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We are super excited to reveal that our third host for (we hope) the duration of William’s absence will be none other than David J. Peterson!  Take a listen as we talk through the challenges of making an agglutinative language that isn’t depressingly boring.

Top of Show Greeting: Kihā́mmic


Email from (another) Michael:
Hey guys,

I’ve been having a bear of a time getting going with LaTeX. For some reason, I can’t get my hands on the Windows binaries that the LaTeX project website links to, and I can’t stand Lyx. The LaTeX wikibook recommends using an online editor at, but that site isn’t taking new users anymore (besides that, it’s a freemium business model that gets you only 5 projects unless you pony up the dough). When I tried to register, it pointed me at, which I’m going to try out. From what I can tell so far, it’s easy to write out the code, and you just click a button and it gives you a PDF right away. I’ll keep you guys posted; this might be a great resource for conlangers!

11 Responses to “Conlangery #68: Agglutination”

  1. Esploranto

    Great show, you guys! The final outtakes really killed me, very funny! Papas fritas! And “Nextflixear”… I will have to remember that. We already have googlear and clickear… too bad Netflix still isn’t that popular here.

    The episode was great, William’s absence will indeed be missed but he can’t complain about his great replacement. There was great material and ideas for people with agglutinative languages. One interesting thing about vowel harmony is that each language that features it seems to have its own version, right? Of course always would a logical system, logical in its own terms.

    “Don’t use morphemes”, I found this final warning very interesting, I wish David could have expanded on it! Are you objecting to bound morphemes, free morphemes or to the whole idea of analyzing languages as composed of “morphemes”?

    Well, hope to hear more episodes soon! Great job!

    • admin

      You’ll hear more about David’s thoughts about morphemes in episode 70. For now, yes, he is opposed to morphemes as an analytical tool, and particularly as a tool for conlanging. Most of his argument is in this old LCC presentation. The reason I put the kibosh on the discussion is that I knew it could turn into another hour-long topic in itself.

      • Esploranto

        Yes, I know it was impossible to expand on it, and I’m not saying you should, but still I was curious. I suspected that was what he meant but needed confirmation. Thanks so much for your quick reply and I will check that presentation and wait eagerly for episode 70!


  2. Wm Annis

    Even in languages like Navajo, where verbs are described with template systems, from time to time there are little dances for this or that element that doesn’t always follow the rule, mostly in the form of conditioned morpheme (zhey David, affa) metathesis.

    • Panglott

      It’s not really reflected in the Wikipedia page, but along with affixial-compositional, Johanna Mattissen( “A structural typology of polysynthesis”, Word, 2004) divides polysynthetic languages into two broad groups: template- and scope-ordered. Template-ordered languages use a verbal template like Navajo, but scope-ordered languages order the affixes by intended meaning, so they don’t necessarily fit into “slots”.

      Like Klingon normally fits its affixes into slots, except for the affix meaning “no, not”, which is a floater; it’s scope-ordered in a broader template-ordered paradigm.

  3. wm.annis

    I suppose I should add that David was not the only person jealous to learn that George is taking Tagalog. I myself would probably have worked a little harder to get into the Zulu class.

    • admin

      I was all prepared to present notes and assignments from a previous Phonology class to get out of this one, but when I looked at the syllabus I realized it was probably a good idea to take it anyway.

      I am learning some interesting things about Tagalog. For instance, today I learned about the most awesome contact effect: Tagalog speakers use native numerals for everyday counting, Spanish for dates and times (even borrowing the a la(s) X structure, and English for large numbers.

  4. Panglott

    Kudos to Mike for using one of my favorite words, sesquipedalian. I love the words that mean themselves, and it’s one that people don’t use in conversation too often.

  5. Emelano

    Been catching up with episodes lately. Great stuff as always. I know I’ve asked about LaTeX and LyX in the past but I’m working on a conlang and writing my grammar straight into LyX. Not sure what your feedback person found wrong with it, I happen to find it quite nice and certainly stable (I used it regularly on Mac, Windows and Linux and it’s one of the few apps that is uniform and rock solid on all three platforms). I do find the online doc for -TeX- apps to be dry and academic though so any collaboration you or other listeners feel they could share would be wonderful. I’m on Twitter @emelano. George, I’d still like to see some of your LyX raw files, specially ones you’ve added linguistic formatting to, so I can perhaps figure out how it’s done. Thanks again 🙂



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