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Re: Unilang: the Morphology

From:Yoon Ha Lee <yl112@...>
Date:Thursday, April 19, 2001, 16:31
On Thu, 19 Apr 2001, Oskar Gudlaugsson wrote:

> In auxlang morphology, there's the question of what we refer to as "case > inflection". I have hardly ever seen anything but fierce opposition > to "cases" in auxlang design. Take "Latino sine flexione": somehow a > fusional case-inflecting language is to become mighty simple without losing > any functional quality.
<wry g> I haven't ever been involved in the auxlang community per se, but I actually like inflections. They're so nice and compact. Perhaps it's also the "exotic" factor (as in English doesn't have very many compared to, say, Latin). 'Course, being lazy, the inflecting language(s) I've devised so far have been extremely regular.
> You may disagree, but I think this is comparable. I don't advocate chaotic > Latin-style declension groups and fusional endings, in a universal > language; nor do I advocate Finnish-style extensive agglutinative case- > marking for it. What I ask is for case-marking, in whatever form, to be > evaluated fairly; and so should we evaluate, with our best linguistic > skill, the value of isolating/analytic systems, and other systems. Can > syntax do the job? Can prepositions and other similar items do the job? Are > those any easier? Is English preposition-marking that much different, after > all, from Latin inflection-marking?
I think 4-5 cases actually is pretty reasonable. When I took intro German at Cornell, I found the four cases to be no problem at all. I did have trouble with some of the plural forms at first when they looked like the feminines, plus pluralization in German just seeed a bit chaotic--but in an auxlang I'm not convinced that a few regular, highly distinct cases would be any harder to learn than syntax rules. Personally, I find syntax harder to assimilate, because it deals with the structure of a group of words (and heck, I can't tell you how many times I've corrected my boyfriend's German when he forgets to dump the verb at the end of a subordinate? clause and leaves it in the middle), as opposed to an individual word that I can ponder. Maybe that's just me. :-p YHL