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Re: the smallest dictionary

From:JS Bangs <jaspax@...>
Date:Tuesday, June 21, 2005, 17:06
> David Fernandez-Nieto <yulerippo@...> writes: > > i am interested in languages (conlangs and natlangs) that have > > specially small (and complete) dictionaries. can you inform about > > it. thanks.
*Small* dictionaries isn't necessarily unusual, but small and *complete* is hard to come by. I would say that what you're looking for isn't exactly possible--the number of concepts that human languages cover is roughly the same for all languages, so languages with small numbers of *words* have to cover for themselves with large numbers of fixed-phrases, compounds, and periphrastic constructions. In other words, once you take into account multi-word constructions, small and complete are mutually exclusive.
> First of all: welcome to the list! > > I don't know about natlangs, but the conlang Toki Pona is known for > it's small inventory of words (around 150 IIRC) and still being > complete. However, there was some discussion about whether it's > *really* usefully complete. E.g. in order to talk about maths (at has > no precise number system), science, religion, law, economy, > philosophy, ... Probably not.
Exactly. Langs like Toki Pona usually hide their lexicon behind innumerable compounds. -- JS Bangs "I could buy you a drink I could tell you all about it I could tell you why I doubted And why I still believe." - Pedro the Lion