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On Tue, Dec 21, 2010 at 2:26 PM, Jörg Rhiemeier <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Hallo!
>
> On Tue, 21 Dec 2010 16:13:16 -0500, Matthew Martin wrote:
>
>> When inflecting languages turn isolating, do they just drop down to the
>> stem, do they erode to the stem and then make modifications to make obey the
>> old phonotactics, do they tend to pick a particular existing inflection
>> (like 1st person present), or something else?
>
> They don't "pick" anything.  An inflecting language turns isolating
> by the operation of sound changes which erode the inflections to the
> point of indistinguishability - they merge in a common form, which
> *may* be the bare stem, but not necessarily is.  It depends on the
> nature of the sound changes which do in the endings.
>
> What you do when you derive an isolating conlang from an inflecting
> language, is of course your own beer.  If you want to make it
> naturalistic, apply plausible sound changes to it.  If you just
> want an auxlang or an engelang, do what pleases you.

Interesting. And how do they pick up new particles? For example,
suppose I wanted to use a naturalistic process to turn Latin into an
isolating language. What would be the likely origin of something like
a case-marking particle or a verb tense particle?

Is it possible that case endings could become separated from their
nouns? Could, for example, "am" and "arum" become particles that
followed a noun rather than disappearing? Or would the endings
disappear first and then a new particle be invented to fill that
function?

--gary