Jim Henry wrote:
> On 11/18/05, R A Brown <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>Jim Henry wrote:
> In Volapük there are a fair number of constructions
> like:
> pen == pen
> penön == to write [not just with a pen]
> pened == a letter [not any written matter]

I see.

> Or Volapük suffixes -- except I'm
> honest up front about the suffixes
> being deliberately vague like E-o's
> "um", so you know 

Yep - Dutton has at least three of these 'vague suffixes' (the so-called 
general, associative and special suffixes); but he makes out that their 
meanings are defined - they're not; they are all as vague as "um".

>      -- Though
> maybe the root and suffix will give
> you clues for guessing at its
> meaning in context than would an _a priori_
> monomorphemic word, or a
> word derived _a posteriori_ from
> a source language you're not familiar with.

That's a possibility, I guess.

>>I know the feeling only too well! But in my case, I have specifically
>>ruled out idiomatic compounding from Piashi, it being an engelang.
> That makes sense.  I suspect, however, that
> idiomatic compounds -- as long as they're clearly
> marked as such like "ventumi" (to ventilate)
> rather than purely opaque like "eldoni"

But having too many such suffixes does not IMO help. There may be a case 
for one such suffix, in the E-o, manner, but I would be unhappy to have 

> -- are on average easier to learn, or to
> guess at in context, than _a priori_ words
> or _a posteriori_ words that are so unfamiliar
> to a particular learner that they might as
> well be  _a priori_.  gzb is, in part,
> an experiment to test this -- though obviously
> not a well-controlled experiment.
> In fact, I reckon this question would be one
> of the easiest aspects of IAL or engelang
> design to test cheaply; but perhaps
> that's a topic for the other list, or offline
> discussion...?

Unless that other list has changed radically from the time I was on it, 
I do not think you would get a helpful discussion there. My experience 
suggests that it would soon, alas, end in flames. But I really do not 
see any reason why it should not be discussed here - it is a conlang 
topic IMO.

> So, I try to find a way to form a clear,
> non-idiomatic compound from existing
> gzb roots whenever possible; but
> when I can't figure out how to do that,
> I often prefer coining an idiomatic compound
> with one of the known-to-be-idiomatic
> suffixes, over coining a new _a priori_
> word.

At present I am inclining very much the other way; if there is no clear, 
non-idiomatic compound, I am coining a new word  ;)

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