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Ways to get good grammar coverage

From:Eric Christopherson <rakko@...>
Date:Sunday, August 10, 2008, 23:19
What strategies do you folks have for getting good coverage of
grammar -- i.e. thinking up grammatical distinctions, traits, and
quirks? I occasionally notice some interesting grammatical point in a
natlang, or think of one myself, that I then decide to put into a
conlang, but I don't feel like I have a really *systematic,
deliberate* way of doing this. Related to the recent discussion of
canonicity in conlangs, I would like to have most of my bases covered
fairly early on, rather than having to add things piece by piece for
years after solidifying a conlang (although I know some of that is

The best I can think of is to read a lot of grammars, other books on
linguistics, and other things (not necessarily language-related), and
make sure to take notes on them, but my tendency to add books and web
pages to my to-read list faster than I actually cross things off that
list makes this difficult. And sometimes I don't realize a feature is
really interesting until after I'm way past it, and then I don't
remember all the details (this recently happened to me with a grammar
of Ainu I read; I emailed the author afterward hoping that my vague
description of the thing I half-remembered would allow her to
identify it for me, but I didn't hear back.)


Dirk Elzinga <dirk.elzinga@...>
David J. Peterson <dedalvs@...>