Saturday, 13 September 2014

Moten Word for the Day

ikulstu|l /ikulstuʎ/, verb: “to create a language, to conlang”

It only gets worse with age…

So, a conlang having a word for conlanging. So meta! ;)

Seriously, this verb is simply formed by adding ku|lu: “language, tongue” to istu|l, making conlanging literally “to summon a language” (more probably, it’s some kind of portmanteau between ku|lu and idatistu|l: “to invent”, or at least it was coined based on that verb). Notice that ku|lu in this compound comes out as kul-. It’s what I call the “short compound form”. Stems can form compounds in both full form and short compound form, although it’s usually not predictable which form will be preferred.

Two interesting facts about ikulstu|l:

  • it’s the base word for referring to conlanging. Other words (such as kulstuluz: “conlang”, kulstulbel: “conlanging” and kulstulnon: “conlanger”) are derived from it. It’s quite common in Moten for the base word that refers to some concept to actually be a verb, and other words, including nouns, to be derived from it. That’s unlike English, where conceptual base words tend to be nouns.
  • It’s strictly a transitive verb, taking as object the language being created (or its name at least). That’s why the form kulstuluz, which is actually the participle of the verb, can take on the meaning “conlang”: the participle when used as a noun usually refers to the object of the verb. In fact, even when the object is not mentioned in a sentence, it will be implied (that’s pro-drop for you! :) ). It is possible, however, to remove the object entirely from the equation (i.e. if you want to say that you are conlanging in general, without any reference to which conlang you are working on), by putting the verb in the middle voice, a very common way in Moten to turn transitive verbs into generic intransitive ones.


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