Posted by & filed under Podcast.

We give you some info on verb framing — that is the typology of how languages describe motion, as well as some discussion of postural verbs, aka positionals, and all the wondrous variety you can create with them.  Also, we review [k]enyani.

Greeting: Gomain by Zach Hart

Links and Resources:

Featured Conlang: Cenyani
Pyrmysl (Comment on #11)
I noticed you seemed to be talking about Ayeri as if it has only one script. There is the normal script, tahano nuhicamu, and then there is the ornamental script, tahano nuvenon. While I am a fan of the first, the second is quite beautiful if somewhat labor intensive. I too had found the scripts before the conlang.


13 Responses to “Conlangery #14: Verb Framing and Postural Verbs”

  1. Carsten

    Since I’m just listening to the show — Regarding Prmysl’s comment, the following posts on my website are relevant, as Bianca hints to already:

    Tahano (Nu)Veno(n) font and Tahano Hikamu “Java” and Daléian alphabet

    I agree information on these other scripts isn’t featured very prominently, BUT! Basically, I decided to disconnect the ‘Vine’ script (which Prmysl referred to as ‘tahano nuvenon’) from Ayeri, since I have never really used it to write the language, so now you will only find information on tahano hikamu on the page under ‘Alphabet’, as that is the script that is supposed to be the standard writing system used by speakers of the language. The Daléian alphabet I carried over from one of my early conlanging attempts because I didn’t like to scrap the script as such (unlike the language). However, it’s foreign as well, bascially like writing English in, say, Cyrillic.

    As for the names of the scripts, these days I prefer tahano hikamu ’round script’ (there used to be a tahano hinya ‘angular script’ as well, but I’ve long scrapped that) and tahano veno ‘beautiful script’, since I dropped adjective agreement long ago and did some changes to my lexicon as well as my spelling – I also used for /k/ in early stages of Ayeri.

  2. Adam Heurlin

    Since I’m a semi-actively contributing member of the conlang community (even though I’m not on ZBB!), I thought I might as well clear up a couple of things that were mentioned in your review of [k]enyani…

    Firstly: yes, I am Swedish. I’m not a native speaker of English at all. I’ve just been learning English since I was about 8. My terminology is sometimes off partly because of that, partly because I really don’t have any formal education in these things; and when I started the language, I knew even less about these things, which is why you can find stuff like the poorly-named “expossessive” case.
    Secondly: the stupid navigation menu has been fixed. No one liked its nauseating motion, not even myself, so I forced it to stop. Permanently. Take that, menu.

    The causative thing, where it clearly said “3SG.NOM.MASC”, was a typo. It was meant to be “ACC”, not “NOM”. I would never dream of putting two nominatives in the same clause. That’s clearly crazy.

    I’ll try not to get into a big ramble here, but a lot of the arbitrary irregularities in Cenyani are supposed to be remnants of older Cenyani. The weird VOS order when O and S are both personal pronouns is because older Cenyani suffixed both of them onto the verb, in that order. The suffixes eventually detached and became words of their own – but the order was kept.

    Oh, and the complicated syllable weight system is actually largely an orthographic convention. Acute accent usually marks long vowel, but is sometimes used to override other syllable weights without making a long vowel: sáxšä is pronounced with a short a, for instance, but has its stress on the first syllable. Without the acute accent, the stress would fall on ä.

    Stop rambling now, Adam.

  3. Andrew J Smith

    As far as the positionals go, I’ve had some minor experience with them in Kaqchikel Mayan. However, we didn’t cover the positionals much in that semester, and it was my only semester of Mayan. They seem to actually be bound morphemes which take certain suffixes to express themselves, often as “non-verbal predicates” as my book calls them. There are also intransitive verb forms, transitive verb forms, and adjective forms. The concept is good for disambiguating some circumstances, and I’ve attempted to incorporate a few positional words into one of my conlangs. However, I’ve found more positionals in my Kaqchikel text book with other descriptive meanings than those with positional meanings. One example is “jeb’ël” which means “pretty,” and is considered a positional.

