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NGL: Borrowing, Deriving, Coining

From:Gerald Koenig <jlk@...>
Date:Monday, October 5, 1998, 0:00
> >On Sat, 3 Oct 1998, Julian Morrison wrote:
Jack Durst:> >I'll only respond to the arguement which addresses me.
>> 1: Derive everything
My position, to repeat, is to borrow a lot of words and pay most of them back. That is, the words from natlangs are to be borrowed temporarily and replaced as better creations appeared.
>> >> If we were trying to make an IAL, then keeping the core vocabulary extremely >> minimal and making everything a derivation of it would make sense. It would >> allow minimal learning to give maximal productivity. However we are trying to >> build an L1 language and I would hate to see it grow into a verbose >> monstrosity. Otherwise we'll end up having to translate "toaster" into the >> equivalent of "sliced-bread-cooking-machine". Do you really want to have to >> type that? Every time?
>Even I wouldn't say that *everything* needs to or even can be derived. >Remember who just proposed a module for regularizing borrowings into the >language. I can argue that panfeir isn't all that difficult to type >..... >By no means will we always derive everything, but also by no means will >there be no derivation at all in the language. Heavy derivation from a >small set of morphemes is a way of getting the language to work *right >now*.
Massive temporary borrowing is also a way to jump start the language to get it to work "right now" The third possibility, espoused by Julian, is an unprecedented creative thrust. This is quite possible and the best way, IF we recruit enough creative conlangers to do the work in a reasonable time. To recruit these missing authors, we need to put out a call on conlang and elsewhere for their assistance. We need to make a pefectly clear set of criteria for the missing words. NGL needs to be opened up or it will get bogged down in a long slow process of argument about every last word.
> >In fact, I hearby propose that the following be considered a good >justification for a new word: > 1. The word is very common in discourse or is the stem in > a large number of derivations > 2. The word consists of an unusually long derivation > Proof of this will be: > a. It is more than one sylable longer than it's >NOTE: largest counterpart in the following languages: >The reduced form - Japanese >should be used - English >throughout. - Spanish > - German > b. It is more than 2 sylables longer than the adverage > of the languages above. > 3. If the new form will be a collapse into an existing morpheme > or the creation of an invhrse form for an existing morpheme > it should be less difficult to prove.
1. We should use common word frequency tables to determine what is common. 2. This specification is vague as to whether an average of the natlangs is proposed, or a choice of the longest one for comparison. Also, we should improve on these languages by coining a new, shorter word when possible, not just accept words 2 syllables longer. 3. "The reduced form should be used throughout". The reduced form, introduced as an alternative for "prestige speakers" is now proposed as de rigeur. It is an unproven experiment whose effect on the esthetics, the grammar (vector), and the intelligibility are unknown. I hope the "reduced form" is the greatest thing since Huffman encoding, but that remains to be seen. In particular I want to hear about its effect on the beauty of the language. Does it do violence to Julian's phonology which we voted on? Point 3 above I do not understand, so cannot comment on.
> >This would allow for long words which are common and/or derivationally >productive to be shortened, thus shortening the overall adverage length of >the language, while still maintining the transparentcy of derivation for >rarer words. >
"Transparancy of derivation" is a good thing and I'm for it. I'm also for the reasonable use of derivational morphems. I like the metaphors they carry, it does add a richness of association to the language. There should be exceptions to the length rules for particulary felicitous compounds. What I regard as disasterous for the language is excessive derivation. It is not only prolix, it creates the illusion of of relatedness by the use of numerous inaccurate analogies underlying the more complex derivations.
>Sincerely, > Jack Durst > >[this posting written in Net English] > > > >