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Re: New to the list (acquisition)

From:Vasiliy Chernov <bc_@...>
Date:Sunday, June 18, 2000, 12:42
On Fri, 16 Jun 2000 15:25:49 GMT, Oskar Gudlaugsson <hr_oskar@...>

>>Long ago I tried to assess the complexity of morphology for some langs. >>Funnily, my estimates showed that French is more difficult than Latin. >>Still more funny, that corresponded to what I *felt*. I think I can >>recall how I came to that result, if anybody is interested. > >Ah. I'm interested!
Well, that's easy. The relatively complex noun morphology of Latin doesn't weigh much, the verb is *much* more complex. The paradigm ampleness in both langs is comparable. In both much of the paradigm can be represented as agglutinative extension to flectively derived stems (subparadigms). The inventory of affixes that cannot be reduced to each other is richer in Latin (two times or so, IIRC). Both languages have 'regular' verb classes (L: ornare-ornavi-ornatum, audire-audivi-auditum, monere-monui-monitum; Fr: changer, finir). But in Latin they are *absolutely* uniform, while in French you have stem alternations even in this group (verbs in -oyer, verbs like acheter, hair, etc. (sorry, can't type diacritics on this machine). Now, with irregular verbs, in Latin it nearly always suffices to know three stems (praesens, perfectum, supinum; plus 3a vs. 3b distinction for praesens). And here is the greatest difference: in French it's not so easy to determine how many stems you have to remember. I'll try to enumerate what I can recall offhand: 1. Infinitive (can have different endings) 2. Future/conditional (sometimes is derived from inf. in a non-standard way) 3. Present, stressed stem (appearing in 3pl and in subj.) 4. Present, stressed truncated stem (indic. 1-3 sg.) 5. Present, unstressed stem (2-3 pl indic. and subj.) 6. Simple past 7. Past participle, masc. 8. Past participle, fem. (in cases like mis - mise, opposed to fini - finie). It seems I still have something forgotten... This seems to overweigh all points where French is simpler, IMO. Basilius