Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ   

Re: The languages of Aohutl, Parts I and II: Oa-Oa-Lahahan and Mwa (was: SF Xenolinguistics)

From:Patrick Littell <puchitao@...>
Date:Monday, June 20, 2005, 4:53
On 6/13/05, Ray Brown <ray.brown@...> wrote:
> > On Monday, June 13, 2005, at 03:35 , Patrick Littell wrote: > > > Herein follows a compleat compendium of the languages of the planet > > Aôhutl. Not having been blest with the example of living trees or any > > similar sylviform plants, its divers inhabitants were forced to develop > > grammars for their debased and pagan tongues based upon other > > architectural forms. > > Oh, I see. So that's why we earthlings developed "terrestrial > tree-structure scheme" languages; the tree-structure got hardwired into > our 'language faculty' as a result of millions of years of pre-human > contemplation of trees ;)
Precisely. [snip]
> > Love the description of the Oa-Oa-Lahahan & Mwa languages! > > > You'll note that neither the Mwa grammar nor that of Oa-Oa-Lahahan > > involves any recursion. > > But as whatever may be expressed by recursion can also be expressed by > iteration (tho the opposite is not true), is lack of possibility of > recursion serious as long as iteration is possible?
Which question are you asking... is it (1) can a recursive grammar be expressed iteratively? or (2) can the Oa-Oa-Lahahan and Mwa (and the other sub-borial languages of Aohutl) express through iteration everything that the human and Plogl express through recursion? I typed a post that answered both, but it was very long and before I sent it Gmail and Firefox had an argument that left me without either.
> Some sentences like "I think Myriam knows I have a crush on her" may be > > able to be translated, but neither of these languages can handle the > > infinite recursive possibilities of a human language. (Well, > > Oa-Oa-Lahahan can't even handle the Myriam sentence, but the > > Oa-Oa-Lahahan don't have thoughts of that complexity in the first > place.) > > :)
Since I threw together Oa-Oa-Lahahan in fifteen minutes, I just sort of threw in an ugly kludge for the sort of sentences that we would call transitive. The "I = container! Brother = grasped!" construction. Inelegant, to say the least. But now I realize, hey, how much possible use could the Oa-Oa-Lahahan have for them... after all, they don't have a "theory of mind" -- that is, an Oa-Oa-Lahahan doesn't (and can't) speculate about the inner states of any being other than himself. So pretty much every "verb" that we would call transitive would have "I" either as the subject or object. (And very few verbs would require the option... something like "see" could only have an "I" subject, since the mental states of others isn't something an Oa-Oa-Lahahan thinks about.) So we would have X = thing-that-I-see (but no word for the opposite, since Oa-Oa-Lahahan are solipcistic.) X = thing-that-I-hold (but no word for the opposite, because they don't think about others as possessing.) X = thing-that-eats-me (but no word for the opposite, because the Oa-Oa-Lahahan don't eat.) And so on. (Remember, of course, that what we translate as "thing-that-I-see" is in Oa-Oa-Lahahan, a single, unanalyzable word.) [snip]
> > Anyway, more to come ;) > > I look forward to it. Do I assume the Plogl inhabit Aôhutl?
Yeah, I think they do. That final lateral fricative is just the sort of godless phoneme the Aôhutl..ians would favor. I think of the Plogl basically the same as you do; sorta like slow moving toadstools. Actually, the more I wrote about them the more they reminded me of the Mycon from Star Control II. Any conlanger who hasn't played this, go out and find it on an abandonware site, if only to converse with the Orz. Their species is so different than ours that your "universal translator" just sorta breaks down when it comes across them, and horribly mistranslates about a third of their words. The puzzle is to figure out the terrible reality behind their maniacally cheerful dialogue. That is *funny*. You think you *see* Orz but Orz are not *light reflections*. Maybe you think Orz are *many bubbles* too. It is such a joke. Orz are not *many bubbles* like *campers*. Orz are just Orz. I am Orz. I am one with many *fingers*. My *fingers* reach through into *heavy space* and you *see* *Orz bubbles* but it is really *fingers*. Maybe you do not even *smell*? That is sad. *Smelling* *pretty colors* is the best *game*. Ray
> =============================================== > > > =============================================== > "A mind which thinks at its own expense will always > interfere with language." J.G. Hamann, 1760 >
-- Patrick Littell PHIL205: MWF 2:00-3:00, M 6:00-9:00 Voice Mail: ext 744 Spring 05 Office Hours: M 3:00-6:00


Patrick Littell <puchitao@...>