Re: Auto-Segmenting Engelang (was REQUEST: Engelang?)
|From:||Patrick Littell <puchitao@...>|
|Date:||Monday, June 6, 2005, 19:59|
On 6/6/05, Rob Haden <magwich78@...> wrote:
> What is suffix-coding?
A suffix code would be a code such that none of the sequences is a suffix
of another. It would be ugly to parse compared to a prefix code, though.
Accenting the first syllable, for example, is segmentable because it has
the suffix-code property, although it's the most trivial example I can think
of. (Next to monosyllablism.)
>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.
I like antepenultimate stress, myself, but I also like languages with short
words, so I'm stuck.
>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
This would work with just two tones, or with stress, or with vowel
quantity... or with vowel *quality*.
Here's an example with a binary tone or stress system. Have the possible
tone patterns H, LL, LHL, and LHH. All is well, although there's not the
variety one finds in the three-tone system.
Vowel quality would work, too. Say we have a system of consonantal roots,
in which vowel change indicates inflection. Particles have 1 consonant,
verbs have 2, nouns have 3. Here follows the inflectional paradigm:
All particles get the vowel /a/.
Perfect Indicative: CiCa
Imperfect Indicative: CuCa
Masculine nominative: CuCiCu
Masculine accusative: CuCiCa
Masculine genitive: CuCiCi
Feminine nominative: CiCiCu
Feminine accusative: CiCiCa
Feminine genitive: CiCiCi
Plural nominative: CiCuCu
Plural accusative: CiCuCa
Plural genitive: CiCuCi
This is just a play system -- one with more than 3 vowels would be more
interesting -- but the important point is that it's entirely and
unambiguously segmentable. If you lose track of the sentence, then it gets
tricky, but humans don't have much trouble segmenting and computers ideally
don't lose track.
> Where are counter-harmonic suffixes attested?
There are at least two processes in Itzaj that are regularly antiharmonic.
Itzaj is (was) the language of the descendents of the people who built
Chichen Itza, iirc, although they long since moved down to Guatemala.
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).
You might find the Mayan languages in general an interesting study. They
have these optional pronouns, but they're pretty much the person markers
stuck to roots like "self" or "head". (The ergative person markers and the
possessive prefixes are the same.)
Hmm, you might find Matthew Dryer's article on pronomial subjects for the
language atlas interesting. You can find it at
At least for subjects, it looks like most of the world's languages
make much use of pronouns at all.
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