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Re: Conlang book report: The Unfolding of Language

From:daniel prohaska <danielprohaska@...>
Date:Friday, January 5, 2007, 13:33
Donald, I agree. I also thought the book was an enjoyable read and
furthermore I finally got the feeling I cracked the principle behind Semitic
verbal morphology which had me somewhat perplexed before coming from an
Indo-European academic background.

Thumbs up, Mr Deutscher,


From: Donald Boozer
Sent: Wednesday, January 03, 2007 5:20 AM
"So, as I understand, your major misgiving about the book's "Me, Tarzan"
phase is the fact that he uses the mammoth story and not a more politically
correct narrative? Would it have been more palatable with something like:
girl pick fruit  give boy  boy girl eat  etc.  You seem to have positive
comments to make about his actual assertions.

IMHO, I think Deutscher does an excellent job in laying out some basic
premises of historical linguistics, and, hopefully, encourages people to
search out more complex and challenging texts. And for those who don't, his
book gives them a (very) basic understanding of how language might have
evolved. The Unfolding of Language is (currently) one of my favorite books
both on language in general and for conlanging specifically. I am hoping to
try out the "Me, Tarzan" procedures in constructing a conlang from scratch
someday. I agree that the "Me, Tarzan" terminology is "too cute," but it
should be remembered that the author is targetting a general audience and
most people think of "Me, Tarzan" as a primitive form of language.