Forum Posts

Andrew O
Jun 15, 2022
In Ossetian Language
Уӕ бон хорз Today I will discuss the basic concepts around verbs, and how they are also used in other contexts within the language (Iron) in general. Today, I will be pulling information from two main sources, which will be listed below, the rest is from my composite-notes on several of the already established papers, which I will formally link on this site. In Ossetian, verbs, that is, words that express the concept of action, come in two main forms, called stems. Ossetian uses a 'present stem' and a 'past stem' with subsequent secondary usage that fills other grammatical and semantic needs. Secondary usage includes creating past, present (present-future tense in the subjunctive mood) and future tense forms, participle forms, and the infinitive form. Present Stem The simplest usage of this stem is stated in it's title, this is used to create the present tense, the here and now of what you are doing or are. It can be as specific as right now, or more generally in your life. But the present stem is also used to create the future tense form, which is done by adding a suffix. The process of adding, potentially multiple suffixes to the end of verb/noun stems as the main method of deriving different meaning is called 'Agglutination'. This is an important note for language-learners because they will see these terms often as they continue along their language journeys. It is also important, in this case, because Ossetian does use inflection, which is the changing of vowels/consonants within a stem word to give different possible meanings, in some situations. This means a new learner needs to understand that concept as well, in addition to the rules that govern it's usage. While Ossetian can be quite technical at times, just like any language, luckily it's rules are generally straightforward and it only requires a little bit of creative thinking to grasp the more tangential concepts. Now for the examples, my two main links are http://ossetians.com/eng/news.php?newsid=443&f=35 and a printed-out form of a short paper written by M Job and R Schäfer, 2006. Future Tense The future tense exists as a suffix within the present tense, created by adding the future tense suffix to the present tense stem. It is conjugated for 3 persons, singular & plural, with different forms for subjunctive and imperative moods. In the indicative mood and with one exception, the future tense begins with -дзы-. Singular 1st and 2nd person add to this an н, 3rd person uses дзӕн, and then ӕн/ӕ/ис respectively. The plural receives similar treatment, being a дз + ыстӕм/ыстут/ысты; keep in mind that the only difference between these future tense forms and the past tense plural intransitive forms is that initial дз. Altogether it looks like this: Singular Plural 1st Person - дзынӕн дзыстӕм 2nd Person - дзынӕ дзыстут 3rd Person - дзӕнис дзысты
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Andrew O
Jun 15, 2022
In Ossetian Language
Уӕ бон хорз In Ossetian, the past tense serves as one of the two verb stems, the other being the present tense. While the future tense is a suffix added onto the present stem, the past tense displays features that can drastically change its appearance when compared to the present stem form. The features common to the past tense verb forms are, in most cases, ablaut and distinct transitive/intransitive forms; ablaut is the changing of vowels in the stem itself between different forms of the same verb, in Ossetian's case past and present. Past tense is indicated by adding a -d-/-t-to the present stem. In the simplest examples, adding this consonant is all that is required. Some examples given by Abaev are as follows: Verb - Infinitive Present Tense "I am..." Present stem Past stem To Comb фасын фас фаст To Shave дасын дас даст To Play Хъазын Хъаз Хъазт/Хъазыд - In these cases with simple past tense stems the vowel does not change, however, remember that vowel change will be very common in other verbs. Whether the present stem adds a -d-, or, -t- depends on the final letter in the stem itself; stems ending in voiceless consonants (f, k, p, s, etc.) or z receive the -t-, while stems ending in vowels, sonorants(l, m, n, r, j, w), and voiced consonants receive the -d- suffix. Aside from verb forms in the indicative and subjunctive moods, the other big feature coded into the past tense is (usually) differing in-/transitive forms. - In the indicative, past tense transitive inflection looks like this: Singular Plural 1st Person -(т)он -(т)ам 2nd Person -(т)ай -(т)ат 3rd Person -(т)а -(т)ой and the past intransitive looks like this: Singular Plural 1st Person -(т)ӕн -ыстӕм 2nd Person -(т)ӕ -ыстут 3rd Person -ис -ысты * The (T) here is for some stems only, where the past tense stem ends in certain letters, as mentioned above. - The subjunctive past tense transitive inflects like this: Singular Plural 1st Person -(т)аин -(т)аиккам 2nd Person -(т)аис -(т)аиккат 3rd Person -(т)аид -(т)аиккой and the subjunctive past intransitive like this: Singular Plural 1st Person -аин -аиккам 2nd Person -аис -аиккат 3rd Person -аид -аиккой Heres a full example of a past tense sentence: Нарт удæвдз фынгыл сæвæрд. "The Nart put the Shawm on the table.". Нарт: Nart - This word originates from the Old-Iranian root 'nar', meaning roughly 'hero, man'. It is part of a small set of words that only ever have a plural form, regardless of other grammar rules, called 'Plurale Tantum'; think of the word 'scissors' when used as a proper noun in English. It is important to know that Ossetian does not have a critical rule for the sequence of words in a sentence, however, most of the time you will find words in a subject-object-verb(SOV) order. In the sentence above, 'The Nart' is in the nominative case; nominative case is the subject case, ie. the case used to identify the subject in a sentence. The nominative case does not have a marker in the singular, which means there isn't a specific suffix that specifically shows the noun is singular, you just use the noun 'as is'. This case is used to indicate other things, but important to the sentence above is it's use to describe indefinite or impersonal objects; my interpretation of this function is that it tells us the specific name of the Nart isn't important in the sentence but rather that what they are doing, and with what, is. Which brings us (finally) to the next word.... удæвдз: Shawm - A musical instrument similar to an Oboe, it's usage here is pretty straight forward, as the other important information comes after the object, remember, SOV. фынгыл: Table - The noun here has the adessive case ending, which gives information about the surface on which an action takes place, in this case the event is the placing of the Shawm. On what? The table, which is why 'table' here has the '-ыл' suffix attached, to show that it is the surface on which the instrument was placed. сæвæрдтой: The verb 'to put', in the past tense, 3rd person plural. Pretty straightforward again, past stem+ '-dt-' marker (to indicate past tense form), plus the 'ой' marker for 3rd person plural inflection. All Ossetian verbs conjugate for the six possible person-number combinations (1st, 2nd, 3rd person, singular and plural.
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Andrew O
Jan 07, 2022
In Constructed Languages
Уӕ бон хорз I have been wracking my brain for some time about how to approach this subject, because there are a lot of different and separate variables that combine in this relatively new approach of mine. The concept is to develop a short-form syllabus, in any potential language being learned, within the sphere of video games. Video games are the perfect medium for several reasons, namely that they are hugely popular with younger generations, and they generally allow easy modification to suit user needs. There is also the reality that most youth across the globe live in some iteration of the digital-age; no language can survive if there aren't successive generations who continue to learn it, to inherit the wisdom and traditions, so I would argue we need to embrace the technology they use, in tandem with the traditions that continue regardless of exposure to the digital-age. To that end, with the assistance of a buddy, I have been building an Иронау syllabus for the game World of Tanks. Any game could be used, depending on the preference of the learners, 'tanks is just a game we like to play anyways, so it makes sense to stick with something that I as the the learner am already motivated to participate in. The structure of most games will allow for rote memorization just by playing, then it comes down to building/tailoring the syllabus. One thing I learned in my former career as a soldier is that brevity can make or break an action, that is why I am writing this under con-langs; trimming down potentially complex information to be effective in a fast paced game is not academically strict and there is some flexibility in naming conventions. As an example, in World of Tanks, we encounter fast, agile vehicles used for scouting and reconnaissance, so we designate them барӕг, literally meaning (horse)rider. From there, we can expand on that nominative case usage to indicate if we see them doing something specific, in which case барӕг is inflected in the genitive case, and becomes барӕджы, the 'ы' case ending always changes '-г-' to '-дж-'. You can see that with a little research, and a sprinkle of creativity, you can create an effective syllabus and expand your understanding of your target language all while having fun gaming. After you get comfortable with simple designations, you can expand the library in any direction you want. I include designations for locations, movement/action types other than scouting. My friend and I alternate who decides the strategy for a battle, so I include mission task verbs, which is a ubiquitous military term meaning single verbs that convey the essence of your task. In 'tanks usage these would be terms such as хъахъхъӕнын 'defend', размӕ 'to the front', with the meaning of attack, and so on. For locations, I include not only obstacles, but descriptors of where tanks are in relation to said obstacles. Locations Location Descriptors City - горат Above - уӕлӕ/лe* *if next word starts with ӕ Ravine - ком In front - разӕй Gorge - aрх Inside - мидӕг Barrier - бру Below - бынӕй Tree(s), copse but also potentially forest - бӕлас(тӕ) Across - Фалӕ In addition, there is another ubiquitous military technique, the 'clock-ray method', that we use as well. It works by placing an imaginary clock over a reference point, yourself or an object near what you are describing, and then drawing a line from your reference object towards the enemy and their corresponding number on the imaginary clock. An enemy(знаг) to my direct front would be at my 12 o'clock, or 'дыууaдӕс сахат'. I believe this method of learning-integration has the potential to offer a learner a huge boost in confidence, if for no other reason than that is what it has done for me.
