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Re: Future of English (was Re: Degrees of volition in activelanguages (was Re: Chevraqis: asketch)

From:Nik Taylor <fortytwo@...>
Date:Monday, August 14, 2000, 7:14
"H. S. Teoh" wrote:
> Cool idea! So I guess you're saying that languages are in some way cycling > between being more inflected and more analytic.
Generally, it appears that languages have a tendency to sort of "cycle" between two or more states (given the vast time frames involved, I suppose any non-cyclic trends would long ago have been completed). To use another conlang example, Proto-Kassi-Plia had four cases (nominative, accusative, genitive, dative). Its descendant Common Kassi lost all those cases (except in pronouns), and Watakassí evolved cases from postpositions. W's descendants gradually lost those cases. PKP had no personal inflections on verbs, in fact, very little verbal inflection at all. The old nominative pronouns became fused as personal suffixes (which eventually became absolutive agreement), in addition to auxiliaries and clitics, to create the complex verbal inflection of Common Kassí. After the old nominative pronouns were lost, and cases were lost in general, a large analogical shifting occurred in the pronouns, the old accusative forms became basic pronouns, and the old singular case endings became invariant case endings, and new pronominal forms were created. But, as Common Kassí became Watakassí, these pronouns were cliticized again, and the dative forms lost. With the pronouns becoming clitics, new free pronouns were devised by combining _tárë_ (soul) with the genitive pronouns (thus, "my soul" = "I", "our(dual) souls(dual)" = "we(dual)", etc.). Also, the old applicative clitics were lost, with just three exceptions, two of which became voices, and the other became the causative prefix, so the applicative category was lost, while new auxiliaries developed and became further suffixes, the modal suffixes, such as -ni (want to). Meanwhile, the clitic pronouns were becoming reanalyzed as inflections, creating in its descendants, complex patterns of inflections, which were eventually simplified, inflections lost, etc. -- "Their bodies did not age, but they became afeared of everything and anything. For partaking in any activity at all could threaten their precious and ageless bodies! ... Their victory over death was a hollow one." ICQ: 18656696 AIM Screen-Name: NikTailor