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.
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.