Re: a "natural language" ?
|From:||Thomas R. Wier <trwier@...>|
|Date:||Thursday, December 2, 2004, 19:53|
From: Joerg Rhiemeier <joerg_rhiemeier@...>
> > "Thomas R. Wier" <trwier@...> wrote:
> > In my experience with the languages of North America and the
> > Caucasus, this is not at all the case. On top of all the other
> > things that make Georgian a difficult language to learn, it is
> > replete with suppletive verb (and noun!) stems, a number of
> > different kinds of verbal and nominal ablaut, sometimes intersecting
> > one another but sometimes not, and many verbs which simply lack
> > certain stems and so have to recruit other stems to fill out
> > paradigms.
> I never seriously tried to learn Georgian, but I did try to get to
> an understanding of how its morphology works - and found that none of
> the sources I found gave comprehensive paradigms, and couldn't figure
> it out from examples, either. Apparently, this is because things
> are frantically irregular in Georgian!
Well, I would definitely agree that Georgian is towards that end of
the scale. I'd say individual IE languages -- e.g. Homeric Greek --
can be like that too.
> I am not very familiar with North American languages, but I have heard
> that their morphologies are formidable.
They can be, certainly. With over 300 languages spoken in 1492
north of the Rio Grande alone, a good number are not so morphological.
(But it is also my impression that Amerindian languages are more
morphological than, say, African or European languages.)
> > Yes, that's often the case. But languages with much more
> > complex morphological systems than IE-languages can be far,
> > far worse, let me assure you, for purely morphological reasons.
> So IE actually occupies a middle position on the irregularity scale,
> I assume.
Yeah, I think this is fair. Maybe slightly more irregular than
most, but certainly not the highest. It all depends on what criteria
one uses for irregularity.
Thomas Wier "I find it useful to meet my subjects personally,
Dept. of Linguistics because our secret police don't get it right
University of Chicago half the time." -- octogenarian Sheikh Zayed of
1010 E. 59th Street Abu Dhabi, to a French reporter.
Chicago, IL 60637