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Re: numbers in Tasratal: thoughts?

From:Yoon Ha Lee <yl112@...>
Date:Saturday, November 10, 2001, 4:45
On Friday, November 9, 2001, at 08:38 , Muke Tever wrote:

> From: "Yoon Ha Lee" <yl112@...> >> I was going to create numbers as a third class of words that didn't have >> this three-way derivation thing going, when it occurred to me: why do >> more >> work than I have to? >> >> Hence, a new prefix: ka(l)-, for numbers: >> (You interpose [l] if the word-to-be-prefixed-to begins with a vowel.) >> >> This is derived from a perfectly boring, humdrum triad: >> >> ikal [ikal]: number, quantity (definite) >> ykal [i"kal]: quantity (indefinite), variable >> akal [akal]: order, linear >> >> Where does this lead? Well, certain substantives can take on the ka(l)- >> prefix and become humdrum everyday numbers. For example: >> >> ata [ata] has the meanings world/experience/total, but kalata [kalata] >> means infinity. >> ceia [tSeja] has the meanings self/past history/identity, but kaceia >> [katSeja] means 1. > > Would {akaceia} mean "first", then, or is that misoveranalogizing? >
Yes--I was thinking vaguely of that, and you made it un-vague. Gotta get those ordinals in there somehow. ^_^ This language seems to like glooping *everything* together, so I'm not even sure you can *have* misoveranalogizing. (After all, nonsense words are still words, right? Right? 'Twas brillig...) (And thanks to John Cowan, was it? for ordinal -> order, which allowed me to *finally* get ordinal vs. cardinal numbers straight.)
>> The choice of *what* triads take this prefix to become numbers will be >> conculturally determined, and is not otherwise predictable--so it's >> something you can just memorize (and which you can memorize separately >> from the actual word-meanings, though it's probably more difficult). > > Is the ka[l]- prefix productive? How would kalification of the "wrong" > noun > lexically speaking act? Say, {karoxe}.. would that be passed off by a > native as > incomprehensible, as nonsensical, or would they try to make numerical > sense of > it?
:-) Great question. It's productive. The "standard" numbers are "fixed" (well, aside from the fact that I've only come up with 1 and infinity). A native speaker would, I think, try to make numerical sense of it. In this case, I could see it being used if, say, there was an epidemic and deaths were coming in groups of 4, in which case the speaker (given that context) would associate it with a particularly morbid 4 (well, not *too* inappropriate given that Korean elevators say F instead of 4...). Over time such context-dependent and possibly fluid usages might ossify, leading to alternate number-words (which is, after all, where the current "standard" set probably comes from). Hell, perhaps this conculture is full of compulsive counters... Thanks for the thoughts! (And apologies if I'm even more off-the-wall than usual tonight...I just finished Jef Raskin's _The Humane Interface_, which is a fairly radical and fascinating book on human interface design for computers even if you disagree violently with it like my sister does, and my mind feels...expanded. <G>) Yoon Ha Lee [] Egotist: a person more interested in himself than in me.--Ambrose Bierce