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Re: Necessary Components of a Language

From:Jim Henry <jimhenry1973@...>
Date:Wednesday, April 25, 2007, 14:07
On 4/25/07, <MorphemeAddict@...> wrote:
> In a message dated 4/24/2007 7:43:50 PM Central Daylight Time, > hsteoh@QUICKFUR.ATH.CX writes:
> > > >In many languages this is marked only by inflection. The words > > themselves > > > >are exactly the same. > > > > > > The two sentences seem to be in contradiction, unless you mean "words" > > > in the abstract sense in which e.g. "devi", "devu" and "devas" are > > > all the same word? > > [...] > > > > He meant intonation (as in "inflection of voice"). > > > > Oh, yeah, that kind of inflection. Poor choice of wording on my part.
Right; I am aware that "inflection" has more than one sense but I'm used to people in this group using "inflection" and "intonation" in the more precise technical sense, and somehow couldn't bring the other sense of "inflection" to mind in this context. That brings me back to my short list of grammatical concepts any language must encode. Some languages systematically mark mode by intonation rather than word order, inflection, or grammatical particles; but are there conlangs or natlangs that do not mark mood any any systematic way, so that many or most sentences are ambiguous re: mood? Can anyone bring up natlang or conlang counterexamples for any of my tentative list of essential concepts, or add more such concepts to the list? -- Jim Henry