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Invented (getting less lunatic by the second)

From:Sally Caves <scaves@...>
Date:Sunday, November 15, 1998, 17:27
Thank you for your useful and thoughtful comments, LB.

On Sun, 15 Nov 1998, Logical Language Group wrote:
Sally wrote:
> > galleyla tsobhadha(rem) doesn't perfectly square with > > "invented language." It means a language subject to > > inventing, literally "under inventing." But it doesn't > > necessarily mean "in the process of being invented either," > > although I can see how someone might translate this as > > "the language being invented." > > > > Perpwe tsobkwecy(rem), "the under-cooked fish" (ha ha!), > >--More-- > > meaning, the "cooked fish"; the > > The reason I do not comment on most ASMCL comments is that I do not feel > competent to comment. This again is part of my prejudice. To comment on > someone elses conlang on the basis of a single feature taken out of context > implies that it is possible to really discuss such a feature out of context. > Maybe sometimes it can, but (again at least for Lojban) it seems that > conlangs as with natlangs are complex things such that one feature could not > be changed out of context. To properly comment on your example, I would need > to look at how you handle a whole spectrum of activity/process concepts, > and I would look at whether you do so in a manner that is self-consistent. > If the patterns I saw looked too much like the English pattern, I would > say something.
I haven't put the verbs chapter up in its entirety yet, because I find this aspect (no pun intended) of creating a language the hardest to make sound authentic and original. Thinking of time is very hard to do outside your own language. I've been absorbing what others have been posting about aspect; T. has a paucity of rich aspect/mood features, and as you say I don't want to make it mirror exactly either the English or the European languages I know too closely.
> > Now I look closely at what youhave above, and I wonder whether the Teonaht > carries the semantics of the English (or maybe I am misunderstanding your > notation). Why do you translate one as "the under-cooked fish" and not the > other as "the under-invented language" (a good shorthand for my reaction > to a conlang project that is called complete in a few weeks)?
Ha! All of these are under-invented! That was a pun... I had been translating "the chosen girl" as "the under [or subjected to] choosing girl" because that's the literal wording in T: "under" + gerund"-- so this should really be the "under cooking fish." i.e., "cooked" or "cooking" fish. For "undercooked," I think I have some construction like "less cooked." I'm still uncertain about the old passive I used to use. Too many possibilities.
> I just don't fit well in a conlang forum of the type you are asking for. It > wiould take more time than I will ever have. So instead I tend to look at > people's questions rather than their answers, and try to help them ask the right > questions, presuming that plausible answers and designs will naturally flow > from the right questions, more often than commenting on someone's answer.
That's a good goal; and frankly you've made me a lot more vigilant about T., if detestably disputatious, something I *didn't* want to be, since have been, so often, on other listservs.
> imagine that one could put even a significant fraction of effort into a conlang > INVENTING, and still end up withan English relex. Similarly, I find it hard to > imagine a very short duration conlang project being other than an English relex > with a couple of interesting transformations, maybe with some odd semantic > effects that could be the seeds of a "real conlang". English with a productive > suffix for ordinals (like the "enough-th" example I mentioned the other day) > is still English.
This is very very difficult to get away from, Lojbab, and if this makes all of us, even the beginners, more aware of the challenges of language building, then it's a good criticism to pay attention to. But most of us I think know that we tend to "think" in our own language, and that affects the choices of meaning we give to structures in our conlangs. I was bothered that the "under cooking" construction didn't make a distinction between an ongoing or a finished act, but my demand that there BE a distinction is based on its distinction in English. So maybe I'll let it be, for now... but so many of my worries about Teonaht are of this ilk: "oh, but this doesn't express XYZ in English." Maybe I can let it be its own language. Question for anybody else reading: Are there any natlangs that don't make distinctions between ongoing and finished acts in the passive? "It is cooked, it is being cooked." Sally ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Sally Caves Li fetil'aiba, dam hoja-le uen. volwin ly, vul inua aiba bronib. This leaf, the wind takes her. She's old, and born this year. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++