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From:Vasiliy Chernov <bc_@...>
Date:Thursday, November 8, 2001, 17:23
Just an idea.

No, I don't think nouns can be got rid of on the semantic level.

But it seems that on the level of formal syntax, all main cases/roles
typical of nouns can be expressed by (forms of) derived verbs.

topic:          'to consider X'
agentive:       'to be caused/controlled by X'
accusative:     'to affect X'
                'to percieve X'
                'to produce X'
                'to obtain X'
genetive:       'to belong to X'
essive:         'to be X'
vocative:       'to be considered by X'
locative:       'to be at/in/on X'
dative:         'to address/direct to X'
                'to give to X'
instrumental:   'to use X',


So, it seems that there can be a language using no nominal forms proper
(on the surface level).

The list of standard derived verbs from a semantically nominal stem must
probably include also such meanings as 'to know X', 'to have X', 'to be
like X', etc., but hardly more than two dozens of first-level derivates
in total. That is, the derivates can in principle fit into a paradigm of
quite realistic dimensions.

The 2nd level verbal forms used in such a system could include: imperative,
compredicative, some finite forms (with incorporated pronouns?), and
participles (yes, I do believe that syntactic links can connect
semantic components, besides formal words/morphemes).

An example of a transitive construction:

Consider-CAT belonging-to-ME, he-CAUGHT(-something) (which-)affected-MOUSE.


Consider-MOUSE, it-got-CAUGHT (which-)was-controlled-by-CAT

(lexical meanings are capitalized; the rest is expressed by affixes)

Interestingly, such nounless system could in principle express very
explicitly the topic-focus relations (thus avoiding even incorporated

Consider-CAT belonging-to-ME (and-)know-HIM having-CAUGHT(-something)

And there seem to be other interesting possibilities.

What do you think?