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Re: Adjectiveless/verbless conlangs, etc. (Was: Re: LUNATIC SURVEY: 2005)

From:H. S. Teoh <hsteoh@...>
Date:Saturday, February 26, 2005, 21:17
On Fri, Feb 25, 2005 at 09:42:23PM -0500, Mike Ellis wrote:
> H. S. Teoh wrote: > > >Did I ever get to tell you on #conlang how Ebisédian does just fine > >without true adjectives? > > You did; it's with 'ni ... di' clauses. But that kind of clause would be > somewhat uglier in Omurax.
Well, that's just because _ni ... di_ is Ebisédian's way of making relative clauses. Another way (which I thought of but didn't end up getting into Ebisédian) is to use a secondary way of marking case (y'know, like Tatari Faran's auxilliary case marking), and modifying the head noun with the adjectival noun this way. E.g. <head>-PRIMARY_CASE <modifier>-SECONDARY_CASE [...]
> >I don't see why that's so unlikely, especially given how you described > >the Omurax on #conlang as a philosophy-inclined people. Those are > >exactly the kind of people who'd be able to wrap their minds around > >the circumlocutions you need in a lang without syntactic verbs. In > >fact, such a thing probably appeals to them. > > One possibility is that Omurax is a conlang even over *there*, constructed > out of an older language and having had its verbs removed to create a > bizarre language for cultic purposes. Somehow, this became the spoken > everyday language. Give it a generation or two and nobody'd know/care how it > came to be that way.
Y'know, I can sorta see how the ancestor lang could use infinitives or nominalized verbs say for politeness or philosophical register, and the philosophical culture pushed it to an extreme and started using only the nominalized verb form, so that the 'normal' verbs drop out after a few generations. All it takes is for the culture to make nominalized verbs the "cool" way of saying things which the younger generation catches on to, and pretty soon "normal" verbs would become obsolete and used only for stuffy old-person talk. After a few more generations, the stuffy verbs are gone and you're left with a verbless language. [...]
> >Now, having a lang devoid of *semantic* verbs, OTOH, ... :-) I don't > >remember who I told it to, but I had this idea of a race of beings > >that exist in timelessness, a place where time is geometric rather > >than temporal, and so they describe events exactly the same way they > >describe shapes. I suppose this would qualify under the freaklang > >category. > > Very freaky. So far I don't know of any conlang that's semantically > verbless. That'd involve just not expressing action concepts at all.
Right. Timeless beings would see the unfolding of time as a geometric shape, and describe it that way. E.g., say you have a 2D universe with circular beings, and you create a 3D trace of it over time (the 3rd dimension is time, and you stack the 'snapshots' of the 2D universe at each instant of time to make a 3D figure), then actions in the 2D world would have geometric meaning. For example, a 2D circular being standing still would appear as a cylinder in the trace, and if the being stands still, then moves to the right, then stops, it will look like a cylinder with a zig-zag twist in the middle, etc.. Every action would look like some geometrical shape. Of course, this doesn't have to be limited to 2D worlds; a 3D world traced over time would form 4D geometrical shapes, a 4D world over time forms 5D geometrical shapes, etc.. The prospective freaklang then would need no semantic verbs: all actions are described as geometrical shapes that result when you trace them over time. So, for example, to say that circle X went to village Y yesterday, you'd say that a day's distance from here in the direction of the past, the cylindrical body of X (as traced out over time) has a bend to the north which ends at village Y.
> >lol... LOL... I love that phrase, "powerfully stupid". _kiapat koko_. > >_kakari koko_. :-) > > My favorite version has to be "monumentally stupid", which I first saw in a > Calvin and Hobbes comic.
lol... Calvin & Hobbes is cool. Pity the author decided to stop it.
> Taking the 'monumental' part literally, I get this impression of > someone doing or saying something so brainless that all witnesses > stare stunned in morbid fascination like they're looking upon an > awesome and eternal monument to stupidity.
lol... [...]
> >ji'ne kele? :-) > > ji'e, here' usi'ny ebu' su 3t3mi3'. (Does that make sense?)
Whoa, your Ebisédian is better than mine. :-S That's scary, considering that you on the receiving end of the Ebisédian relay text... speaking of which, I should stop composing verbose replies on CONLANG and start working on the relay text. T -- "Uhh, I'm still not here." -- KD, while "away" on ICQ.