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Re: ANNOUNCE: My new conlang S11

From:Henrik Theiling <theiling@...>
Date:Thursday, March 3, 2005, 2:57

Damian Yerrick <tepples@...> writes:
> "Henrik Theiling" <theiling@...> wrote: > > > Motivation: > > The main problem I was having with all conlangs so far > > was the question of assignment of arguments to predicates: > > Designers of APIs in computer programming have analogous problems.
Ah, good analogy -- that's right. So I solve these problem every day. :-))) So when designing an API, the principles about argument order are really case->role assignment principles like in a conlang... :-)
> > I found the questions very hard an unsatisfactory to solve each > > time and was searching for some grammar structure that ultimately > > solved these questions without arbitrary borderlines e.g. between > > arguments and adjuncts. > > That is, unless some limits for these borderlines are hardwired in UG.
Well, with limits, you still have to make a decision within those limits. For me, only 0, 1 and \infty are nice numbers, so maybe that's why I was searching for a radical solution. In the same way, my number system in Tyl Sjok, which I borrowed into Qthyn|gai also uses this principle: there is no base word for 'hundred' or 'thousand' although the base is ten (by default). It is all constructed using only 10^1, not 10^2, not 10^3, not anything else. That's the same type of niceness. :-)
> > - there are no adjuncts either, the whole structure is controlled > > by using a sequence of noun-verb pairs. > > Mmm... pairs. Once I thought of making a language out of > two-word clauses, as an attempt to model what the language of the > Eloi of Wells's _The Time Machine_ would be like, ...
Ah, there are more and more people who have thought about this, then. Funny! :-)
> But where do adjectives fit into this plan? Or do you plan to handle > them as relative clauses? And whither adverbs?
Adjectives will either be verbs or nouns, depending on what they denote. I think as in my previous langs, entities and states will be the same and thus nouns, and events will be verbs. But I have to think about this borderline, too. Adverbs will be normal participants in the sentence, thus just another noun-verb pair: 'John asks politely.' = john PERCEPTION ask polite use. noun evidence verb noun verb This is quite a prototypical serial verb construction, I think. 'polite' would have to be translated as 'politeness' and 'polite use' would be 'with politeness' = 'politely'. There will probably also be some derivational mechanisms to convert between verbs and nouns. My goal is not minimal complexity, but minimal felt awkwardness. :-) Further, attributive adjectives will be used in a relative clause, yes (quite like Chinese), and denominalised first if necessary. I have not yet thought thoroughly about which denominalisers I will have, but an 'essive' prefix (= 'to be in the state of _') can be expected, I think: E.g. 'Polite John asks (a question).' = john HEARSAY be-polite REL PERCEPTION ask. noun evidence DENOM-noun REL evidence verb. \_verb___/ Something like that.
> > there are simply two (or more) verbs for each role. I think they > > will all be suppletives, and not derivationally related (or maybe > > related by some irregular, chaotic, non-productive process in some > > cases). > > Any reason why they should all be suppletives?
Yes: because I fear that any attempt to derive them regularly will introduce a bias towards a nominative/accusative or ergative or active/split-S or whatever system and thus a trace of a structure that has more than one core argument to predicates. E.g. I'd have to define: to derive the verb that takes the patient, use the verb for the agent and modify it this way: THE_WAY. Suppletives and chaos avoid this reference to roles. A role is simply defined by its verb. There is no generic agent, there is someone who asks. There is no generic patient, but only someone who is hit, etc.
> > After the first noun in a pharse, there must be an evidence marker, > > Are these grammatical evidence markers just something you wanted > to try, or is there some deep grammatical reason for them?
First of all, I love them. :-) Second, they mark the start of a sub-clause.
> The whole thing reminds me vaguely of serial verb constructions > in some African languages.
Could you give some examples? Sounds very interesting! **Henrik


H. S. Teoh <hsteoh@...>