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The Philosophical Language Fallacy

From:David McCann <david@...>
Date:Sunday, July 6, 2008, 18:08
On Sat, 2008-07-05, Joerg Rhiemier wrote:

> Yes. Compounding is a very useful and also natural device. > However, if you use a closed set of roots, your compounds > soon get pretty long and clumsy.
This is rather a matter of taste. In English and, to a lesser extent, German, we are used to a lot of short words. If you speak Mohawk, then yontaterihonnyennìtha must sound no stranger than "school". For a conlang, using a very large set of phonemes, Circassian or Nootka style, to get an ample supply of monosyllabic roots would help: I'm currently thinking of doing a language with words of the ƛ’ïnmoq‘raʒħəɬ type. The real problem of starting with a thesaurus in ones own language is the semantic bias. An English or German speaker with verbs of movement like "push" and "roll" might not consider the Romance system with verbs of motion encoding direction, or the Athabascan one with verbs encoding the shape or consistency of the moving object.