On 15/10/2011 04:26, Hugo Cesar de Castro Carneiro wrote:
> Hej conlangers,

Sorry, I'm genuinely and completely confused on several points.

> I am creating a very synthetic language.

> Compositional polysynthetic languages usually have more
> than one morpheme per word. My conlang, on the other
> hand, will have only one.

I don't understand.

*synthetic language* _n_. A language characterized by a high
frequency of *synthetic* structures, whether *inflecting* or
[Larry Trask, 1993, A Dictionary of Grammatical Terms in
Linguistics, p. 273]

... in *synthetic languages*, words typically contain more
than one MORPHEME (as opposed to ANALYTIC languages, where
words are typically monomorphemic).
[David Crystal, 1980, A dictionary of Linguistics and
Phonetics, p. 378]

The index of *synthesis* (Comrie 1989) has to do with how
many morphemes tend to occur per word. This index defines a
continuum from *isolating* languages at one extreme to
highly *polysynthetic* languages at the other.  A strictly
isolating language is one in which every word consists of
only one morpheme. ... A highly polysynthetic language is
one in which words tend to consist of several morphemes.
[Thomas Payne, 1997, Describing Morphosyntax, p. 27]

There's poor blokes like Thom Payne and myself who have
thinking all these years that if a language had one morpheme
per word it was an isolating language (sigh).

> What can make my conlang as synthetic as (or as almost
> synthetic as) a compositional polysynthetic language is
> that there will not be any closed class word in my
> conlang.

How does that make it synthetic?  [Genuine question]

> There will be no adposition, no conjunction, no pronoun
> (of any kind) and so on. Because of this lack of closed
> class words, it is very difficult to build subordinate
> clauses.
> My first attempt to create noun subordinate clauses was
> to transform the verb of subordinate clause into a noun,
> so I would transform "I saw you hugging that girl" into
> "I saw your hug upon that girl".

My first reaction was "Why hasn't he considered using a
gerund or something like the verbnoun of Insular Celtic?"
Then I thought "Hey, aren't 'I' and 'you' pronouns, and
isn't 'yours' a possessive form of 'you'?"

(I'll let 'that' go by as a demonstrative adjective and
assume there are no demonstrative pronouns; tho surely
demonstrative adjectives are a _closed_ set!)

Either your language doesn't have pronouns, or it does?
Which is it?

Then, I though, maybe this was a slip of the brain.  So
let's try it with nouns instead:
"Tom saw Pete hugging that girl" --> "Tom saw Pete's hug
upon that girl"

But then - help!!


'upon' is an adposition, isn't it?

> I create these sentences with a nominalized verb by using
> the possessive case for the agent (the one that owns the
> action) and the genitive case for the patient (simply an
> object, a complement to that action).

Possessive case? Genitive case?  In a language in which all
words are single morphemes?  How??

> But this proved to be very awkward.

Well, yes - with no affixes, as words are monomorphemic, and
no adpositions (to say nothing of no pronouns of any sort),
it strikes me as extremely awkward.

A pity, as I would have liked to have pursued the 'Insular
Celtic verbnoun' idea a bit.

> I hope someone can help me with this problem,

Sorry, no (and I'm genuinely sorry) - for me there are too
many other more fundamental problems.

Nid rhy hen neb i ddysgu.
There's none too old to learn.