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Re: HELP: a few questions

From:Jeff Jones <jeffsjones@...>
Date:Saturday, August 17, 2002, 21:47
On Thu, 15 Aug 2002 14:13:47 -0600, Dirk Elzinga <Dirk_Elzinga@...>

>At 11:19 PM -0700 8/14/02, Jim Grossmann wrote: >>Hi, all, >> >>I have a few questions... >> >>1st: Does anyone remember an old thread about how to do a 24-hour >>conlang, i.e. how to write a grammar as rapidly as possible? I tried >>searching the archives for this thread, without success. > >I remember that. Wasn't it Jack Durst who issued the challenge? As I >remember, he didn't provide any guidance in how to do it, he just >described the fruit of his labors.
That would have been several years ago, wouldn't it? Possibly in the pre- Brown archives that somebody (James W?) put on a website. I vaguely remember another discussion along the same lines, a year or 2 ago. I think David Peterson was involved.
>>2nd: Has anyone experimented with chaining conlangs or other ways to >>eliminate grammatical subordination of clauses in a conlang? > >Haven't done this. I've always been fascinated by subordination, but >in my projects I like to turn subordinate clauses into what look like >noun phrases. I then claim that the language doesn't actually have >subordinate clauses, since they're really noun phrases. But that's >cheating.
I also vaguely remember a discussion about chaining and/or serial verbs, also a year or 2 ago. Question for Dirk: are the languages where subordinate clauses are replaced with noun phrases kimited to 1 level of embedding, or can the noun phrases contain embedded noun phrases?
>>3rd: Here's a twice-asked question: I've heard that, the more >>sophisticated the cross-referencing system on the verbs, the less need >>there is to explicitly mark embedding. Why would this be so? > >I remember you asking the first time, but I didn't have a good answer >then; I still don't. Sorry! You might want to look at verbal systems >in Papuan languages; I believe that they have the cross-referencing >properties you're interested in. I know of a really good grammar for >Yimas which was written by William Foley; that might have something >of interest.
I wouldn't mind seeing an answer to this, myself, or at least some examples. I've been thinking about syntactical ambiguity, which natlangs seem to have a lot of, such as the following which may or may not relate to Jim's question. In "There's that beer-drinking catfish-eating redneck's grandmother." who drinks the beer, the redneck, the catfish, or granny? Syntax alone doesn't tell. However, if catfish, redneck, and grandmother had different genders, gender agreement marked on the participles would clear things up. It wouldn't always work, but seems to be one sort of cross-reference. Jeff J.
>Dirk >-- >Dirk Elzinga > >Man deth swa he byth thonne he mot swa he wile. >'A man does as he is when he can do what he wants.' > >- Old English Proverb


Dirk Elzinga <dirk_elzinga@...>