|From:||Marcus Smith <smithma@...>|
|Date:||Monday, January 15, 2001, 18:43|
At 1/15/01 11:49 AM +0100, you wrote:
> > And of course, many languages do not cleanly fall into either category,
> > but
> > span both. Latin, for example, has case (dependent-marking) but also has
> > subject agreement on the verb (head-marking). Chickasaw has case
> > (dependent-marking) and also verbal agreement for subject and object
> > (head-marking).
>What's funny with linguistic categories is that languages always seem to
>the borders between those categories, never inside the categories
>. What a strange science which, to order its material of study, created
>categories where it never fits :)) .
Too bad things aren't a clear cut as in biology, where categories are
completely non-arbitrary. Oh, wait, the platypus lays eggs? There are
snakes that give live birth? Some birds have fingers with their wings while
still young? :)
Show me a science that doesn't have arbitrary classifications and loads of
exceptions, and I'll show you a science that isn't really trying to
Besides that, no linguist takes these categories that seriously. Head vs
depedent-marking is meaningless, as is isolating vs. inflecting vs.
agglutinative vs. polysynthetic. Even derivation vs. inflection morphology
is troublesome at times, though theorists tend to put more faith in this
one than the others.
"Sit down before fact as a little child,
be prepared to give up every preconceived notion,
follow humbly wherever and to whatsoever abysses Nature leads,
or you shall learn nothing."
-- Thomas Huxley