the language falls by the wayside as a historical footnote.'

This statement does not of course apply to Dr L.L. Zamenhof, who lanuched Esperanto into life. He died in 1917 but his language lives on as the tongue of a mature, dynamic community.