Can you create your own rules in conlangs

Can you create your own rules in conlangs?


You can, but they should at least make sense in linguistics.
To say a noun can have an object doesn't really make sense, because subject and object are words used to distinguish two types of noun phrases.

I suppose you could have a language which made excessive use of noun compounds, replacing the need for verbs to take objects or subclauses, leaving them intransitive – so instead of saying "I shot the sheriff" you might say "My sheriff bullet fired" or something like that.
Within the grammar of that language you could go ahead and describe that as "a noun (bullet) taking an object (sheriff)" but from a general linguistic point of view we'd be unlikely to use such terminology.

Edit: I've been thinking about this question a bit more recently.
Although my conlang started out as, and is still about 90% a cipher of English, it has some features which definitely don't exist in English or in any other language I know.
So just for some food for thought I can give three things I've never encountered in another language.

1.
In Commonfell, nouns take auxiliary verbs.
That is, whenever you want to put an auxiliary verb or copula on a finite verb phrase, you attach it to the subject noun, and there is a system of inflection/morphology that determines what form the noun and the copula verb form take.
Like:
E veshenit = I finished
Efi veshenit = I have finished
Nehotfi veshenit = I would have finished
etc.
etc.
This all looks quite familiar to us in English since we can do this for pronouns (I've finished), but in Commonfell every noun takes these suffixes and they stay attached to the noun for dear life:
Dwi takt shielrue veshenit yedesk = the dog had nearly finished eating
When it's not possible to attach a suffix to the noun since the noun is a phrase containing a subclause or similar, we have:
2.
Commonfell has a recursive particle, which I'm sure must exist in some language somewhere, but I've never encountered it.
The recursive particle is "za" which primarily means "so".
It's used in situations like this:
I tried calling him and I couldn't reach him
E dlite da besk wen est gaurchad resk za hedue.

In this example using "za" saves us from repeating the pronoun wen, "him" twice.
It can also be used when you can't add a copula to a noun because it's masked by subclauses such as:
The girl with the red shirt has asked for your name
Dwi keler hedue lit neld zan limoistit waul sheni.

3.
Commonfell has a refutative mood, which copula verbs and auxiliary verbs added to "za" can take to contrast with a regular negative form to distinguish "no, as expected" from "no, contrary to a belief or wish.
"
In example, you would answer the question "you haven't been sleeping with my mother, have you?" with a simple "sha, e za fishad", which just means "no I haven't", but if the question were phrased "have you been sleeping with my mother?" you would have to answer it "sha, e zafist" to sound as if you were refuting the accusation.

You can also use it to imply an assumption about what a person already knows; for example the difference between:
libderinli ikarehiln, pod nenern(li) shad
and
libderinli ikarehiln, pod nenern zalist
(reptiles lay eggs, but mammals don't)
is that you assume ignorance by using the refutative mood in the second sentence by stressing the contrasting negative.
Someone giving a science lesson to kids might choose this wording.

So yeah, I made all of that up, mostly off the cuff, without knowing if it exists in any language.
You can do better.


What others said.
Yes, but make sure there is an internal logic to your rule, and that you're applying it consistently and meaningfully.

Klingon has an internally consistent story with its zero copula constructions: the pronouns in copula constructions ("he — teacher", ghojwI' ghaH) have been reanalysed as verbs, and take verb aspect endings ("he is being a teacher", ghojwI' ghaH-taH) and subjects ("Worf is a teacher" ghojwI' ghaHtaH wo'rIv'e', literally "teacher he-ing, Worf".
)
Suzette Haden Elgin once accused Marc Okrand of linguistic malpractice, because he'd said that Klingon pronouns have subjects.
Think of all the kids whose understanding of grammar will be destroyed, she exclaimed.

Fool.
Cairene Arabic does pretty much the same with its pronouns.

But the key is that the rule has to be internally consistent.
As Jim Grossman says, the rule likely makes more sense if the noun denotes a nominalisation to begin with.
And as Zeibura Kathau says, the rule as stated is probably not what a linguist would end up describing it as—they would talk of complements of nouns instead.

And be aware of what ambiguities and dysfunctions the rule could introduce.
You can have the same particle for objects of verbs and complements of nouns, as Olivier Simon does.
But what happens when you have both a verb and a noun taking objects in the sentence: it is clear which of the two the complement belongs to?


Actually, it's easy to make rules that are peculiar to your conlang if you are willing to be silly.
   For example, suppose your conlang used different verb conjugations depending of whether the referent(s) of the verb's subject were a) one or more pieces of sports equipment, b) one or more people who are known to be uncles or aunts, or c) all other kinds of beings and things.
   Chance are, such rules would be unique to your conlang.

What you can't do is make a word belong to a certain class all and only by saying that it belongs to that class.
   
For example, I once met a conlanger online who claimed to be designing a language in which all lexical items were adverbs.
    So "My father sneezed" would be more literally "fatherly sneezedly it.
was.
"    Unfortunately, "fatherly" (i.
e.
in a fatherly way) does not mean "father" (i.
e.
the male parent).
    Neither does "sneezedly" (i.
e.
in the manner in which one sneezes) does not mean "to sneeze.
"  Which just goes to show that saying that adverbs can be equivalent to nouns and verbs doesn't make it so.

As for your proposal, AFAIK the only way that a noun could take an object is if it stood for the same kind of action or state of affairs that a verb can stand for.
   So instead of  a), you could have b):  
a) informing the crowd
b) information crowd-[nominal complement affix]



Can you create your own rules in conlangs?


