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Re: Functions of Classifiers (in a conlang)

From:Yahya Abdal-Aziz <yahya@...>
Date:Wednesday, May 17, 2006, 5:46
Hi Chris,

> -----Original Message----- > From: Chris Bates > Sent: Wednesday 17 May 2006 1:15 am > To: yahya > Subject: Re: Functions of Classifiers (in a conlang) > > >or perhaps even: > > CLS.MAN fail repeat attempt enter take leave = "Beagle Boys" > >? > > > I'll have to remember that one. :D :D In case you're wondering, the > reason I need serial verb constructions (and classifiers both) is > because I'm trying to make a language that's very attention to motion, > etc. The classifiers come in because most classifier systems classify > inanimates for shape and/or purpose, which seems to me to add a certain > amount of vividness to descriptions,
I agree; it certainly works that way for me in Malay, which uses perhaps a wider variety of shape classifiers than, say, Mandarin.
> ... and the serial verbs because I > tried directional morphology and/or closed classes of particles (as in > English), and both struck me as somewhat inelegant solutions to the > problem. I decided that, since verbs were an open class, it'd make more > sense to have serial verb like constructions because it would make the > result more flexible. It's not really feasible to have, say, 100 > directional particles, but it's certainly possible to have large numbers > of verbs in an open class dealing with manner and path of motion, which > can then be chained together without too many restrictions on > co-occurence.
I'm sure you're right. Rather than learning a largeish number of specialised particles, some rarely used, a learner need only learn the serial verb pattern. Also, in a situation where the closed particle system would need a speaker to invent a new particle, the serial verb user need merely construct a novel sequence of verbs to express an entirely new meaning. For both these reasons, the additional flexibility makes the language, I think, more useful. In one of my current conlangs, Uiama, about whose genesis I wrote briefly onlist late last year, I'm moving in the direction of serial particles! But since I have very few particles in total (/a e i o u @/), each with several related meanings, this may lead to some rather long sequences of particles, and thus materially alter the phonology. For example, the name "Uiama" itself comprises the particles /u i a/ fused together with a morpheme /ma/ = "many". And there are already longer vowel sequences than this. Regards, Yahya -- No virus found in this outgoing message. Checked by AVG Free Edition. Version: 7.1.392 / Virus Database: 268.6.0/341 - Release Date: 16/5/06