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Re: Nouns, verbs, adjectives... and why they're pointless

From:Garrett <alkaline@...>
Date:Friday, December 11, 1998, 15:44
I was tired of my isp's mail not working so now i'm using a different POP
server. Here is the message i wanted to send two days ago.

Joshua Shinavier wrote:

> > Most nouns are not easily definable. "Cat" can be defined as _felis > > domesticus_, a quite precise term. Water can be defined as H2O, also a > > precise term, but most cannot be so easily defined. What is "table", > > for instance? How can you define it as opposed to "desk"? Both have > > some sort of flat surface, suitable for various tasks, such as writing, > > but what seperates them? On the other hand, verbs can usually be > > defined quite precisely. > > I disagree completely. In Danoven there is no distinction, but those words > which correspond best to verbs in English are not any simpler than those
> correspond to nouns. Both are defined "minimalistically" based on other > elements of the language. Silm ("to drink"), for instance, means simply > "to ingest a liquid (down the esophagus, of course -- accidental inhalation > of liquids is not silm!)", and is a concept included in oev (o"v) -- "to
> -- to ingest, intentionally or unintentionally, regardless of material or > any other considerations. You would "oev" soup, not "silm" it, unless it is > all liquid. You would "silm" water, poison, or anything else nutritional or > non, with whatever intention -- these are the pure forms of the words, > clear and unambiguous; additional information may be added by way of
> or further explanation. > The "desk-table" quandary is a typically natlang one; natlangs tend to avoid > inclusions and hierarchial definitions -- there is a tendency to try to put > every thing into just one categorical box, rather than taking nouns (since > these are the natlang "things") to be simply descriptions, approximate or > precise, of things, rather than mutually exclusive classifications. > In a sensible language a desk is a table as well; there is no way in which > the writing purpose of "a desk" compromises the table-ness of "a table". > Now, if "table" were only an adjective, you wouldn't have even brought up > this problem -- the seeming "boundary" between "table" and "desk" would > disappear, and they might both be used to describe a given thing with no > conflict, just as you might describe the table as both "wooden" and "black" > without any conflict. > > I have yet to meet someone who could explain just what the distinction
> nouns, verbs, and adjectives is supposed to represent; the *evolution* of
> distinctions is clear, but their *purpose*, if there is one, is shrouded in > mystery, at least for me. The distinction is absolutely fundamental to the > grammar of any language which has it -- IMNSHO there must be some very
> fundamental and important conceptual distinction it stands in for, otherwise > it would not seem worth all the problems it causes, would it? > To me, the PoS seem far more traditional than rational, and this is an
> based not just on reasoning but also on experience; I fluently speak a
> without PoS and have never felt *any* need for them -- from an "outsider's > viewpoint", PoS distinctions are artificial, sloppy, and entirely
> as well. Flame at will, it's the simple, verified truth ;-) > > Josh Shinavier
Verified? by who? :P Here is my viewpoint: the concept of the verb is based on energy, and the noun is based on matter. An adjective is an elaboration/specification on a noun (further describes the matter/object); an adverb is an elaboration/specification on a verb. Some verb concepts are quite elaborate, and could sometimes be expressed as a simpler verb plus some adverbs. As said before, everything changes in time; that doesn't necessarily mean that everything is based on a verb. What I say is that the verb is a change/description of the change, the noun is the matter that changes. Then there's the conversion between verb and nouns. A noun can be classified based on a verbal concept (a teacher, writer, any other -er's). In that case, the "energy form" that character/object most participates in is what it's classified by. A verb can be classified based on a nounal concept, such as "doing something like someone else", and other examples i can't think of right now. I think that adjectives are of the noun (matter describing) category, and I don't know why they're used as verbs. To "be" something doesn't imply any energy use at all. What I'm thinking of doing with malat is removing the function letters that tell the part of speech, and have the case markers tell. Of course, all words would be divided up into two parts: words based on energy concepts ("verbs"), and words based on matter concepts ("nouns"). They could be used interchangeably, of course; but, the way they're used is different. Note that this is what i'm "thinking" of doing. Words used as adjectives/adverbs and such would be right next to the word they're modifying, either being suffixes or just simple modifiers. The case markers would decide how the meaning is related to the rest of the words. JJS: you must have SOME type of system that tells how the words relate to each other... -- -Time is what keeps everything from happening at once. -Garrett Jones aka Alkaline Rising Sun - C&C2: Tiberian Sun - Malat -