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...and why they're so hard to gloss /lh
This public article was written by [Deactivated User], and last updated on 18 Apr 2023, 19:06.
[comments] [history] lpblesson 1genderpluralitypronounsgrammarculturesemantics
The first vitally important thing to understand about Paluimbelian/Tekihi'ek is that it was created specifically with our system in mind. This means that to understand Paluimbelian/Tekihi'ek, you must understand some of how our system functions.
First and foremost, if you're reading this and have never heard about the concept of plurality or systemhood before, (outside of linguistics), we highly recommend you give this site a good read-through before continuing: https://morethanone.info/. It's a fairly quick read, and it explains a lot of the vocabulary I'll be using throughout the rest of this article.
Right, with that out of the way, let's get started! Our system, (Paluimbel, hence Paluimbelian's english name), is relatively large, at approximately ~50 members last time we did a headcount. We're also monoconscious, essentially meaning that switching tends to feel more like "becoming" a headmate than that headmate "taking over."
Our system could be described as polyplural, though there's some internal debate in our system over how well that term fits. All you need to know for the sake of this article is that 1) our system has a fairly complex structure with multiple layers of subsystems, 2) we have a lot of fragments, or not fully-developed headmates, which we call "wisps" mostly because it fits our subjective experience better, 3) there are typically multiple people fronting at once. The last point, combined with our monoconsciousness, means that when this happens, we tend to temporarily fuse into one entity/identity, with or without the headmates that make up that identity remaining distinct. (The former being more comparable to Voltron (the robot not the show it comes from), while the latter more closely resembles Steven Universe-esque fusion.)
As a result of the factors described above, we had several key goals regarding semantic destinctions in Paluimbelian/Tekihi'ek that would end up affecting the pronouns:
1) We wanted the ability to convey when we were talking about ourselves in headspace vs. when we were talking about something we did while fronting.
2) We wanted to be able to convey the difference between ‹I› (one single headmate), ‹I, we› (whatever amalgamation or combination of headmates is speaking), and ‹we› (the entire system).
3) Furthermore, we figured it would be useful to distinguish between multiple people in the same system vs. multiple people in multiple bodies.
4) We wanted to make it difficult to translate directly, mostly just because that's one of the things we like to do with our conlangs generally.
There are two grammatical genders in Paluimbelian/Tekihi'ek: tangible and intangible. For most nouns, they function similarly to grammatical genders in other languages in that they're (somewhat) arbitrarily assigned. For example ‹hitsez'ek›, meaning "book" is tangible, while ‹hitsez'el› meaning "journal" is intangible, regardless of whether or not they're actually... tangible. The endings ‹-'ek› and ‹-'el› indicate that a noun is tangible or intangible, respectively, because memorization is annoying.
For personal pronouns, the assignment of gender is less arbitrary than with nouns. You can refer to any person or group of people using either gender of pronoun; however, different gender pronouns have different semantic meanings. Essentially, tangible pronouns refer to a person's physical being, or what they do physically, whereas intangible pronouns refer more to a person's mind or sense of self.
For example, there are two ways I could translate the sentence "He has pink hair" in two ways:
"Etsga'rin ak'ets ag'ets li'ek deje'el." and "Etsga'ran ak'ets ag'ets li'ek deje'ek." The former means that the person being referred to has pink hair in the headspace, while the latter indicates that his physical body has pink hair.
By default, discussions of identity use intangible personal pronouns. You introduce yourself or others using intangible pronouns. Discussions of thought or opinion also tend to use intangible personal pronouns, unless the opinion being discussed is voiced.
"Etseki'rin [insert opinion here] leje'el." means "I think (that)... [insert opinion here]," while "Etseki'ran [insert opinion here] leje'ek." implies that you are reiterating a point or opinion you have already stated, something more along the lines of "I have said I believe that..."
As for physical actions, tangible pronouns are used by default, unless the action took place in the headspace or a dream. Anything else, you can use either, depending on what you want to emphasize.
