Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ   

Re: LUNATIC again

From:Sally Caves <scaves@...>
Date:Monday, November 9, 1998, 6:02
On Mon, 9 Nov 1998, Herman Miller wrote:

> >Boy, I never thought we'd come up with such a good example of English > that is >subject to poor encoding by an unsophisticated conlanger. > Anyone still reading >this might look at their conlang to see whether > they can distinguish between >the possible senses of "invented" in ways > that English cannot. Since English >does not make the distinction, > "invented" will usually be taken to mean "done".
poor encoding, unsophisticated conlanger... criminently, LB, I just hate it when you introduce these damn value judgments. You know, natural languages encode poorly. Like English!!! People grope towards different goals in their artlang making. Not every conlang is lojban.
> Jarrda doesn't have a word for "invent" per se, although compounds that > mean approximately "new + design", "new + build", or "new + create" are > possible. In this context, I'd probably leave out the "new", and just say > that I "design" (thlar), "build" (cir) or "create" (rrig) languages. To > bring to an end while in progress or unfinished is "rrek", in contrast to > "poam", which means to complete or finish. Thus, if I wanted to say that I > invented a language in the sense of "finished creating" it, I'd say "poam > rrig zira tal". On the other hand, to say that I've been constructing a > language, but left it in an unfinished state, "rrek cir zira tal". (And > that's without even going into the tense/aspect distinctions).
That's a lovely distinction. In other words, to leave off building a language as opposed to finish building a language. Teonaht doesn't have a word for "invent" either, yet; but it does have "build." Nor does it have a distinction, yet, between "built" and "being built." Nor does it really have a past participle. To say "the built house" you say something like "the house underbuilding," with "building" as gerund, and "under" meaning "subjected to"; which I suppose can mean either that the house is in the process of being built or that it is finished being built. You say: li gwenda tsobreffodma(rem) to mean "the chosen girl" (the girl subjected to choosing). So if you said in T., li gallaly tsobhadharem, /l@ g@'lali tsop'hatarEm/, "the language under or subjected to building," the "built language," this would cover the unfinished quality of our "invented" languages quite adequately, though I imagine I'd have to introduce some adverb or particle or a different conjoined preposition to distinguish "having been built" from "under building." I suppose this is detestably ambiguous, but I note that natural languages sometimes slip slide around like this. Maybe not precisely in this area, but in others. That poor encoding, those unsophisticated sots... I tend to like it. Looking at my verbs right now, which I'm putting up on the web very slowly and with many corrections, I see that there is an older form of the "passive" that has the suffix -ib, which I had rejected years ago as being too much of a code for English -ed/en; but this might just be the ticket for a distinction between in the process of and finished. Old forms are frequently resurrected in natural languages for new distinctions. I like this feature of languages. Sally ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Sally Caves Li fetil'aiba, dam hoja-le uen. volwin ly, vul inua aiba bronib. This leaf, the wind takes her. She's old, and born this year. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++