#6: Verbs and Verbal Morphology
- Basic Constituent Order
Many linguists consider verbs to be the core of a language. As you create verb forms, you will also be asked to develop the following morpho-syntactic aspects of your language. As you describe each form, give all the glossed examples that you need to be clear.
Note that as you work through these questions, you may find yourself wanting to translate whole phrases rather than isolated words. That is perfectly alright. this is the point where you can begin to play with whole sentences.
NB: There is a tendancy for language creators--even language creators with clever and morphologically complex nouns--to make all the verbs one morpheme long. Try to avoid this. You can be as clever with your morphology when creating a verb as you can be when creating a noun.
The temptation when given a list of questions is to answer one thoroughly then move to the next. this is not possible here.
To make a grammatical sentence, you'll have to use all this information at once. So, although you should move sequentially through the questions, you will have to come back at the end of the assignment to create the necessary examples before turning it in.
- In what order would you like your basic sentence to appear? Your choices (with some choices being more rare than others across languages) are:
SVO, SOV, VSO, VOS, OSV, OVS
(It is true that there are languages with free word order and languages which are ergative. as a first-time or undergraduate prenlanger, though, you'll most likely prefer to avoid these.)
Now, translate this sentence into your language:
"Ethylbert drinks water."
NB: the Name 'ethylbert", which contains both /T/ and an English /r/ will no doubt need some phonological adjustment before it is pronouncible in your language. Do your best here to modify the name so your speakers could pronounce it.
- With reference to the languages currently spoken on earth, how unusual is your choice of constituent word order?
- Create your pronoun system. Make a chart showing person and number. If you have them, include formality distinctions, duals, inclusive/exclusive or other unusual aspects of your system. You must have at least 6 pronominal forms. If you have case distinctions in your pronominal system, you need only design the nominatives here.
Be sure you describe your pronouns using person and number distinctions:
You may not say things like this:
'I' = vo; 'you' at; 'he' = ki
Please look at the example for a good way to avoid this.
Rewrite your sentece as "he drinks water'.
- Do your verbs agree with number, gender or person of another element in the sentence? Explain and demonstrate once again.
Be sure your examples so far are grammatical in that they do contain any verbal agreement you have decided to use. Repeat that sentence here and point out the agreement. Use other examples as necessary.
- Explain your tense system. How many distinctions in time does your language make and how are these marked? Choose one verb from your list and inflect it for each tense distinction you make. In English, (using the English verb "sing") you would write:
- past tense: sang
- present tense: sing
- future: will sing
Rewrite your sentence as: "He drank water"
- How is negation of a verb accomplished? Is it an affix or a free function word?
- How do how these elements co-occur on verbs? That is, how will you mark agreement, negation and tense on the same verb?
Now rewrite your sentence again as: "He did not drink water.'
Here are the verb forms for you to create.
1. be called something (the idea of my name is X)
8. fly (verb)
10. have or own (something)
14. lie (tell falsehood)
15. live (verb)
16. make or do
24. take or pick up
26. wake up
28-30. --- three more verbs of your choice
Where would you like to go??