The Spem conlang

The Spem conlang: verb objects

Here's an insight about optimal language design: **No verb should accept an indirect object but not a direct object.** Direct objects are the only type of information you can specify about a verb that doesn't require a preposition, so they're the fastest.

"Go" in English is an offender, because for some reason you have to say "go *to* somewhere" - why is the direct object slot unused? (Except for demonstratives and a few special nouns like "home".)

All Spem verbs of motion (and some other verbs) follow a pattern. The transitive version is the "basic" one, and the other one is a shortcut. For example, nɪv is the most basic verb for expressing movement. It has the following syntax:

<mover> nɪv <object> vɑ <previous location> av <new location>

The av and vɑ clauses can be in either order. Any of the three object clauses can be omitted:

mi nɪv av djʌn = "I move stuff (unspecified stuff) over there".

You can actually leave them all three out: "mi nɪv" = "I move (unspecified stuff to an unspecified destination)" For comparison, in English you could say, "Don't move anything!" But the only reason English requires you to say "anything" is because "Don't move" would mean don't move *yourself*. In Spem transitive and reflexive versions of a verb are always separate, so you could just say "Don't move (stuff)" and have it distinguished from "Don't move (yourself)" by using nɪv versus vɪn.

The reason the object moved is the direct object of nɪv is because it's the mostly commonly specified. Another insight: **Which object is which is theoretically arbitrary, but for the sake of speed, the most commonly-specified one should be the direct object.**

The reflexive version of all Spem transitive verbs only exist as shortcuts. To continue the example, *vɪn* means "go" - to move oneself. Here's how you can convert any vɪn statement to a nɪv statement:

<entity> vɪn <destination> = (<entity>) nɪv <entity> av <destination>

I put the subject of nɪv in parentheses because it's not strictly implied - vɪn doesn't strictly mean the thing being moved is the thing doing the moving. For example, if you throw something and aren't sure where it went, in English you could say "Where did it go?". You can also do this in Spem for any reflexive motion verb. Still, the implication of vɪn is useful because nɪv is *usually* used for being set in motion by something else, so "nɪv mi" would be understood as "I'm being moved".

Notice that that's the passive voice! In Spem, to get the passive voice you just omit the subject. I like this because it makes it obvious that the subject is missing. The way other languages implement the passive voice facilitates bad ideas because it allows you to omit the subject while making it still sound like a complete statement. For example: "it's known that..." or "it was discovered that..." or "A study was done..." Language like this can be used to condition the listener against asking *who* knows it, *who* discovered it, *who* did the study; I've frequently seen this taken advantage of for dishonesty.


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