- Pronouns: The vehicles of nouns, where nouns ride in the back seat, hidden from view, but not forgotten.
Decisions, decisions, decisions...., and more decisions. A new language needs rules, some to be broken when needed and some to be carved in stone, but where to start?
Having decided the grammar of verbs and nouns, choosing tenses and declination, how to do the evil deeds and how to talk about it was necessary. Most languages use suffixes of one kind or another, I decided on prefixes. For verbs I chose gro- for future tense, and fre- for past tense, thereby creating the first part of the phonology. At the same time I chose the name, Delang - more phonology added. For nouns i chose an-, d(e)-, c(e)-, des-, dez- and ka-, adding more phonology to the deal.
But no language is capable of communication without pronouns. What well should I draw them from? How many did Delang need? First person? Definitely! Second person? Sure. Third person? How many third persons did Delang need? Masculine and feminine was a go from the start, same goes for neuter. How about hermaphrodites and when the gender of the item is unknown? Common was added.
Source? Having been interested in Russian since I was 14, I decided on using Russian as a source, not just for pronouns, but also for numerals. All numerals in Delang are basically Russian.
Я for I didn't feel right, however Bulgarian uses аз, so I copied that. Вы slammed right in behind az, but for third person, should I go for он, она or оно? Neither felt right, but third person plural, они, felt better. Ani became the base of third persons pronouns - this is why Delang starts with neuter, not masculine. For the other genders the easiest approach was to fit ani with the initial letter of the gender: m-, f- and h-, as common was initial named hermaphroditus, although fani and hani didn't roll right on the tongue. A consonant shift was necessary - n became m giving the four personal pronouns in third person: ani, mani, fami and hami. This consonant shift is why n and m both can be soft and hard consonants.
Plural. There are two kinds of plural, one where one set the plurals can mean everybody and another set of plurals means somebody, and one where the plurals can mean either. I ditched the last and went for the split plurals. But how to distinguish between them? Having az as first person gave me the idea that -az could be a suffix for inclusive plurals having a vowel shift to a tighter vowel determine the exclusive plurals, -iz. But should that mean that az became azaz and aziz in plural? Taste it, and spit it out... Russian has the plural мы, so I followed the suggesting making maz and miz the plurals for first person. And they tasted better. Rules are obviously made to be broken.
Nominative and accusative. Having had enough I ditched the differentiation between subject and object in pronouns, so each pronouns can be both subject and object. But that made one problem, syntax. Syntactic a differentiation between subject and object would make a language easier to read, however context would still tell what is what. The result was to let Delang have a free syntax, but reverting to SVO when context couldn't provide the meaning.
While the sentence The book reads you contains the syntactic meaning of this book being able to read a person, this notion is in context illogical. A book cannot read, it is an item, an inanimate object incapable of sight and completely brainless, so the notion that a book reads is nonsense. Delang handles this syntactic illogicality by checking the context: Can a book read? Delibexin ziti vy therefore holds the same contextual meaning as vy ziti delibexin. A book cannot read, therefore you cannot be object and the book cannot be subject. The need for differentiation between subject and object in pronouns is therefore eliminated. Context takes precedence over syntax.
Possessive pronouns. Mine, yours, his, hers, its, ours, theirs. Does a language need to have a set of words depicting the notion of ownership? No, it does not. Most language has such words, though, but they are not required as ownership can be depicted in other ways: it belongs to me, you, him, her, it, they or them. Delang takes this approach, possession is a prefix made by simplifying the pronunciation of the word own, /oʊn/, into aun-, /ɔn/. More phonology added.
Phonology vs. communication. Though most authors of conlangs swears by their heart to developing phonology before anything else, the phonology of Delang developed naturally, not as a means to phonetically cuteness, but as a means to communicate. By allowing the phonology of Delang to develop naturally, Delang cut corners and became a communication device long before any other conlang would be capable of such a deed. Most current conlangs are developed using The Language Creation Kit. I did take a look at it early on, but I didn't like to be bound and have my creativity locked in chains by this rather uncomfortable device. I however swears to my "mentor" Mark Rosewater, Head Designer on Professor of mathematics Richard Garfield's creation «Magic: The Gathering». In his article in his weekly column Monday, May 31, 2004, he answers a question about breaking rules by stating that there are rules on how to break rules:
- Rules Should Be Broken Only When A [Card] Demands It
- Broken Rules Have To Feel Natural
- Check The Reason For The Rule You're Breaking
- Breaking Rules Is A Test For the Future
- Not Every Rule Can Be Broken
- Creativity cannot thrive without rules, nor can it thrive if chained by the rules. For development to exist, the envelope has to be pushed.