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Andrew O
Apr 17, 2021
In Ossetian Language
Уӕ бон хорз To stress a syllable in a word is to make its sound slightly more prominent, more emphasized, than the other syllables of a word or phrase. Ossetian/Иронау has a rule, but unlike english, it adds another layer, one level higher in fact, at the phrase/clause level. It is important to understand this theory, because in practice, there is a difference between how the language sounds when spoken, versus how it looks when written. Syllable stress The rule is actually the same at both levels, but at the phrase/syllable level it bears a bit more thought, which will be discussed below. In Ossetian/Иронау, the rule of syllable stress is regulated by a distinction between two subsets of the vowel inventory, 'strong' and 'weak'. This system comes from the Old-Iranian Language, and was based on 'long' and 'short' vowels. These long and short vowels followed a broad, cross-linguistic trend (amongst languages that make such a distinction), where long vowels were held for twice the length of the short vowels. Other languages that make this distinction are, for example, Latvian and Finnish. These languages indicate this long/short difference in their writing in different ways, however. The Latvian language uses diacritic marks, such as in the word māja 'house', while Finnish uses vowel duplication, such as in the word kuusikymmentäviisi 'sixty-five'. There are two weak vowels in Ossetian/Иронау, 'ӕ' and 'ы', the rest falling into the strong category. The rule is that if there is a strong vowel in the first syllable, then that syllable receives the stress; but if there is a weak vowel in the first syllable, then the second syllable receives the stress. Ossetian/Иронау has expanded on this by adding a secondary rule, where words with the stress on the second syllable can express definiteness by shifting the emphasis to the first syllable, the classic example is found in the word for axe, Фӕрӕт 'an axe', Фӕрӕт 'the axe'. Words that already have emphasis on the first syllable do not receive the same treatment in reverse. Phrase/Clause Stress Now that you understand the basic rule about syllable stress, you can take it and apply it to entire sentences; if there is a strong vowel in the first word, that word receives the stress, if not, then the second word receives it. This is where you need to understand the difference between what is written and spoken, because the writing does not typically demonstrate which words/syllables get the stress. In his writings, Abaev gives an excellent example of how this works, on paper: You can see that in certain circumstances, phrase stress can be the exact same as syllable stress, depending on the nature of the two words being linked. For my own personal studying, I really like to think about this subject when I'm listening to and reading stories on the app Ирон Чиныг. The written stories allow you to easily practice following along and trying to catch where the phrase stress is different from the writing.
Syllable and Phrase Stress content media
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Andrew O
Apr 10, 2021
In Ossetian Language
Фарн уӕ хӕдзӕртты! The interrogative-relative pronouns roughly coincide with the English '5 Ws' ('who, what, when, where, why') but not necessarily at a 1:1 translation with their English counterparts. Abaev notes: "For the class of personal, definite beings: Чи 'who', for indefinite, impersonal things: цы 'what'. The demonstrative pronouns discussed in my other pronoun post, can be thought of as roughly meaning 'this-what' (Ацы), ' that-what' (уыцы). Singular 'Who': 'What': Nominative - Чи Nominative - цы Genitive - кӕй Genitive - цӕй Dative - кӕмӕн Dative - цӕмӕн Allative - кӕмӕ Allative - цӕмӕ Ablative - кӕмӕй Ablative - цӕмӕй Inessive - кӕм, 'where' Inessive -цӕм Adessive - кӕуыл Adessive - цӕуыл Equative - кӕйау Equative - цӕйау Comitative - кӕимӕ, Чeмӕ Comitative - цӕимӕ, цeмӕ The inessive case form кӕм (from Чи) has come to have the meaning of the adverb 'where', often seen along with the demonstratives 'ам' here and 'уым' there. The genitive form 'кӕй' also has the possessive meaning 'whose'. The plural forms of the pronouns Чи, цы are constructed in an unusual way: by joining the plural marker -тӕ, -ты to the corresponding case form of the singular. Remember, the -æ suffix is only used in the plural of the nominative case. Plural 'Who': 'What': Nominative - Читӕ Nominative - цытӕ Genitive - кӕйты Genitive - цӕйты Dative - кӕмӕнты Dative - цӕмӕнты Allative - кӕмӕты Allative - цӕмӕты Ablative - кӕмӕйты Ablative - цӕмӕйты Inessive - кӕмыты Inessive -цӕмыты Adessive - кӕуылты Adessive - цӕуылты Equative - NIL Equative - NIL Comitative - кӕимӕты Comitative - цӕимӕты If there is no modified element used with the interrogative-relative pronoun кӕцы 'which, what', it is declined like any vowel-final substantive. The interrogative pronoun цӕвӕр 'which, what kind' is generally used as an adjective and is not inflected for case. Indefinite Pronouns As the name implies, these pronouns indicate that we are looking for very broad, general information, and we may not yet understand enough to speak in specific terms. These pronouns are derived from the interrogative-relative pronouns as discussed above, except the prefix 'ис-' is added to the the pronouns 'Чи, цы, кӕцы' to give the meanings 'anybody, anything, any (which)' respectively. The suffix 'дӕр' is added to the same three root pronouns to give the meaning 'somebody, something, some'. Singular Anybody - исчи Somebody - чидӕр Anything - исты, from исцы Something - цыдӕр Any - искӕцы Some - кӕцыдӕр The pronouns исчи, исты, искӕцы are declined (inflected) like the pronouns чи, цы, кӕцы. The pronouns чидӕр, цыдӕр in the singular add the element -дӕр to the corresponding case form (at the end of the word), but in the plural -дӕр is placed in the middle of the word, after the case ending but before the plural marker (-тӕ for nominative case, -ты for oblique cases). Singular with case endings Somebody: Something: Nominative - чидӕр цыдӕр Genitive - кӕйдӕр цӕйдӕр Dative - кӕмӕндӕр цӕмӕндӕр Plural with case endings Some people: Some things: Nominative - чидӕртӕ цыдӕртӕ Genitive - кӕйдӕрты цӕйдӕрты Dative - кӕмӕндӕрты цӕмӕндӕрты The pronoun кӕцыдӕр 'some' is declined like any substantive (noun). цалдӕр, цасдӕр 'some, several' serve as quantitative indefinite pronouns; as I understand it, 'some' in the phrase "give me some" would be implied here when used in a sentence, because the undefined object that you are asking for is likely already known to you. The addition of the suffix '-иддӕр' to indefinite pronouns gives the meaning of '-ever', etc. Whoever - чидӕриддӕр Whatever - цыдӕриддӕр Whatever (kind of...) - кӕцыдӕриддӕр However much/many - цалдӕриддӕр/цасдӕриддӕр To indicate specificity within a larger, general group, 'certain, some' are given as 'иуӕй-иу/иуӕй-иутӕ and гӕзӕмӕ/гӕзӕмӕтӕ.
