Print

Print


Jim Henry wrote:
> On 11/17/05, R A Brown <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
[snip]

>>And Trask defines 'idiom' thus:
>>"An expression consisting of two or more words whose meaning cannot be
>>simply predicted from the meanings of its constituent parts."
> 
> ......
> 
>>It can't be cannot if? A single word may be used metaphorically - but I
>>fail to see how it can be an idiom.
> 
> 
> What about a compound word whose
> meaning cannot be deduced from the
> meaning of its component morphemes?

You are, of course, correct. I guess we should amend Trask thus:
"An expression consisting of two or more morphemes whose meaning cannot 
be simply predicted from the meanings of its constituent parts."

> Like, in Esperanto, "eldonejo"
> (= publishing house, literally
> "out-giving-place" -- 

..which could be a soup-kitchen   :)

[snip]
>     I think I usually
> hear such terms described as
> "idiomatic compounds".

Now you remind me, I have heard them so described also.

> Volapük and Speedwords
> have this kind of idiomatic compound
> in even greater abundance,
> if my impression is correct.

I don't know about Volapük, but certainly Speedwords has them in 
abundance. See Rick Harrison's "Language Profile: Speedwords"
http://www2.cmp.uea.ac.uk/~jrk/conlang.dir/Speedwords.overview

and my own pages:
http://www.carolandray.plus.com/Briefscript/SWwords.html
http://www.carolandray.plus.com/Briefscript/itollis.html

[snip]
> 
> To go back to the non-idiom
> Yahya mentioned ("strewth"),
> suppose there are two languages,
> conlang or natlang, that both have some
> conventional kenning for "falsehood"
> that glosses as "devil's truth".
> If it's a two or three word phrase
> in one and a compound word in the other,
> is it an idiom in one and not in the
> other?  Why?

In the case of "devil's truth" the meaning of the constituents show that 
the thing is a contradiction, so it either has no meaning or an 
idiomatic meaning. I think 'falsehood' could more readily be guessed 
than out+div+place = 'publishing house' or 
instrument+receptacle+liquid+complement = 'corkscrew'   :)

But "God's truth" is IMO no more or less idiomatic than any other oath 
that humans have used. I think oaths are a category of their own and we 
have, indeed, had threads in the past "how do people in your concultures 
swear?"

> gjâ-zym-byn has several idiomatic
> compound words, mostly built with
> suffixes similar to Esperanto's "-um";
> each such suffix has a general way of deriving
> one meaning from another,

Sounds like Speedwords suffixes  :)

[snip]
> 
>>In fact, there seems to have been a dearth of stuff about Conlangs
>>recently. In any case, we engelangers are not going to be able to
>>contribute much, it seems to me    ;)
> 
> 
> I haven't been working on gjâ-zym-byn much
> lately.  I've been thinking about a possible
> new project, and have been typing up some
> scattered handwritten notes about it,
> but I'm not quite ready to post here
> about it yet.

I know the feeling only too well! But in my case, I have specifically 
ruled out idiomatic compounding from Piashi, it being an engelang.

-- 
Ray
==================================
[log in to unmask]
http://www.carolandray.plus.com
==================================
MAKE POVERTY HISTORY