Ithkuil: A Philosophical Design for a Hypothetical Language

   

 

 

   
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Chapter 3: Basic Morphology

  3.1 Configuration 3.5 Essence
  3.2 Affiliation 3.6 Context
  3.3 Perspective 3.7 Designation
  3.4 Extension 3.8 Note On Morpho-Phonological Agreement


As previously discussed in Section 2.4.1, the distinction between nouns and verbs common to most languages is rather blurred in Ithkuil. All lexical stems in Ithkuil function equally as nouns or verbs and share many of the same morpho-semantic features and categories. This is because Ithkuil morpho-semantics does not see nouns and verbs as being cognitively distinct from one another, but rather as complementary manifestations of ideas existing in a common underlying semantic continuum whose components are space and time. The equivalents to nouns and verbs in other languages are merely “reified” (or nominalized) and “activized” (or verbalized) derivatives of semantic formatives. Nevertheless, for simplicity’s sake, we will refer to nominal formatives as nouns and verbal formatives as verbs when discussing their morphology.

All Ithkuil formatives, whether functioning as nouns or verbs, inflect for nine Configurations, four Affiliations, four Perspectives, six Extensions, two Essences, four Contexts, and two Designations, and can take any of approximately 1800 optional suffixes. These morphological categories are explained in the sections which follow.

 

3.1 CONFIGURATION

To understand the Ithkuil concept of enumeration and quantification of nouns (i.e., what other languages term singular, plural, etc.) one must analyze three separate but related grammatical categories termed Configuration, Affiliation, and Perspective. These concepts are alien to other languages. While they deal with semantic distinctions which are quantitative in nature, these distinctions are usually made at the lexical level (i.e., via word choice) in other languages, not at the morphological as in Ithkuil. In this section we will deal first with Configuration, followed by Affiliation in Section 3.2 and Perspective in Section 3.3.

Specifically, Configuration deals with the physical similarity or relationship between members of a noun referent within groups, collections, sets, assortments, arrangements, or contextual gestalts, as delineated by internal composition, separability, compartmentalization, physical similarity or componential structure. This is best explained and illustrated by means of analogies to certain English sets of words.

Consider the English word ‘tree.’ In English, a single tree may stand alone out of context, or it may be part of a group of trees. Such a group of trees may simply be two or more trees considered as a plural category based on mere number alone, e.g., two, three, or twenty trees. However, it is the nature of trees to exist in more contextually relevant groupings than merely numerical ones. For example, the trees may be of like species as in a ‘grove’ of trees. The grouping may be an assortment of different kinds of trees as in a ‘forest’ or occur in patternless disarray such as a ‘jungle.’

As another example, we can examine the English word ‘person.’ While persons may occur in simple numerical groupings such as ‘a (single) person’ or ‘three persons’ it is more common to find persons (i.e., people) referred to by words which indicate various groupings such as ‘group,’ ‘gathering,’ ‘crowd,’ etc.

Segmentation and amalgamated componential structure are further configurative principles which distinguish related words in English. The relationships between car versus convoy, hanger versus rack, chess piece versus chess set, sentry versus blockade, piece of paper versus sheaf, girder versus (structural) framework, and coin versus roll of coins all exemplify these principles.

Another type of contextual grouping of nouns occurs in binary sets, particularly in regard to body parts. These binary sets can comprise two identical referents as in a pair of eyes, however they are more often opposed or “mirror-image” (i.e., complementary) sets as in limbs, ears, hands, wings, etc.

In Ithkuil, the semantic distinctions implied by the above examples as they relate to varying assortments of trees or persons would be accomplished by inflecting the word-stem for ‘tree’ or ‘person’ into one of nine configurations. Additional semantic distinctions on the basis of purpose or function between individual members of a set could then be made by means of Affiliation (see Section 3.2 below) and by the use of specific suffixes. For example, once the words for ‘forest’ or ‘crowd’ were derived from ‘tree’ and ‘person’ via Configuration, the Ithkuil words for ‘orchard,’ ‘copse,’ ‘team’ or ‘mob’ could easily be derived via affiliation and affixes. (Such derivations into new words using suffixes are explored in detail in Chapter 7: Suffixes.)

Ithkuil words indicate Configuration via a synthetic consonantal affix immediately following the C+V stem which also indicates the Affiliation, Perspective, Extension and Essence of the stem. This is the Ca affix discussed in Section 2.1.1.


I
II
III
IV
V
VI
VII
VIII
IX
X
XI
XII
XIII
XIV
XV
(((Cv)
VL)
Cg/Cs)
Vr
(Cx/Cv
Vp/VL)
Cr
Vc
Ci +Vi
Ca
VxC
(Vf
(’Cb))
[tone]
[stress]

Phase +
Sanction (+ Illocution)

Valence
Validation
OR
Aspect
(+ Mood)
Pattern +
Stem +
Function
Incorp.Root
OR
Phase + Sanction (+ Illocution)
Pattern + Stem + Designation of Incorp. Root
OR
Valence
Root
Case
Illocution +
Mood
Configuration + Affiliation +
Perspective + Extension +
Essence
Deriv.
Suffix
Context + Format
Bias
Version
Designa-
tion + Relation

 

The actual values of these Ca affixes are shown later in Table 5 in Section 3.5.3 below, following the explanation of Essence.

The nine configurations are the UNIPLEX, DUPLEX, DISCRETE, AGGREGATIVE, SEGMENTATIVE, COMPONENTIAL, COHERENT, COMPOSITE, and MULTIFORM. The function and morphology of these categories are explained below along with examples of the various configurations applied to four different stems: aph-, eq-, el-, and upšá-.


3.1.1
UNI
The Uniplex

The UNIPLEX configuration indicates a single, contextual embodiment of the stem concept, i.e., one whole contextual unit of the basic nominal stem, e.g., a tree, a person, a screwdriver, a grape, a hammer blow, a hole. With verbs the UNIPLEX signifies a single, holistic act, state, or event, e.g., to be a tree, to become a person, to use a screwdriver, to eat a grape, to strike (once) with a hammer, to dig a hole. Examples:          LISTEN 

 


phal ‘a tree’

 


eqal
‘a person’

 

 


elal ‘an utterance; a spoken word’

 


upšál ‘an incident’

For the set of affixes which mark this configuration, see Table 5 in Section 3.5.3 below.


3.1.2
DPX
The Duplex

The DUPLEX configuration indicates a related binary set. While it often refers to body parts, e.g., one’s eyes, ears, lungs, wings, etc., it can also be used to describe any set of two identical or complementary objects or entities, e.g., a matched pair of vases, a two-volume set, a set of bookends, mutual opponents. Thus, the Ithkuil word for spouse inflected for the DUPLEX configuration would translate as a man and wife or a married couple.

One context in which the DUPLEX appears for both nouns and verbs is with events which contain two complementary “halves” exemplified by English words such as bounce, flash, arc, wag, swing, switch, breathe/respiration, indeed, any concept which involves a dual-state notion of up/down, to/fro, back/forth, in/out, empty/full, or on/off. Use of the DUPLEX in these contexts implies a full cycling through the two complementary states involved. For example the word for hammer blow inflected for the UNIPLEX would signify the singular impact of the hammer, whereas the same word inflected for the DUPLEX signifies a single down-then-up cycle of the swing of the hammer, the two complementary “halves” of the action being divided by the impact. Examples:          LISTEN 

 


phall ‘a pair of trees’

 


eqall
‘a couple’

 

 


elall ‘a pair of words’


upšáll ‘a pair of incidents’

For the set of affixes which mark this configuration, see Table 5 in Section 3.5.3 below.

 


3.1.3
DCT
The Discrete

The DISCRETE configuration indicates a grouping or set of the basic stem units that are more or less identiform (each having the same design or physical appearance). This grouping or set-nature can be either spatial, as in a flock of gulls (flying together), or temporal (i.e., sequentially repetitive or iterative) as in (a flock of) gulls flying one after another. Further examples of English nouns or noun phrases which would be translated using the DISCRETE are a grove, a set of screwdrivers, a group of soldiers, a pile of leaves, a bowl of grapes, a series of hammer blows, an area of holes. Thus, the Ithkuil word for (identical) set would simply be the word for thing or object inflected for the DISCRETE configuration. Note that the distinction between a spatially configured set versus a temporally (i.e., iterative) configured set would be made by use of either the DPR suffix, -šk, or the SEP suffix, -mb specifying which spacetime axis is implied. These suffixes are analyzed in Sec. 7.4.13.

For verbs, the DISCRETE signifies a single set of repetitions, whether spatially or temporally, viewed as a single holistic event. The individual member components acts, states, or events within this set can be either UNIPLEX, e.g., to take steps, to flip through pages, to have spots, to dig holes in an area, or DUPLEX in nature, e.g., to hammer, to spin, to breathe.

It should be noted that the Containment CNM suffix, -mt, can be used with the DISCRETE, as well as most of the following configurations, to designate specifically the type of container, holder, or means of conveyance for a configurative set (e.g., a sack, package, jar, bottle, pile, load, etc.) Examples:          LISTEN 


ph
atļ
‘a grove’

eqatļ
‘a group of matching people’

 


elatļ
‘a set of identical words’

 


upšátļ
‘a set of similar incidents’

 

For the set of affixes which mark this configuration, see Table 5 in Section 3.5.3 below.


3.1.4
AGG
The Aggregative

The AGGREGATIVE configuration functions like the DISCRETE above in referring to an associated group or set of entities, except that the members of the configurational set are not identical to one another. Examples of English words/entities which would be translated using the AGGREGATIVE are a forest (of different kinds of trees), a toolset, a citizens group, a mixed pile of leaves, an assortment of animals, an area of different-sized holes, a series of musical notes. With verbs, the AGGREGATIVE implies a spatially or temporally repeated set of non-identical acts, events, or states considered as a whole contextual unit. It would be used, for example, in translating the sentence This morning I dug holes in my garden (i.e., of different sizes). Examples:          LISTEN 


ph
aļ
‘a forest; a wood’

eqaļ
‘a group of different people’

 


elaļ
‘a set of (differing) words; a phrase’

 


upšáļ
‘a set of differing incidents’

 

For the set of affixes which mark this configuration, see Table 5 in Section 3.5.3 below.

