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Re: Right-Branching vs. Left-Branching

From:Heather Fleming <hfleming@...>
Date:Thursday, September 18, 2003, 18:03
> Anyway, this whole thread (and the one I started about adpositional heads) > was started because I am attempting to create a "logical language" -- i.e., > a language that is based more on formal logic than any natural language > (that I know of). I started out thinking that when dealing with numbers, > the most significant digit is the one furthest to the left (i.e., the digit > in the largest place-holder). So I concluded that in this language that > I'm creating, the most important information will be furthest to the left.
I don't think you could call that a universal though. As far as writing conventions go, perhaps. But as far as what people actually call the numbers go, the largest digit isn't always named first. Even in English we have things like "eighteen" where the "eight" goes before the "teen." I don't think you could necessarily base a generalization of "biggest first" simply because of the way we write numbers down.
> However, things got stickier when dealing with adpositions. In my opinion, > there are two ways of looking at them: either they describe relationships > with one or more nouns, or they are simply modifiers of single nouns. > Modern theories of grammar assume that adpositions are "heads"; that is, > they delimit a phrase. There seems to be some evidence of this in natural > languages, but I think there is also evidence to the contrary. In some SOV > languages, postpositions are more or less clearly discernible as coming > from nouns, where the "object of the postposition" is in the genitive > case. The best example I can think of is Finnish: talon edessä "in front > of (the) house" literally means "(the) house's [front]-in." Here we can > discern that there was originally a word *eti (or something similar), > having a meaning (analogous to) "front," which then took an inessive case > ending -ssA.
Wouldn't that still make "edessa" (pardon the lack of dots) the head of the phrase, whether or not it was originally a genitive noun phrase? I'm not sure what this is supposed to prove. I was reading the thread on adpositional phrase heads and I'm still confused as to where the supposed problems are. Heather _____________________________________________________________ Save rainforest for free with a e-mail account: