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Why grammar is so complex a subject

From:Gary Shannon <fiziwig@...>
Date:Tuesday, December 27, 2005, 23:52
I think I've finally figured out why grammar is so
complex. It's because it's an artificial attempt to
discover "rules" in what is really a monsterous
collection of exceptions. There ARE no rules; only
exceptions! Tens of thousands of unique patterns of
words learned by rote which, in reality, have no
underlying theoretical reason for existing other than
generations of acquired habits passed down with a bit
of alteration and streamlining from one generation to
the next.

Beneath it all, there is no such thing as "grammar",
and that's why it appears to be so complex; because in
the end it is nothing but the enumeration of
exceptional cases that we learned by example from
childhood on. The existence of some solid and
universal principal beneath it all is just a mirage,
an illusion, and epiphenomenon.

Therefore conlangs should not be "designed", they
should be "used into existence." Their "grammar"
should never be discussed, but only demonstrated with
a catalog of exemplars (exceptions, all). Their
phonology should never be analyzed, but only produced
in real time, as needed, with assorted mouth noises.
Their lexicon must never be planned, but only
documented AFTER the fact. They should be taught by
example only, not by enumeration of so-called "rules"
which don't really exist anyway.

For what it's worth that's my newest conception of
reality, and I'm sticking by it. For the moment, at
least.

--gary

Replies

Jim Henry <jimhenry1973@...>
Shreyas Sampat <ssampat@...>
Henrik Theiling <theiling@...>
And Rosta <and.rosta@...>
Jefferson Wilson <jeffwilson63@...>
Nik Taylor <yonjuuni@...>