 


3.1.5 SEG   The Segmentative

The SEGMENTATIVE configuration indicates a grouping or set of the basic stem units, the individual members of which are physically similar or identical and are either in physical contact with one another, physically connected via some linking medium, or in sufficiently close contact with one another so that the group moves or operates together. Examples would be a web, a train of flatcars, a convoy of schoolbuses, a string of pearls, a fall of leaves, a line of dancers, a parade of Barbie dolls (e.g., coming off an assembly line). To illustrate the difference between this configuration and the DISCRETE above, we saw that the word grape in the DISCRETE would be translated as a serving of grapes, while in the SEGMENTATIVE it would mean a bunch of grapes (i.e., still connected to each other on a portion of vine).

With verbs, the use of the SEGMENTATIVE versus the DISCRETE implies that the repetitive/iterative nature of the act, state, or event occurs naturally due to the contextual nature of the precipitating event or agent. It would thus be used to distinguish the fuselage of bullets from a machine-gun from the simple hail of bullets from single-fire weapons. Likewise, it would distinguish The light is blinking from The light is flashing, where blink implies the way in which the source naturally emits light, while flash implies that the light is being made to emit repetitive bursts of light. Examples:          LISTEN 


ph
aļļ
‘a stand (or line) of trees’

eqaļļ
‘a line/wall of matching people’
(e.g., shoulder-to-shoulder or with arms linked)

 


elaļļ
‘a string of words’

 


upšáļļ
‘a chain of similar incidents’

 

For the set of affixes which mark this configuration, see Table 5 in Section 3.5.3 below.


3.1.6 CPN   The Componential

The COMPONENTIAL configuration operates identically to the SEGMENTATIVE above, except that the individual members of the configurational set are not physically similar or identical to each other. Examples of English words/entities which would be translated using the COMPONENTIAL are a freight train, a cascade of (mixed) fruit (i.e., a continuous stream of fruit falling), a line of ticketholders, a parade of floats, a pattern of musical notes. With verbs, the COMPONENTIAL signifies a connected series of repetitions where the individual acts, events, or states comprising the repetitive set are non-identical. It would distinguish The light twinkled from The light was blinking. Examples:          LISTEN 


ph
ļ
‘a line/stand of different trees’

eqařļ
‘a line/wall of different people’
(e.g., shoulder-to-shoulder or with arms linked)

 


elařļ
‘a string of differing words’

 


upšářļ
‘a chain of differing incidents’

 

For the set of affixes which mark this configuration, see Table 5 in Section 3.5.3 below.


3.1.7 COH   The Coherent

The COHERENT configuration functions similarly to the SEGMENTATIVE above, except that the individual members of the configuration are connected, fused or mixed with one another to form a coherent emergent entity, i.e., the total configuration of objects constitutes an entirely new gestalt-like entity. Examples of English words which would be translated using the COHERENT are a bookcase, a phalanx, a xylophone.

In the realm of verbs, finding English translations illustrating the COHERENT is difficult. If one can imagine the verb to glow to mean a series of flashes blurred one into another to create a continuous emanation, then glow versus flash might suffice. Perhaps a better illustration would be the difference between to buzz from to make a set of repeating noises. Examples:          LISTEN 


ph
ask
‘an entangled grove of trees’
(i.e., their roots/branches intertwined
and grown together)

eqask
‘a mass/unit of similar people’

 


elask
‘a speech made up of similar words’

 


upšásk
‘a web of similar incidents’

 

For the set of affixes which mark this configuration, see Table 5 in Section 3.5.3 below.

 


3.1.8 CST   The Composite

The COMPOSITE configuration operates the same as the COHERENT above except that the individual members of the configurational set are not identical or physically similar to one another. Examples of words/concepts that would be translated using the COMPOSITE are a building (= a constructional set of walls, floors, doors, windows, etc.), a communications array, a conspiracy, a jungle thicket. Thus the Ithkuil words for recipe, skeleton, and melody would simply be the words for ingredient, bone, and musical note inflected for the COMPOSITE configuration. For verbs, the COMPOSITE versus COHERENT distinction would distinguish to rumble from to buzz, or to glitter from to glow. Examples:          LISTEN 


ph
ašk
‘a jungle’

eqašk
‘a mass/unit of different people’

 


elašk
‘a speech’

 


upšášk
‘a situation (involving a number of incidents)’

 

For the set of affixes which mark this configuration, see Table 5 in Section 3.5.3 below.


3.1.9 MLT   The Multiform

The MULTIFORM configuration is the most difficult to explain, as there is no Western linguistic equivalent. The MULTIFORM serves to identify the noun as an individual member of a “fuzzy” set. A fuzzy set is a term which originates in non-traditional logic, describing a set whose individual members do not all share the same set-defining attributes to the same degree, i.e., while there may be one or more archetypical members of the set which display the defining attributes of the set exclusively and exactly, other members of the set may vary from this archetypical norm by a wide range of degrees, whether in physical resemblance, degree of cohesion or both. Indeed, some members of the set may display very little resemblance to the archetype and be closer to the archetype of a different fuzzy set, i.e., fuzzy sets allow for the idea of “gradient overlap” between members of differing sets.

It is difficult to accurately translate into English without resorting to paraphrase the sorts of concepts that Ithkuil easily expresses using the MULTIFORM. For example, the Ithkuil word for ‘tree’ inflected for the MULTIFORM configuration would mean something like a group of what appear to be trees, or better yet, a group of tree-like objects (i.e., some being trees, and others seeming less like trees). Essentially, any set of entities whose similarity of membership varies by different degrees in comparison to an archetypical member of the set can be expressed using the MULTIFORM. For examples, the Ithkuil word for library would simply be a word meaning something like work (i.e. thing authored/composed) inflected for the MULTIFORM, signifying a hodge-podge assortment of writings and compositions (e.g., including books, pamphlets, notebooks, ledgers, formulas, letters, journals, recordings, magazines, etc.). Other example concepts translatable using the MULTIFORM would be a rag-tag group of people, an incoherent pattern, lives in flux.

With verbs, the MULTIFORM implies that the individual repetitions comprising an act, state, or event have varying degrees of spatio-temporal similarity to each other. A few English verbs such as fluctuate, sputter or flicker capture this sense. Examples:

         LISTEN 


ph
akţ
‘a thicket/jungle thicket’

eqakţ
‘rag-tag group of people’

 


elakţ
‘incoherent speech/speak incoherently’

 


upšá
‘chaos / a chaotic situation’

 

For the set of affixes which mark this configuration, see Table 5 in Section 3.5.3 below.

 

3.2 AFFILIATION

While the category of Configuration from the preceding section distinguishes the relationships between the individual members of a set in terms of physical characteristics, physical attributes or physical connections, the category of Affiliation operates similarly to distinguish the member relationships in terms of subjective purpose, function, or benefit. Affiliation operates synergistically in conjunction with Configuration to describe the total contextual relationship between the members of a set. Like Configuration, the meanings of nouns or verbs in the various affiliations often involve lexical changes when translated into English.

Returning to our earlier example of the word tree, we saw how a group of trees of the same species becomes a grove in the DISCRETE configuration. The word grove implies that the trees have grown naturally, with no specific purpose or function in regard to human design or utilization. On the other hand, groves of trees may be planted by design, in which case they become an orchard. We saw how trees occurring as a natural assortment of different kinds is termed a forest. However, such assortments can become wholly chaotic, displaying patternless disarray from the standpoint of subjective human design, thus becoming a jungle.

As another example, we saw how the word person becomes group, or gathering, both of which are neutral as to subjective purpose or function. However, applying a sense of purposeful design generates words such as team, while the absence of purpose results in crowd.

There are four affiliations: CONSOLIDATIVE, ASSOCIATIVE, VARIATIVE, and COALESCENT. Affiliation is indicated as part of the Ca affix as explained in Section 3.1 above and in Section 2.1.1.

I
II
III
IV
V
VI
VII
VIII
IX
X
XI
XII
XIII
XIV
XV
(((Cv)
VL)
Cg/Cs)
Vr
(Cx/Cv
Vp/VL)
Cr
Vc
Ci +Vi
Ca
VxC
(Vf
(’Cb))
[tone]
[stress]

Phase +
Sanction
(+ Illocution)

Valence
Validation
OR
Aspect
(+ Mood)
Pattern +
Stem +
Function
Incorp.Root
OR
Phase + Sanction
(+ Illocution)
Pattern + Stem + Designation of Incorp. Root
OR
Valence
Root
Case
Illocution +
Mood
Configuration + Affiliation +
Perspective + Extension +
Essence
Deriv.
Suffix
Context + Format
Bias
Version
Designa-
tion + Relation

The actual values of these Ca affixes are shown later in Table 5 in Section 3.5.3 below, following the explanation of Extension. The details of the four affiliations are explained below.


3.2.1 CSL The Consolidative

The CONSOLIDATIVE affiliation indicates that the individual members of a configurational set are a naturally occurring set where the function, state, purpose or benefit of individual members is inapplicable, irrelevant, or if applicable, is shared. It differs from the ASSOCIATIVE affiliation below in that the role of individual set members is not subjectively defined by human design. Examples are tree branches, a grove, a mound of rocks, some people, the clouds.

The CONSOLIDATIVE is also the affiliation normally applied to nouns in the UNIPLEX configuration when spoken of in a neutral way, since a noun in the UNIPLEX specifies one single entity without reference to a set, therefore the concept of “shared” function would be inapplicable. Examples: a man, a door, a sensation of heat, a leaf. With verbs, the CONSOLIDATIVE would imply that the act, state, or event is occurring naturally, or is neutral as to purpose or design.

