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On 4/25/07, Henrik Theiling <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> But we might agree that this type of math may be mainly for fun
> anyway. :-)

Yes, at least I don't see any immediate use for it in one of my
conlangs.

> > I think Alex Fink's suggestions were probably
> > along the right lines, at least vis-a-vis lexicon
> > counting: count only the outermost branching.
>
> But when the result of previous branching steps are not part of the
> lexicon, e.g. because two morphemes are added to form a new word while
> adding only the first one leaves you with garbage, then it's not the
> best way, I think.  However, I would propose to multiply all
> boundaries not resulting in anything already in the lexicon so that
> you get a recursive derivation tree.
>
> E.g. if you have ABC in the lexicon already and want to add ABCDE and
> if ABCD does not exist, the either assign the operation +DE one score
> and use this for a lexicon entry, or multiply the scores of +D and +E.

That makes sense.

But what if you are adding a word that could be equally plausibly
derived from more than one word already in the lexicon -- by more
than one route?  A trivial example is E-o "mal-varm-eg-a"
-- OPP-warm-AUG-ADJ.  It could come from "mal-varm-a"
or from "varm-eg-a".  I say "trivial" because in this case the
degree of transparency and the meaning are the same in
either case, but I suspect there are other less transparent, more
ambiguous two-route compounds that are not coming to
mind at the moment.  -- Ah, here's one, perhaps a bit contrived:
mal-mangx-em-a.  Is it derived from "mangx-em-a" or
from "mal-mangxi-i"?  Does it mean "not tending to eat
= not hungry" or "tending to vomit = nauseous"?
("Nemangxema" would not be ambiguous like this.)

-- 
Jim Henry
http://www.pobox.com/~jimhenry