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Re: Is conlang a generator of conlangers? or a sustainer? (was: Oops!)

From:Tim Smith <timsmith@...>
Date:Tuesday, October 13, 1998, 2:07
At 11:42 AM 10/8/98 -0700, Matt Pearson wrote:
>(Incidentally, I just finished yet another major revision to the >Tokana Reference Grammar, in case anybody's interested. I've completely >redone the section on prepositions, reworked the case-marking system, >and made a few other minor - but crucial - changes and adjustments >here and there...)
I'm interested! =20 Incidentally, although I didn't comment on your redesign of Tokana's case system at the time you first mentioned it on the list, I actually think it's kind of nifty. I was particularly interested in the way you use the distinction between telic and atelic verbs to disambiguate a polysemous case marker. I had recently read some stuff about telic vs. atelic verbs in connection with the aspect system in Russian. I previously hadn't been aware of that distinction; I'd thought only in terms of stative vs. dynamic verbs, a distinction which I now realize is quite distinct from the telic vs. atelic distinction (though related to it, in that a stative verb can only be atelic, although a dynamic verb can be either, if I understand correctly). Anyway, that combined with what you said about the new Tokana case system to start me on a whole new train of thought about how this kind of thing might be used to solve some problems in some of my conlangs. In particular, in Neo-Anglic (a fictional future language descended from an English-based creole), I wanted there to be only a few prepositions, including one (_lo_, from English "along") which combines dative, allative, locative, and (for specific animate direct objects only) accusative functions. It occurred to me that with verbs of motion, the telicity or atelicity of the verb would make it clear whether _lo_ is being used in its allative or its locative function. Furthermore, the example you gave -- "run" (telic) vs. "run around" (atelic) -- suggested that in Neo-Anglic, "around" could have evolved into a fully productive affix _raun_ capable of turning any telic verb into an atelic one. Thus, to use an example much like yours: l=E9di idanr=E1n lo b=FAx =3D "the woman ran to/into the woods" l=E9di i- dan- r=E1n lo b=FAx woman 3SG-PAST-run to/at woods l=E9di idanr=E1nraun lo b=FAx =3D "the woman ran (around) in the woods" (same gloss except for the addition of _-raun_ to the verb) Not for the first time, I'm indebted to you for this insight, and hope you don't mind my stealing your ideas. ------------------------------------------------- Tim Smith "Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain." -- The Wizard of Oz (MGM, 1939)