For the set of affixes which mark this affiliation, see Table 5 in Section 3.5.3 below.


3.2.2
ASO
The Associative

The ASSOCIATIVE affiliation indicates that the individual members of a configurational set share the same subjective function, state, purpose or benefit. Its use can be illustrated by taking the Ithkuil word for soldier in the DISCRETE configuration and comparing its English translations when inflected for the CONSOLIDATIVE affiliation (= a group of soldiers) versus the ASSOCIATIVE (= a troop, a platoon). It is this CONSOLIDATIVE versus ASSOCIATIVE distinction, then, that would distinguish otherwise equivalent DISCRETE inflections of the Ithkuil word for tree by translating them respectively as a grove versus an orchard.

The ASSOCIATIVE affiliation can also be used with nouns in the UNIPLEX configuration to signify a sense of unity amongst one’s characteristics, purposes, thoughts, etc. For example, the word person inflected for the UNIPLEX and ASSOCIATIVE would translate as a single-minded person. Even nouns such as rock, tree or work of art could be inflected this way, subjectively translatable as a well-formed rock, a tree with integrity, a “balanced” work of art.

With verbs, the ASSOCIATIVE signifies that the act, state or event is by design or with specific purpose. The CONSOLIDATIVE versus ASSOCIATIVE distinction could be used, for example, with the verb turn in I turned toward the window to indicate whether it was for no particular reason or due to a desire to look outside.

For the set of affixes which mark this affiliation, see Table 5 in Section 3.5.3 below.


3.2.3
VAR
The Variative

The VARIATIVE affiliation indicates that the individual members of a configurational set differ as to subjective function, state, purpose or benefit. The differences among members can be to varying degrees (i.e., constituting a fuzzy set in regard to function, purpose, etc.) or at complete odds with one another, although it should be noted that the VARIATIVE would not be used to signify opposed but complementary differences among set members (see the COALESCENT affiliation below). It would thus be used to signify a jumble of tools, odds-and-ends, a random gathering, a rag-tag group, a dysfunctional couple, a cacophony of notes, of a mess of books, a collection in disarray. It operates with nouns in the UNIPLEX to render meanings such as a man at odds with himself, an ill-formed rock, a chaotic piece of art, a “lefthand-righthand” situation.

With verbs, the VARIATIVE indicates an act, state, or event that occurs for more than one reason or purpose, and that those reasons or purposes are more or less unrelated. This sense can probably be captured in English only through paraphrase, as in She bought the house for various reasons or My being at the party served several purposes. With non-UNIPLEX configurations, the use of the VARIATIVE affiliation can describe rather complex phenomena; for example, a sentence using the SEGMENTATIVE configuration such as The light is blinking in conjunction with the VARIATIVE would mean that each blink of the light signals something different than the preceding or following blinks.

For the set of affixes which mark this affiliation, see Table 5 in Section 3.5.3 below.


3.2.4
COA
The Coalescent

The COALESCENT affiliation indicates that the members of a configurational set share in a complementary relationship with respect to their individual functions, states, purposes, benefits, etc. This means that, while each member’s function is distinct from those of other members, each serves in furtherance of some greater unified role. For example, the Ithkuil word translating English toolset would be the word for tool in the AGGREGATIVE configuration (due to each tool’s distinct physical appearance) and the COALESCENT affiliation to indicate that each tool has a distinct but complementary function in furtherance of enabling construction or repair activities. Another example would be the Ithkuil word for finger inflected for the SEGMENTATIVE configuration and the COALESCENT affiliation, translatable as the fingers on one’s hand (note the use of the SEGMENTATIVE to imply the physical connection between each finger via the hand). A further example would be using the COALESCENT with the word for (piece of) food to signify a well-balanced meal.

The COALESCENT naturally appears most often in conjunction with the DUPLEX configuration since binary sets tend to be complementary. It is used, for example, to signify symmetrical binary sets such as body parts, generally indicating a lefthand/righthand mirror-image distinction, e.g., one’s ears, one’s hands, a pair of wings. Pairs that do not normally distinguish such a complementary distinction (e.g., one’s eyes) can nevertheless be optionally placed in the COALESCENT affiliation to emphasize bilateral symmetry (e.g., one’s left and right eye functioning together).

With verbs, the COALESCENT signifies that related, synergistic nature of the component acts, states, and events which make up a greater holistic act, state, or event. It imposes a situational structure onto an act, state, or event, where individual circumstances work together in complementary fashion to comprise the total situation. It would be used, for example, to distinguish the sentences He traveled in the Yukon from He ventured in the Yukon, or I came up with a plan versus I fashioned a plan.

For the set of affixes which mark this affiliation, see Table 5 in Section 3.5.3 below.

 

3.3. PERSPECTIVE

Perspective is the closest Ithkuil morphological category to the Number and Tense categories of other languages (e.g., singular/plural and past/present/future). However, the correspondence is only approximate because Perspective does not specifically address the quantity to which a formative is instantiated within a given context, nor when it occurs relative to the present, but rather the manner in which it is spatio-temporally instantiated. Specifically, Perspective indicates whether a noun or verb is to be identified as 1) a “bounded” contextual entity (i.e., having a spatio-temporally unified or accessible manifestation), 2) an unbounded entity (i.e., manifested as spatio-temporally separated or inaccessible), 3) as a unified collective or generic entity throughout spacetime, or 4) as a spatio-temporally neutral abstraction. How this works requires separate explanations for nouns and verbs.

Perspective with Nouns. What Perspective means for nouns is that, in addition to merely indicating whether a given spatial context contains one or more than one, it also specifies single versus multiple manifestations in time, as well as along an axis of concreteness versus abstraction. Complicating the picture is the fact that the categories of Configuration and Affiliation (see Sections 3.1 and 3.2 above) already contain an implicit numerical element due to the fact that they usually describe multi-membered sets. It is for all these reasons that the terms “singular” and “plural” have been avoided.

Perspective with Verbs. For verbs, the aspect of “boundedness” inherent in Perspective does not imply a quantitative context but rather an aspect of spatio-temporal “accessibility,” i.e., whether or not an act, state, or event can be viewed as a unified whole within the present temporal context. This is a long way from the “tense” categories of Western languages. In Ithkuil, the notion of linearly progressive time is not inherently expressed in the verb (although it can be specified, if necessary, using various aspectual markers - see Section 5.10).

There are four perspectives in Ithkuil: MONADIC, UNBOUNDED, NOMIC, and ABSTRACT. These are indicated as part of the Ca affix as explained in Sec. 3.1 above.

I
II
III
IV
V
VI
VII
VIII
IX
X
XI
XII
XIII
XIV
XV
(((Cv)
VL)
Cg/Cs)
Vr
(Cx/Cv
Vp/VL)
Cr
Vc
Ci +Vi
Ca
VxC
(Vf
(’Cb))
[tone]
[stress]

Phase +
Sanction
(+ Illocution)

Valence
Validation
OR
Aspect
(+ Mood)
Pattern +
Stem +
Function
Incorp.Root
OR
Phase + Sanction
(+ Illocution)
Pattern + Stem + Designation of Incorp. Root
OR
Valence
Root
Case
Illocution +
Mood
Configuration + Affiliation+
Perspective + Extension +
Essence
Deriv.
Suffix
Context + Format
Bias
Version
Designa-
tion + Relation

The actual values of these Ca affixes are shown later in Table 5 in Section 3.5.3 below, following the explanation of the category of Essence. Each perspective’s specific meaning and usage is explained and illustrated below.

 

3.3.1
M
The Monadic

The MONADIC signifies a bounded embodiment of a particular configuration. By “bounded embodiment” is meant a contextual entity which, though possibly numerous in membership or multifaceted in structure, or spread out through a time duration, is nevertheless being contextually viewed and considered as a “monad,” a single, unified whole perceived to exist within a literal or figurative psychologically uninterrupted boundary. This is important, since configurations other than the UNIPLEX technically imply more than one discrete entity/instance being present or taking place. For nouns, this boundary is physically contiguous, like a container, corresponding to the “surface” of an object (whether literal or psychological). For verbs, this boundary is psychologically temporal, specifically the “present” (which in Ithkuil might be better thought of as the “context at hand” or the “immediately accessible context”). This distinction as to how “bounded embodiment” is interpreted for nouns and verbs is appropriate, given that Ithkuil considers nouns as spatially reified concepts while considering verbs to be their temporally “activized” counterparts (see Section 2.4.1).

Thus, using the word tree for example, while there might be many trees present in terms of number, the MONADIC implies they form only one embodiment of whatever particular Configuration category is manifested. Using the AGGREGATIVE configuration as an example, the MONADIC would mean there is only one AGGREGATIVE set of trees, i.e., one forest.

At this point, it should be noted in regard to Perspective that Ithkuil makes no distinction between “count” and “non-count” (or “mass”) nouns. In languages such as English, nouns differ between those that can be counted and pluralized (e.g., one apple, four boys, several nations), and those which cannot be counted or pluralized (e.g., water, sand, plastic, air, laughter). All nouns are countable in Ithkuil in that all nouns can exist as contextual monads. As a result, English translations of certain Ithkuil nouns must often be “contextual” rather than literal, employing various conventions to put the noun in a numerical and pluralizable context, e.g., ‘some dirt,’ ‘the air here’ or ‘a puff of air’ rather than “a dirt” or “an air.”