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Andrew O
Mar 22, 2021
In Ossetian Language
Уӕ райсом хорз, everyone. Pronouns are the words we use to express the viewpoint from which a story is seen or understood, 'I, you, we, they'. These words encode important information, and in the examples I just gave, you can actually see the six number/person combinations that Ossetian conjugates for, '1st/2nd/3rd person' in the singular, and the same again in the plural. There are several different forms of the pronouns, and some can only be used under certain circumstances, such as the short form only being used with direct and indirect objects. In usual fashion, I am referring to Abaev's writing as my primary source, others will be cited as needed. Personal Pronouns Personal pronouns come in three forms: full, short (enclitic), and reflexive-personal. Full Form, First Person (singular) Nominative - Ӕз (дӕн), 'I (am)'. Genitive - мӕн Inessive - NIL Dative - мӕнӕн Adessive - мӕныл Allative - мӕнмӕ/мӕмӕ Equative - мӕнау Ablative - мӕнӕй Comitative - мeмӕ Second Person (singular) Nominative - ды (дӕ), 'you (are)'. Genitive - дӕу Inessive - NIL Dative - дӕуӕн Adessive - дӕуыл Allative - дӕумӕ Equative - дӕуау Ablative - дӕуӕй Comitative - дeмӕ Third Person (singular) Abaev states that the singular form here is the same as the demonstrative pronoun for distant objects, in the singular. In English this would be rendered as something along the lines of 'that (person) over there'. Distant Objects/3rd Person: Nominative - Уый Genitive - уый Dative - уымӕн Allative - уымӕ Ablative - уымӕй Inessive -уым Adessive - ууыл Equative - уыйау Comitative - уыиимӕ First/Second Person (plural) In both cases, the nominative and genitive have the same form First Person: Nominative - Мах, 'we'. Genitive - мах Inessive - NIL Dative - махӕн Adessive - махыл Allative - махмӕ Equative - махау Ablative - махӕй Comitative - махимӕ Second Person: Nominative - Сымах, 'you'. Genitive - сымах Inessive - NIL Dative - сымахӕн Adessive - сымахыл Allative - сымахмӕ Equative - сымахау Ablative - сымахӕй Comitative - сымахимӕ Third Person Plural The third person plural form is characterized by the stem 'у-', and is identical to the demonstrative pronoun for distant objects, in the plural. Distant Objects: Nominative - Уыдон Genitive - Уыдоны Dative - уыдонӕн Allative - уыдонмӕ Ablative - уыдонӕй Inessive -уыдоны Adessive - Уыдон Equative - Уыдонау Comitative - Уыдонимӕ Short Form (enclitic, singular) Abaev writes that the short form is used only as a direct or indirect object with predicates, but their genitive case also carries the possessive function. There is no nominative case-ending in this form. First Person: Second Person: Third Person: Genitive - мӕ дӕ йӕ, ӕй Dative - мын дын йын, ын Allative - мӕм дӕм йӕм, ӕм Ablative - мӕ дӕ дзы Inessive - мӕ дӕ дзы Adessive - мыл дыл йыл, ыл Equative - NIL NIL NIL Comitative - мeмӕ дeмӕ йeмӕ Plural First Person: Second Person: Third Person: Genitive - нӕ уӕ сӕ Dative - нын уын сын Allative - нӕм уӕм сӕм Ablative - нӕ уӕ сӕ, дзы Inessive - нӕ уӕ сӕ, дзы Adessive - ныл уыл сыл Equative - NIL NIL NIL Comitative - нeмӕ уeмӕ сeмӕ Reflexive-Personal The reflexive-personal forms are created by joining the genitive case of the short form to the reflexive-pronoun 'хӕдӕг' (when writing in the nominative case), and 'хи (ц)' (when writing in an oblique case). Singular First Person: Second Person: Third Person: Nominative - мӕхӕдӕг дӕхӕдӕг йӕхӕдӕг Genitive - мӕхи дӕхи йӕхи Dative - мӕхицӕн дӕхицӕн йӕхицӕн Allative - мӕхимӕ дӕхимӕ йӕхимӕ Ablative - мӕхицӕй дӕхицӕй йӕхицӕй Inessive - NIL NIL NIL Adessive - мӕхиуыл дӕхиуыл йӕхиуыл Equative - мӕхийау дӕхийау йӕхийау Comitative - мӕхиимӕ дӕхиимӕ йӕхиимӕ Plural First Person: Second Person: Third Person: Nominative - нӕхӕдӕг уӕхӕдӕг сӕхӕдӕг Genitive - нӕхи уӕхи сӕхи Dative - нӕхицӕн уӕхицӕн сӕхицӕн Allative - нӕхимӕ уӕхимӕ сӕхимӕ Ablative -нӕхицӕй уӕхицӕй сӕхицӕй Inessive - NIL NIL NIL Adessive - нӕхиуыл уӕхиуыл сӕхиуыл Equative - нӕхийау уӕхийау сӕхийау Comitative - нӕхиимӕ уӕхиимӕ сӕхиимӕ Possessive Pronouns Abaev states that possessive pronouns come in five forms: 1) short, 2) full, 3) reflexive-possessive, 4) full substantival, and 5) reflexive-possessive substantival. Substantivals are things, whatever they may be, that have substance, as opposed to things that are 'apparent' such as tense, feelings, etc. Substantives are words or groups of words that function as nouns. Short Possessive Pronouns The short form is identical with the genitive of the short (enclitic) personal pronouns: Singular: Plural: My - мӕ Our - нӕ Your - дӕ Your - уӕ Their - йӕ Their - сӕ Full Possessive Pronouns Singular: Plural: My - мӕн Our - мах Your - дӕу Your - сымах Their - Уый Their - Уыдон Reflexive-Possessive The reflexive-possessive form of the possessive pronouns is identical with the genitive reflexive-personal form of the personal pronouns: Singular: Plural: My own - мӕхи Our own - нӕхи Your own - дӕхи Your own - уӕхи Their own - йӕхи Their own - сӕхи Full Substantival The full substantivals are built from the second (full) forms of the possessive pronouns by adding the suffix '-он': Singular: Plural: My - мӕнон Our - мӕхон Your - дӕууон Your - сымахон Their - Уыйон Their - Уыдоныон Reflexive-Possessive Substantival The reflexive-possessive substantival forms are built from the third person (reflexive-possessive) forms by the addition of the suffix ''-он': Singular: Plural: My own - мӕхион Our own - нӕхион Your own - дӕхион Your own - уӕхион Their own - йӕхион Their own - сӕхион Important Notes: The first (short) form functions only attributively and consequently does not inflect for case: мӕ Бӕх 'my horse', мӕ Бӕхы 'my horse's ', etc. The second and third forms function attributively and predicatively, and do not inflect for case either: мах Бӕх 'our horse', attributive. ацы Бӕх мах у 'this horse is ours' - Lit. 'this horse ours be(is), predicative. нӕхи Бӕх 'our own horse'. ацы Бӕх нӕхи у 'this horse is our own'. The fourth and fifth forms function substantively, and are declined like substantives (nouns). Some nouns require a preceding possessive pronoun, namely body parts and kinship terms (family): One cannot say 'I hurt an arm' къух ныццавтон; one must say 'I hurt my arm' мӕ къух ныццавтон. In the matter of attributive versus predicative terminology, just remember that predicative nouns come after 'linking verbs' such as 'be, was, been, is, am'. Predicative nouns (adjectives too because they usually stem from Ossetian nouns) add more information to the clause. Attributives are placed before the noun they modify, as in the examples above. Demonstrative Pronouns Singular: Close Objects: Distant Objects: Nominative - А/ай, 'this'. Nominative - Уый, 'that' Genitive - ай Genitive - уый Dative - амӕн Dative - уымӕн Allative - амӕ Allative - уымӕ Ablative - амӕй Ablative - уымӕй Inessive - ам, 'here' Inessive -уым, 'there' Adessive - ауыл Adessive - ууыл Equative - айау Equative - уыйау Comitative - аимӕ Comitative - уыиимӕ Plural: Close Objects: Distant Objects: Nominative - Амӕ, 'these'. Nominative - Уыдон, 'those' Genitive - адон, адоны Genitive - уыдон Dative - адонӕн Dative - уыдонӕн Allative - адонмӕ Allative - уыдонмӕ Ablative - адонӕй Ablative - уыдонӕй Inessive - адоны Inessive - уыдоны Adessive - адоныл Adessive - уыдоныл Equative - адонау Equative - уыдонау Comitative - адонимӕ Comitative - уыдонимӕ. With regards to the demonstrative pronouns, Abaev continues: "The forms of the inessive singular ам, уым, have taken on, as we see, the meanings of the adverbs 'here', 'there'. From them, special agglutinative forms of the inessive plural can be formed: амыты 'in these places', уымыты 'in those places'. Besides, similar forms of the plural sometimes are built with other case forms of the singular, with the adessive case ауылты 'along these places', ууылты 'along those places'; уымӕты 'till that, to such limits'. In the plural, together with the forms адон, уыдон, the forms адӕттӕ, уыдӕттӕ are used with the meaning 'these and their like'. If the demonstrative pronouns occur with a substantive, as modifiers, they are strengthened by the particle -цы: Ацы 'this', уыцы 'that'. In this case, as with every modifier, they do not inflect for case and number. The pronoun а, in some fixed combinations is used as a modifier without the particle -цы; а лӕппу 'this youth', а уалдзӕг '(during) this spring'.
