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Unilang: the Morphology

From:Oskar Gudlaugsson <hr_oskar@...>
Date:Thursday, April 19, 2001, 15:11
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.

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?

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?

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 :)



Yoon Ha Lee <yl112@...>
Raymond Brown <ray.brown@...>