With verbs, the MONADIC superficially corresponds in a very approximate fashion with Western present tense categories except in a habitual sense. As noted above, the bounded embodiment conveyed by the MONADIC means that the act, state, or event is temporally contiguous and accessible from the point of view of the present context. It would be used to describes an act, state, or event which:

By “accessible past” or “accessible future” is meant a past or future where the speaker was (or will be) spatially present at the time and the time elapsed between then and “now” is psychologically contiguous, i.e., the speaker views the passage of time from then till now as one continuous temporal flow of moments, not as disconnected memories, disconnected predictions, or historical reports. Conversely, “inaccessible” would mean a past or future where the speaker was not or will not be present or which he/she knows only from memory, reports, or predictions. Examples:          LISTEN 


aklál
‘a river;
a river flows’


u’t’ak’ařš
‘constellation;
a constellation shines (in the night sky) ’

vyarl
‘a set of benefits;
a set of benefits is in effect’

 

3.3.2
U
The Unbounded

The UNBOUNDED signifies “unbounded embodiment” of a particular configurative entity, meaning that the noun or verb manifests itself as not being contained within an uninterrupted boundary, i.e., in contextually “disconnected” manifestations. For nouns, the term “plural” has been avoided so as not to imply that the member nouns are not being referred to quantitatively per se, but rather as a non-monadic (i.e., non-unified) manifestation of a configurative set. While the most convenient translation into English would be to use the plural, e.g., trees, groves, lumps of dirt, a semantically (if not morphologically) more accurate rendering would be ‘a tree here, a tree there,’ ‘this grove and another and another…,’ ‘dirt-lump after dirt-lump after dirt-lump….’

For verbs, “unbounded embodiment” means that the psychological temporal boundary of an act, state, or event is not accessible from the present context. This would apply to an act, state, or event which:

Note that, even more so than with the MONADIC, translation of the UNBOUNDED into Western languages is subjective, as the translation must necessarily convey linear tense information which is not conveyed by the Ithkuil original.

Examples:          LISTEN 


aklát
‘what once was a river; the river once flowed (but no longer)’

 


u’t’ak’ařg
‘a past constellation; the constellation shone (but no longer)’

 


vyark
‘a former set of benefits; a set of benefits was in effect (but no longer)’



3.3.3
N
The Nomic

The NOMIC refers to a generic collective entity or archetype, containing all members or instantiations of a configurative set throughout space and time (or within a specified spatio-temporal context). Since it is all members being spoken of, and no individual members in particular, this category is mutually exclusive from the MONADIC or UNBOUNDED. For nouns, the NOMIC corresponds approximately to the several constructions used for referring to collective nouns in English, as seen in the sentences The dog is a noble beast, Clowns are what children love most, There is nothing like a tree.

With verbs, the NOMIC designates an action, event, or situation which describes a general law of nature or a persistently true condition or situation spoken of in general, without reference to a specific instance or occurrence of the activity (it is, in fact, all possible instances or occurrences that are being referred to). English has no specialized way of expressing such generic statements, generally using the simple present tense. Examples of usage would be The sun doesn't set on our planet, Mr. Okotele is sickly, In winter it snows a lot, That girl sings well.

Examples:          LISTEN 


akláţ
‘(flowing) river(s) (as a generic concept)’

 


u’t’ak’ařç
‘(shining) constellation(s) (as a generic concept)’

 


vyarx
‘a set of benefits being in effect (as a generic concept)’

 

3.3.4
A
The Abstract

Similar to the formation of English abstract nouns using suffixes such as -hood or -ness, the ABSTRACT transforms a configurative category into an abstract concept considered in a non-spatial, timeless, numberless context. While only certain nouns in English can be made into abstracts via suffixes, all Ithkuil nouns in all Configurative categories can be made into abstracts, the translations of which must often be periphrastic in nature, e.g., grovethe idea of being a grove or “grovehood”; book → everything about books, having to do with books, involvement with books.

With verbs, the ABSTRACT is used in verbal constructions to create a temporal abstraction, where the temporal relationship of the action, event, or state to the present is irrelevant or inapplicable, similar to the way in which the English infinitive or gerund form (used as substitutes for a verb phrase) do not convey a specific tense in the following sentences: Singing is not his strong suit; It makes no sense to worry about it; I can't stand her pouting. As a result, the ABSTRACT acts as a “timeless” verb form which, much like these English infinitives and gerunds, operates in conjunction with a separate main verb in one of the other three perspectives. The ABSTRACT is often used in conjunction with certain modalities and moods of the verb (see Sec. 6.1 on Modality and Section 5.2 on Mood) which convey hypothetical or unrealized situations, in which the temporal relationship to the present is arbitrary, inapplicable, or unknowable.

Examples:          LISTEN 


aklác
‘the river as an idea / everything about being a river / “river-hood” ’

 


u’t’ak’apst
‘the idea of a constellation / “constellation-hood” ’

 


vyarč
‘the idea of having/providing benefits’

 

3.4 EXTENSION

Extension is another Ithkuil morphological category for which there is no exact equivalent in other languages. It applies to all formatives and indicates the manner in which the noun or verb is being considered in terms of spatial or temporal extent or boundaries. There are six extensions: DELIMITIVE, PROXIMAL, INCEPTIVE, TERMINATIVE, DEPLETIVE, and GRADUATIVE.

Extension is shown as part of a formative’s Ca affix which also indicates Configuration, Affiliation, Perspective and Essence. The values of this affix are shown in Sec. 3.5.3.

I
II
III
IV
V
VI
VII
VIII
IX
X
XI
XII
XIII
XIV
XV
(((Cv)
VL)
Cg/Cs)
Vr
(Cx/Cv
Vp/VL)
Cr
Vc
Ci +Vi
Ca
VxC
(Vf
(’Cb))
[tone]
[stress]

Phase +
Sanction
(+ Illocution)

Valence
Validation
OR
Aspect
(+ Mood)
Pattern +
Stem +
Function
Incorp.Root
OR
Phase + Sanction
(+ Illocution)
Pattern + Stem + Designation of Incorp. Root
OR
Valence
Root
Case
Illocution +
Mood
Configuration + Affiliation+
Perspective + Extension +
Essence
Deriv.
Suffix
Context + Format
Bias
Version
Designa-
tion + Relation

Alternately, extension can be shown via tone-marking of an adjacent verbal adjunct, explained in Section 6.3.5.

The details of how each of the six extensions operates are explained as follows:

 

3.4.1
DEL
The Delimitive

The DELIMITIVE extension indicates that a noun is being spoken of in its contextual entirety as a discrete entity with clear spatio-temporal boundaries, with no emphasis on any particular portion, edge, boundary, limit, or manifestation beyond the context at hand. It can be considered the neutral or default view, e.g., a tree, a grove, a set of books, an army. To illustrate a contextual example, the English sentence He climbed the ladder would be translated with the word ladder in the DELIMITIVE to show it is being considered as a whole. With verbs, this extension indicates that the act, state, or event is being considered in its entirety, from beginning to end, e.g., She diets every winter (i.e., she starts and finishes each diet).

The DELIMITIVE can be thought of as an expanse of spacetime that has definite beginning and ending points, beyond which the noun or verb does not exist or occur. The graphic to the right illustrates the spatio-temporal relationship of a concept in the DELIMITIVE to the context at-hand (i.e., the spatio-temporal “present”).

Examples:          LISTEN 

 


aklál
‘a river’

 


pšašk
‘a situation’

 

3.4.2
PRX
The Proximal

The PROXIMAL extension indicates that a noun is being spoken of not in its entirety, but rather only in terms of the portion, duration, subset, or aspect which is relevant to the context at hand. It would be used to translate the words tree, journey, and ladder in the sentences That tree is hard there (e.g., in the spot where I hit against it), She lost weight during her journey, or He climbed on the ladder (i.e., it is not relevant to the context to know if he made it all the way to the top). Note that in these sentences, the PROXIMAL does not refer to a specific or delineated piece, part, or component of the tree or ladder, but rather to the fact that delineated boundaries such as the ends of the ladder or the entirety of the tree are not relevant or applicable to the context at hand. With verbs, this extension signifies that it is not the entirety of an act, state, or event which is being considered, but rather the spatial extent or durational period of the act, state, or event relevant to the context, e.g., She’s on a diet every winter (i.e., focus on “having to live on” a diet, not the total time spent dieting from start to finish).

The graphic to the right illustrates the spatio-temporal relationship of a noun or verbal concept in the PROXIMAL to the context at-hand (i.e., the spatio-temporal “present”).

Examples:          LISTEN 



aklás

‘a section/stretch of (the) river’



pšams

‘the midst of a situation’

 

3.4.3
ICP
The Inceptive

The INCEPTIVE extension focuses on the closest boundary, the beginning, initiation, or the immediately accessible portion of a noun or verb, without focusing on the boundaries of the remainder. It would be used in translating the nouns tunnel, song, desert, daybreak and plan in the following sentences: We looked into (the mouth of) the tunnel, He recognizes that song (i.e., from the first few notes), They came upon (an expanse of) desert, Let’s wait for daybreak, I’m working out a plan (i.e., that I just thought of). In verbal contexts it would correspond to the English ‘to begin (to)…’ or ‘to start (to)…’ as in He began reading, It’s starting to molt, or She goes on a diet every winter.

The graphic to the right illustrates the spatio-temporal relationship of a noun or verbal concept in the INCEPTIVE to the context at-hand (i.e., the spatio-temporal “present”). Examples:          LISTEN 


klamtá
‘the beginning of a river’


pša
pšt’ ‘the beginning/start of a situation’

 

3.4.4
TRM
The Terminative

The TERMINATIVE extension focuses on the end, termination, last portion, or trailing boundary of a noun, without focusing on the preceding or previously existing state of the noun. It would be used in translating the words water, story, and arrival in the sentences There’s no water (i.e., we ran out), I like the end of that story, and We await your arrival. With verbs, it is illustrated by the sentences It finished molting or She’s come off her diet.

