number classifiers & grammatical gender
|From:||Jonathan Chang <zhang2323@...>|
|Date:||Friday, September 15, 2000, 23:02|
In regards to this subject ^, Vivo (my conlang) is modelled loosely on
Chinese Pidgin English (CPE).
CPE uses constructions directly influenced by Chinese numeral classifiers:
in Classical CPE (circa 1664 to about 1900, China Coastal areas under the
British &, later, the Americans as well) there were 2 numerical classifiers:
- _pisi_ ("piecee") which was for inanimates, i.e.
_won-pisi plenti hansum silka_ <a beautiful piece of silk>
_won-pisi iving-dris_ <an evening dress>
_thri-pisi dola_ <3 dollars>
- _fela_ ("fella") which was for animates
(in the early 20th CE, this all was shifted to the sole useage of
Otherwise, nouns were not marked to whether they were singular or
plural... context or specifiers made things clear if needed.
A very attractive quality this... One can then refer to certain types of
people, things or ideas, etc. in a very general manner... sorta like the
English equivalent of the written constructs (which I am fond of): _
constructed language(s)_ , _concrete idea(s)_ , _any traveling
Englishperson(s)_, _ any book(s) on...._, _recording(s) of sound(s)_, etc.)
But unlike these written constructs, one can actually "easily" speak these
constructs if fluent in CPE, Chinese ... &/or (eventually) Vivo...
In Vivo, there are 3 numerical classifiers with grammatical gender:
_pezzi_ ("Italianization" of _pisi_): for inanimate, non-sentient,
non-living, man-made objects (artistic, mechanical, architectural,
electronic, etc.) - as well as - human-populated places... [this gender does
not include computers and robots]
_grappolo_ (Italian for "bunch", as in a "buncha grapes" ;)
for inanimate organic/mineral/biochemical, plant, vegetable, etc.
_senzi_ (derived from Italian _senziente_ <sentient, sentience>)
animal, human, computer, robots - pretty much anything that has a semblance
of "thinking/feeling" processes (or the possiblity of sentience) - as well
as - the thought-products of thinking: ideas, ideologies,
- AND, in an extension of certain animistic, Asian* and "deep
ecology"/Gaian concepts - natural environments, animal habitats and any of
the multiple aspects of the Earth and the Cosmos themselves... :)
*especially contemporary Buddhism and Taoism (& progressive "Green"
Did I leave any inconsistencies? o_0 ?
<< One thing foreigners, computers, & poets
have in common is that they make
unexpected linguistic associations. >>
* Jasia Reichardt
- creative cyberneticist *