Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Affixes in Esperanto

Is it only me or does anybody else think Esperanto's affixes are cool most of the times? I mean, I know as well as the next guy the pros and cons about Esperanto, but some of the affixes, those you use to modify the root and make new words, are really interesting. I like it how they are very ambiguous; for instance, you have 'ad' or 'aĵ', which literally mean "a lasting or repeated action" and "concrete thing", I like this last one in relation to 'uj' "something that contains the thing indicated by the root". I say this is very interesting because it is very flexible to use, it can mean either something that contains but it is also mostly used for nations or trees, as they contain citizens and fruits. So for instance you have:

pomo. Apple > pomujo. Apple-tree.
hispana. Spanish > Hispanujo. Spain.

It's noteworthy that it lets you make a pair with 'ar' an infix that means "a group of", so you can have:

libro. Book > libraro & librujo

The first would mean "a group of books" as in a collection, the latter would mean the thing holding your books, a bibliotheque or a book-shelf. When you look at your own collection of books comfortably sitting in your book-shelves they can both be called either libraro or librujo, but the first would mean the books in themselves, while the latter would mean the furniture which contains them.

And that's not all, my favorite must be 'ing' which means "something that is partially introduced in what is expressed by the root". So with it you can have:

fingro. Finger > fingringo. Thimble.

I like this quite much, and the same infix could be also used in more flexible ways in conlangs, thoughts anyone?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Genitive absolute

So I'm minding my business and I get this phone call from a friend and fellow literature student. A good friend of mine, she tells me she's having some trouble with Ancient Greek. Her problem is that some professor mentioned the genitive absolute just in passing. She was afraid it would come up in the next test and she had no idea how it worked. I tried to explain her as best as I could what it was about, comparing with the ablative absolute in Latin. To me it appears clear from examples:

τῶν ἀνδρῶν πολεμούντων, αἱ γυναῖκες μόναι οἴκοι εἰσίν
While the men are waging war, the women are at home by themselves.

It implies two actions that are done simultaneously. It seems greeks didn't like to use coordinating words, so they came up with this kind of constructions. This is even present in such examples as the aorist participle in the words of Leonidas: Μολὼν λαβέ, "having come, take", for a simpler "Come and take them".

The thing is... how do you recognize said genitive? Well at first glance when a sentence begins with a genitive, but this is not so. The best way I could think of recognizing it is when you see an independent genitive with a participle. That to me is the best way to look at it.

But hey, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, plus eventually this didn't even come in the exam.

Bummer!

Katanik, the place for silly stuff

I'm getting the hung of this creating blog thing. I needed this space to talk about whatever, but nothing, about my nonsense. Conlangs, grammar notes, etymology, all the little things I came to love but nobody cares about. Or do they?

A fine place to speak of whatever comes to mind, from intellectual to satirical, from languages to math (?). All viewed by me.

Enjoy!