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Re: Leveraging Linnaean lingo in a loglang

From:Herman Miller <hmiller@...>
Date:Tuesday, December 2, 2008, 4:27
maikxlx wrote:
> More ramblings on naming stuff...
> It seems that naming plants is a challenge in natlangs, and even more so in > a conlang in which one-meaning-per-constituent is a design requirement. I > will probably never get around to naming more than a tiny fraction of the > varieties of plants. I do seek to provide a system that could be used, in > theory, to conveniently name any plant or anything else that someone wishes > to name. Right now, I have three basic tactics for naming living things:
Naming plants is definitely a challenge. The classification doesn't help much, since there are a few families with large number of species (e.g. grains, composites, legumes), but quite a few common plants scattered around in a bunch of different families. You get things like poison ivy being related to cashews.
> 1. Basic expressions (BEs, i.e. single morphemes) are coined directly for > many familiar living things, as I described in my previous post. I coined > mostly 'a posteriori' BEs for convenience, but I don't think there is > anything inherently un-loglang-ish about coining onomatopoeic or otherwise > idiosyncratic names as you use IYC. (Nor, IMHO, are classifier systems, or > elaborate compounding morphologies, super-advantageous in lexicon design. > For me, the main consideration is simply keeping each BE morphologically > unique and semantically well-defined in any given context.) > > 2. Identifiable subsets of the extension denoted by any given BE can be > indexed using arbitrary noun phrases. IMC, prefixing any basic expression > 'X' with "zu" provides a argument place for a NP 'Y' which names, possibly > metaphorically, an identifiable subtype of 'X'; in other words, the phrase > 'zùX Y' means roughly "thing belonging to that subtype of 'X' known > metaphorically as 'Y'". For example: > > zùlilio kandela = candle-lily = certain variety of genus 'Lilium' known as > "Candle" (whatever one) > (literal gloss: thing belonging to that subtype of Lily known as "Candle") > > zùhunde pastore kèdoytce = German Shepherd (dog) > (literal gloss: thing belonging to that subtype of dog known as "German > Shephard") > > Each subtype would be defined as precisely as a basic expression. > Therefore, properly speaking, there would be only one variety of plant > called "zùlilio kandela" (candle-lily). However, each BE has its own > subtype space, so "zùrosa kandela" (candle-rose) would name some other > plant, as would the putative "zùplanta kandela" (candle-plant), whatever > those things may be. In a way, this system works like Linnaeus's bionomial > system of genus+species, except that it's intended to subtype many things, > both natural and artificial, e.g. plants, cheese, minerals, stars, etc, and > do so independently of any over-arching taxonomical system.
Jarda has pretty much a binomial system like that, described in more detail at The page is specifically about animal names, but it applies to other categories of Jarda vocabulary as well. So "źiřvi ğó" must be a type of "źiřvi" (clarinet) that's "ğó" (low-pitched or deep) -- a bass clarinet. Another example is "vlarzur mŏř" (bluebonnet, Lupinus sp.) where "vlarzur" literally means "wolf-flower" and "mŏř" is a shade of blue.
> Frequently used expressions could be later shortened to basic expressions by > coining a new BE (which could be a portmanteau, a borrowing, a 'sui generis' > formation, etc.) e.g. "lilikandela" < "zùlilio kandela"; "pastordoytche" < > "zùhunde pastore kèdoytce" (or perhaps "doytcaceferhunde" < G. "Deutscher > Schäferhund") . > > 3. As mentioned, scientific binomials can be directly quoted, when desired > or needed.