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Agglutinativity Index (was: Re: What's a good isolating language to look at)

From:Thomas Hart Chappell <tomhchappell@...>
Date:Thursday, December 8, 2005, 21:03
--- In, Jim Henry <jimhenry1973@G...> wrote:
> > [snip] > > I checked the gjâ-zym-byn version of the Babel text > ...[snip]... > Like many engelangs** it's purely agglutinative; I don't have to > count to see that the agglutinativity index is 1.0. > > John C. Wells, in _Lingvistikaj Aspektoj de Esperanto_,*** > quotes the Greenberg article and calculates indexes > of synthesis and agglutinativity for Esperanto. > ...[snip]... > ... Wells found indexes of > agglutinativity of 1.0 in the texts he analyzed, > but guessed that the actual index in the corpus > as a whole is probably around 0.9999. (There > are two affixes, -cxj- and -nj-, that act fusionally > rather than agglutinatively.) > > [snip]
Are these ratios and averages "by type" or "by token"? That is, for the agglutinativity index, do you count each morpheme just once, no matter how many times it occurs in the text; or do you weight more-frequently-used morphemes with more weight? (For the synthesis index, the question would be, do you count each _word_ just once, or weight more-frequently-used _words_ with more weight?) ... Are there languages with a "synthesis index" of more-than-4? (so that, in the "average" word, the "average" morpheme would be neither word-initial nor word-final.) Is there a language with a "synthesis index" of less-than-3 which, nevertheless, really deserves to be called "polysynthetic"? I take it that the "agglutinating index" is a an average ratio of number-of-morphemes per number-of-meanings. I would have thought, instead, of a "fusing index", the average ratio of number-of-meanings per number-of-morphemes. Would a language whose "synthesis index" was less than 1.5, say, but whose "agglutinating index" was less than 0.5 (or whose "fusing index" was 2.0 or more), qualify as an "isolating fusing" language? --- Tom H.C. in MI


Jim Henry <jimhenry1973@...>