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CONLANG  November 2012, Week 3

CONLANG November 2012, Week 3

Subject:

Re: A Two-Word dictionary

From:

Adam Walker <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Constructed Languages List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 20 Nov 2012 12:00:30 -0600

Content-Type:

text/plain

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text/plain (96 lines)

On Tue, Nov 20, 2012 at 11:44 AM, Gary Shannon <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> On Tue, Nov 20, 2012 at 12:59 AM, Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets
> <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> >
> > On 19 November 2012 21:31, Gary Shannon <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> >
> > >
> > > It just feels to me like when you put the noun first followed by the
> > > adjectives you have give me the punch line first, and then proceed to
> tell
> > > the joke. You've revealed who the murderer is, and then begin to tell
> us
> > > the mystery.
> > >
> > >
> > Somehow, as a French native speaker fluent in English and Dutch, I get
> the
> > exact opposite feeling.
>
>
> >
> > ---snip---
>
>
> >
> > What's my point? Basically that the only reason you prefer your
> adjectives
> > in front of your nouns is pure native habit, just like my preference for
> > adjectives after nouns is also pure native habit. Pragmatic issues have
> > little to do with it, as both orders have their pragmatic advantages and
> > drawbacks.
>
>
> Well, when you put it that way, of course it makes sense!
> One of the most basic functions of the human mind is to seek
> justification for whatever it has decided is true. So rather than
> calling my theory a "theory" or an "explanation", perhaps I should
> just be honest and call it "my mythology". :-)
>
> ==========================
> Leonardo: re: "... but when the general rule is that descriptive
> adjectives precede, there are no
> exceptions."
>
> I would advise you not to trip the LIGHT FANTASTIC in the FOREST PRIMEVAL.
>
> In Evangeline Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote:
>
> This is the FOREST PRIMEVAL. The murmuring pines and the hemlocks,
> Bearded with moss, and in GARMENTS GREEN, indistinct in the twilight,
> Stand like Druids of eld, with VOICES SAD AND PROPHETIC,...
>
> Or, as Coleridge once wrote: "it was agreed, that my endeavours should
> be directed to PERSONS AND CHARACTERS SUPERNATURAL, OR AT LEAST
> ROMANTIC..."
>
> And of course there are examples like: "attorney general", "surgeon
> general", ...
>
> or...
>
> "All things bright and beautiful,
> All creatures great and small,
> All things wise and wonderful,
> The Lord God made them all."
>
> --gary
>
> On Tue, Nov 20, 2012 at 1:34 AM, Leonardo Castro <[log in to unmask]>
> wrote:
> What do you think about the following rule?
>
> 19. "When the general rule is that the descriptive adjective follows,
> there may be a minority of adjectives which usually precede, but when
> the general rule is that descriptive adjectives precede, there are no
> exceptions."
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenberg%27s_linguistic_universals
>


Yes, I think that inverting the order of noun and adjective is probably one
of the most common inversions in English poetry, and while it is less
common in prose it *does* happen and while phrases like attorney general,
et alia are either borrowings or calques, we don't have alternative phrases
in use, but I do think most, or at least many, native speakers tend to look
at such things as AG as units in and of themselves rather than some term
plus a modifier.  However, as is pointed out every time this comes up,
there is still the common pattern in the naming of mountains of putting the
adjective/descriptor after the noun Mt. Craggy, Mt. Squiggly Top, Mt.
McKinley, etc, instead of the expected Craggy Mount, Squiggly Top Mount,
McKinley Mount, etc.  So while it is a STRONG tendancy, I don't think it
holds 100% like the "no exceptions" bit would have you believe.

Adam

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