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Re: Articles, determiners, quantifiers, whatever...

From:Sally Caves <scaves@...>
Date:Friday, July 9, 2004, 6:20
----- Original Message -----
From: "Remi Villatel" <maxilys@...>

> Sally Caves wrote:
> [---CUT---] > >>>Essentially, then, anything that can "determine" a noun > >>>in a closed list (short of words like "flowery," "shadowed,"
> >>>"unhallowed," "benighted," "free," or any other endless parade of > >>>descriptors.
> >>That's more or less the description of an agglutinative language. > > > Not at all, Remi. Ergative, accusative, synthetic, analytic and > > what-have-you languages use articles, determiners, quantifiers and > > adjectives. I don't quite understand you. > > Yes, Sally, it is! I understood that you suggested to put together the > (real) articles and all the possible adjectives in one word, that looks
> much agglutinative too me. Partially agglutinative, accretive, > (poly)synthetic are just variations around the theme of agglutination.
I don't mean to be monomaniacal about this, Remi, :) but my objection to your use of this term "agglutinative language" is that "agglutinative" has a specific meaning in English linguistics as a name for a particular language type, such as Finnish. Also, "short of" in English idiom means "without." In other words, "stopping short of," "avoiding." So I was *not* putting the closed class of determiners with the open class of regular adjectives. I was separating them. Let me rephrase. "Essentially, then, anything that can "determine" a noun in a closed class (and NOT words like "flowery," "shadowed," "unctious, ... "free," or any other descriptor that belongs in an open class of attributive adjectives)." Is that clearer now, I hope?
> > What I was trying to suggest for > > your category (but it seems that you have to work this out yourself) is
> > "closed class" or list of words that determine or quantify or modify a
> > This doesn't make it agglutinative. A closed class (you obviously know > > this) is a series of words that are not subject to innovation or change, > > like our English words "the, that, a, an, each, all, every, his, hers, > > theirs, my, your," etc. as opposed to a list of attributive or predicate > > adjectives that one can borrow endlessly into the language and expand
> > Words like "flowery, unctious, shadowed, unhallowed, benighted,
> > typical, brazen, agglutinative, bizarre, existential, fast, blue, azure, > > muslim, karate-like..." That's what I meant. > > That's clearer this way.
Good! So my wordiness pays off, sometimes! :) And that's exactly what I've done in Shaquelingua
> with the closed (although very large) class of the quantifiers ("real" or > possessive or adjective articles) and the open class of the qualities > ("real" or attributive adjectives, adverbs and more). > > >>Shaquelingua is agglutinative sometimes but not that far! > > > You might be using this term a little loosely just to mean "accretive." > > Very loosely! I should learn more about natlangs' grammar. I didn't know
> word "accretive" applied to grammar.
It doesn't, as far as I know. Perhaps I should have used "additive." To "accrete" simply means "to increase in size by adding on." The way a language increases the size of its open class vocabulary by borrowings and neologisims. I suppose you could also say that it applies to a growing list of a thing's qualities. "He's nice. And he's dark-haired. And he's intelligent, and well-mannered, affluent, single, TALL, available, mature, with very pretty iridescent wings, and he seems to like offspring." That's the sense in which I meant it.
>I thought that accretion only concerns > the formation of the planets.
Well, I don't know how extensively it's used in French. In English, it means "the growth or increase in size by gradual external addition," or "something added externally to promote an increase." In biology it means "the growing together or adherence of parts that are normally separated" (thus increasing the size of an organ or a limb or a branch)." In geology it means the additon to land by depositing sediment. In astronomy, it means increasing the mass of a celestial object, such as your remark about the formation of the planets. To "accrete" means 1) make larger or greater through increased growth. 2) to fuse separate things together. 3) to grow or increase gradually, as by addition." American Heritage Dictionary. I suppose my use of "accretion" was a little whimsical, but I meant "addition." Any language is capable of adding descriptors one after another, I suppose. I wanted to steer you away from "agglutinative" in the sense you used it.
> Certainly but it doesn't really matter; I won't say on my site what kind
> language the Shaquelingua is. I don't really know. There are constructed > particles which must be used sometimes alone, sometimes bound to other > words. Maybe should I say that Shaquelingua is polysynthetic to make > everybody happy. ;-)
Or invent your own typology. These are non-humans, aren't they?
> And the address is: > > (Brand new!)
Good, because I couldn't find the crucial pages on your other site. I'm having to cut out a lot of interesting descriptions of Shaquelingua because it's two in the morning, and I'm still packing for California. Or rather taking a break from packing.
> [---CUT---] > >>If you want so much to read more from me, go to my site and come back to > >>tell me that it is beautiful. (I like compliments too...) ;-)
I did go to your site, and you had not yet set up the pages that you were working on. I think your series of pages is beautifully presented. I would suggest one thing, though, and that is that after your long and interesting discussion of the Shaquelingua people, who are clearly aliens, you might write a couple of paragraphs summarizing the main features of their alien language before you head us into the sections on your grammar. That is where you will have to decide what language group it falls into, if any that we know.
> > I will! But now I have to go shopping for items for my trip. I'll get
> > to you. But I'm a slower reader with a poor memory--so many things
> > on--so have patience! :) > > No problem. The more you wait, the more you'll get to read. I'm a quick > writer too...
I'll have to wait and see after I get back from my trip home. Have fun! Sally