On Nov 18, 2009, at 3◊28 PM, Sai Emrys wrote:

> Jörg's essay reminded me of the 'e-prime' idea - that it'd be nice if
> languages didn't overuse the identity copula.
> Of course, the stupidly naïve way to address this as a conlanger is to
> simply ban copulas, but generally that just means you actually have a
> zero copula (like e.g. Russian, Arabic, and Black English).

And, of course, all three of those languages have copulae--just in
other situations, for example:

Ja student.
/I student-NOM./
"I'm a student."


Ja byl student.
/I was student-NOM./
"I was a student."

Ana kaatib.
/I writer/
"I'm a writer."


(Ana) kuntu kaatib.
/(I) was writer/
"I was a writer."

> AFMCL, in griplang, we have three copulas - actual identity (rarely
> used), subset (very common), and superset. I don't think this really
> avoids the above issue; e-primers will say that one shouldn't be able
> to say "Bob is stupid" (but rather, "Bob did something stupid
> yesterday" perhaps?), and we can say "Bob [subset] stupid[-things]",
> which is more or less equivalent.

At least seven of my languages have no copula.  Some work like
Arabic and Russian (there is a copula, but you don't use it in the
present, or something similar).  One system I've created works like

Stative: verb (so x y's = x is  y, where y is some sort of attribute)
Identity: x y-ACC. = x is y; x y-ABL. = x was y; x y-ALL. = x will be y

Seems to work pretty well.

"sunly eleSkarez ygralleryf ydZZixelje je ox2mejze."
"No eternal reward will forgive us now for wasting the dawn."

-Jim Morrison

LCS Member Since 2007