LIFO grammar (was Re: affixes)
|From:||Jörg Rhiemeier <joerg_rhiemeier@...>|
|Date:||Sunday, February 20, 2005, 18:56|
On Sun, 20 Feb 2005 11:41:16 -0500,
"Mark J. Reed" <markjreed@...> wrote:
> On Sat, Feb 19, 2005 at 10:56:26PM -0500, # 1 wrote:
> > I thought again about that grammar concept..
> > Isn't exactly as an SOV, postpositionnal, noun-adj language?
> Or OSV.
At first glance, it looks like a verb-final language with noun-adj
order, i.e. nothing wild out - but it is something entirely
different from *any* human language.
> > As I see it, a LIFO grammar is only a complicated way to explain a grammar
> > that is explainable in traditional way?
> Well, first, saying it's a LIFO grammar is a lot shorter.
And it is something entirely different from saying "verb-final,
postpositional, noun-adj order" even though simple sentences look
like that. It is a grammar wholly outside the range of grammar
types found in human languages.
I once had an idea of an interlanguage humans and Fithians could
use to communicate with each other. I called it "Shallow Fith".
Basically, it is a proper subset of Fith, with strict limits
to stack depth and most of the stack operators of Fith removed.
The Shallow Fith sentences could be parsed as SOV/postp/noun-adj
sentences by humans and as very simple LIFO sentences by Fithians.
Here is what I wrote about it in a never-published web page
a few years ago:
>>Shallow Fith is a subset of Fith. We are leaving the ground ofJeffrey Henning's original creation here; this is my own invention.
In the fictional universe which Fithia is part of, it has a well
defined purpose: that of an auxiliary language meant to facilitate
communication between humans and Fithians.
As said above, Shallow Fith is a proper subset of Fith, which means
that any grammatically correct utterance in Shallow Fith is also
correct in Fith, having the same meaning in both. Shallow Fith,
however, differs from Fith in being more restrictive in grammar, in
order to restrict the depth of the stack during parsing sentences.
(Hence the name _Shallow_ Fith.) In fact, the stack depth is
restricted to such a degree that human minds can learn to comprehend
Shallow Fith in real time. Shallow Fith eliminates most stack
conjunctions and heavily restricts the use of the remaining ones:
* _du_ must immediately precede a verb or a postposition, thus acting
as a reflexive pronoun only;
* _shen_ must also immediately precede a verb or a postposition;
* _e_ and _frong_ must immediately follow the clause they pop from the
All other stack conjunctions simply do not exist in Shallow
Fith. Furthermore, lingering is not allowed. Sentences must linearly
follow each other, as in human languages.
To a Fithian, Shallow Fith seems like poor style, something like
child-talk, lacking any kind of stylistic sophistication. To a human,
however, this is what makes it understandable in the first place. And
after all, no-one really asks about beauty in this kind of language
anyway. It is just a practical tool for a practical problem.<<
I am not sure how that would work out, though. Any opinions?
> As to how
> "complicated" it is, it depends entirely on your background; LIFO makes
> instant sense to me. But there is also more to it than that.
> > Is there a difference I didn't see??
> A LIFO grammar opens up possibilities that go beyond the structure of a
> single sentence. There's no reason you can't mention a noun, or
> several, and then do absolutely nothing with them, just leaving them on
> the stack, until after you've constructed several other complete
> sentences, and then suddenly complete the thought involving an early
> noun. Humans don't think that way, and would have trouble remembering
> what the original noun was, but the Fith apparently actually process
> language with a stack in their brains, so there's no difficulty for
Exactly. Leaving things on the stack for later usage is indeed
a common rhetoric device among the Fithians. It is called "lingering".