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From:Dan Sulani <dansulani@...>
Date:Tuesday, June 8, 2004, 9:03
    Causation is such a basic fact of life, that many natlangs
(most? all?) have a grammatically encoded way to express it.
Lately it has occurred to me that, while _prevention_ can also
be very important, I can't think of any natlang that has a
grammatically marked "preventative". Can anybody think of any?
Do any of your conlangs have such a thing?
    I mean, prevention would seem to be a very basic thing.
For example, causing words to come out of one's mouth
( ie speaking) is one thing; but if, at the same time, competing
words are not also prevented from coming out, the result is
linguistic chaos, a.k.a. stuttering! And sometimes shutting one's
mouth and deciding not to talk at all is very important.
(Those of us married folk will understand this!  ;-)    )
    Same goes for medicine --- it's great to talk about the
causes of disease, but prevention is also important!
Just think about all the campaigns dealing with the prevention
of AIDS, among the campaigns for preventing other diseases
and dysfunctions!
    I could go on and on! I wonder why cultures don't seem to
feel a need (AFAIK) to grammatically mark prevention as well
as causation?

    Anyhow, be that as it may, I have decided to do something
about it in rtemmu.
    Up until now, in order to express causation, I put the word for
"the process of causing to happen", | belgr`v |   ( r` = [R] ),
into the sentence or into a word as part of a compound.
    I now think that, in addition,  I would like to express causation
by means of a conjunction. This conjunction, when placed between
two words would indicate that the former is in a causative relation
to the latter. This conjunction will be | br`v |, derived from
| belgr`v |.
    Thus, for example (leaving out the usually obligatory rate-of-change
markers for the sake of simplicity):

nr`zig  br`v  sdihs

nr`zig = the process of striking a match
br`v = causation-conjunction
sdihs = the process of burning

Or loosely:  "Striking the match caused  fire." (Could be that the match
itself is burning as a result; could be that the match was used to set fire
to something else.)

    Now for the "preventative". In the grand tradition of the recent posts
here, I shall form the preventaive conjunction by spelling the causative
conjunction backwards!
Thus, a preventative relationship between two words would
be expressed by the conjunction  |  vr`b  | .
(And yes, I _do_ realize that it sounds like the English word, "verb" !
Well, "prevent" is a verb, no?  :-)   )

    Anyhow, the example above would be transformed into:

nr`zig  vr`b  sdihs

or: attempting to light the match actually prevented a fire
(it was defective: breaking, fizzling, shooting sparks, anything
but producing a flame! And in so doing,  it prevented
the arsonist from lighting a fire by means of something more reliable
until the cops arrived and arrested him! )
   ( Have I been watching too many grade Z cop dramas on TV
lately, or what!  ;-)   )

Dan Sulani
likehsna rtem zuv tikuhnuh auag inuvuz vaka'a.

A word is an awesome thing.


Nik Taylor <yonjuuni@...>
Mark P. Line <mark@...>
Tim May <butsuri@...>