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Re: Irregularity in human languages (was Re: irregular conlangs)

From:Don Blaheta <dpb@...>
Date:Monday, October 4, 1999, 16:28
Quoth Carlos Thompson:
> Most irregularities are either sound changes (like {e} -> {ie}), phonetic > changes (like {c} -> {zc}) or some diferent paradigms (I will call a sound > changes those which are not predictable in present language but obey a rule > in old Spanish or Latin, while a phonetic change are those you can predict > in present language).
It occurs to me that this is a really useful distinction; the former ("sound changes"; one could call them "non-productive transformation rules") are useful to learn so that you can recognise unfamiliar forms when reading/listening, while the latter ("phonetic changes" or "productive transforms") can be learnt both for recognition and production. To bring this back around to the English verbs, the "-es instead of -s" rule is a productive, phonetic transform, while the various strong-verb paradigms are a good example of "sound changes" that could be recognised but not necessarily guessed (some moreso than others, of course). -- -=-Don<>-=- When a man goes on a date he wonders if he is going to get lucky. A woman already knows. --Frederick Ryder