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old clothing (was: Re: Language superiority...)

From:Matt Pearson <mpearson@...>
Date:Thursday, October 15, 1998, 7:30
Nik Taylor wrote:

>Well, for one, natlangs have evolved for thousands of years, there are >traces of earlier stages, features which made sense at some earlier >time, but are illogical now. There are inflections that were once >regular, but are no longer regular (e.g., the strong verbs of English, >or the stem-changing verbs of Spanish), borrowings, formerly productive >derivations, re-analyzed forms, syncretisms, etc., which may be absent >from a conlang (unless it's intended to be naturalistic). Natural >languages have been compared to old clothing, with patches and stains. >A conlang is a new garment which has never been worn.
Some of us, though, have deliberately 'distressed' our conlangs so that they look as if they've been worn. Tokana, for example, is chock full of derivational irregularities, unproductive affixes, archaicisms, roots whose meanings are no longer recognisable, and obscure or mysterious lexical relationships. All part of the desire to make it as 'naturalistic' as possible... Matt. ------------------------------------ Matt Pearson UCLA Linguistics Department 405 Hilgard Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90095-1543 ------------------------------------