The graphic to the right illustrates the spatio-temporal relationship of a noun or verbal concept in the TERMINATIVE to the context at-hand (i.e., the spatio-temporal “present”). Examples:          LISTEN 


klat’á
‘the end of a river’



pšakt’
‘the end of a situation’

 

3.4.5
DPL
The Depletive

The DEPLETIVE extension focuses on the terminal boundary or “trailing” edge of a noun, where this terminus is ill-defined, “diffuse” or extended to some degree, (i.e. the at-hand context of the noun “peters out” or terminates gradually). Essentially, it applies to any context involving actual or figurative fading. It would be used in translating the words water, strength, and twilight in the sentences He drank the last of the water, I have little strength left, She disappeared into the twilight. With verbs, it is exemplified by the phrases to wind down, to fade out, to disappear gradually and similar notions, e.g., She’s eating less and less these days.

The graphic to the right illustrates the spatio-temporal relationship of a noun or verbal concept in the DEPLETIVE to the context at-hand (i.e., the spatio-temporal “present”). Examples:          LISTEN 


klakcá ‘the mouth of a river’



pšaňsk ‘the last vestiges of a situation’

 

3.4.6
GRA
The Graduative

The GRADUATIVE extension is the inverse of the DEPLETIVE, focusing on a diffuse, extended “fade-in” or gradual onset of a noun. It would be used in translating the words darkness, wonder, and music in the following sentences: Darkness came upon us, I felt a growing sense of wonder, The music was very soft at first. With verbs it is illustrated by verbs and phrases such as to fade in, to start gradually, to build up, and similar notions, e.g., She’s been eating more and more lately.

The graphic to the right illustrates the spatio-temporal relationship of a noun in the GRADUATIVE to the context at-hand (i.e., the spatio-temporal “present”). Examples:

         LISTEN 


klakc’á
‘the headwaters of a river’

pšaňsk’ ‘a gradually developing situation’

 

3.5 ESSENCE

Essence refers to a two-fold morphological distinction which has no counterpart in Western languages. It is best explained by reference to various English language illustrations. Compare the following pairs of English sentences:

1a) The boy ran off to sea.
1b) The boy who ran off to sea didn’t run off to sea.

2a) The dog you saw is to be sold tomorrow.
2b) The dog you saw doesn’t exist.

Sentences (1a) and (2a) appear to be straightforward sentences in terms of meaning and interpretation. However, at first blush, sentences (1b) and (2b) appear nonsensical, and it is not until we consider specialized contexts for these sentences that they make any sense. For example, (1b) would make sense if being spoken by an author reporting a change of mind about the plot for a story, while (2b) makes sense when spoken by a puzzled pet store owner in whose window you earlier saw a dog that is now no longer there.

Why sentences such as (1b) and (2b) can have possible real-world meaning is because they in fact do not make reference to an actual boy or dog, but rather to hypothetical representations of a real-world boy and dog, being used as references back to those real-world counterparts from within an “alternative mental space” created psychologically (and implied linguistically) where events can be spoken about that are either unreal, as-yet-unrealized, or alternative versions of what really takes place. This alternative mental space, then, is essentially the psychological realm of both potential and imagination. In Western languages, such an alternative mental space is implied by context or indicated by certain lexical signals. One such group of lexical signals are the so-called “modal” verbs of English, e.g., must, can, should, etc. as seen in the following:

3) You must come home at once.
4) That girl can sing better than anybody.
5) We should attack at dawn.

Each of the above three sentences describe potential events, not actual real-world happenings that are occurring or have occurred. For example, in Sentence (3) no one has yet come home nor do we know whether coming home is even possible, in Sentence (4) the girl may never sing a single note ever again for all we know, and Sentence (5) gives us no information as to whether any attack will actually occur.


3.5.1
NRM
  The Normal
 
RPV
  The Representative

The Ithkuil category of Essence explicitly distinguishes real-world actualities from their alternative, imagined or potential counterparts. The two essences are termed NORMAL and REPRESENTATIVE, the former being the default essence denoting real-world nouns and verbs, the latter denoting alternative counterparts. By marking such counterparts explicitly, Ithkuil allows a speaker to express any noun or verb as referring to a real-world versus alternative manifestation, without having the listener infer such from an explanatory context.

Essence is as part of the Ca affix which also indicates Configuration, Affiliation and Perspective. The values of this affix are shown below in Sec. 3.5.3.

I
II
III
IV
V
VI
VII
VIII
IX
X
XI
XII
XIII
XIV
XV
(((Cv)
VL)
Cg/Cs)
Vr
(Cx/Cv
Vp/VL)
Cr
Vc
Ci +Vi
Ca
VxC
(Vf
(’Cb))
[tone]
[stress]

Phase +
Sanction
(+ Illocution)

Valence
Validation
OR
Aspect
(+ Mood)
Pattern +
Stem +
Function
Incorp.Root
OR
Phase + Sanction
(+ Illocution)
Pattern + Stem + Designation of Incorp. Root
OR
Valence
Root
Case
Illocution +
Mood
Configuration + Affiliation +
Perspective + Extension +
Essence
Deriv.
Suffix
Context + Format
Bias
Version
Designa-
tion + Relation

 


3.5.2 Examples of Essence in Use

Compare the following two sentences and their translations to see how placement of the REPRESENTATIVE essence on different formatives changes the meaning.



Xal  öqil  êqattêph.

STA-‘see’-NRM/DEL/M/CSL/UNI-IFL  STA-‘man’-AFF-NRM/DEL/M/CSL/UNI-IFL    STA-‘woman’-OBL-RPV/DEL/M/CSL/UNI-MAT2/3-IFL
The man sees what he thinks is/imagines to be a young girl.          LISTEN 

 


Xatta  öqil  êqalêph.

STA-‘see’-RPV/DEL/M/CSL/UNI-IFL  STA-‘man’-AFF-NRM/DEL/M/CSL/UNI-IFL    STA-‘woman’-OBL-NRM/DEL/M/CSL/UNI-MAT2/3-IFL
The man is imagining he sees a young girl.          LISTEN 



Ûb  eikkradwa  smou’olâxh.

EXN1/6     DYN-‘move.along.obliquely.vertical.path.between.two.points’-RPV/PRX/N/CSL/UNI-IFL      STA-‘valley’-NAV-NRM/DEL/M/CSL/UNI-SCO2/5-IFL
The path through the canyon is/seems steep.          LISTEN 

In the example immediately above, no one is necessarily on the path (including the speaker), so steepness exists merely as an idea/assumption in the speaker’s mind.


3.5.3 Affix Tables for Configuration, Affiliation, Perspective, Extension and Essence

Tables 5(a) through 5(f) below indicate all the affix values of Ca, the synthetic affix which indicates which of the nine Configurations, four Affiliations, four Perspectives, and six Extensions are applied to a particular stem.

I
II
III
IV
V
VI
VII
VIII
IX
X
XI
XII
XIII
XIV
XV
(((Cv)
VL)
Cg/Cs)
Vr
(Cx/Cv
Vp/VL)
Cr
Vc
Ci +Vi
Ca
VxC
(Vf
(’Cb))
[tone]
[stress]

Phase +
Sanction

Valence
Validation
OR
Aspect
(+ Mood)
Pattern +
Stem +
Function
Incorp.Root
OR
Phase + Sanction
Pattern + Stem + Designation of Incorp. Root
OR
Valence
Root
Case
Illocution +
Mood
Configuration + Affiliation +
Perspective + Extension +
Essence
Deriv.
Suffix
Context + Format
Bias
Version
Designa-
tion + Relation



Tables 5
(a)-(l):
Ca Configuration/Affiliation/Perspective/Extension Affixes for Formatives

ESSENCE & EXTENSION
PERSPECTIVE
AFFILIATION
CONFIGURATION
UNI
DPX
DCT
AGG
SEG
CPN
COH
CST
MLT

NRM

+

DEL

M

CSL

l

ll

ļ

ļļ

řļ

sk

šk

ASO

r

rr

rl

řl

st

št

VAR

m

mm

lm

rm

řm

sp

šp

COA

n

nn

ln

r n

ř n

sq

šq

U
CSL

t

ļt

lt

rt

nt

řt

ňt

ňd

çt

ASO

k

ļk

lk

rk

ňk

řk

kt

xt

çk

VAR

p

ļp

lp

rp

mp

řp

pt

ft

çp

COA

q

ļq

lq

rq

ňq

řq

qt

xht

çq

N
CSL

ţ

ţţ

řţ

šţ

tf

ASO

x

xx

lx

rx

ňx

mx

sx

šx

kf

VAR

f

ff

lf

rf

mf

řf

sf

šf

pf

COA

xh

xxh

lxh

rxh

ňxh

mxh

sxh

šxh

qf

A
CSL

c

cc

lc

rc

ns

řc

sc

fk

fq

ASO

č

čč

řč

šč

ţk

ţq

VAR

ż

żż

nz

řż

ţf

ţs

ţc

COA

j

jj

lj

rj

řj

ţš

ţč



ESSENCE & EXTENSION
PERSPECTIVE
AFFILIATION
CONFIGURATION
UNI
DPX
DCT
AGG
SEG
CPN
COH
CST
MLT

NRM

+

PRX
M

CSL

s

ss

ls

rs

fs

řs

ňs

ms

mss

ASO

š

šš

řš

ňš

mšš

VAR

z

zz

lz

rz

vz

řz

ňz

mz

mzz

COA

ž

žž

řž

ňž

mžž

U
CSL

d

dv

ld

rd

nd

řd

md

zd

žd

ASO

g

gv

lg

rg

ňg

řg

ňkf

zg

žg

VAR

b

bv

lb

rb

mb

řb

ntf

zb

žb

COA

ň

ňň

ňç

ňv

ř ň

ňf

řtf

řkf

N
CSL

dh

ddh

ldh

rdh

ndh

řdh

mdh

ţx

ţxh

ASO

ç

çç

řç

fx

fxh

VAR

v

vv

lv

rv

mv

řv

ndv

xf

COA

ř

řř

rbv

rdv

rgv

řxh

xhf

xhţ

A
CSL

ck

čk

ps

ks

gd

psk

pšk

ksk

kšk

ASO

ct

čt

bd

pst

pšt

tx

txh

VAR

cp

čp

bz

gz

ksp

kšp

px

pxh

COA

cq

čq

řqf

kst

kšt

psq

pšq


ESSENCE & EXTENSION
PERSPECTIVE
AFFILIATION
CONFIGURATION
UNI
DPX
DCT
AGG
SEG
CPN
COH
CST
MLT

NRM

+

ICP
M

CSL

mt

mt’

skh

sk’

mth

pst’

psth

pšt’

pšth

ASO

mk

mk’

sth

st’

mkh

kst’

ksth

kšt’

kšth

VAR

ňp

ňp’

sph

sp’

