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Large language structures

From:Nokta Kanto <red5_2@...>
Date:Saturday, December 28, 2002, 8:43
I'm working on writing things larger than a sentence in my conlang, and I
realized that I need a better idea of how language is organized on scales
larger than a sentence. There are, of course, clauses and sub-clauses and
their elven helpers; but I'm thinking about things that indicate the flow of
a monologue: things like interjections, punctuation, voice inflection for
emphasis, conjunctions, and idiomatic phrases.

It seems that it is especially common to have words to establish the
relationship between one sentence and the next, not exactly conjunctions,
but things like "Nevertheless... Thus... And then...". But are there any
particular trends in marking that there is a break in the flow ("by the
way...")., or that you are returning to an earlier subject?

The problem is that Harpelan really wants everything written to be connected
somehow to what came before. I now have to learn exactly how it is that
people meaning-connect things they say, so I can incorporate enough
information so that a reader can follow the written language across sentences.

On the subject, I'd really love to know how and why English has acquired so
many punctuation markers. It seems like other languages have very few of
these. What happened to make it so? Do funny things like the semicolon and
the long dash get adopted into other languages? Why do different latin
languages (the spanish <<>> and the german ``,, come to mind) have different
quotation marks?

Harpelan is becoming less isolating and more agglutinating as I try to make
it visually clean. I'm going to see now if I can inflect verbs for mood. I
didn't know that a language composed of lines could inflect, did you?
Someday it might become fusional, and then I fear it will be beyond the
ability of any one person to comprehend :)


John Cowan <jcowan@...>