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Re: Re Grammatically radical languages (was Re Newbie says hi)

From:Jeff Jones <jeffsjones@...>
Date:Sunday, November 3, 2002, 9:34
On Sat, 2 Nov 2002 07:12:03 +0000, Mat McVeagh <matmcv@...> wrote:

>>From: Jeff Jones <jeffsjones@...> >> >> First of all, welcome to the list, Mat! I suppose you don't mind my >> jumping in to the discussion. > >Thanks - Please do ;) > >>On Fri, 1 Nov 2002 06:16:51 +0000, Mat McVeagh <matmcv@...> wrote: >> > >> >What I thought would be cool is a system that totally did away with the >> >conventional categories and created whole new parts of speech. >> >> Yep. The catch is, you'd have to come up with a whole new set of terms, >> which would have to be explained. For example, in some of my would-be >> languages, most words can be used _syntactically_ as verb (head of >> clause), coverb (adverb/adposition), adjective (qualifier), or noun >> (head of phrase) with 2 or 3 cases, regardless of the word is >> _semantically_ a verb (denoting an action), an adjective (denoting a >> quality), or a noun (denoting a set of entities). >> >>I'd like to see what you come up with for your language. > >I haven't decided yet, because this language we're talking about is one I >haven't started yet, I only have the vaguest plans for it. It would >basically be an exercise in seeing whether such a project was possible; it >wouldn't have to work specially otherwise. > >I think of it as kind of 'alien'. My motivations are coming from places not >just to do with linguistic considerations ("can we communicate this way?") >but also philosophical, psychological, even spiritual considerations. I'm >interested in seeing if we can break out of our conventional worldviews by >exploring previously unknown linguistic structures. Lateral thinking via >lateral speaking. I'm thinking that maybe the most important way in which >the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis might be true is not in terms of one specific >human language trait over another, but in terms of language universals - >all the more so because we cannot see them. > >I would like to scrap nouns, verbs etc. and start again. If I can find a >way to express the same reality/experience in terms which don't use >established word classes, but instead other ones, I will have shown that >some supposed linguistic universals are not really universal at all. And I >will have opened human awareness up to whole new ways of looking at the >world. > >Mat
Definitely an interesting project. I've wondered about those things myself on occasion. I wouldn't know how to go about something like that, though. Maybe by looking at conventional classes and "getting under the hood" to see how they work and examine the assumptions they're based on ??? My own projects are a lot less ambitious -- I have so much to learn about languages. Jeff