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Andrew O
Mar 15, 2021
In Ossetian Language
Уӕ райсом хорз, Everyone. Today we will delve into the Ossetian case system, in my other posts I talked about what grammatical case is, but now I will take a closer look at the cases and how specifically they are used in Ossetian. Moving forward in my writing, you will see a duel description; when referring to Ossetian people, the description will say 'Ossetian/Ирæттæ', and when referring to the language, it will read 'Ossetian/Иронау'. As we move into more advanced subjects, you will see more writing in Cyrillic, so being comfortable with it from the start can go a long way to helping achieve your goals. A significant portion of the writing will be a transcription of Abaev's own writing on the subject, which can be found in one of the links in my other post (Herbert Paper, 2006). I will add my own notes where I think it is appropriate, but by and large Abaev's writing is succinct and nothing more is needed. Within Ossetian/Иронау, there is some debate about how many cases there actually is in the language, Abaev says there are nine cases, but different viewpoints change this number, from as low as seven cases*, to eleven (Belyaev, 2010 adds 'directive' and 'regressive' as emerging cases). For the purposes of my writing, I will use Abaev's structure, as I believe this is the most faithful rendition of the case system. The Cases Abaev gives two sub-categories for case-type, 'grammatical' and 'locatival' (location and space). Grammatical cases express: subject, object (direct or indirect), attribute (for example, plurality). Locatival cases express: not only location, but also movement from/to somewhere. According to Abaev, the cases in the first sub-category are: nominative, genitive, dative, partly adessive (this will be elaborated on later), allative, ablative, and comitative. The locatival cases are: inessive, adessive, allative, ablative, and comitative. There is also one exception, the equative, which Abaev says "is the case of adverbial usage", and does not fit into either of the two previous sub-categories. Nominative - Affix: NIL (singular), '-ӕ' (plural, after the standard '-T-' plurality marker). This is the 'subject' category within the language, you will find words in the dictionary written using this case. In the singular, words are left alone and written as they are, but the case marker is added in the plural. Normally, in Nominative-Accusative aligned languages, there is also an 'accusative' case that marks the direct object, however in Ossetian the function of the accusative case has been split between the Nominative and the Genitive cases. Direct objects are marked in the nominative case if they are generalized or unknown (indefinite), while known (definite) direct objects are marked in the Genitive case. Abaev writes: "The nominative answers the questions 'who, what, whom'. Its sphere of usage is much larger than in Russian, and it would be better to call it the 'basic' or 'absolute' case". Other uses of the nominative case, according to Abaev, are: Predicate nominative - also known as a 'predicate noun', according to wikipedia, predicate nouns: "make a claim about the subject (of the sentence)", "a predicate is seen as a property that a subject has or is characterized by". -Ахуыргонд ысси - '(he) became learned'. -ӕлыгӕс фӕцыдтӕну - 'I used to go as a herdboy'. 2. Vocative - In other languages, the vocative may be in its own case, but either way it refers to a person (this can extend to animals and objects as well) that is being addressed directly. - Фесӕф нӕуӕндӕг!! - 'Get lost, coward!!.' 3. Modifier - Abaev writes "regardless of what case the modifier is in", meaning that in situations where you are describing a noun, the modifier isn't changed (given a case-ending) to make it agree (match) with the noun. - Урс ӕхсырӕй - '(by means of) white milk'. The behaviour where the modifier is not modified along with the noun is known as 'group-inflection', and it is used throughout the language. 4. Time adverb - This only occurs in certain circumstances. - Сӕрд дын ма 'мбийӕд, зымӕг дын ма сӕлӕд - 'May there be no rotting at your place (in) summer, no freezing at your place (in) winter'. Genitive - Affix: '-ы' in both singular and plural. Answers the questions 'of whom?, of what?, whose?' Like many other languages, this case is used to indicate possession of something, but in Ossetian/Иронау there is other uses as well. As mentioned above, direct objects that are definite or personal are marked in the genitive case, not nominative. For the other uses of this case, Abaev lists the following examples: Determinatives and possessives - Хӕрдзары дзаума, 'house-hold things'; мады рӕвдыд, 'motherly caress' . As the usual case for post-positional government - Йӕ мады цур, 'beside one's mother'. Direct object (definite and personal) - Мӕ мады цур, мӕ мады рагӕй нал Федтон, 'I have not seen my mother for a long time'. Dative - Affix: '-ӕн'. Answers the questions 'to whom?, to what?, for whom?, for what?'. This case marks the indirect object of a phrase. Further uses are categorized as follows: Indirect object - бӕхӕн холлаг радт, 'give the horse fodder'; аргъ нал уыд мӕ куыстӕн, 'there was no longer a price to my work'. Indicates purpose or destination - Нӕ баззын чызгӕн, 'I do not fit the role of a girl'; Ӕрхаста дыккаг усӕн иу тылиаг чызджы, 'as a second wife he brought a girl from Tli'; Худӕн ыл уыди лалымы къуым, 'part of his wineskin served him as a cap'; Фиййауӕн нӕ хъӕуыс, 'you are not needed by us as a shepherd'. Indicates goal, or purpose - Садуллӕ царды фӕрӕзӕн цуан кӕнын ӕрымысыд, 'Sadullah, for (earning) the means to live, decided to engage in hunting'. Serves as the case of the attribute in special phrases with possessive pronouns - Уӕрхӕгӕн йӕ фырттӕ, 'Sons of Warxag' (lit. 'to Warxag, his sons'). Sometimes expresses locative relationships - Ӕфцӕгӕн фӕфалӕ, 'he crossed the pass' (lit. 'showed up on the other side of the pass'); Фынгӕн йӕ разы къӕй авӕрдта, '(he) laid a stone slab before the table'. Used in comparisons - where the name of the quality, on the basis of which the comparison is made, is put in the dative: Доссанӕйы рӕсугъдӕн чызг зын ссарӕн уыд, 'it was very hard to find a girl equal to Dossana in beauty'. Appears as the distributive case - Хӕрдзарӕн лӕгӕй, '(at the rate of) one man from (each) house. Allative - Affix: '-мӕ' (singular.), '-ӕм' (plural) Answers the questions 'to where?, to whom?, to what?, at whom?, at what?, for, after whom? for, after what?'. Indicates direction of motion in space - Дыгурмӕ ахызт, 'he got over to Digora'; Фӕткъуы зӕхмӕ' рхауд, 'the apple fell to the ground'. Indicates direction in time - Ӕхсӕвӕй бонмӕ, 'from night to day'. Indicates goal, purpose - Чындз донмӕ ацыд, 'the daughter-in-law went for (after) water'; Даумӕ ӕнхъӕлмӕ кӕсын, 'I am waiting for you'. Serves as the objective case - Мӕ бӕх иналмӕ баззадис, 'my horse was left at Inal's'; if, instead of the allative, the dative were to be used: мӕ бӕх иналӕн баззадис, 'my horse was left to Inal (as his property). Ablative - Affix: '-ӕй'/'-йӕ' (after vowels). Answers the questions 'from where?, from whom?, from what?, as whom, as what?. Point of departure in space or time, or source - арвӕй зӕхмӕ, 'from heaven to earth'; изӕрӕй райсоммӕ, 'from evening to morning'; дзыллӕтӕй иу лӕг, 'one man from the mass'. Instrument, material, or cause - Фӕрӕтӕй амайын, 'to trim with an axe'; дурӕй мӕсыг самадта, 'he erected a tower of stone'; бирӕгӕй фӕртарсти, '(he) became frightened of the wolf'; ризӕгӕй рынчын, 'ill with malaria'. Predicative - Авд азы хъӕдгӕмӕй фӕкуыста, 'seven years (he) worked as a forester'. Adverbial - Дзӕбӕх фӕцӕр, 'live well'. Used with the comparative degree - Дӕуӕй хуыздӕр, 'better than you'. *Note* The term 'ablative' is found elsewhere, the Space Shuttle's heat shield is covered in an 'ablative coating' that is designed to burn off while it protects the Shuttle during re-entry. Inessive - Affix: 'ы'*. Answers the questions 'where?, in whom?, in what?'. кӕсӕг доны хъазыд, 'the fish played in the water'. *Note* - This case ending is the same case ending as the genitive Adessive - Affix: '-ыл','-уыл' Answers the questions 'on whom?, on what?, about whom?, about what?'. Additional usage includes: Indicating the exterior or surface of an object - бӕхыл абадти, '(he) sat on the horse'. The cause of an action - бӕхыл абадти, 'what are you laughing at?' Equative - Affix: '-ау'. Answers the questions 'how?, like whom?, like what?' фатау атахти, '(he) flew like an arrow'; чызгӕн йӕ цӕсгом хурау рухс уыди, 'the girl's face shone like the sun'. Comitative - Affix: '-имӕ'. Answers the questions 'with whom?, with what?. Ӕрсимӕ хъӕбысӕй хӕцы, '(he) is wrestling with a bear'. *Note* Another place this term can be seen is in American history; historically when Sheriffs deputized civilians during moments of emergency, the deputized civilians were known as the 'Posse Comitatus' because they accompanied the Sheriff during the emergency. Some languages even go further, and differentiate between comitative (us with you), and comitative (us without you). There is a lot of information here, and it can seem daunting at first, but steady practice will prevail. Over time you will notice that you see the case endings, even if you do not yet know the word it is attached to, this can be a great way to build your confidence in your target language.
