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OT: free word-order conlangs (was: Re: OT: THEORY Fusion Grammar

From:And Rosta <and.rosta@...>
Date:Sunday, July 16, 2006, 18:41
The discussion of Warlpiri prompts me to solicit information about conlangs in
which word-order is in some sense very free but without ambiguity resulting
from the freedom.

1. How free is free? Is freedom limited to within some subsentential domain such
as the clause? Within the domain of freedom are all orders permissible, or just
very many/most?

2. What mechanism allows the freedom (without ambiguity)? Rampant concord? Or something else?

3. Is the freedom structural or just 'informational'? By 'structural freedom' I
mean that linear precedence is of little importance to syntax. By
'informational freedom', I mean that even if syntax is highly sensitive to
linear precedence, the grammar nevertheless has resources such that for any
combination of a meaning and an order of content words, some syntactic
structure is available to express that combination. (An example of
'informational freedom' would be "The farmer killed the duckling" vs "The
duckling was killed by the farmer", allowing both F-K-D and D-K-F orders, but
with structural changes.)

The Latin & Warlpiri natlang examples of freedom strike me as comparatively
uninteresting, because they can be analysed in terms of flat clause structures
without internal ordering -- nothing that looks like thoroughgoing scrambling.
But conlangs very possibly have more of interest to offer here...

(To start the ball rolling: my Livagian has no structural freedom but lots of
informational freedom, using a mechanism other than rampant concord, and no
limitation to certain subsentential domains.)



taliesin the storyteller <taliesin-conlang@...>free word-order conlangs