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On Mon, 12 Jan 2009 16:24:05 -0800, Gary Shannon <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

>--- On Mon, 1/12/09, Alex Fink <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> But I note you had every single modification lead to a new
>> language.
>
>It is also possible to apply several modifications for each new generation.
Yes, it could result in a bushy tree, however it's also possible that many
of the intermediate forms of the language might be so minor as to not even
warrant being given a name.

Ah, your tree's not as bushy as I thought it might be, in practice; that's
pleasant.

>> More incidentally, I'd miss sound changes if they
>> weren't present in a
>> project like this, and knowing you I can't be sure you
>> even had descriptions
>> of phonology.
>
>Phonology is something I don't give much thought to. After all when I watch
"Doctor Who" and hear someone, as I did this afternoon, speak a sentence
including the  phrase "...waddy the gods..." and I can grasp from the
context that the intended meaning was "...worry the guards..." then it seems
to me that, in spite of how interesting it might be in its own right, the
_importance_ of phonology is grossly overblown by its enthusiasts. (Just my
ignorance-based personal opinion, of course.:-)

Tokenby sameby the, we however thus saynotcan: libertien syntaxin
morphologyin-and , what degreeof equalof greaterof-or a be, getaking, I
still graspment youby meaningof meofof the contextfrom the expect?  We
therefore thus concludenotmust: importantitude the branchenof
linguistickenofof these overblowed grosswise be?  :-p

>>  And, well, there's no accounting for
>> taste, but with a name
>> like Anglosic I'm betting English was the root of the
>> tree? -- having
>> English as root would be a turn-off for me.
>
>Yes, English is the root. But it shouldn't take too many incremental
changes before any resemblance to English would become obscure. Take this
excerpt from "Dirut Zupik" a fifth generation member of the Anglosic family:
Ida chu ti durinzez zudanta tan auda ter ina zuranda azu keida. Duda, kuta
kurazhiuz! [...]

Different-looking indeed.  But still specified as a set of diffs to English.
 If a fieldworker were to come upon Dirut Zupik spoken by an isolated tribe
in the highlands of Foolau, or something, and they sat down to analyse it,
the structural similarity to English would quickly be evident: beyond the
analyticisation of the verb and the fusion of prepositions to verbs as
prefixes it's a relex, and one that can be stated as a function purely of
phonological form at that.  (But probably it's too much to ask that more
would happen in just five changes.)

And, in my naturalist aspect, the diachronic origins that I'd love to see
for the changes is lacking; they're just random modifications.  You may've
seen these pages that sometimes appear in variety puzzle magazines which
start you off with one phrase and then issue a sequence of commands --
insert a K between letters five and six, change every double vowel to EA,
etc. -- until at the bottom of the page you have an entirely different
phrase?  Well, that's what this reminds me of, more than historical
linguistics.  Especially what with the multiplicity of spelling changes, a
number of which seem to want to be phonological if only they could.  

Alex