|From:||Mike S. <mcslason@...>|
|Date:||Thursday, May 16, 2002, 21:43|
I am still tinkering with self-segregating morphologies,
and, inspired by the root-forming system of Morneau's Katanda,
and the basic morphology of Dublex and Vorlin, came up
with the following hybrid model. I don't think I'll be
using it myself, but I submit it for your curiosity.
C ::= (one of the following)
p t c=[tS] k f s h=[S] x b d j=[dZ] g v z y=[Z] w=[G] m n q=[N] l r
V ::= a | e | i | o | u
Particle := C V V
Primitive ::= C V C
Semiroot ::= C V
Root ::= [ Semiroot ] Primitive
where  indicates zero or more occurances
Consonants and vowels are pronounced like their IPA equivalents
unless indicated otherwise. They appear freely in the
three basic morph types as shown except /q/ may not start
a morpheme. In diphthongs, /i/ and /u/ become glides; vowel
pairs such as /ae/ are rendered as two syllables with any
glottal consonant. An unwritten buffering schwa occurs
between words that would otherwise yield a geminate or
an overly difficult consonant cluster.
Note that there are 21 consonants, but one can't be used
initially, so we have 20 permutations in these cases.
Particles can be defined as prefixes, suffixes, or neither,
depending on whatever syntax gets cooked up. There are
20 x 5 x 5 = 500 of these in our morpheme space, giving
us a fair bit of flexibility.
Primitives are the basic content words of the language.
There are 20 x 5 x 21 = 2100 of these available.
Semiroots are formed by clipping a consonant off the end
end of a primitive. There are only 20 x 5 = 100 distinct
semiroots, each directly corresponding with 21 primitives.
When being used in a root, a semiroot may assume ANY of
the 21 meanings associated with it; furthermore, the
semantic relationship between the semiroot and primitive
is not precisely defined. If several semiroots are attached
to a primitive, there is nothing indicating the grouping
precedence among the root components. Perhaps the best
way to think of the compositional system here is to think
of acronyms with a hundred letters to choose from instead
of 26. Acronyms are not reversable on sight, but they
are terse and easily memorizable.
However, each unique root that gets created WILL be assigned
an EXACT dictionary definition. Furthermore, the primitive,
which is the "head" component of the root, will always
indicate the precise semantical category of the root.
Thus if we know that /ful/ means "bird", then we will know
that /buful/ indicates some sort of bird, even if we have no
clue what /bu/- means (It could mean /bul/='blue', /but/='boot',
etc.). In effect, the semiroot merely hints at the meaning
and serves a memorization tool for new roots; the primitive
defines a semantic space or range within which every
corresponding composite root must reside.
The productiveness of this system would depend very much
on the ingenuity of the designer in organizing which primitives
yield the same semiroot and which yield different ones.
However, by starting out with 2100 primitives we already
have a moderate sized vocabulary established; there are
210,000 two-syllable roots available and 21,000,000
three-syllable roots. So it seems that there is quite
a bit of room to maneuver.
There are a LOT of ways this system could be modified to suit
It should be noted that this system is nearly identical
to Morneau's system of semiroots and classifiers with
a few differences:
- Katanda uses about 125 classifiers; this system uses
up to 2100 primitives.
- Katanda has specific root-starters which must precede any
other semiroot component; most root-starters are not associated
with a classifier. In this system, semiroots are uniform
and directly derived from the classifiers.
- In Katanda, word-level segregation is not accomplished
by wordshape alone--one needs to be able to identify the
rootstarters and classifers. This system self-segregates
by wordshape alone: all roots are of form [CV]CVC.