Proper nouns are inflected by gender in the same manner as personal pronouns, with the distinction that in writing, ‹'› is replaced by ‹-› for proper nouns, to separate them from nouns that may be derived from them.
There are five basic personal pronouns in Paluimbelian/Tekihi'ek, which can later be inflected by gender and number: ‹le›, ‹se›, ‹de›, ‹lese›, and ‹lede›. ‹se› and ‹de› are easiest to translate, being the most basic forms of second and third person pronoun, respectively.
‹le›, ‹lede›, and ‹lese› are a bit harder to pin down. ‹le› refers to any number of people in one body, whether or not they are the only person in that body. ‹lede› and ‹lese› act like the exclusive and inclusive "we" respectively; however, the multiple people that are being referred to must be across at least two seperate bodies.
Additionally, ‹dele› may be used as a third person pronoun if you wish to emphasize that the referent is part of your system; however, this is considered optional, so ‹dele› isn't considered one of the main basic personal pronouns. Likewise, ‹dede› and ‹sese› could be used in place of the default third and second person pronouns, respectively, if one wished to specify that the referents are in multiple bodies.
Now that we've covered genders and basic forms, the only thing left to cover is number, which is... complicated. There are three grammatically-ingrained numbers in Paluimbelian/Tekihi'ek: singular (SGSingular (number)
one countable entity), plural (PLPlural (number)
more than one/few), and partial plural. Partial plural is tricky to explain because it essentially acts as the collective (COLCollective (number)
'group or mass entity') or plurative(PLVPlurative (number)
multiple parts of a whole) depending on context, with additional implications I haven't found a gloss for in certain contexts.
For pronouns specifically, the easiest way to explain this is through the continuity of front. For our system, the front has one continuity of memory, regardless of which system member is occupying the front at the time, so it's very useful to have a pronoun that essentially stands in for "whoever's in front at the time," which is the role the partial plural fills for most personal pronouns, though in cases where the the base pronoun explicitly refers to multiple bodies, it may morph into the plurative, while "singular" becomes collective.
The easiest way to demonstrate this is with a table, which I have put in the section below for easy reference.
First person, refers to one person in one body, regardless of whether or not they are the only occupant.
Second person, refers to one person in one body, regardless of whether or not they are the only occupant. May be used by system members to refer to other members of their systems.
Third person, refers to one person in one body, regardless of whether or not they are the only occupant. May be used by system members to refer to other members of their systems.
First person collective exclusive, specifically refers to a group of people in different bodies.
First person collective inclusive, specifically refers to a group of people in different bodies.
|Partial Plural||lenetse'ek, lenetse'el|
First person, refers to the member(s) of a system who were in front at the time of the topic being discussed, regardless of whether or not they are the one(s) currently in front.
Second person, refers to the member(s) of a system who were in front at the time of the topic being discussed, regardless of whether or not they are the one(s) currently in front.
Third person, refers to the member(s) of a system who were in front at the time of the topic being discussed, regardless of whether or not they are the one(s) currently in front1.
First person plurative exclusive, specifically refers to a group of people in different bodies.
First person plurative inclusive, specifically refers to a group of people in different bodies.
First person, an entire system consisting of multiple people in one body.
Second person, an entire system consisting of multiple people in one body, or multiple people across multiple bodies, regardless of whether or not those bodies are singlets or plural systems.
Third person, an entire system consisting of multiple people in one body, or multiple people across multiple bodies, regardless of whether or not those bodies are singlets or plural systems.
First person plural exclusive
First person plural inclusive
1 Systems without this continuity of front may use the partial plural in third person to refer to another member or members of their system who happened to be in front at the time being discussed. The optional base form ‹dele› is highly recommended for this.
Relative and Interrogative Pronouns are generally simpler than personal pronouns. There is only one base form for both, which is inflected by gender, but not number.
‹tse'el› is intangible, and generally refers to a place, time, or event.
‹tse'ek› is tangible, and generally refers to a person or thing.
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on 18/04/23 19:020[Deactivated User]sdbkdz