Sunday, July 21, 2013

Koa inspiration from Amharic

First of all, just out of interest, Amharic demonstrative pronouns/adjectives are the same as the possessives for that level of deixis. For example, "that book" has the same form as "his book." I mention this because there was a brief discussion with Allison about using a strategy like this in Koa in the early 2000's.

The main point of this entry, though, is about reduplication. We've talked about the talo-talo and talo-alo types (not that we know exactly what they do), but Amharic has a different method that we could use too: repeating the medial consonant with the vowel a. Thus talo > találo, kunu > kunánu, etc. CVV nouns often end up with a pronounced glottal stop: pai > pa'ái.

I was thinking this might serve to make the noun more euphemistic, more gentle, less objectionable, or something. So a pragmatic rather than semantic value. Just one possible idea, though.

So like... Ai se halu luái? "Do you want to get it on?" You're not exactly saying lui, but still talking about it.