Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ   

Re: Unilang: the Morphology

From:Oskar Gudlaugsson <hr_oskar@...>
Date:Saturday, April 21, 2001, 3:26
On Fri, 20 Apr 2001 18:10:06 +0000, Raymond Brown <ray.brown@...>

>No, no - wouldn't work! That's why if we don't have traffic lights at busy >junctions, we have a roundabout instead (forgotten what roundabouts are >called in the US). You got to have something, even if it's the simple old >French rule: "Prioritée à droite".
Roundabouts - a good point in this analogy :)
>>Can syntax do the job? > >The answer is obviously "yes" - there are natlangs that to prove that. > >>Can prepositions and other similar items do the job? > >Yes - take a look a real natlangs used by millions of people every day. >The majority do not use case endings. > >>Are those any easier? > >Why are they the predominant type in pidgins & creoles?
Perhaps you misunderstood the general tone of my letter :) I don't actually want abstract and pedantic endings flying around; my questions were more to show that we need to ask ourselves these things first, rather than being intended as challenges. I pretty much agree with you, actually. I've usually taken the analytic character of pidgins and creoles as proof that that must be the simplest and easiest grammar.
>Ok - forget the dogmatics of Auxland, but I would advise taking a good look >at what actually does happen in pidgins and, IMO more importantly, in >creoles.
Certainly. This list is sometimes one of the best sources of information in these matters, but I should see what I can find in the library. Anyway, comments from a "creolist" would be very constructive. Still, I wouldn't say that I know especially little about the character of those langs; I have quite workable knowledge of general Chinese grammar (which may not be creole, but we might call it "creoloid").
>Personally, I've found case-less Welsh easier to get on with than Gaelic >with its four cases. It seems to me that particles like the Japanese ones >I gave above and the modern English possessive particle, which can attach >itself to whole phrases, do the job just as well as and are more flexible >than case endings, cf. >"That's the guy next door's dog."
Bull's eye! :) I have no interest in IE-style omnipresent case-marking; simple clitics that mark grammatic information concerning whole phrases is definitely good; whether it be case, number, gender, tense, mood, aspect, etc, anything would be well marked that way. But I certainly think, also, that syntax should do a good share of the case- marking job. Nominative ~ accusative, for example, is probably best taken care of by a fairly rigid SVO order, as per English and Chinese. I'd like to phrase here an "underlying" working rule of mine: the Unilang should represent an intricate _balance_ of features; it should not be characterized excessive reliance on any one feature, e.g. syntax or morphology, nor by excessive phonetic simplicity nor complexity. Balance is the key-word, as I see it. Regards, Óskar