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Re: Universal Violation Statistics

From:Sylvia Sotomayor <kelen@...>
Date:Saturday, September 6, 2003, 16:43
On Friday 05 September 2003 08:29 am, Peter Bleackley wrote:
> A quick summary of some recent posts > > Out of eighteen conlangs that violated at least one universal: > > 9 violated 1 universal > 2 violated 2 > 2 violated 3 > 2 violated 4 > 1 violated 5 > 1 violated 8 > and 1 violated 19. > > The universals violated, in decreasing order of unpopularity, are > > Number 2, violated by 7 conlangs, > Number 6, violated by 5, > Numbers 1,9,and 39, violated by 4 each, > Numbers 3,10,12 and 40, violated by three each, > Numbers 20,21,22,23, and 32, each violated twice, > And numbers 4,14,16,17,19,25,27,30,31,34,37,38,42 and 43, each
violated once.
> > Pete >
Hmm. Kélen doesn't have verbs, but if you define a relational as close-enough-to-a-verb, then Kélen is more or less VSO and prepositional. Looking over the universals list, there are two classes of violations. Kélen violates 15 & 16 and any others that might deal with auxiliary or subordinate verbs. Since there are only four relationals, there is never more than one per clause. Also, number 6 (SVO as an alternative in VSO langs) is violated, as the relational always appears first, and when it doesn't, a clausal modifier or conjunction appears first instead. Certainly an argument of the relational never appears first. The more interesting set of violations is 9-10-12 dealing with question particles. Kélen has a question particle. It is treated as a mood marker, along with the imperative, commissive, prohibitive, and exclamatory markers. Universal 9 says "With well more than chance frequency, when question particles or affixes are specified in position by reference to the sentence as a whole, if initial, such elements are found in prepositional languages, and, if final, in postpositional." Since K is prepostional, it ought to have an initial question particle rather than a final one. Universal 10 says "Such particles do not occur in languages with dominant order VSO." Oh well. And, Universal 12 says "If a language has dominant order VSO in declarative sentences, it always puts interrogative words or phrases first in interrogative word questions." Nope. Not here. In creating Kélen, I did set out to violate the "all langs have nouns and verbs and X" universal. However, I have also tried to conform with as many of the others as makes sense. -- Sylvia Sotomayor Kélen language info can be found at: This post may contain the following: á (a-acute) é (e-acute) í (i-acute) ó (o-acute) ú (u-acute) ñ (n-tilde)