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Re: cases

From:H. S. Teoh <hsteoh@...>
Date:Sunday, September 10, 2000, 21:56
On Sun, Sep 10, 2000 at 04:04:20PM -0400, Jonathan Chang wrote:
> In a message dated 2000:09:10 12:56:34 PM, robert@APEXWOOD.COM writes: > > >I'm not a linguist but I am tring to create a language and I was > >> wondering if there was a min. number of noun cases needed in a language > >> to keep it clear. is it better to have more or less affix cases etc. > >> > > Pidgin, creole and many isolating/analytical languages do without case > inflections.
[snip] Mandarin has no inflection whatsoever. Save a handful of clitics useful for clarifying what you mean when you need to. The exact meaning is often inferred from context. ObConlang: I like this idea of high context-sensitivity in langs. So I've come up with a (weird?) concept in my conlang, called Nominator sentences. Nominator sentences are analogous to giving a title to an essay, sub-titles to sections within an essay/written work, etc.; except that nominator sentences are used much more frequently by native speakers of my conlang, and are very much a part of the spoken language. A nominator sentence consists of a single noun-phrase with the function of the locative case; and it "sets the tone" for subsequent discourse. For example: pii'z3di. jhy'l0 luy's loo'ru m3ngu'. luy's manga' nu biz3tau' d3 jolu'r. buy'jh 3lymo3'n biz3tau'. biz3t30' fww't3 K0'rom3n. Sentence-by-sentence transliteration: The man. From the room, goes outside to the horse. The horse is ridden to the woman's house. The plants are given to the woman. The woman is most beautiful. The first sentence "the man" is a nominator, that tells the listener that what follows is a story about "the man". This context carries through the rest of the passage, so that it is understood that it is the man who went outside the house; it is the man who rides the horse, and it is the man who gives the plants to the woman; and the last sentence, which seems to be a tangent, actually is implying that the man sees the woman as most beautiful; it's not a general statement about the woman as it would appear to be in the English transliteration. I'm still working out the details of this system, so things may change, but the basic idea of context will remain. Just wondering if anyone else knows of similar constructs in natlangs or other conlangs? I'd be curious to know about them :-) T