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CONLANG  March 2012, Week 5

CONLANG March 2012, Week 5

Subject:

Re: Word lists based on order of language acquisition

From:

Gary Shannon <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Constructed Languages List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 30 Mar 2012 08:45:18 -0700

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text/plain

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On Fri, Mar 30, 2012 at 4:03 AM, Veoler <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> This might interest you:
>
> http://www.une.edu.au/bcss/linguistics/nsm/
>
>
> 2012/3/28 Matthew Martin <[log in to unmask]>:
>> I've been kicking around the idea of a small family conlang (a fake language
>> with a small fixed vocab, for use in a home setting among parents and children).

I've found NSM to be very interesting. My one misgiving with it is
that the semantic primes are primitive in a deep, abstract way, but
are not "primitive" to human experience. A baby learns what "fur" is
by grabbing the cat and rubbing his face in its fur, and tasting it
and smelling it. "Fur" is a primitive of human experience, just as
"cat" or "mouse" or "sunshine" or "water". By contrast, I recall once
reading an NSM definition for "mouse" that was hundreds of words long.

NSM primitives are discovered by long and thoughtful analysis of a
wide range of semantic concepts. Experiential primitives are
discovered by crawling around in the grass, playing with the cat,
knocking over a glass of water, taking a bath, going out in the
snow,...

While the NSM vocabulary is fine for philosophers and linguists, I
would think a vocabulary for children would consist more of basic
actions, substantives and attributes common to daily experience like
"water", "food", "sleep", "play" ("run", "jump"), "laugh", "cry",
"happy", "sad", "angry", "hurt". These are things that are experienced
directly and do not need to be defined or explained. So while the
philosopher finds it interesting to define "cat" the child needs no
definition: http://www.wimp.com/littlegirl/

--gary

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