You can, but they should at least make sense in linguistics.
To say a noun can have an object doesn't really make sense, because subject and object are words used to distinguish two types of noun phrases.

I suppose you could have a language which made excessive use of noun compounds, replacing the need for verbs to take objects or subclauses, leaving them intransitive – so instead of saying "I shot the sheriff" you might say "My sheriff bullet fired" or something like that.
Within the grammar of that language you could go ahead and describe that as "a noun (bullet) taking an object (sheriff)" but from a general linguistic point of view we'd be unlikely to use such terminology.

Edit: I've been thinking about this question a bit more recently.
Although my conlang started out as, and is still about 90% a cipher of English, it has some features which definitely don't exist in English or in any other language I know.
So just for some food for thought I can give three things I've never encountered in another language.

1.
In Commonfell, nouns take auxiliary verbs.
That is, whenever you want to put an auxiliary verb or copula on a finite verb phrase, you attach it to the subject noun, and there is a system of inflection/morphology that determines what form the noun and the copula verb form take.
Like:
E veshenit = I finished
Efi veshenit = I have finished
Nehotfi veshenit = I would have finished
etc.
etc.
This all looks quite familiar to us in English since we can do this for pronouns (I've finished), but in Commonfell every noun takes these suffixes and they stay attached to the noun for dear life:
Dwi takt shielrue veshenit yedesk = the dog had nearly finished eating
When it's not possible to attach a suffix to the noun since the noun is a phrase containing a subclause or similar, we have:
2.
Commonfell has a recursive particle, which I'm sure must exist in some language somewhere, but I've never encountered it.
The recursive particle is "za" which primarily means "so".
It's used in situations like this:
I tried calling him and I couldn't reach him
E dlite da besk wen est gaurchad resk za hedue.

In this example using "za" saves us from repeating the pronoun wen, "him" twice.
It can also be used when you can't add a copula to a noun because it's masked by subclauses such as:
The girl with the red shirt has asked for your name
Dwi keler hedue lit neld zan limoistit waul sheni.

3.
Commonfell has a refutative mood, which copula verbs and auxiliary verbs added to "za" can take to contrast with a regular negative form to distinguish "no, as expected" from "no, contrary to a belief or wish.
"
In example, you would answer the question "you haven't been sleeping with my mother, have you?" with a simple "sha, e za fishad", which just means "no I haven't", but if the question were phrased "have you been sleeping with my mother?" you would have to answer it "sha, e zafist" to sound as if you were refuting the accusation.

You can also use it to imply an assumption about what a person already knows; for example the difference between:
libderinli ikarehiln, pod nenern(li) shad
and
libderinli ikarehiln, pod nenern zalist
(reptiles lay eggs, but mammals don't)
is that you assume ignorance by using the refutative mood in the second sentence by stressing the contrasting negative.
Someone giving a science lesson to kids might choose this wording.

So yeah, I made all of that up, mostly off the cuff, without knowing if it exists in any language.
You can do better.


What others said.
Yes, but make sure there is an internal logic to your rule, and that you're applying it consistently and meaningfully.

Klingon has an internally consistent story with its zero copula constructions: the pronouns in copula constructions ("he — teacher", ghojwI' ghaH) have been reanalysed as verbs, and take verb aspect endings ("he is being a teacher", ghojwI' ghaH-taH) and subjects ("Worf is a teacher" ghojwI' ghaHtaH wo'rIv'e', literally "teacher he-ing, Worf".
)
Suzette Haden Elgin once accused Marc Okrand of linguistic malpractice, because he'd said that Klingon pronouns have subjects.
Think of all the kids whose understanding of grammar will be destroyed, she exclaimed.

Fool.
Cairene Arabic does pretty much the same with its pronouns.

But the key is that the rule has to be internally consistent.
As Jim Grossman says, the rule likely makes more sense if the noun denotes a nominalisation to begin with.
And as Zeibura Kathau says, the rule as stated is probably not what a linguist would end up describing it as—they would talk of complements of nouns instead.

And be aware of what ambiguities and dysfunctions the rule could introduce.
You can have the same particle for objects of verbs and complements of nouns, as Olivier Simon does.
But what happens when you have both a verb and a noun taking objects in the sentence: it is clear which of the two the complement belongs to?


Actually, it's easy to make rules that are peculiar to your conlang if you are willing to be silly.
   For example, suppose your conlang used different verb conjugations depending of whether the referent(s) of the verb's subject were a) one or more pieces of sports equipment, b) one or more people who are known to be uncles or aunts, or c) all other kinds of beings and things.
   Chance are, such rules would be unique to your conlang.

What you can't do is make a word belong to a certain class all and only by saying that it belongs to that class.
   
For example, I once met a conlanger online who claimed to be designing a language in which all lexical items were adverbs.
    So "My father sneezed" would be more literally "fatherly sneezedly it.
was.
"    Unfortunately, "fatherly" (i.
e.
in a fatherly way) does not mean "father" (i.
e.
the male parent).
    Neither does "sneezedly" (i.
e.
in the manner in which one sneezes) does not mean "to sneeze.
"  Which just goes to show that saying that adverbs can be equivalent to nouns and verbs doesn't make it so.

As for your proposal, AFAIK the only way that a noun could take an object is if it stood for the same kind of action or state of affairs that a verb can stand for.
   So instead of  a), you could have b):  
a) informing the crowd
b) information crowd-[nominal complement affix]


Updated: 10.06.2019 — 10:28 am

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