30 December, 2014

A Fox's Guide to Conlangs (Part 10) - Starting on the Nouns

Time to start assigning sounds to concepts based on what we’ve got so far, and then extrapolate some meanings from those conceptual sources.

I’m going to start by looking at specific types of nouns, and use a certain consonant and vowel to open the syllable. We’ve still got options to add an extra vowel into the syllable (creating a diphthong), and a consonant to close up the syllable.

Here’s how I’m starting…

Proper Nouns – [N] a/A
Common Nouns – [K or N] o/O, i/I, o/O, or e/E
Concrete Nouns – [K or N] o/O or i/I 
Countable Nouns – [K or N] o/O or i/I
            Living – [K] o/O
            Non-Living Countable Nouns – [N] i/I
Uncountable and Mass Nouns – [N] o/O
Abstract Nouns – [K] e/E
Collective Nouns – [K] u/U
Pronouns – [D] a/A

Here’s my logic…

Proper Nouns use short or long “a” sounds, because the “a” vowel sound is linked to the notion of “birth/conception”, the first thought that plucks ideas from the chaos of infinity. Proper nouns are linked to specific people, places and things, and since there is a vaguely spiritual origin to the language, these specific nouns have specific animistic spirits associated with them (or at least, this was the belief when the language was first formulated). The “a” sound implies a specific soul is connected to the noun, The “n” consonant is an arbitrary designation.

Common Concrete Nouns use long and short “o”, “o” and “i” sounds because these vowel sounds are linked to physical concepts. Such nouns are either living (“o/O”), degrading (“i/I”), or physically inert (dead “o/O”). Living entities are given the “k” consonant to increase differentiation from the specific proper noun forms. The “n” consonant is applied to non-living countable nouns, because it is already understood that such nouns cannot have a soul (they’re just plain objects). Uncountable nouns (and mass nouns) exist as a measurable form (or provide the statement that the noun cannot be measured), but the act of measuring quantifies a subject and removes some of it’s mystique, this kills some of the inherent variability and is symbolic of a creative death (thus the “o/O” vowel).

Abstract nouns are concepts, unlike uncountable nouns they exist in the purity of spiritual quantum flux separate from the real world, thus they use an “e/E” vowel sound. They use a “k” consonant to reflect that they have no soul, but they may work as the root terms for adjectives concepts that describe entities with souls.   

Collective Nouns expand a noun form, they grow it. Thus is makes sense for collective nouns to use the “u/U” vowel sound. They use a “k” consonant to reflect that they have no soul (but collective nouns may refer to groups of individual things that do have souls).

Pronouns go back to using the “a/A” vowel sounds because they specifically refer to a soul bearing being. In a previous post we used the “d” consonant to describe the various beginnings of sentence forms depending on whether the sentence was a statement, a question, an answer, a greeting, etc. So I’m using the same consonant to refer to a noun of address.   

To expand the potential options in these core terms, we need to add a second vowel. There is a combination of arbitrary assignation and methodical transfer of existing semiotic meaning at this stage of the process.
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