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How much data in your conlang nouns?

From:Gary Shannon <fiziwig@...>
Date:Sunday, January 4, 2004, 5:29
I was thinking about natlangs and conlangs and how
nouns are used and it occured to me to tabulate the
kinds of information embodied in a noun beyond the
proverbial person, place or thing that it names.  In
other words, what information do you need before you
can write down a noun in a sentence in your conlang?

For example, many languages give nouns gender, so you
would need to know its gender.  Languages of the Bantu
family may have as many as 10 or 15 noun classes so
you need to know which family it belongs to.  With
Latin nouns you have to know what declension they
belong to, and with any inflected language you need to
know the case of the noun in that particular sentence.

So here's my starter list.  What does your language
need that I haven't listed?

1. Number (such as singular, dual, plural)
2. Gender (such as masc., fem., neut.)
3. Class or Declension (Varies with language)
4. Case (nom., dat., gen., etc. varies with language)
5. Social mode (formal, informal, royal, sacred, who

The things that need to be known all have a bearing on
what form of the noun will be used in the sentence so
maybe pure isolating languages don't need to have any
of this?  I don't know.

I'm thinking about another tabulation for verbs.  I'm
curious to find out where various languages fall in
the spectrum of variability of nouns and verbs.

My first conlang had only number (sing/plural) and my
most mature conlang, Tazhi, has number, gender, and
case (4 cases).  My pictographic conlang has no
number, case, or gender.

So my pictographic conlang has zero degrees of freedom
for a noun, my first conlang had 2 degrees of freedom
and Tazhi has 2 * 3 * 4 = 24 degrees of freedom for
nouns; 8 degrees each for masc., fem., and neut.,

Who's conlang scores highest?
Which natlang scores highest?



Rik Roots <rik@...>
Muke Tever <hotblack@...>
Paul Bennett <paul-bennett@...>