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Re: [Look ma, No verbs!]

From:Gary Shannon <reboot@...>
Date:Wednesday, April 14, 1999, 6:32
-----Original Message-----
From: Edward Heil <edwardheil@...>
To: Multiple recipients of list CONLANG <CONLANG@...>
Date: Tuesday, April 13, 1999 9:33 PM
Subject: Re: [Look ma, No verbs!]

Some suggestions....

1. When you're getting so sparse, why bother with singulars and plurals?  If
necessary, throw in an adjective for "single" or "multiple."  Otherwise,
it unspecified.

ANS: I thought that by making the plural as simple as a vowel change at the
end I could avoid lengthening the sentence with plural indicating words,
keeping utterances as short as possible. Also, each adjective strung in
front of the noun gives the listener more input to process.  By establishing
all the modifiers first, and then identifying the noun, that concept can
sink in and finally, in the last letter, we discover that it's plural.  I
guess I just kinda like it that way.

2. Zero-mark nouns so as to make incorporation of proper nouns easier.  Then
you just have to mark the adjectives.

ANS:  I kind of liked the symmetry of always having words start with a
consonant and end with a vowel so they flow together nicely.  Also, marking
the nouns makes it easy to tell where a given clause ends.

3. How do you say "it was raining?" :)

ANS:  ADJ-NOUN --> "Rainy sky." (shusa kelu.) It IS raining = Shusa kelu na

4. Sounds like for every action you are going to have to invent a bunch of
different adjectives for every participant.  Why not have a root for each
activity and have common affixes for different roles, so that a bunch of
adjectives are pregenerated?

ANS: I thought that each verb in the English side of the dictionary would
translate to a set of two or three related words, with an entry something

throw [vb] - {person <A> throws object <B> at object <C>}  chuka <A>; da
<B>; gegano <C>. {see also "over", "through", "under", etc.}

5. If you implemented #4, you would end up repeating the root several times
per sentence.  You could make it omissible all but once.  But if you did
it would seem like the root was a verb and the affixes were casemarkers!

ANS: I would probably not use #4 mostly because many of the words would be
applicable in other combinations.  If John gave the book to Mary, then Mary
gets the "receiver-ADJ". (Dena John usepta Mary uda libu.) But if John gave
the book to Mary, and she refused it, then we have "the-giver John;
the-refuser Mary;  the-given book." (Dena John uvilo Mary uda libu.)

Adjectives that describe an object as the-being-struck object might be used
with adjectives that describe the throwing person, the hitting person, the
falling object, etc.

As for the root being the verb and the other words being case markers, that
does seem to be an equally valid interpretation.  However, the case marking
adjectives give more information about the relationships involved, and in
doing so serve double duty.  Also it completely rids the grammar of all verb
conjugation and noun declension rules.


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