At 16:55 08.6.2000 -0400, you wrote:
>It does fail badly in
>scientific/political/academic prose (that might be our Eurocentric view)
>where the lack of clear tense distinctions, difficulties in relativization,
>tendency to omit pronouns (or westernize by using too many), tendency
>nowadays to adapt an Engl. word rather than search the dictionary---etc.
>etc.  makes this sort of stuff very hard going.

You can say/write anything in any language.  It just takes some more
time/words/ink.  Like my son (2yrs3m) when he wants to tell something he's
experienced: long pauses when he gropes for words/expressions (and he has a
large vocabulary for his age), but eventually he'll get it across.  He has
no idea about tense or relativization, but gets along with parataxis: "I go
home from kindergarten.  See excavator.  Far away.  Over the tram
tracks.  Fences.  Trees.  Can't go there."  Generally he will have adverbs
or other means to make up for lack of morphological markers.

>A final disturbing fact:  Some analysts suspect, and tradition/legendary
>history even suggests, that "Malay" itself is some kind of pidgin, or maybe
>better, koine.  The story goes that when the trading center at Malacca was
>founded, nobody could understand the various langs., so they took "the best"
>from each and created a new language!!!

What's so disturbing about that, especially if 'they took "the best"
from each'?  For all that we know *all* languages may have gone through
koineization and/or pidginization-creolization at some point in their
history.  (How, for example, can languages like Proto-Indo-European have
become widespread enough in ancient times to provide the basis for such a
vastly dispersed family of languages?  All evidence shows that spread over
large areas will entail first Koineization and then
fragmentization.  English itself is an example of this.


  B.Philip Jonsson  mailto:[log in to unmask]
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