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Joe said:
> Ray Brown wrote:
>
>> On Monday, June 7, 2004, at 06:13 , Joe wrote:
>>
>>> Yeah, but I was emphasising conciseness.  I've found that a simple
>>> sentence - verb, subject, and object, can't really be expressed with
>>> less than three syllables.
>>
>>
>> It certainly can, really & truly; e.g.
>>
>> tu l'aimes /tylEm/ two syllables
>> je l'aime /ZlEm/   one syllable
>>
>> If you're after conciseness, then you must check out Skrintha's (aka
>> Srikanth's) Lin. The first challenge will be to make your language as
>> concise (and if you're stuck with the idea that a morpheme must
>> consist of
>> at least a syllable, you're onto a looser), then the real challenge is
>> to
>> improve on Lin's concision  :-)
>
> Yes, but those are pronominal arguments.  I probably should have made
> myself clearer.
>
> A morpheme doesn't have to, but a word does.  Although, come to think of
> it, it doesn't acutally have to be the nucleus...


A *phonological* word has to have at least one syllable, but it could
easily map to three or more grammatical words. Morphemes represented by a
single segment or by suprasegmental processes will tend to be from closed
classes, so the point you're trying to make is probably that open-class
morphemes will almost always have at least one syllable and that therefore
a prototypical simple transitive clause constructed from open-class
morphemes will have at least three syllables.

I think that's probably a fair assumption, although there are languages
with subsyllabic open-class morphemes -- and at least one of them could
probably manage to provide a simple transitive clause with open-class
morphemes that has less than three syllables. So saying that such clauses
can't really exist is probably overstated, strictly speaking.


-- Mark