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Re: A conlang database program

From:Dan Sulani <dnsulani@...>
Date:Sunday, July 11, 1999, 17:07
Boudewijn Rempt wrote:

> Dear people, > > I've been working on and off on ideas for a bit of software to help in > analyzing and describing a language,along with my ideas for an ideal > grammar (, and I've > prepared a design draft (which is also intended for consumption by the > non-conlang linguistic community). I'd like you all to comment upon it: > > -----------------------------------------------------------------------
Boudewijn, It looks like a very ambitious undertaking! I wish you success. <big snip>
> Entities
> * Lexical data
Just one question, though: under the heading of "Lexical data", are you considering only lexical units coinciding with what are usually considered single words, or perhaps (although it probably increases the programming complexity :-( ) also considering lexical units which coincide with multi-word phrases such as idioms, common metaphors and similies, and social phrases (with which normal conversations are usually liberally sprinkled). For example, in English, I would tend to think of the following as unitary expressions, not created, "on the fly", by lexical selection and syntactic construction: "how do you do" (which means "greetings"; if analyzed word by word, the only logical response being "do what?" :-) ) "a red letter day" (= important day ) "drunk as a skunk" (= very drunk; makes no semantic sense if analyzed word by word) "cold as hell" ( = extreme cold [ !!??]) BTW, I realize that the similies "drunk as..." and "cold as..." have many variations, (most of which are not suitable for family entertainment :-) ), and I've heard some pretty hard men curse at length, and it very quickly gets stereotyped and boring, suggesting that they were in fact employing "frozen", non-productive metaphors and similies, i.e. single lexical units. The true virtuoso probably _does_ compose on the spot, building utterances as the ideas come. Dan Sulani -- likehsna rtem zuv tikuhnuh auag inuvuz vaka'a. A word is an awesome thing.