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Re: Auto-Segmenting Engelang (was REQUEST: Engelang?)

From:Rob Haden <magwich78@...>
Date:Monday, June 6, 2005, 5:30
On Fri, 3 Jun 2005 16:36:00 -0400, Patrick Littell <puchitao@...>

>If one is looking for more naturalism, there are a bunch of ways to >self-segregate one's words/morphemes that won't look too artificial. It's >true, of course, that most would never actually arise by any natural >diachronic process, but we can still avoid "unnaturalness" in many ways. > >(Incidentally, the Mayan languages have a very strong preference for CVC, >CVVC, and CVCVC roots, and most suffixes are -VC. But they aren't really >self-segmenting; the consonants ? and h tend to disappear in many >contexts, for one.) > >All of the following schemes lead to self-segmentation, although by >different means than the one above. Actually, looking over them, they all >rely on some variation on prefix-coding. When no word/morpheme can be a >prefix of any other, segmenting them is a simple process. (This is >basically how your compression program squishes your data into less than 8- >bit chunks. It doesn't matter than some chunks are 2-bit and others are 7, >etc, because so long as none is a prefix of another they can be >unambiguously segmented.) > >1.) Monosyllablism. Naturalistic *and* self-segmenting. >2.) Given monosyllabic roots, monosyllabic prefixes are kosher so long as >no prefix is homophonous with a root. (Suffixes would be okay by suffix- >coding, I figure.)
What is suffix-coding?
>3.) Each word is stressed on the final syllable. (First works, too.) >Pitch, vowel length -- anything like that would work.
I like this one and had thought of it before. It seems that I prefer word- initial stress to word-final.
>4.) There is an inventory of tone patterns a word/morpheme may take, a la >Yoruba, but no tone pattern is a prefix of any other. (Number 3 is really >just the simplest case of this.) Say the patterns were L, ML, MH, HM, HH, >MML, MMM, MMH, HLL, HLM, and HLH. This is self-segmenting, but doesn't >really violate any naturalness constraints.
Interesting. That would be hard for me personally to speak, though - I can't really tell between more than two tones ("high" and "low"). :P
>5.) This one's odd, but kinda interesting. Instead of requiring that some >phonemes are only in roots and others only in affixes, have counter- >harmony of the sort that Julia & I were discussing regarding Itzaj. For an >example, require that >-- Roots contain either only front vowels or only back vowels. >-- All derivational suffixes are harmonic with the root. (Front for front >roots, back for back roots.) >-- Every word has a single-syllable inflectional suffix that is >*counter-harmonic* with the root. (Back for front roots, front for back >roots.) This is at the very boundary of naturalism, of course, but >harmonic suffixes are common and counter-harmonic ones attested.
Where are counter-harmonic suffixes attested?
>Anyway, those are just some examples. (4 is my favorite, followed by 5.) >There are lots more, I'm sure, just waiting for someone to puzzle them out.
Something I want to do with this engelang thing is have no independent pronouns. Instead there will be affixes that indicate the pronouns and can attach to any word. However, I'm sure that certain words that are inflected that way will be used for emphasis (such as "yourself" etc). - Rob


Patrick Littell <puchitao@...>
Damian Yerrick <tepples@...>