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Andrew O
Mar 14, 2021
In Ossetian Language
Уӕ райсом хорз, everyone. I have written at length about the theory of the language, but now it is time to begin learning practical conversation, to bring everything together. This is a short primer to get you used to speaking beyond morphemes and syllables. Hello - байрай/ салам дӕ уӕд/ ӕгас цу* *This literally means 'be healthy', and is generally used after someone has addressed you. How are you? - Куыд цӕрыс? (When speaking to one person). куыд цӕрут? (When speaking to more than one person). I'm good, thank you. And you? - Ӕз дӕн хорз бузныг. Ды та? Very good, thanks. - тынг хорз, бузныг. Good morning - дӕ райсом хорз Good day - дӕ бон хорз Good evening - дӕ изӕр хорз. What is your name? - Дӕ ном куыд у? My name is.... - Мӕ ном у.... Nice to meet you - Ӕхсызгон мын у демӕ (уемӕ, plural) базонгӕ уын. *NOTE*. If the opportunity arises to meet an Elder, who would be referred to as 'хистӕр', always remember the Elder must extend their hand first for a handshake. What time is it? - цал сахаты у? Now it is..... - ныр ........ сахат у Goodbye! - хӕрзбон, фенынмӕ, фембӕлдзыстӕм (this means something close to 'I'll see you around'). If you are leaving first, you can say "хорзӕй баззай" to which the reply would be "фӕндараст". Goodnight - хӕрзӕхсӕв.
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Andrew O
Feb 28, 2021
In Reviews
Hello, Everyone. Today I am going to talk about an app that was recommended to me by a friend (thank you @Ethan Kronsnoble). Tandem is an app that allows you to pair with people from a truly diverse range of languages, and help each other learn. I myself signed up and found a fantastic community of Ossetian speakers, which took all of 10 minutes to set up. For pricing there is a free version and a pro version, the price is reasonable, especially compared to some of the other apps available out there (roughly 15$ CAD/month). If you choose the free option, registration could take up to 7 days to be processed, the company states this is for quality control, and to ensure the optimal pairing of learners. Pros) As mentioned, signup was quick, surprisingly quick. It did not take long, and I was able to find many different people to speak to. Like some other apps, Tandem has a built in correction function, which allows members to quickly edit phrases/words for their partner. The corrections can be displayed alongside the incorrect speech, which is another feature I greatly appreciate. The User-Interface is well designed, I have no problems navigating around the site. The same with conversation windows, everything is well balanced, the screen neither has too many buttons, nor are they small and difficult to find. Cons) 1. My only major concern is the seemingly consistent bug/glitches that appear, conversations don't update even after sending a 'new message' notification. It is possible it is my phone or computer, but the pattern makes me think otherwise. Overall I think this is a wonderful app, I strongly recommend it to enhance your learning regardless of whichever languages you may find there. If you want to give it a try, you can find me there under the tag 'andrew_o'. If you have any requests for other reviews, drop a message in the comments to let me know!
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Andrew O
Jan 07, 2021
In Ossetian Language
Уӕ бон хорз, everyone. In my writing on this site, I generally take advantage of a luxury that not every learner necessarily is able to utilize, the ability to read Cyrillic writing. It does not stem from fluency in any language that uses the Cyrillic alphabet or any of its variations, but I have nevertheless spent enough time with it that reading in Cyrillic is not a problem, even if I do not necessarily understand the word I am articulating. My intent is to discuss this subject from the viewpoint of learners who have little or no Cyrillic-reading abilities at this point in their language journey. When thinking about the concept of learning in a different writing system compared to one's own, at first it can be incredibly intimidating, especially if those different writing-systems use phonemes that are largely unknown in our native writing systems and languages. Ossetian Letters with 'close' English Cognates The letters that match their English counterparts are A, O, T, M and K, this means you will see them exactly as they are written in English, with something close to our pronunciation.* * Note - This is a heavy asterisk, I want to make clear that there are definitely exceptions, and the reality is that there are plenty of dialectal variations that represent small, subtle shifts in pronunciation, but for the purposes of getting new learners accustomed to reading in Cyrillic, the comparison works. Ossetian Letters that do not easily represent English-cognates Before I go through the list, I would like to clarify that writing-systems in the area of historic contact with Ossetian do not generally organize their letters/characters in the same 'ABCD...' style that we are used to however for the purposes of promoting accessibility, I will use the letter organization system that we as English-speakers are familiar with. Consonants: Ossetian Cyrillic Latin Alphabet Equivalent Б B C S ('SH')* Д D E E - Like Russian, pronounced as 'ye' ф F Г G (as in 'Goose') Х 'Kh' - Think about the Scottish pronunciation of 'Loch' where the '-ch' isnt an aspirated 'H' like we are used in words such as 'Happy', but instead sounds like you have gravel in the back of your throat when trying to pronounce the 'H' sound. This phoneme is called a 'voiceless uvular fricative' and it is very common across natural languages and constructed languages as well. И I - Pronounced like the 'ee' in 'meet'. Дз Z - Another example of Ossetian's consonant-shift, where the 'Z' pronunciation has replaced the dipthong of 'D+Z'. Дж J/G - Think of works like 'Juice' and 'George', the letter is written two different ways but with the same sound. Л L Н N П P Хъ Q' - Another place where you can see the influence of the surrounding Caucasus Languages, this type of phoneme is called a 'voiceless uvular stop (plosive)' and is one of the sounds that is not found in Russian or most other Cyrillic based writing-systems. The 'Q'' Р R - Ossetian specifically uses what is called a 'trilled r', which might be memorable from its common occurrence in languages such as Spanish and Basque. Ц S - In Russian and most other Cyrillic Languages, this letter would be pronounced as a 'TS' as in 'bits', but because of Ossetians historical development with consonant-shift in some consonants, this letter is pronounced like an English 'S'. The difference between articulating 'TS' and 'S' is not much, and in some instances you can hear speakers who articulate somewhere about halfway between 'TS' and 'S', giving this phoneme a high-pitched sound similar to a whistle (when expressed in this manner); this high pitched 'whistle' is an example of a phenomenon called 'hyper-sibilance'. У U - Similar to the pronunciation of the duplicate vowels in 'boot' but not the 'U' in 'use'. У* W* - In reality, Ossetian does not have a distinct letter representing what we in English perceive as a 'W' letter, however, in some circumstances the placement with other letters produces a sound effect incredibly similar to how English uses 'W'. B V З Z ('ZH') - This is another example of Ossetian's consonant-shifting, some people do pronounce these consonants like their Russian cognates ('ж' in Russian), but if you are approaching Ossetian from the Iron dialect, then you would pronounce this letter as 'ZH'. This sound is common in other languages such as French, where it can be found in examples such as the 'g' in 'gendarmerie'. Ч CH - As in the word 'Choose' Kъ K' - This is another example of Caucasus areal featurism in action , this 'K' sound is articulated slightly differently than the standard 'K' sounds in both English and Ossetian, in that you use your tongue to momentarily block airflow and cause a pressure difference that is released when the speaker removes the airflow obstruction, which is basically the execution of this phoneme. For posterity, this grouping of sounds is more technically known as 'Non-Pulmonic Egressives', or 'Ejectives' in more common usage. The 'non-pulmonic' aspect of the term refers to the fact that the sound of these phonemes is not powered from the use of the lungs and diaphragm, but specifically the use of the tongue to create the variation in pressure inside the mouth or certain parts of the vocal tract; the 'Egressive' aspect refers to the fact that the distinct sound comes from airflow exiting the body, as opposed to 'Ingressives' which distinguish themselves by the sound produced by the airflow coming into the body, not out. Чъ CH' - Same as above, but with the distinct feature of Ejectives, the brief flexing of the tongue to create the pressure change, except in the same place or articulation as the standard 'Ч'. Гъ This phoneme is found in languages such as German and French along with many others, and is sometimes used as an alternative to a 'trilled/tapped R', technically referred to as a 'Voiced uvular fricative' which is written as an upside down 'R' (ʁ) on the IPA chart. Цъ This ejective does not follow the trend of consonant shift, so it is articulated as a 'TS' just as in Russian, along with the standard 'Ejective' pressure-variation. Tъ 'Ejective' variant of the standard 'T' letter in both languages. Пъ 'Ejective' variant of the letter 'P' in Ossetian. Й Known as a 'semi-vowel' because this letter has the ability to act as both a vowel or consonant, under different linguistic-scenarios. In cases where this letter behaves as a vowel, it has the effect of producing a set of dipthongs, 'æ' + 'й' produces roughly the same sound as the 'ay' in 'pay', and 'а' + 'й' produces roughly the same