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preoccupation with word boundaries (was: RE: my proposals for a philosophical language

From:And Rosta <a.rosta@...>
Date:Wednesday, January 22, 2003, 2:50
Mike Ellis:
> Andrew Nowicki wrote: > >AN> The root words must be made in such a way that > >An> it is clear where is the beginning and the end > >AN of each root word > > > "H. S. Teoh" wrote: > >HST> Why? > > > AN again: > >This is the same problem as recognizing where > >one word ends and another word begins. Novice > >speakers of English are lost when they listen > >to fast spoken English > > I've noticed a preoccupation with word boundaries in Auxiliary languages. I > don't really think it's that big of an issue. Take Japanese for example: > with its symple syllables and the few different accent patterns that a word > may take, recognising the beginning and end of words should be a nightmare > for new speakers. But it's not. Now, I'm not so hot at Japanese; entire > strings of words can go right over my head without my having a clue what is > said. But words I do know tend to "jump out", rather than blend into those > which I don't recognise > The human brain seems to be able to pick out words and seperate them > automatically, without each word needing to be marked for its beginning and > end
It's a preoccupation more specifically with engelangs than with other sorts of conlang. The reason is that even if ambiguity of word-boundaries is, like ambiguity in general, not a problem in practise, it still results in ambiguity in the abstract. Some people are attracted to languages that are unambiguous, as opposed to languages that are ambiguous and rely on speakers' natural pragmatic expertise to resolve it. --And.