ňph

psk’

pskh

pšk’

pškh

COA

mq

mq’

sqh

sq’

mqh

ksp’

ksph

kšp’

kšph

U
CSL

pk

pk’

škh

šk’

pkh

fk’

fkh

psq’

psqh

ASO

tk

tk’

šth

št’

tkh

ţk’

ţkh

ksk’

kskh

VAR

tp

tp’

šph

šp’

tph

ţp’

ţph

pšq’

pšqh

COA

kp

kp’

šqh

šq’

kph

xp’

xph

kšk’

kškh

N
CSL

pq

pq’

fg

bg

pqh

vg

fp

fq’

fqh

ASO

tq

tq’

ţg

dg

tqh

dhg

vd

ţq’

ţqh

VAR

qp

qp’

xhp

xp

sch

sc’

ňqf

gb

kkç/kçç

COA

xhp’

ţp

ščh

šč’

vb

dhz

ppç/pçç

A
CSL

fst

fc’

fc

lfs

xc’

ţc’

ltf

fst’

fsth

ASO

fšt

fč’

lfš

xč’

ţč’

lkf

fšt’

fšth

VAR

fsk

fch

rfs

fsq

xch

ţch

xhph

fsk’

fskh

COA

fšk

h

rfš

fšq

h

ţčh

qph

fšk’

fškh



ESSENCE & EXTENSION
PERSPECTIVE
AFFILIATION
CONFIGURATION
UNI
DPX
DCT
AGG
SEG
CPN
COH
CST
MLT

NRM

+

TRM
M

CSL

t’

ļt’

lt’

rt’

nt’

řt’

ţsk’

kt’

ňt’

ASO

k’

ļk’

lk’

rk’

ňk’

řk’

ţšk’

ft’

xt’

VAR

p’

ļp’

lp’

rp’

mp’

řp’

fsq’

pt’

fp’

COA

q’

ļq’

lq’

rq’

ňq’

řq’

fšq’

xht’

qt’

U
CSL

th

ļth

lth

rth

nth

řth

ţskh

kth

ňth

ASO

kh

ļkh

lkh

rkh

ňkh

řkh

ţškh

fth

xth

VAR

ph

ļph

lph

rph

mph

řph

fsqh

pth

fph

COA

qh

ļqh

lqh

rqh

ňqh

řqh

fšqh

xhth

qth

N
CSL

c’

cc’

lc’

rc’

nc’

řc’

mc’

ňc’

çt’

ASO

č’

čč’

lč’

rč’

nč’

řč’

mč’

ňč’

çk’

VAR

ch

cch

lch

rch

nch

řch

mch

ňch

çp’

COA

čh

ččh

h

h

h

čřh

h

ňčh

çq’

A
CSL

pps/pss

rps

lps

rbz

lbz

řps

řbz

ňss

çth

ASO

ppš/pšš

rpš

lpš

rbž

lbž

řpš

řbž

ňšš

çkh

VAR

kks/ kss

rks

lks

rgz

lgz

řks

řgz

ňzz

çph

COA

kkš/kšš

rkš

lkš

rgž

lgž

řkš

řgž

ňžž

çqh



ESSENCE & EXTENSION
PERSPECTIVE
AFFILIATION
CONFIGURATION
UNI
DPX
DCT
AGG
SEG
CPN
COH
CST
MLT

NRM

+

DPL
M

CSL

kc

lkç

lsk

rsk

nsk

řsk

msk

ňsk

ssk

ASO

żd

lţs

lst

rst

nst

řst

mst

ňst

sst

VAR

pc

bbz/bzz

lsp

rsp

nsp

řsp

msp

ňsp

ssp

COA

qc

ggz/gzz

lsq

rsq

nsq

řsq

msq

ňsq

ssq

U
CSL

rçç

lšk

ršk

nšk

řšk

mšk

ňšk

ššk

ASO

jd

lţš

lšt

ršt

nšt

řšt

mšt

ňšt

ššt

VAR

bbž/bžž

lšp

ršp

nšp

řšp

mšp

ňšp

ššp

COA

ggž/gžž

lšq

ršq

nšq

řšq

mšq

ňšq

ššq

N
CSL

bdh

xpf

lvz

rvz

rbdh

řpţ

lpf

rpf

bzd

ASO

gdh

ňdh

lvž

rvž

rgdh

řkţ

lpç

rpç

bžd

VAR

ţt

dhd

ldhz

rţs

rqţ

řqţ

ňkç

řpf

gzd

COA

db

ttç/tçç

ldhž

rţš

rkç

řkç

mpç

řpç

gžd

A
CSL

rpss

lzb

rzb

nzb

řzb

mzb

řpss

gzb

ASO

rkss

lžb

ržb

nžb

řžb

mžb

řkss

gžb

VAR

bj

rpšš

lzg

rzg

nzg

řzg

mzg

řpšš

bzg

COA

gj

rkšš

lžg

ržg

nžg

řžg

mžg

řkšš

bžg



ESSENCE & EXTENSION
PERSPECTIVE
AFFILIATION
CONFIGURATION
UNI
DPX
DCT
AGG
SEG
CPN
COH
CST
MLT

NRM

+

GRA
M

CSL

kc’

ck’

lsk’

rsk’

nsk’

řsk’

msk’

ňsk’

ssk’

ASO

żb

ct’

lst’

rst’

nst’

řst’

mst’

ňst’

sst’

VAR

pc’

cp’

lsp’

rsp’

nsp’

řsp’

msp’

ňsp’

ssp’

COA

qc’

cq’

lsq’

rsq’

nsq’

řsq’

msq’

ňsq’

ssq’

U
CSL

kč’

čk’

lšk’

ršk’

nšk’

řšk’

mšk’

ňšk’

ššk’

ASO

jb

čt’

lšt’

ršt’

nšt’

řšt’

mšt’

ňšt’

ššt’

VAR

pč’

čp’

lšp’

ršp’

nšp’

řšp’

mšp’

ňšp’

ššp’

COA

qč’

čq’

lšq’

ršq’

nšq’

řšq’

mšq’

ňšq’

ššq’

N
CSL

kch

ckh

lskh

rskh

nskh

řskh

mskh

ňskh

sskh

ASO

żg

cth

lsth

rsth

nsth

řsth

msth

ňsth

ssth

VAR

pch

cph

lsph

rsph

nsph

řsph

msph

ňsph

ssph

COA

qch

cqh

lsqh

rsqh

nsqh

řsqh

msqh

ňsqh

ssqh

A
CSL

h

čkh

lškh

rškh

nškh

řškh

mškh

ňškh

šškh

ASO

jg

čth

lšth

ršth

nšth

řšth

mšth

ňšth

ššth

VAR

h

čph

lšph

ršph

nšph

řšph

mšph

ňšph

ššph

COA

h

čqh

lšqh

ršqh

nšqh

řšqh

mšqh

ňšqh

ššqh

 

ESSENCE & EXTENSION
PERSPECTIVE
AFFILIATION
CONFIGURATION
UNI
DPX
DCT
AGG
SEG
CPN
COH
CST
MLT

RPV

+

DEL

M

CSL

tt

tt’

tth

lpt’

rpt’

řpt’

lpth

rpth

řpth

ASO

kk

kk’

kkh

lkt’

rkt’

řkt’

lkth

rkth

řkth

VAR

pp

pp’

pph

lpk’

rpk’

řpk’

lpkh

rpkh

řpkh

COA

qq

qq’

qqh

ltk’

rtk’

řtk’

ltkh

rtkh

řtkh

U
CSL

dd

nçw

pçw

lft’

rft’

řft’

lfth

rfth

řfth

ASO

gg

ňçw

kfw

lxt’

rxt’

řxt’

lxth

rxth

řxth

VAR

bb

mçw

pfw

lfk’

rfk’

řfk’

lfkh

rfkh

řfkh

COA

cf

čf

qfw

lţk’

rţk’

