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From:    Joerg Rhiemeier <[log in to unmask]>
> > "Thomas R. Wier" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> > In my experience with the languages of North America and the
> > Caucasus, this is not at all the case.  On top of all the other
> > things that make Georgian a difficult language to learn, it is
> > replete with suppletive verb (and noun!) stems, a number of
> > different kinds of verbal and nominal ablaut, sometimes intersecting
> > one another but sometimes not, and many verbs which simply lack
> > certain stems and so have to recruit other stems to fill out
> > paradigms.
>
> I never seriously tried to learn Georgian, but I did try to get to
> an understanding of how its morphology works - and found that none of
> the sources I found gave comprehensive paradigms, and couldn't figure
> it out from examples, either.  Apparently, this is because things
> are frantically irregular in Georgian!

Well, I would definitely agree that Georgian is towards that end of
the scale.  I'd say individual IE languages -- e.g. Homeric Greek --
can be like that too.

> I am not very familiar with North American languages, but I have heard
> that their morphologies are formidable.

They can be, certainly.  With over 300 languages spoken in 1492
north of the Rio Grande alone, a good number are not so morphological.
(But it is also my impression that Amerindian languages are more
morphological than, say, African or European languages.)

> > Yes, that's often the case.  But languages with much more
> > complex morphological systems than IE-languages can be far,
> > far worse, let me assure you, for purely morphological reasons.
>
> So IE actually occupies a middle position on the irregularity scale,
> I assume.

Yeah, I think this is fair.  Maybe slightly more irregular than
most, but certainly not the highest.  It all depends on what criteria
one uses for irregularity.

 =========================================================================
Thomas Wier	       "I find it useful to meet my subjects personally,
Dept. of Linguistics    because our secret police don't get it right
University of Chicago   half the time." -- octogenarian Sheikh Zayed of
1010 E. 59th Street     Abu Dhabi, to a French reporter.
Chicago, IL 60637