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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


Rodlox <rodlox@...>?? Re: a "natural language" ?