pronunciation as in the English word 'eye'. Acting as a consonant, this letter can act like a 'soft j' or English 'y', as in the word 'yard'. An important note here is that there also appears, on the surface, much regional variation in terms of which combination produces which sound, and certainly the media I have seen does not seem to reflect a set standard. Several consonants have a variant where the articulation of the phoneme is the exact same as the 'standard' variant, but the speaker's lips are 'rounded', that is, shaped in a way that resembles an English 'o/u' in most cases. These variants are considered 'labialized' variants and are expressed morphologically with the addition of a Cyrillic 'У', these letters with possible labialized variants are listed as follows: Г -> Гу K -> Kу Kъ -> Kъу Х -> Ху Хъ -> Хъу Vowels: As mentioned above, most vowels are variously close to their English counterparts, but like everything in linguistics, there are plenty of exceptions: Ы This one is a bit more difficult to pinpoint as there is much regional variation in the specific articulation of this vowel, sometimes due to influence from other language families such as Turkic. To my ear this phoneme is generally articulated in a manner that reminds me of the French pronunciation of 'Deux', but shortened to the 'average' length of single vowels in the language. Æ Similar to the 'Schwa' used in most English dialectal pronunciations of the word 'cut', this vowel traditionally causes problems for beginners because the character itself exists in both Cyrillic Ossetian (exclusive amongst Cyrillic based languages) and English phonology, the important note here is that in these languages, the written character represents two separate and distinct vowel-sounds. The Cyrillic 'æ' is categorized as a 'Near-open central vowel', and in the English IPA chart it is written 'ɐ'; the 'æ' used in the IPA chart is categorized as 'Near-open front unrounded vowel' and is written exactly as it is written here, in both languages.
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Andrew O
Dec 19, 2020
In Reviews
Good Day, All. This is a fantastic website that has many different languages available. Some languages on the site only have verbs, but a couple have nouns and/or adjectives as well. It also provides examples, using the different conjugations wherever possible. Eventually, I would like to work towards adding some of the languages I study to the list.
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Andrew O
Dec 17, 2020
In The Fundamentals
Good day, all. Concepts will be grouped from broadest terminology down to smaller minutiae, and then alphabetically within each sub-grouping. With all of these terms and categories, remember that these are only basic descriptions, not rules that must be written in stone; some languages use many different systems, to greater or lesser degrees, together and in different ways. Broad-Category Definitions: Allophone - Sometimes changing the phoneme in a word doesn't change the meaning, in the word 'Tuesday', the option is available to pronounce it with two separate phonemes which still have the same meaning; it can be pronounced as 'twosday' or 'Chyewsday' with the spelling of both using the letter 'T'. Therefore, the two different sounds are considered 'Allophones' of the phoneme 'T'. Clause - When observing how languages express meaning, a 'clause' is the largest type of entity that can be used to express an idea or concept. What generally distinguishes clauses from phrases is that clauses have a subject and a 'finite verb', and phrases do not.* *There is an exception to the rule about clauses and finite verbs, where clauses can use concepts such as 'non-finite' verbs, called 'Gerunds', and still be allowed within a language's rule system. Inflection - There are two meanings here, either, the change in pitch or volume of someone's voice, or, the change in the shape of a word to indicate concepts such as tense, gender, mood, plurality, etc. Both definitions are used in linguistics, across different languages. The first definition would be relevant (mostly) to languages such as English, where we can make a statement into a question by changing the pitch and tone, but also tonal languages such as Mandarin. The second meaning would be applied, for example, to Romance and Slavic languages, but is definitely not limited to those language groupings. Some languages inflect their stems with long chains of affixes, so that one word contains the meaning of an entire sentence in other language systems, these are called 'Polysynthetic Languages' because they have higher amounts of morphemes per word than other systems. Languages that use less sounds (morphemes) per word than polysynthetic languages, are called 'Isolating Languages'. If a morpheme, in an isolating language, has only one meaning (case-ending) per affix, the language is considered 'agglutinative', whereas languages where an affix can possess multiple meanings at once, are considered 'fusional'. Languages can be both poly-synthetic and agglutinative, depending on how they decide to structure themselves. Morpheme - For this term, I like the Wikipedia definition because it is succinct, "A morpheme is the smallest meaningful unit in a language". There is an important distinction that needs to be made here, that words and morphemes are not necessarily the same thing, because different languages use different governing rules to dictate how meaning is expressed. Studying how languages can and do use different methods to create meaning is called the study of Morphology. Some languages allow single characters, or what we in English perceive as letters, to have meaning without requirement to be grouped with other characters; consider languages such as Mandarin, where a single character can have the meaning of a noun, verb, or other possible meaning, because it uses different methods to express meaning. English requires a full word in order to comply with our own grammatical rules, before it can be used in a sentence. In situations where a single letter is used to express something, such as expressing definiteness (a cat, a dog, etc.), the single letter requires a noun after it and therefore is not allowed to sit in the sentence by itself. Morphology - As a general concept, morphology is the study of the method of how things take shape and what final form they take; in Linguistics, this process is translated as the study of words, the rules that govern their creation, and how different words act/react together in any given language. Examples of grammatical rules that are part of the study of Morphology are the use use of prefixes/suffixes, intonation (tone), stress of words and phrases, etc. Phoneme - What exactly a phoneme is depends on the language, however, a phoneme is generally the sounds used in a language or dialect, where changing one sound in a word can change it's meaning. In so far as I understand, the speech sounds themselves are called 'phones', but become 'phonemes' when put together and applied to the rules of a specific language, to distinguish between words. - Example: In English, if I say the words 'house/mouse', the letters '-H-' and '-M-' are phonemes that change the meaning of the word they modify. This means that, in languages such as English, the same letter wont always have the same sound whenever it is used. Traditionally, English has 5 vowels and 21 consonants, but most English dialects have, on average, 42-44 phonemes in their 'speech inventory', which is the entire library of sounds that can be found in a specific language or dialect. - Example: In the word 'refrigerator' the '-o-' is generally pronounced with a different sound than in the word 'omega', because our language has developed in that direction; the phoneme '-o-' in 'refrigerator' is called a 'Schwa'. Schwas are found in many different languages, and are officially categorized as the 'mid central vowel' sound in the IPA's official charts, where the character is represented by an 'ə'. This means that, when looking at the IPA chart, you would pronounce it as 'refrigeratər'. For reference, the 'O' in 'omega' is categorized as the 'close-mid back rounded vowel' sound on the IPA's charts, and is written in the IPA as 'O'. Phrase - A feature available to languages, the smallest possible structure that can be used to express a complete thought or idea. Phrases are made up of words/morphemes that themselves require following the language's grammatical, morphological and morpho-syntactic rules. Syntax - Once you understand how a language creates morphemes, the next step to understanding the flow of a language is understanding how sentences are created, this is called 'Syntax'. Syntax examines subjects like 'word-order', such as how in English phrases are organized in the sequence 'Subject, then 'Verb' then 'Object' or 'SVO' for short. Types of Languages: Now that you have an idea of some of the basic terminology, we will move on to less-generalized concepts, and begin discussing some of the different ideas that affect how languages use the above definitions. This grouping will feature definitions that roughly represent the final stages of language-understanding, before one actually starts creating sentences in one's target-language. Synthetic Languages: Languages that determine meaning, based on the 'shape' of a word; in essence, I like to think of synthetic languages, using the analogy of 'chemistry'; You take base chemicals, mix and add other chemicals, to create new (synthetic) compounds, it is the same idea in 'Synthetic Languages'. In a synthetic language, the pieces that are added to base words, to create new meanings, are called 'Affix(es)'. Synthetic languages use a system of 'cases' to determine what affix should be used, and when. Cases vary from language to language, but - Agglutination: Agglutinative languages give meaning by attaching, 'gluing' several