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Re: Wordless language (WAS: NonVerbal Conlang?)

From:Jonathan Knibb <j_knibb@...>
Date:Sunday, July 2, 2006, 20:09

I am still lurking, but haven't been following this thread very closely,
I'm afraid, interesting though it is. I can answer the queries about T4
(well remembered!) though. It's moved on significantly if fitfully since
the 2003 description Ray found, but Ray's point that T4 was never
designed to be wordless is well made.

>>>The conlang I meant to mention ... had just two "parts of
speech" -- "linkers" (a small closed class) and content-morphemes. ... [I]n this conlang there is no difference between morphotactics and syntax. The content-morphemes include many whose semantics would strike a speaker of a natlang as "particles". <<< That certainly describes T4 well. I didn't find it possible to reduce *all* semantic elements to a single syntactic class without unacceptable ambiguity, so T4 has two classes of element on the syntactic level. One is closed ('linkers' or 'operators') and consists of three elements: an element indicating the verb-object relation, its reverse (object-verb), and a copula (realised as zero). The open-class words correspond to all the content words, many of the function words, and many of the bound morphemes of English. For example, most sentences begin with a group of markers indicating number, tense, aspect and mood, but the syntactic behaviour of each of these markers is identical to that of any other open-class word. (DA-markers and delexical clitics have been abandoned since the 2003 description.) As Eldin says, the syntax is not divided into morphology and phrasal syntax; there is a single rule for combining elements syntactically, and all syntactic words are single morphemes. There are rather complicated sandhi-type rules on the phonotactic level, and these operate on a unit larger than the syntactic word but smaller than the sentence (and which is not a syntactic constituent), which could be called the phonological word if it weren't so discrepant with the syntactic word. I hope this is relevant to the thread! Apologies if not. I have been working on a T4 grammar sketch, but I'm entering the final year of my PhD and have little time for such matters :( Jonathan. _________________________________________________________________ Be the first to hear what's new at MSN - sign up to our free newsletters!