řţk’

lţkh

rţkh

řţkh

N
CSL

ţw

dhw

lţw

rţw

mţw

řţw

nţw

ldhw

rdhw

ASO

xw

ňw

lxw

rxw

mxw

řxw

ňxw

lňw

rňw

VAR

fw

vw

lfw

rfw

ňfw

řfw

mfw

lvw

rvw

COA

xhw

çw

lxhw

rxhw

mxhw

tçw

ňxhw

lçw

rçw

A
CSL

sw

cw

lsw

rsw

msw

řsw

nsw

ňsw

ssw

ASO

šw

čw

lšw

ršw

mšw

řšw

nšw

ňšw

ššw

VAR

zw

żw

lzw

rzw

mzw

řzw

nzw

ňzw

zzw

COA

žw

jw

lžw

ržw

mžw

řžw

nžw

ňžw

žžw



ESSENCE & EXTENSION
PERSPECTIVE
AFFILIATION
CONFIGURATION
UNI
DPX
DCT
AGG
SEG
CPN
COH
CST
MLT

RPV

+

PRX
M

CSL

tw

ttw

thw

t’w

tt’w

tthw

ltw

rtw

ntw

ASO

kw

kkw

khw

k’w

kk’w

kkhw

lkw

rkw

ňkw

VAR

pw

ppw

phw

p’w

pp’w

pphw

lpw

rpw

mpw

COA

qw

qqw

qhw

q’w

qq’w

qqhw

lqw

rqw

ňqw

U
CSL

ty

tty

lty

ţy

nty

řty

rty

pty

tky

ASO

ky

kky

lky

ży

ňky

řky

rky

kty

kpy

VAR

py

ppy

lpy

fy

npy

řpy

rpy

tpy

pky

COA

my

fty

ptw

mw

ftw

ptr

ftr

pkw

fkw

N
CSL

dw

ddw

ldw

tv

ndw

řdw

bdw

dgw

rdw

ASO

gw

ggw

lgw

kv

ňgw

řgw

gdw

gbw

rgw

VAR

bw

bbw

lbw

pv

mbw

řbw

dbw

bgw

rbw

COA

lw

ly

ry

rw

ļw

řy

tļw

řw

A
CSL

dy

ddy

ldy

dhy

ndy

řdy

rdy

bdy

dgy

ASO

gy

ggy

lgy

jy

ňgy

řgy

rgy

gdy

gby

VAR

by

bby

lby

vy

mby

řby

rby

dby

bgy

COA

ny

xty

ktw

nw

xtw

ktr

xtr

tkw

ţkw



ESSENCE & EXTENSION
PERSPECTIVE
AFFILIATION
CONFIGURATION
UNI
DPX
DCT
AGG
SEG
CPN
COH
CST
MLT

RPV

+

ICP
M

CSL

tl

ttl

ltl

rtl

ntl

řtl

mtl

ļtl

kçw

ASO

kl

kkl

lkl

rkl

ňkl

řkl

mkl

ļkl

c’w

VAR

pl

ppl

lpl

rpl

mpl

řpl

ňpl

ļpl

tfw

COA

ql

qql

lql

rql

ňql

řql

mql

ļql

č’w

U
CSL

dl

ddl

ldl

rdl

ndl

řdl

bdl

dgl

vbl

ASO

gl

ggl

lgl

rgl

ňgl

řgl

gdl

gbl

vgl

VAR

bl

bbl

lbl

rbl

mbl

řbl

dbl

bgl

vdl

COA

ml

ňl

nl

ţř

lr

N
CSL

skl

ckl

ckw

skw

sskw

çkw

sk’w

ck’w

sskl

ASO

stl

ctl

ctw

stw

sstw

çtw

st’w

ct’w

sstl

VAR

spl

cpl

cpw

spw

sspw

çpw

sp’w

cp’w

sspl

COA

sql

cql

cqw

sqw

ssqw

çqw

sq’w

cq’w

ssql

A
CSL

škl

čkl

čkw

škw

šškw

xxw

šk’w

čk’w

šškl

ASO

štl

čtl

čtw

štw

šštw

ţţw

št’w

čt’w

šštl

VAR

špl

čpl

čpw

špw

ššpw

ffw

šp’w

čp’w

ššpl

COA

šql

čql

čqw

šqw

ššqw

xxhw

šq’w

čq’w

ššql



ESSENCE & EXTENSION
PERSPECTIVE
AFFILIATION
CONFIGURATION
UNI
DPX
DCT
AGG
SEG
CPN
COH
CST
MLT

RPV

+

TRM
M

CSL

tr

ttr

ltr

rtr

ntr

řtr

mtr

ļtr

rtn

ASO

kr

kkr

lkr

rkr

ňkr

řkr

mkr

ļkr

rkn

VAR

pr

ppr

lpr

rpr

mpr

řpr

ňpr

ļpr

rpn

COA

qr

qqr

lqr

rqr

ňqr

řqr

mqr

ļqr

rqn

U
CSL

dr

ddr

ldr

rdr

ndr

řdr

bdr

dgr

vbr

ASO

gr

ggr

lgr

rgr

ňgr

řgr

gdr

gbr

vgr

VAR

br

bbr

lbr

rbr

mbr

řbr

dbr

bgr

vdr

COA

mr

ňr

nr

dhř

N
CSL

skr

ckr

cky

sky

ssky

čhw

skhw

ckhw

sskr

ASO

str

ctr

cty

sty

ssty

chy

sthw

cthw

sstr

VAR

spr

cpr

cpy

spy

sspy

chw

sphw

cphw

sspr

COA

sqr

cqr

c’y

cy

çr

čhy

sqhw

cqhw

ssqr

A
CSL

škr

čkr

čky

šky

ššky

ļkw

škhw

čkhw

šškr

ASO

štr

čtr

čty

šty

ššty

ļtw

šthw

čthw

šštr

VAR

špr

čpr

čpy

špy

ššpy

ļpw

šphw

čphw

ššpr

COA

šqr

čqr

č’y

čy

çř

ļqw

šqhw

čqhw

ššqr


ESSENCE & EXTENSION
PERSPECTIVE
AFFILIATION
CONFIGURATION
UNI
DPX
DCT
AGG
SEG
CPN
COH
CST
MLT

RPV

+

DPL
M

CSL

sl

ssl

lsl

rsl

msl

řsl

nsl

ňsl

ţst

ASO

šl

ššl

lšl

ršl

mšl

řšl

nšl

ňšl

ţšt

VAR

zl

zzl

lzl

rzl

mzl

řzl

nzl

ňzl

ţsp

COA

žl

žžl

lžl

ržl

mžl

řžl

nžl

ňžl

ţšp

U
CSL

fl

ffl

lfl

rfl

mfl

řfl

fxl

ňfl

pxl

ASO

ţl

ţţl

lţl

rţl

nţl

řţl

ţxl

mţl

txl

VAR

xl

xxl

lxl

rxl

ňxl

řxl

xfl

mxl

xţl

COA

xhl

xxhl

lxhl

rxhl

ňxhl

qtl

xhfl

mxhl

xhţl

N
CSL

vl

vvl

lvl

rvl

mvl

řvl

lpţ

lkţ

mpļ

ASO

dhl

ddhl

ldhl

rdhl

ndhl

řdhl

cl

čl

ntļ

VAR

sv

ksw

sxw

lsř

rsř

fsw

řsř

bzw

COA

zv

psw

sxhw

lzř

rzř

sfw

řzř

gzw

A
CSL

sm

sy

cm

zm

żm

çm

bm

dm

gm

ASO

šm

šy

čm

žm

jm

ļm

vm

dhm

VAR

sn

zy

cn

zn

żn

çn

bn

dn

gn

COA

šn

žy

čn

žn

jn

ļn

vn

dhn

ňř


ESSENCE & EXTENSION
PERSPECTIVE
AFFILIATION
CONFIGURATION
UNI
DPX
DCT
AGG
SEG
CPN
COH
CST
MLT

RPV

+

GRA
M

CSL

sr

ssr

lsr

rsr

msr

řsr

nsr

ňsr

ţsk

ASO

šr

ššr

lšr

ršr

mšr

řšr

nšr

ňšr

ţšk

VAR

zr

zzr

lzr

rzr

mzr

řzr

nzr

ňzr

ţsq

COA

žr

žžr

lžr

ržr

mžr

řžr

nžr

ňžr

ţšq

U
CSL

fr

ffr

lfr

rfr

mfr

řfr

fxr

ňfr

pxr

ASO

ţr

ţţr

lţr

rţr

nţr

řţr

ţxr

mţr

txr

VAR

xr

xxr

lxr

rxr

ňxr

řxr

xfr

mxr

xţr

COA

xhr

xxhr

lxhr

rxhr

ňxhr

qtr

xhfr

mxhr

xhţr

N
CSL

vr

vvr

lvr

rvr

mvr

řvr

rpţ

rkţ

mpř

ASO

dhr

ddhr

ldhr

rdhr

ndhr

řdhr

cr

čr

ntř

VAR

šv

šř

kšw

šxw

lšř

ršř

fšw

řšř

bžw

COA

žv

žř

pšw

šxhw

lžř

ržř

šfw

řžř

gžw

A
CSL

tm

ţm

ţn

tn

rsm

rsn

rsň

nm

ASO

km

xm

xn

kn

rzm

rzn

rzň

ňm

VAR

pm

fm

fn

pn

ršm

ršn

šň

ršň

mn

COA

qm

xhm

xhn

qn

ržm

ržn

žň

ržň

ňn



3.5.4 Additional Example of Configuration, Affiliation, Perspective, Extension and Essence


ekšá-

‘clown’


egw-

‘running stride’

                                 
Aigwapskh  ekšúlļ .

DYN-running stride’-NRM/ICP/M/VAR/COH-IFL   STA-clown’-IND-NRM/DEL/M/ASO/DCT-FML
The
[group of] clowns begin stumbling as they run.          LISTEN 

 


3.6 CONTEXT

Context is yet another morphological category with no equivalent in other languages. It indicates what tangible or intangible features or aspects of a formative are being psychologically implied in any given utterance. There is no way to show this in translation other than by paraphrase. There are four contexts: the EXISTENTIAL, the FUNCTIONAL, the REPRESENTATIONAL, and the AMALGAMATE, marked by a vocalic suffix Vf which also conveys verbal Format (the category of Format will be analyzed in Section 6.4). Table 6 below shows the values for this suffix.

I
II
III
IV
V
VI
VII
VIII
IX
X
XI
XII
XIII
XIV
XV
(((Cv)
VL)
Cg/Cs)
Vr
(Cx/Cv
Vp/VL)
Cr
Vc
Ci +Vi
Ca
VxC
(Vf
(’Cb))
[tone]
[stress]

Phase +
Sanction

Valence
Validation
OR
Aspect
(+ Mood)
Pattern +
Stem +
Function
Incorp.Root
OR
Phase + Sanction
Pattern + Stem + Designation of Incorp. Root
OR
Valence
Root
Case
Illocution +
Mood
Essence +
Extension +
Perspective +
Configuration + Affiliation
Deriv.
Suffix
Context + Format
Bias
Version
Designa-
tion + Relation


Table 6: Word-final Vf-suffix: 4 contexts x 9 formats

 
FORMAT (see Sec. 6.4)
Context↓

(none)

 SCH

ISR

ATH

RSL

SBQ

CCM

OBJ

PRT

AFI
EXISTENTIAL

(a)

o

ai

â

au

ëi

oa

ea

FUNCTIONAL

i

ö

ui

ae

iu

ëu

oe

ia / ua

REPRESENTATIONAL

e

ü / öe

ei

ê

eu

öi

eo

ie / ue

AMALGAMATE

u

öa

oi

ô

ou

öu

iö / uö

io / uo

The four Contexts are explained below and illustrated via example Ithkuil translations of the English sentence The orchestra is playing.


