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First thoughts on Imperial

From:Ian Spackman <ianspackman@...>
Date:Thursday, July 17, 2003, 12:26
I had a thought I might use for Imperial (one of the languages I think I'll
actually need for my novel, if it ever gets written) yesterday.

Basic idea:

Different classes of noun have different inherent cases, and are marked
*only* when used in a different function.  So there is likely to be an
animate->agent class, an inanimate->patient class, a place->locative class
(and maybe even a container->inessive class), a tool->instrument
class.  Hm, any others?

Question: does this occur in natlangs?  (I think the answer is yes, or at
least something similar occurs, when it comes to the first two
classes.)  And if not, does it at least seem plausible?

Extended idea:

This might be particularly interesting if the different classes are
different parts of speech.  But this raises the problem: what could I do
that would be sufficient that they would be analyzed as different parts of

It's often discussed that languages don't need such-and-such POS - there's
such a discussion going on now - but I don't think I've ever seen mention
of languages with more PsOS than English.  (I'm not speaking here of what I
call "minor" PsOS - the sort of things than traditionally get lumped with
adverbs and now are often lumped together as particles, but of major
classes.)  And I wonder if this is because (a) I am ignorant of any such
analyses, (b) analysts are still biased by classical analyses, or (c)
English really is abnormally complex.  (Quite likely a combination of the
three, of course!)

But if (b) is at least part of the problem, then I wonder if even giving my
different nounoids very different morphologies, or setting things up such
that the relationship between the classes is clearly one of derivational
not inflectional morphology, would be enough to stop people thinking of
them as nouns....




Ian Spackman <ianspackman@...>Antipassives
Christophe Grandsire <christophe.grandsire@...>
Christophe Grandsire <christophe.grandsire@...>Antipassives