    As far as the “c” in Cenyani goes, I don’t have a problem with it. My point of confusion comes in with vocalic [y] vs. consonantal [j]. I do find it to be confusing, however, I also know that the native script separates the two, so there would be no confusion there. It also isn’t my language, so it’s not really my decision. Besides, I find it kind of egocentric or ethnocentric to assume such an English pronunciation of . Lots of languages use that letter for entirely different purposes:

    • Andrew J Smith

      Aaaaand now I realize that I shouldn’t have used “” except for tags. Well. So that should be: vocalic “y,” consonantal “y,” and pronunciation of “c.”

  4. Aidan

    1) My lang Taalen is polysynthetic, and has a ton of instrumentals (inspired by Native Pacific Northwestern langs), directionals (ditto), and replaces all of the third person with a set of noun classes (inspired by Navajo). Appropos to the beginning comments, it does fun things with control – deep case Agent and Patient are marked as suffixes and prefixes respectively, and the Agent marking can often include elements / nuances of control and volition. For example, given the verb -eitsa- “to see”and the 1st person marker -n-, you get: neitsa “I see” (1s.PAT-see) and eitsan “I look at” (see-1s.AGT). Appropos to another comment, these are sometimes written as neica and eican. 🙂

    2) With all those affixes for instrument and direction and such, I can get a lot of mileage for word derivation, and I’ve got several different kinds of handling verbs (inspired by Cherokee). Somehow, it never occurred to me to make postural verbs, and Taalen’s system is perfectly tailored! So many postural verbs may be happening thanks to this podcast. Especially since my conpeople live in giant redwood like trees and raise giant spiders – I have a horizontal circumnavigation affix, and a vertical one (as in, around a branch sticking straight out). SO many possibilities! Thanks!

    3) Cenyani – I may steal some of your alphabet, because it matches up well with what I’ve been working on stylistically, except mine’s horizontal. Then again, maybe not, because I’m not sure that or the bockscript it’s derived from are appropriate to those tree dwellers. I need to play with wood, twigs, and leaves more…

    4) George – I think you’re awesome, partly because I also speak Mandarin, partly for the excellent geekery you add (Yay LARP! ), but can I make a request? Please don’t think I’ve being mean or critical, because I’m really not, but please, for the sake of all the drivers out there who aren’t me, don’t pause so long when you’re speaking. I think you’re looking stuff up, but it drives me into apoplectic fits as I wait for you to finish your thought, and this is not a safe thing for others. 🙂 Thank you!

    I love the podcast, and I am enjoying catching up on it! Keep up the awesome work, guys!

  5. pá mamūnám ontā́ bán

    As a student of Russian and Czech, I think that verbs of motion are one of the things makes the languages interesting. Also, trains must walk, boats must swim and unsurprisingly aeroplanes must fly.

    In the present tense Russian does only have one proper form of the verb to be, “есть”, (there are participles and such) but this is the old third person singular and is normally in the same way as “il y a” in French or “há” in Portuguese. Czech on the other hand does have a present tense form of the verb to be. Russian doesn’t have a verb to have either, in the normal sense at least it does have a verb that means to have in more abstract ways. Again, Czech does have this verb.

  6. Daeiribu

    In Latvian (and as far as I know, also in Lithuanian), the verb itself is a “manner verb”, so, like in English, it differenciates between “go, run, swim” etc., but the direction is often marked with a prefix. And then the corresponding noun might or might not take a preposition, depending on the direction.

    For example:

    ieiet mājā
    ie-iet māj-ā
    in-go.INF house-LOC


    iziet no mājas
    iz-iet no māj-as
    out-go.INF from house-GEN

    (the case of the noun is determined by the preposition, which is to say that certain prepositions take certain cases)

    Also, it has many of the Russian features you were talking about, so the verb “iet” I used earlier in fact means “to go by foot” and implies a determinate direction.
    Interestingly there is a “manner-neutral” word for “to go”, which is (bizarelly enough) a reflexive form of the word “to give”. It also seems to have a marginally higher register and/or a restricted usage.

    Postural verbs are craaaazy though!

    • wm.annis

      Ok, reflexive of “give” resulting in “to go” is my favorite bit of lexical jiu-jitsu for the week.

  7. Qwynegold

    Oh, this is good. I’ve been having ideas about a conlang that has case, but not enough cases to distinguish between “at” and “to”. I could solve that with verb framing instead of having to use boring old prepositions.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.