LangMaker (langmaker) wrote,

Conjunction Junction, What's Your Function?

Conjunction Junction, what's your function?
Hookin'-up cars and makin' 'em function.
Conjunction Junction, how's that function?
I like tyin' up words and phrases and clauses.

- Schoolhouse Rock
I knew that if changed the article system I would end up changing the conjunction system as well. I was hoping to declare my independence from articles altogether, because the final Dublex article system that I had come up with was way too complex, with 48 (!) different forms. Unfortunately, I finally decided that articles do play an important role in Novvocu, though I simplified things by removing obligatory number marking, by breaking out demonstrative adjectives and by using the no particle for genitive pronouns. The current article system has just six forms: un (indefinite), al (introductory), {null} (continuing), em (general), ir (partitive) and ot (negative), one of which signifies its meaning by being omitted. I had originally considered something more naturalistic, such as definite articles of al (from Arabic), el (from Spanish), il (from Italian) and ol (invented), but those forms are harder to remember being so close together in shape, so -- except for un (Romance) and the aforementioned al -- I just arbitrarily invented forms that differ from one another in both vowel and consonant.

The decision to include articles as VC forms prompted me to change conjunctions to VCC forms, because I want to make it easy to distinguish part of speech by word form, and -- since conjunctions are less often used than articles -- they should be the longer forms. The new conjunctions are:
ont: not -- a prefix conjunction that inverts its condition (true > false, false > true)
ecs: and -- an infix conjunction that returns true only if both its conditions are true;; also, too -- a prefix conjunction that returns true if its condition is true but also indicates that its condition is in addition to previous conditions
arp: or, and/or -- an infix conjunction that returns true if one or the other or both of the conditions are true
ild: xor, exclusive or -- an infix conjunction that returns true if one or the other condition is true but not both
umb: nor, neither...nor -- an infix conjunction that returns true only if neither of its conditions is true

The words were designed as a system, and to improve memorizability each begins with a different vowel and each uses two unique consonants. The only one with any basis in another language is ont, from Dublex nont. I chose the other forms on purely subjective reasons: each sounded to me like it conveyed its meaning. Since I had five vowels available, I added one more conjunction, umb (the /-b/ in /umb/ is pronounced), "neither...nor", since ild is really a stricter version of "either..or" and could benefit from a counterpart. The conjunction umb is less verbose than the alternative: citab umb pap, "neither book nor paper", which has the same logical meaning as ont citab ecs ont pap, "not book and not paper".

The other change I made was to explicitly distinguish two roles: prefix (e.g., ont citab) and infix (e.g., citab ecs pap), and to give ecs a prefix meaning ("also, as well"; ecs citab, "book, too"). If I was going to have a prefix meaning, it seemed, um, logical, to have another conjunction that could be used as a prefix.

Note that "but" is really just an emphatic form of "and": ont un citab ecs un pap would be translated "not a book but a paper".

"Conjunction Junction, what's their function? I got And, But, and Or. They'll get you pretty far."
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