3.6.1 EXS   The Existential

The EXISTENTIAL context focuses on those features of a noun or verb which are ontologically objective, i.e., those that exist irrespective of any observers, opinions, interpretations, beliefs or attitudes. Similarly excluded from consideration in the EXISTENTIAL is any notion of a noun’s use, function, role or benefit. The EXISTENTIAL serves only to point out the mere existence of a noun as a tangible, objective entity under discussion. It is thus used to offer mere identification of a noun or verb.

For example, consider the sentence A cat ran past the doorway. If the Ithkuil words corresponding to cat, run, and doorway are in the EXISTENTIAL, then the sentence merely describes an objective scene. No implication is intended concerning the subjective nature of the two entities or the action involved. The sentence is merely stating that two entities currently have a certain dynamic spatial relationship to each other; those two entities happen to be a cat and a doorway, and the running merely conveys the nature of the spatial relationship.


Ilmašqôn.
 
DYN-‘play music’-NRM/DEL/M/COA/CST-AGC2/7-EXS-IFL
‘The orchestra is playing.’  [neutral description of event]

 

3.6.2 FNC   The Functional

The FUNCTIONAL context focuses on those features of a formative that are defined socially by ideas, attitudes, beliefs, opinions, convention, cultural status, use, function, benefit, etc. It serves to identify not what a noun existentially is, but to show that the noun has specific (and subjective) contextual meaning, relevance or purpose.

For example, in our previous sentence A cat ran past the doorway, if we now place the cat, doorway, and act of running each into the FUNCTIONAL, the ‘cat’ no longer simply identifies a participant, it makes its being a cat (as opposed to say, a dog) significant, e.g., because the speaker may fear cats, or because the cat could get into the room and ruin the furniture, or because cats are associated with mystery, or because a neighbor has been looking for a lost cat, etc. The ‘doorway’ now conveys its purpose as an entry, reinforcing what the cat may do upon entering. Likewise, the verb ‘ran’ in the FUNCTIONAL now implies the furtive nature of the cat. Example:


Ilmašqôni. 

DYN-‘play music’-NRM/DEL/M/COA/CST-AGC2/7-FNC-IFL
‘The orchestra is playing.’  [focus on the personal meaning/importance of the event]

 

3.6.3 RPS   The Representational

The REPRESENTATIONAL context focuses on a formative as a symbol, metaphor, or metonym*, in that it indicates that the formative is serving as a representation or substitute for some other concept or entity which is abstractly associated with it. For example, the metaphorical connotations of the English sentence That pinstripe-suited dog is checking out a kitty, can be equally conveyed in Ithkuil by inflecting the words for ‘dog and ‘kitty’ into the REPRESENTATIONAL context. The REPRESENTATIONAL is one of several ways that Ithkuil overtly renders all metaphorical, symbolic, or metonymic usages (from a grammatical standpoint).

* Metonymy is the use of a word or phrase of one type to refer to an associated word or phrase of a different type (usually a person), such as place-for-person in ‘The orders came from the White House,’ object-for-person in ‘Tell the cook the ham-and-cheese wants fries with his order’ or phrase-for-person as in ‘You-know-who just showed up.’


Ilmašqône
DYN-‘play music’-NRM/DEL/M/COA/CST-AGC2/7-RPS-IFL
‘The orchestra is playing.’  [connotes that sentence is a metaphor, e.g., ‘life as a symphony’]

 

3.6.4 AMG   The Amalgamative

The AMALGAMATIVE context is the most abstract and difficult to understand from a Western linguistic perspective. It focuses on the systemic, holistic, gestalt-like, componential nature of a formative, implying that its objective and subjective totality is derived synergistically from (or as an emergent property of) the interrelationships between all of its parts, not just in terms of a static momentary appraisal, but in consideration of the entire developmental history of the noun and any interactions and relationships it has (whether past, present or potential) within the larger context of the world. Its use indicates the speaker is inviting the hearer to subjectively consider all the subjective wonder, emotional nuances, psychological ramifications and/or philosophical implications associated with the noun’s existence, purpose, or function, as being a world unto itself, intrinsically interconnected with the wider world beyond it on many levels. Thus the AMALGAMATIVE version of our sentence The cat ran past the doorway would take on quite melodramatic implications, with the cat being representative of everything about cats and all they stand for, the doorway as being representative of the nature of doorways as portals of change, thresholds of departure, and the juncture of past and the future, while the act of running becomes representative of flight from enemies, rapidity of movement, the body at maximum energy expenditure, etc.


Ilmašqônu. 

DYN-‘play music’-NRM/DEL/M/COA/CST-AGC2/7-AMG-IFL
‘The orchestra is playing.’  [connotes a focus on the emotional impact plus cultural significance of the event]

 


3.7 DESIGNATION

Designation is a somewhat subjective category, with no equivalent in Western languages. It refers to a two-fold distinction in a formative regarding its contextual status, authority, permanence, or extra-contextual relevance. The two Designations are the INFORMAL and the FORMAL, shown by the formative’s syllabic stress (in conjunction with the verbal category of Relation which will be discussed in Section 5.4).

I
II
III
IV
V
VI
VII
VIII
IX
X
XI
XII
XIII
XIV
XV
(((Cv)
VL)
Cg/Cs)
Vr
(Cx/Cv
Vp/VL)
Cr
Vc
Ci +Vi
Ca
VxC
(Vf
(’Cb))
[tone]
[stress]

Phase +
Sanction
(+ Illocution)

Valence
Validation
OR
Aspect
(+ Mood)
Pattern +
Stem +
Function
Incorp.Root
OR
Phase + Sanction
(+ Illocution)
Pattern + Stem + Designation of Incorp. Root
OR
Valence
Root
Case
Illocution +
Mood
Essence +
Extension +
Perspective +
Configuration + Affiliation
Deriv.
Suffix
Context + Format
Bias
Version
Designa-
tion
+ Relation

 

The two Designations are explained below.


3.7.1
IFL
  The Informal

The INFORMAL designation is shown by either penultimate (second-to-last) or antepenultimate (third-from last) syllabic stress on the formative, depending on the formative’s Relation (see Section 5.4 on Relation).

The INFORMAL designation indicates that the noun or verb in question does not exist in a necessarily permanent state, or is to be considered only for the duration of the context in which it is spoken, with any lasting effect, influence or permanency beyond the context being either absent, unknown or irrelevant. It is best illustrated by comparative examples with the FORMAL designation in the section immediately below.

 

3.7.2
FML
  The Formal

The FORMAL designation is shown by either ultimate (final) or pre-antepenultimate (fourth-from last) syllabic stress on the formative, depending on the formative’s Relation (see Section 5.4 on Relation).

The FORMAL designation imparts a sense of permanency and/or authority, raising the noun or verb to a more definitive, formal or institutional manifestation of itself, or stressing this authoritative/definitive nature if the meaning already includes it. For example, stems translatable as ‘symbol,’ ‘eat,’ ‘thought,’ and ‘a model’ in the INFORMAL would become ‘icon,’ ‘dine,’ ‘idea,’ and ‘archetype’ in the FORMAL.

The FORMAL achieves several subtle purposes from a lexico-semantic standpoint. While some Ithkuil words would translate the same in English no matter which designation (e.g., to hurt, to float, breath, to fall, shade, sleep, cough), many stems would have different translations in English depending on their designation. For example, the stem eq- with the affiliated meanings persongroup gathering crowd throng, etc. in the INFORMAL designation would change to the following series of approximate translations when placed in the FORMAL designation: official team association/congregation assembly masses, etc.

Further examples of lexical shifts in translation due to INFORMAL → FORMAL designation are listed below:

  to grow something → to cultivate wander → travel
  obtain/get → procure/requisition lake → reservoir
  (natural) holder → container see → observe
  to create → construct/build heap → pile
  animal → domesticated animal a thought → an idea
  natural environment →“man-made” environment awareness → consciousness
  [natural] exchange → trade/commerce house → home
  assortment of animals → zoo collection grouping → set
  to group/gather → collect wall → barrier
  get some exercise → to work out placidity → peace
  problem situation → crisis to populate → to settle

As can be seen from the above list, the exact interpretation of Designation for each word-root is specific to each word-root, depending on its associated semantic context.


3.7.3 Examples of Designation in Use

INFORMAL

 

FORMAL


klal
‘flow of water; to flow’


aklál
‘river; to flow as a river ’


dyal

‘sensation/feeling; to sense (affective)’


adyál

‘sensation/feeling (volitional/deliberate); to examine via the senses’


stal
‘comparison; to compare/contrast’


astál
‘measure(ment)’

 

3.8 NOTE ON MORPHO-PHONOLOGICAL AGREEMENT

In regard to the gender categories from other languages, Ithkuil has no distinctions of gender (e.g., masculine, feminine, neuter, etc.). There is no “agreement” or morpho-phonological concord of any kind between a noun and other words or morphological elements in a sentence, i.e., there is none of the required matching of masculine or feminine or singular/plural agreement between nouns, articles, and adjectives as found in most Western languages.

 

Proceed to Chapter 4: Case Morphology >>

 

 

   

 

 

   
Home   Introduction 4 Case Morphology 8 Adjuncts 12 The Number System
FAQs   1 Phonology 5 Verb Morphology 9 Syntax List of Abbreviations
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