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Re: A Language built around a novel grammar

From:Jonathan Knibb <jonathan_knibb@...>
Date:Friday, November 24, 2006, 16:49
Henrik wrote:
> Ah. So accent for marking branching. So you do have > additional operators for indicating clause structure -- > what a relief. :-)
That's not operators, that's pitch accents - totally different. :)) OK, maybe I should consider the accents as a third "word class". Is there ANADEW here? Does any natlang use conventionalised prosody systematically to indicate syntactic structure? HT> Telona has two operators + and - which, if I understand correctly, also serve to swich the topic and in the sub-clause, the reference, into place. Yes, I think that's right. On one level, the meaning of "read + book" and "book - read" is the same, insofar as each applies to an identical range of situations. There are two reasons for preferring one to the other in a particular utterance context. One is the topic-comment structure, where given information must appear in the first "half" of the sentence (i.e. before the top-level branch point). The other (more frequent) reason is that "read + book" refers to somebody who is reading, and "book - read" refers to a book. When the phrases either side of a "+" or "-" operator are longer than single words, it is the first word of the phrase that determines the relationship. For example: (write sell) + book = somebody writing a book while selling (something) (sell write) + book = somebody selling a book while writing (something) HT>>> S11 has only one operator here to compound verb-noun pairs, and the topic is always the noun part. OTOH, for subclauses, S11 has two reference particles: one for the whole clause and one for the first topic, while Telona does not need this because it can shift 'verbs' into topic/reference position. So it seems that while S11 has two open word classes at morphosyntactic level, Telona maintains one class even there. <<<HT It seems to me that many if not most single-class langs, perhaps including S11, treat words as nouns and verbs when they are actually in use, even if the stem classes aren't distinct. In Telona, this is not the case. The surface form of a word is invariant (well, affected only by prosodic factors). The only sense in which one might distinguish surface word classes is according to whether a word happens to be taking an "object", i.e. whether it is acting as the meaning-determiner of a "+" or "-" operator. I've never thought this was significant, as it makes no difference to the meaning, use or form of the word. HT>>> What is also interesting is that you use an open class content word to indicate possession (namely, 'own'), in contrast to special structures used in most natlangs (special possessive constructions). This is very similar to S11, only for esthetical reasons I could not resist to have a special additional inalienable possession -- so S11 is not radically minimal (while Tyl Sjok was). :-) <<<HT Well, it's very much in the spirit of Telona to drain meaning from the grammar into the lexicon. That's the whole point really! Having said that, there is a sort of inalienable possession construction, insofar as one can sometimes *identify* an object with its owner. Just as in English one can say "He crashed into my rear wing." for "He crashed his car into the rear wing of my car.", so in Telona this might be rendered using a construction of the form "he car crash...". Maybe not so often "she car" :) Jonathan. ==


taliesin the storyteller <taliesin-conlang@...>Prosody as syntactic marker (was Re: A Language built around a novel grammar)