morphemes together*. Finnish and Hungarian are excellent examples of Agglutinative Languages. In terms of how words are built, agglutinative languages sometimes end up with incredibly long words, with multiple meaning-stems being added to the front, middle, or end of the base word that they are modifying, depending on the language being discussed. Agglutinative languages should not be confused with 'compounding' languages, which are languages, such as German and English, that take complete words and combine them with other complete words to make new ones. The easiest way to think of the difference is that compounded words can be separated and used by themselves, whereas the affixes of Agglutinative and Fusional Languages cannot be used in sentences by themselves. - Fusion: This method of word-building will be familiar to most English speakers as the system used in most Romance and Slavic languages, where meaning comes from the changing or adding of letters/characters to the stem, called 'declension'. To express meaning, fusional languages take base stems (words) and modify them, permanently, with inflected case-endings; the base stem is still able to be combined with other case endings, in different situations, but if you remove the 'fused' affix, the word loses its new meaning. Analytic Languages - This category is usually associated with languages such as English, Mandarin, Bulgarian and many others, and describes systems that focus on the sequence and combination of separate words, as opposed to gluing or fusing affixes to base stems. If synthetic languages are like chemistry, then analytic languages are pure mathematics. Instead of affixes, we use 'particles', think of the questions 'who', 'what', 'when', 'where' and 'why', together with rules that tell us what sequence we need to express words in a sentence, to speak correctly, this is called 'Word-order'. - Example: This is why 'Yoda' has such memorable dialogue in the Star Wars movies, because his speech is given in a sequence that is reasonably distinct from how most English speakers structure their phrases/clauses. As always, in linguistics, there are plenty of languages where Yoda's word-order would be perfectly reasonable. Some languages that do not normally use 'word-order', can use it for specific situations, such as poetry, while others can be described as having no word-order, but still have a speaking population that, generally, places words in specific patterns, despite not possessing grammatical rules telling them to do so. Grammar-specific Concepts Morphosyntactic Alignment: I've alluded many times to 'grammar rules' and how languages can use them to determine correct word-usage in a phrase or clause, and I'd like to explore the concept in more detail here because this can sometimes be an intimidating for new learners. Morpho-syntactic alignment deals with concepts that are required in a sentence, such as: - Subject: What your sentence is about, it's topic. - Agent: Whatever your sentence is about, how is the end-result achieved? With a tool? A person? The answer to these questions is the 'agent' of a sentence. - Object: In a sentence, generally, the object would be the recipient of an action, something is done to the object. I say generally because there are circumstances across many languages where phrases/clauses do not need an object, or the object of the a sentence is the same as the agent agent; this is is called 'Transitivity' - These terms are all considered 'arguments' of a phrase or clause, because they are considered the minimum required information to complete a clause*. When a language is inflected properly, * As always, different languages will use these concepts in different ways, and with different words for the same terms. As long as you keep your mind open to the different possibilities of how we can give meaning, these terms do not need to be studied extensively and the general idea will be sufficient in most cases. Across all languages, the two most common types of morpho-syntactic alignment are: - Nominative-Accusative Alignment: This happens to be the alignment-system used by the English Language, amongst many others, and it's defining characteristic is that this system considers the 'subject' of an intransitive verb as being no different than the 'agent' of a transitive verb. With languages that use this system, the object, in sentences that have any, is always expressed with different 'marker(s)'; this is done to prevent confusion such as a sentence having two objects and no subject (when it is supposed to contain a subject). Note: In many inflected languages, the subject and/or agent will be given in the 'nominative' case-ending and the object will be given the 'accusative' case-ending. In English, the function of agent is covered by the 'subject' in clauses. - Ergative-Absolutive Alignment: Ergative-Absolutive languages are much less common than nominative-accusative languages, with notable examples being Basque, Georgian, Tibetan, and Hindi. In contrast to nominative-absolutive systems, ergative-absolutive alignment uses the subject of an intransitive verb, and the object of a transitive verb, in the same manner. This means that the shape of the word representing the subject/agent, in both verb situations, will be the same, whereas in nominative-accusative systems, they are identified differently. - Example: From the Wikipedia page, "the single argument of an intransitive verb ("She" in the sentence "She walks.") behaves grammatically like the agent of a transitive verb ("She" in the sentence "She finds it.") but differently from the object of a transitive verb ("her" in the sentence "He likes her.")". In this example 'She' in both cases would be given the Ergative case-ending and 'her' would be given the absolutive case-ending. - Transitivity: This word is used to define verbs by their behaviour. Direct object is a term used in a sentence to connect the action of the verb to a specific thing in the sentence. A transitive verb must include something other than the subject of the sentence, and this is where the direct object is used. - Examples: - Transitive Verb (with an object) - "I fed my dog" with 'my dog' being the recipient of the verb. - Intransitive verb (without an object) - "I ate". Here we have "I" as the subject, and a verb that doesn't connect to anything else beyond that, which also happens to be the agent in the sentence (an example of how different languages will use these concepts and methods in different ways).
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Andrew O
Dec 12, 2020
In Ossetian Language
Салам. The most important concepts to keep in mind for this post are Synthetic Languages, agglutinative and fusional inflection, nominative-accusative alignment, prefix/affix/suffix. Links: http://i.ironau.ru/ocherk/OssetianGrammar.pdf here is the paper I used for reference and examples. The paper is a compilation including two versions of V.I. Abaev's published works, and I find it to be incredibly useful. And as always, the phrasebook transcription provided at http://ossetians.com/eng/news.php?newsid=443&f=35 for supplemental reference. Inflection of agglutinative and fusional elements: Nouns Before continuing on, I would like to reiterate the difference between agglutination and fusion, agglutination uses multiple separate morphemes with each morpheme representing a separate piece of information, while fusion uses affixes that can contain multiple meanings, such as plurality, grammatical gender (in languages that use this), and case inflection, all in the same affix. Perhaps one of the easier examples to demonstrate, of Ossetian's use of agglutination, is the plural marker '-T-', which is the standard marker in most cases. This singular letter, while representing the grammatical feature of plurality, does not give context beyond that, and requires additional morphemes to convey extra information. Ossetian's fusional aspect is found in usage such as the suffix '-æм'. The allative case ending '-æм' for nouns is also the 1st person plural ending for verbs, such as кæнæм 'we are doing...' Taking an example from the above link, I will explore the system of inflection as it appears in the different cases for nouns: The example word is 'сæр' (head). Singular Plural Nominative: - сæр - сæртæ Genitive: - сæры - сæрты Dative: - сæрæн - сæртæн Allative: - сæрмæ - сæртæм Ablative: - сæрæй - сæртæй Inessive: - сæры* - сæрты* Adessive: - сæрыл - сæртыл Equative: - сæрау - сæртау Comitative: - сæримæ - сæртимæ * The case-inflection for the Genitive and Inessive cases is listed as being the same, all you need to remember for this is that similar to English, context will tell you which meaning is intended. I mentioned that the '-T-' plurality marker is the standard marker in most cases, some of the situations where other markers are used include: Within what Abaev categorizes as 'kinship terms', some specific words inflect differently than normal, by adding an 'æлтæ' plural-marker, with examples attested as 'мад' ('mother', singular) and 'мадæлтæ'' ('mothers', plural), 'фыд' ('father', singular) and 'фыдæлтæ' ('fathers', plural), and lastly, 'æрвад' (relative, singular) and 'æрвадæлтæ' (relatives, singular). Listed in Abaev's work is several examples where specific nouns don't inflect in a manner that you would expect them if they followed the general pattern: Ус 'woman' is marked in the plural as 'Устытæ'; basically, the plural is marked as if the stem word was 'Уст', but because it is not, in theory, the plural should technically be marked as 'Устæ'. Хъуг 'cow', theoretically, should be marked in the plural as 'Хъугтæ', but in reality the plural in this case is marked as 'Хъуццытæ'. фыр 'ram', is marked in the plural as 'фырытæ', despite the fact that the regular pattern would theoretically mark it in the plural as 'фыртæ'. куыдз 'dog' is marked in the plural as 'куйтæ' (куыйтæ) instead of 'куыдзтæ'.
