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private message for Tom Wier, sorry to bother the list

From:Hawksinger <hawksinger@...>
Date:Wednesday, October 7, 1998, 1:07
I received a message from you a few days ago concerning Nova's
color terms and oligosynthesis.  I sent a reply but it kept bouncing
and I just got it back as undeliverable after 5 days.
Herein is what I replied;

Tom Wier wrote:
>=20 > Hawksinger wrote: >=20 > > Thanks to Nova oligosynthetic nature, this allows for very thorough > > color terminology when needed. >=20 > Could you explain this a little more? This is quite interesting...
Sure. Oligosynthesis is an idea that goes back to Whorf. He mentions it briefly in Linguistic Structures of Native America but the heart of it was in 2 unpublished papers now on microfilm at the University of Chicago. He believed that Uto-Aztecan lgs were made up of a very small number of elements (35 if I remember correctly) and that all words and apparent morphemes were made by combining those to get the forms we normally call words. This not the same as aglutination where you take a basic root and derive new words from it nor is it like polysynthesis where one word =3D one sentence (an oversimplification I know). Rather these elements have no independent existence. Now 35 is too small for me, so Nova currently stands at 980 (of which about 70 will soon be discarded in the next reform). Of these, 148 are inflectional morphemes, 157 are particles and words that can stand alone (e.g. numerals and the equivalents to prepositions), and 675 that I call Incohates that are used to make 'words'. An example, k'=F3q'=E9 is 'tree bark', it is made from the morphemes k'=F3 'tree' and q'=E9 'skin'. As for colors, its basically take one or more of the basic color terms, e.g. la 'red' + tt'o 'dark (of color)' + qem 'moderate saturation (of color)' to yield the root -latt'oqem-,=20 which in Nova is the stative root that means something like 'being maroon or burgundy in color'. Just as we often do not specify the exact shade of color, Nova doesn't either. The word for 'dog' is liyuge, li 'canine' + yu 'wild > tame continuum' + ge 'negative degree of a quality' but if you were talking about the brown dog as opposed to the white dog, a new word could be made up on the spot, linu 'brown canine', with the context supplying the specific meaning of 'dog'. Linu would be a nominal root, again with the seperate elements not allowed to stand alone. I am rewriting the grammar as well as reworking the morpheme list and vocabulary. The web pages, while better than they used to be, still have a long way to go. Hope you will stop in and take a look. --=20 Brad Coon My Conlang and Conculture pages Most of my pages including my home page My Outdoor and Primitive Skills Pages My wine pages. "Life without adventure is merely existance."--Hawksinger