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"natural" language?

From:Eric Stumbaugh <ericstumbaugh@...>
Date:Friday, September 29, 2000, 15:49
Hi folks,

I'm a new member, have been lurking a bit, enjoying the conversation. I must
say I'm impressed with the volume and the scholarship on this list!

I'm creating a conlang to support my novel-in-(many years')-progress. I must
say I'm a writer first; the most important thing to me is story. But I've
come to a point where I need to do some more below-the-water work on my
iceberg, as it were.

My people live in a Pacific Northwestern-type setting, in an agricultural
age. Their religion is earth-based, and recognizes three elements: earth,
air, and water. They believe that all things are inhabited by spirit, even
man-made things; thus, nothing is inanimate.

I already know that the grammar reflects the three elements. All nouns
belong to one of the three elements, and one can hear these differences in
speech. A sort of "gender".

Since I'm not a linguist, other than having studied linguistics as part of a
foreign language program, and having studied French, Welsh, American Sign
Language, and Esperanto to differing degrees of fluency, I'm wondering if
there wouldn't be some obvious things in this language that I might
otherwise miss. In a nod to Sapir-Whorf, what would the grammar of such a
people look like? What things =wouldn't= it have?

I thought this might start an interesting discussion. Thanks for all the
wonderful posts!