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[Fwd: evolving languages]

From:Nik Taylor <yonjuuni@...>
Date:Friday, January 17, 2003, 1:07
Arthaey Angosii wrote:
> >From my knowledge of English, Spanish, and (teensy amounts of) German, I > agree that this is what I've experienced. By why is this so?
Because less common words are more likely to lose irregularities. Largely because the more a word is used, the more a child hears it, and the more firmly the irregular form is driven into their brain. For example, I suspect that "beech" (the original irregular plural of book) was lost because peasants rarely saw even one book, except perhaps the Bible, and so rarely needed to talk about them. Uatakassi has four classes of nouns with final long vowels, depending on how they're inflected in the plural and int eh genetive (-(a)f) and dative (-(a)z) forms. The first (and most common) class simply shortens the vowel and adds -k after it before those endings, thus uafamaa (ear) becomes uaffamaki (ears), uafamakaf (of an ear) uafamakaz (to an ear) The second thru fourth classes are more complicated. They all share teh same pluralization method, namely, shorten the vowel and add -i (which means that -ii remains unchanged), thus timitaa (aunt), timmitai (aunts) for class II; tikasuu (niece), tikkasui (nieces) for class III; and plalaa (piece) piflalai (pieces) for class IV However, for the genetive and dative, the second class shortens the vowel and adds -g, thus timitagaf (of an aunt), timitagaz (to an aunt). The third class shortens the vowel, thus tikasuf (of a niece), tikasuz (to a niece). The fourth (and rarest) class shortens the vowel and adds -a, thus plalaaf (of a piece), plalaaz (to a piece) or pialtii (boat), pialtiaf (of a boat; archaic form, it's now inflected as class III). Class IV is nearly extinct. In fact, plalaa is the only word I currently have in my lexicon for that class, altho there are several that were originally class IV and have since migrated to other classes. Class I has become the default, and a number of noun from other classes ahve migrated to it. It could, perhaps, be said that Class I are the regular long-vowel-ending nouns while classes II thru IV are irregular. At any rate, those classes are shrinking, especially II and IV. -- "There's no such thing as 'cool'. Everyone's just a big dork or nerd, you just have to find people who are dorky the same way you are." - overheard ICQ: 18656696 AIM Screen-Name: NikTaylor42