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Optimum number of symbols,

From:John Cowan <jcowan@...>
Date:Friday, May 24, 2002, 3:47
Kendra scripsit:

> How is english more isolating than chinese? (just curious :)
It has more inflectional morphemes than English does (though in both cases we are talking less than twenty). I agree that it's impossible to count vocabulary in a cross-linguistic way, but I do think that English has a large vocabulary as languages go, because of its mixed Germanic and Romance lexicon, and its incredibly subtle if rather pointless lexical distinctions. A member of this list, whose English is normally very good, used "grab" a while back where "grasp" would have been the Right Thing. I wrote privately pointing this out, and got a reply to the effect of, I do appreciate the help, but I will never be able to remember this distinction: it is too subtle (and pointless)! (Another example: "I do appreciate" sounds sincere, whereas a simple "I appreciate" might be sincere or sarcastic. Who's to know these things outside the L1 community?) -- John Cowan <jcowan@...> I amar prestar aen, han mathon ne nen, han mathon ne chae, a han noston ne 'wilith. --Galadriel, _LOTR:FOTR_


H. S. Teoh <hsteoh@...>Language subleties (Was: Re: Optimum number of symbols,)
Christophe Grandsire <christophe.grandsire@...>