The "I can eat glass" conlang

An archaeological expedition into my boxed-up junk has turned up a conlang sketch I remember creating sometime in 1998, when Conlang-L was having its "I can eat glass. It does not hurt me" translation exercise. It was superficially influenced by Basque via Conlang-L discussions of ergativity, and may be my first attempt at an ergative language, for values of ergative which include "all verbs are in passive voice".

Scribbled in a notebook of apparently 1998 vintage, written in blue fountain pen, I have:


glasiz to be made of glass ekiz to be eaten kurziz to be harmed seliz to be given as a gift mariz to be loved vuliz to be dark mumiz to be sleeping salasiz to be pleasured kavisaz to be cooked aliz to be easy vuramiz to be purring sazakiz to be owned

First tier suffixes

at nominalizer - that which is X pa may X lat must X ko nominalizer - time of X'ing gu irrealis mood et nominalizer - agent of X happening it nominalizer - a dative nominalizer (not sure how this was used) kot nominalizer - the act (or state?) of X'ing so denominalizer - to act as X ka does X (I am not sure what I meant by this)

Second tier suffixes

me a member from the set of X lwe negative sa a pair from the set of X

Case markings

o absolutive ki ergative pe dative go absolutive of previous sentence gi ergative of previous sentence be dative of previous sentence
I am not sure whether the latter three are cases or resumptive pronouns.


zi I mi we zu you mu you po he, she vo they, animate zo it mo they, inanimate ti we two, inclusive si we two, exclusive tu you two, inclusive su you two, exclusive to they two

Sample sentence with interlinear

sazakizatoziki vuramizkaato.
sazakiz -at -o -zi -ki to be a pet -NOM -ABS -1s -ERG That which is a pet because of me [my pet] vuramiz -ka -at -o to be purring -does -NOM -ABS is purring
Evidently I have a possessive construction composed of ergative pronouns attached to possessed nouns.


Attested in roots are:
g k l m r s v z a e i u
Attested in suffixes we have:
b g k l m p s t w a e i o u
Of these, b and w are found in only one morpheme each. Finally, in pronouns we have:
m p s t v z i o u
Frankly, the data are too sparse to draw any conclusions, but one might advance a tentative theory that b and w, found only in suffixes, are orthographic fossils of a merger to v (found everywhere except in suffixes).


We will not speculate on the grammar of the language at this time.

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Last updated: 9/30/2008