verb + tseng compounds in informal speech

Started by Mako, July 05, 2023, 08:32:15 PM

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The following is a transcription of an exchange with Paul regarding productive noun/verb + tseng compound creation as fast abstraction for "place" words (ie. yomtseng) in informal speech.

TL;DR: It's acceptable to create such compounds in informal speech as they're easily understandable.

Quote from: MakoKaltxì ma Karyu! Hope things are going well for you in this time.

Been puzzling over this in my mind for a while, decided to finally ask you about it: Regarding tseng, there's a pattern of suffixing it to create "place" words like numtseng, txeptseng, zongtseng, sl.

The question is, would you imagine that the Na'vi consider this to be productive in fast or informal speech? For example, sweylu txo vivar pivängkxo yomtsengro, we should continue to chat at the meal-place.

I find myself reaching for this construction ever frequently in scenarios like this and wondered if you might think the same.

Naturally, there are some morphological changes demonstrated in canonized compounds like numtseng that I imagine would take a more hardline approach to canonizing, wherein maybe over time numetseng was shortened even further to numtseng.

Let me know what you think.

All the best!


Quote from: Karyu PawlKaltxì ngar, ma Mako.

Hope you and your family had a pleasant Fourth.

Interesting question about tseng as a productive suffix. In the example you gave, yomtseng sounds totally natural, which leads me to think it's an actual word that should be included in the lexicon. It could be the equivalent of our dining room, or perhaps a surface on which food is eaten. But it's surely something that's part of the culture and which the Na'vi would talk about, i.e, something "institutionalized."

But that leaves the question of possible -tseng words that are not necessarily institutionalized and connected to the culture. Is a place where singing has occurred a roltseng? Is a location where people have been arguing a wätetseng, or a place where people have been weaving a täftxutseng? I doubt those words would be in the dictionary, since they aren't institutionalized in the culture. (Although that's not immediately apparent. If there are designated areas where weaving traditionally takes place, then täftxutseng might very well be a word in the dictionary. I just don't know!)

In any event, all of these potential words—"legitimate" or not—are perfectly understandable. That leads me to think that in colloquial speech, they might very well arise, even if the resulting words aren't canonized in the lexicon.

A possible analogy in English is the suffix -ish, which can be attached colloquially to almost any noun or adjective. Some "ish" words are "legit": childish, slavish, yellowish, etc. But colloquially, people say things like, "That was a totally politician-ish way of not answering a question." Understandable, but not canonized.

So in answer to your question, I'd say that yes, "tseng" coinages are likely to come up in informal, colloquial conversation, even if they're not ready for prime time in the sense of inclusion in the lexicon.


ta P.