Conlang Descriptions English Language

Section V: Noun-Verbs

Madeline Palmer was born in Anchorage, Alaska in 1980 and lived there for most of her life until moving to Washington State, eventually attending the University of Washington, Seattle, earning a double-major degree in linguistics and anthropology. She then attended the New York University as a graduate student in linguistics, focusing primarily upon Celtic languages, a field which has long interested her. The idea for Srínawésin came to her about twenty years ago when she read a novel and began to wonder why dragons never spoke in their language in any story, legend or tale she had read. This thought led to thinking about what their language would sound like and this simple question spawned a lifelong interest in language in general and specifically how a draconic language would sound and function. This paper is the accumulation of all of that work.

Book Abstract

Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred: A Grammar and Lexicon of the Northern Latitudinal Dialect of the Dragon Tongue

This series of papers sets out to describe and detail Srínawésin, the language spoken by dragons. As part of the paper’s fictional background it is adapted from original notes written by Howard T. Davis, a linguistics student at the University of New York from 1932 to 1937, the author attempts to present this language in a readable form for linguists as well as laypeople to give Mr. Davis’ work as wide an audience as possible. Section I includes an overview of the draconic worldview, mindset, and physical characteristics which give this language several “unique” features. In Sections II through VII the author explains the phonetic sounds which comprise the language, the morphology of the words, the ways in which verbs, nouns, adjectives, adverbs and possessives are created as well as how sentences are constructed in grammatical form according to Davis’ notes. Section VIII includes several dialogues in Srínawésin, songs, legends, poems and discussions between Davis and his sources while Sections IX and X comprise an extensive lexicon, breaking down how words are derived from the original root forms, as well as a thesaurus of root forms according to their class structure.


Section Abstract

Section V: Noun-Verbs

Although virtually all words in Srínawésin are inherently verbal in nature many are used as “noun-verbs” i.e. verbs used as nouns. Nouns in Srínawésin are virtually identical to verbs with the exception of having a unique set of prefixes and a restricted number of verbal endings which indicate that they are being used as what humans would call a “noun” vs. a “verb.” Section V goes over how “nouns” are conceived of by dragons; the manner which they are derived from their original verb roots in Srínawésin, how they maintain their verbality despite being functionally nouns; the various prefixes which are attached to “nouns” in order to facilitate their function within a sentence, such as object and subject prefixes, by-means-of, proximals, locatives, adjectival superlative and contrastive prefixes and the tense-inflection inherent in these prefixes; as well as the way pronouns are created and the predatory concept of gender in the language. This section serves as the basis for any use of noun-verbs and along with Section IV form the heart of this language.

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