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Bianca joins us today for an episode on obviation, just another option for managing discourse while clarifying who does what to who. Also, we have a couple interesting digressions on direct/inverse verb agreement systems and George’s hindsight on the appropriateness of a certain story.

Links and Resources:

8 Responses to “Conlangery #108: Obviation”

  1. Pete Bleackley

    Khangaþyagon has a simple obviation system, without direct-inverse marking, that you mentioned in episode 73. The way it came about was that early on I created 2 different 3rd person pronouns, and was trying to work out what distinction the difference between them marked. I knew I didn’t want it to be case or gender, so I went for discourse prominence.

  2. [hɒvəɹʷɪŋɡ ɪn mɪd ɛː]

    How come this isn’t available on iTunes yet? Also, for some reason, on my iTunes, Conlangery now has two separate feeds, neither of which will update. I’m not sure if you’re aware of this issue but I thought you ought to know.

    • /sɑɪ̯f ɑsɑd ɑl ˈsətjə/

      Assuming that obviation is coterminous with “direct-inverse systems”, then yes. See this paper by Guillaume Jacque: … he mentions the Rgyalrongic family (Sino-Tibetan), which is is his specialty, as one of the closest to the archetype of direct-inverse. He also mentions some non-Algonquian languages of the Americas. I’m not sure if there any languages with obviation that are neither indigenous American nor Sino-Tibetan (haven’t read the whole paper yet).

      • admin

        Ooh, thanks for that resource. I haven’t seen any non-Algonquian direct-inverse systems, and getting a look at an unrelated example will be helpful as I’m currently making a language with some direct-inverse verbs.


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