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Hullo, Navajo, Ray, Sally

From:Ed Heil <edheil@...>
Date:Wednesday, September 22, 1999, 0:53
Hi, folks.  I haven't done much lately with conlangs.  Rob Nierse,
creative and enterprising man that he is, has actually worked on one
of my conlangs more than I have recently!

But for fun, I've been reading a beginner's Navajo grammar.  The
grammar itself is strangely beautiful.  I wish the book I had went
into more detail on it, but it's intended to be used by practical
people, not grammatically minded people -- people who want to know how
to get by in Navajo, not people who want to know exactly how those
words come together to say the things they say.  (No
morpheme-by-morpheme interlinear glosses here!)  And I can't afford
the big Navajo Dictionary right now.

But it's beautiful.  This, I think, is that mysterious thing that
typologists call the OV order (I think Jacques Guy, in one of the old
conlang archive posts, called it "thinking backwards" -- referring
there to Japanese as an OV language), as if "direct-object before
verb" was the only or even the most important thing about it.  It's a
whole way of expression, a very elegant and beautiful way.

I think I caught glimpses of it reading very old Greek back in grad
school, and liked it then.  (That's why Winifred Lehmann's claim that
Greek was at the time moving from OV to VO order seems credible to
me.)  But in Navajo it's everywhere.

My pronunciation is probably atrocious, and I haven't even tried to
faithfully memorize things; I'm just reading through the grammar
propelled by curiosity.

Anyway, it's great.  It'd be wonderful if I could make a conlang with
beautiful OV-order all over, but I'm not sure I understand it well
enough yet.

Oh, yes, I wanted to say -- Ray, Sally, it's wonderful to see you
back.  :)

Boxcars are pulling an Ed of sorts out of town.