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USAGE: Classification questions

From:Mark J. Reed <markjreed@...>
Date:Wednesday, August 6, 2003, 14:41
This is really about linguistics more than usage, but I'm curious
about classification of languages in edge cases.    I apologize for
showing my ignorance, but I'm sure someone on here can help clear
things up. :)

For instance, the Romance languages are SVO if the object is a noun,
SOV if the object is a pronoun.  Which order is considered the
fundamental one?

It also seems that there's a very fine line between agglutination and
inflection, since many inflections can be analyzed as

        (root + original suffix) - original suffix + new suffix

And often the suffix is universally applicable to other roots.
For instance, in Latin the verb suffix -o means "first person
present indicative".  You can argue that it's not agglutination
because the -o isn't further analyzable into a piece that means
"first person", one that means "present", and one that means
"indicative".  But then what about the Klingon verb prefixes,
which each convey the person and number of both the subject and the
direct object but are not analyzable into subject and object pieces?
What makes Klingon verb conjugation agglutinative while Latin is

I won't go into agglutinating vs. isolating, 'cause that gets into
the whole "what is a word" can of worms. :)

Can someone help me see the light?




Joe <joe@...>
JS Bangs <jaspax@...>