On Thu, Apr 7, 2011 at 3:11 PM, Jesse Bangs <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> > Something else that might be hard for a linguist would be a language that
> > uses thousands of suppletive (sp?) morphemes for talking to stranger when
> > compared to talking to insiders - so whenever s/he asks how to say
> > something he gets one answer, but never hears the word used when he's
> > listening to people speak with each other!
> That would be diabolical. Now I have to write a story using exactly
> this conceit.

It would be wouldn't it.  It may be something I use in the story I'm
writing, but as part of some kind of ngoko-type system.  One word for use
with strangers, another for use with friends, another for superiors, another
for women, another for children another for inferiors -- and have them
interact orthoganally!!!  Or inflecting for light levels!!!!!

A man is kungdu if he's in daylight, nipoudun if in shadow and kisagari if
in moonlight or tikupadum if in pitch darkness...

That could be enough without grammatical weirdness.  Then throw some of the
other issues into the pot and my poor linguist might commit suicide before
figuring out how to ask "How are you?"!!