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Re: Unilang: the Morphology

From:Andreas Johansson <and_yo@...>
Date:Thursday, April 19, 2001, 21:46
Oskar Gudlaugsson wrote:
>Okay. I keep swamping the list with threads on this subject; hope it raises >some interest... :) > >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.
Quite at odds with the "the sum of difficulty is constant" theroy, isn't it? ;-) Well, the informational content can't decrease unless you're ready to lose functionality, so it all boils down to an assumption that analytic constructions are easier than inflectional ones. I'll sort that in under "not proven, presumeably unproveable, and likely not even having an True/False value".
> >Well, wouldn't there be a lot less of a headache driving around in the >city, if we'd remove all the traffic lights? Why have three different >lights to consider, when we can have zero? Just drive... And while we're at >it, why should we pay tax?
'Cos we all love filling in tax forms? ;-)
> >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?
You could quite probably analyze English as having an prodigious number of cases, most marked by prefices that're orthographically separated from the word stem. Not that it'd be a good analysis, but still ...
> >Whatever does the job, the job's gotta be done. There's no sense in killing >the morphology, and then expecting everything to work all the same. > >As you see, I haven't presented any major scheme for a unilang's >morphology; I'm too undecided on the matter to have any. Okay, I have some >unmoulded ideas alright, but I'm kind of asking for the input of fellow >conlangers here :)
I can't claim much evidence, but it seems to me that langs that uses spatial cases tends to have fewer such cases than "prepositioning" langs have spatial prepositions. While this undoubtly limits what one can express (without invoking additional words etc), it means that there's less to learn for the student. So spatial cases might be the way to go for simplicity's sake! Whatever you do, I'm sure all here'll agree that regularity is the chief thing in an IAL in this respect. Andreas PS Whacky idea; use spatial markers that the users can interpret as postpositions or case endings at will! This could also go for the markers for acc, dat, gen etc if you decide to mark these. Indeed, you could go even further and do all inflection/adding of extra words like this ... _________________________________________________________________________ Get Your Private, Free E-mail from MSN Hotmail at