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Andrew O
Nov 29, 2020
In Constructed Languages
For any Game of Thrones fans, David Peterson is the creator of the 'Dothraaki' Language, and this is his Channel, enjoy!! https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCgJSf-fmdfUsSlcr7A92-aA
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Andrew O
Nov 27, 2020
In Ossetian Language
Уӕ райсом хорз One of the issues I have with most English-Language materials for studying Ossetian is that they are all written for academic papers. To properly understand these papers one must also be fluent in the IPA in order to grasp said language. Using the IPA table, the Ossetian 'ӕ' is written as 'ɐ', whereas the intended IPA corollary is 'ə'; the IPA's 'ɐ' is Ossetian's 'А', as in "Ахуыргонд ысси" - '(he) became learned. See now I'm translating two languages! If you would like to see the English IPA chart, I have posted it on this site under the Fundamentals chapter. That being said, lets begin! Here are the basic Cardinal Numbers: иу - One дыууӕ - Two ӕртӕ - Three цыппар - Four фондз - Five ӕхсӕз - Six авд - Seven аст - Eight фараст - Nine дӕс - Ten Note for 11 to 19: These numbers are created by compounding(putting together) the appropriate number + the number 10, with connecting morphemes and root changes that require focus. иуӕндӕс - Eleven (the 'ӕн' here is a 'connecting morpheme' as mentioned above). дыууадӕс - Twelve (here you can see what I mean by 'root change', the letter at the end of 'дыууӕ' changes from 'ӕ' to 'а', before having the 'ten' added, so keep that in mind for future learning). ӕртындӕс - Thirteen цыппӕрдӕс - Fourteen фынддӕс - Fifteen ӕхсӕрдӕс - Sixteen ӕвдӕс - Seventeen ӕстдӕс - Eighteen нудӕс - Nineteen дыуын - Twenty Notes for larger numbers: Iron Ossetian uses a hybrid of two systems for generating larger numbers; decimal and vigesimal, allowing for several options when articulating numerals. Decimal is the way we are used to in English, but the Vigesimal system is alien to most English speakers (unless they understand a language that uses it, such as French). Vigesimal numeric systems uses concepts based on the number '20' to express larger numerals. For example, let's use the number '35', it can be written two ways: In the Decimal system - ӕртын фондз (thirty + five) In the Vigesimal system - фынддӕс ӕмӕ (у)ссӕдз (fifteen and((and='ӕмӕ')) twenty) As I understand it, either system is acceptable, and their seems to be no standard that constantly applies to situations where you might use one or the other. Decimal Large Numbers: ӕрты - Thirty цыппонр - Fourty фӕндзай - Fifty ӕхсай - Sixty ӕвдай - Seventy цыппары-ссӕдзы - Eighty нӕуӕдзӕ - Ninety сӕдӕ - One Hundred дыууӕ сӕды/дыууӕ сӕди - Two-Hundred ӕртӕ сӕды/ӕртӕ сӕди - Three-Hundred Vigesimal Large Numbers (by twenties): ссӕдз/инцӕй - Twenty дӕс ӕмӕ ссӕдз/дӕс ӕма инцӕй - Thirty (lit. 'ten and twenty') дыуиссӕдзы/дууинцӕй - Fourty (lit. two twenty) дӕс ӕмӕ дыуиссӕдзы/дӕс ӕма дууинцӕй - Fifty ӕртиссӕдз/ӕртинцай - Sixty дӕс ӕмӕ ӕртиссӕдз/дӕс ӕма ӕртинцӕй - Seventy цыппарыссӕдзы/цыппаринцай - Eighty дӕс ӕмӕ цыппарыссӕдзы/дӕс ӕма цыппаринцӕй - Ninety фондзыссӕдз/фонджинцӕй - One Hundred *Four-Hundred to Nine-Hundred follow the same pattern. Also worth nothing is the fact that the suffix(es) added to the number hundred, 'ы' and 'и' respectively, are only added if no other numerals follow it, in the sentence. мийн/мин - One Thousand* (Which is a Turkic loanword) *Multiple thousands are expressed as 'Cardinal Numeral' + 'Thousand' (The same as in English). - цыппар мийн - Four Thousand *Complex numerals are written in the format thousands -->hundreds ->tens ->ones, '2239' is written as 'дыууӕ мийн дыууӕ сӕды ӕрты фараст', using the Decimal system.
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Andrew O
Oct 30, 2020
In Ossetian Language
Уӕ бон хорз There is a great mobile-app available in the Google PlayStore, called 'ирон чиныг', that allows you to listen and read in Ossetian! They also have content on Youtube and Instagram, including some of the stories here, either way it is definitely worth checking out!! The Nart Sagas are ubiquitous in the Caucasus, found in many forms across language families and cultures. Princeton University Press states that the Nart Sagas "are to the Caucasus what Greek mythology is to Western civilization.". The word Nart comes from the Proto-Iranian word 'Nar' meaning hero/man, also rather interestingly, in Chechen it means 'giant'. Иронау, the noun only has the plural form, making нартӕ a 'plurale tantum'.
An absolute must for studying Ossetian: The Nart Sagas. content media
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Andrew O
Oct 30, 2020
In Ossetian Language
Уӕ райсом хорз. This video is great for many reasons, but mainly I like to use it because the audio is crystal-clear and allows me to pause and rewind and focus on parts I do not understand well. I'm not sure what everything translates to, but as soon as I find the answers, I will share them here. Check it out!! https://youtu.be/BX1pBXL787k
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Andrew O
Oct 26, 2020
In Reviews
I'll start by stating that this website is not for the beginner learner, simply because the works published there are intended for more academic purposes, however, it can still be useful for some of the very obscure papers that are available there if you want an in-depth analysis. Pros: - Rich variety of papers allows for the possibility of some truly incredible subjects ('Avar Grammar Sketch', anyone?) - Free option, with registration, means enough access to be able to view and download papers. Cons: - Can be quite intimidating to manoeuvre through if you do not know exactly what you're looking for. - If you haven't upgraded to the premium, you'll have to click through multiple windows just to access the singular paper you want. Overall though, absolutely a great resource, and definitely worth checking out; you never know what will pique your interest! Cheers.
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Andrew O
Oct 26, 2020
In Ossetian Language
Hey guys, so in case any of you may have peaked at the link in the Latvian forum, I have created a template there to save time and energy on making charts, I have also done the same for Ossetian, and here it is. I would recommend getting one laminated, so that you can write and erase as much as you please. I have included a blank template as well, in case you wish to create your own template.
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Andrew O
Oct 17, 2020
In Ukrainian Language
Ill pin this link, as I believe that, regardless of your previous knowledge, this website has something to offer everyone! I always come back to it, and so I strongly recommend it *Disclaimer: Any recommendation on my part is entirely my own, and offered without sponsorship from any entity or business. http://ukrainianlanguage.org.uk/.
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