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On 27 February 2012 13:51, Alex Fink <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> On Mon, 27 Feb 2012 13:26:44 -0700, Logan Kearsley <[log in to unmask]>
> wrote:
>
>>Mev Pailom* is very verb-oriented; there are small classes of
>>prepositions, grammatical particles, and pronouns, and everything else
>>so far is regularly derived from basically verbal roots. This has
>>resulted in an explosion of vocabulary for abstract concepts and for
>>concrete things that are easily associated with activities (like bed =
>>"locative-sleep", hand = "instrument-do"), but it's leaving me without
>>an easy way to form specific concrete nouns; e.g., what activity goes
>>with "rock"? How does one distinguish "pen", "pencil", or "ink" from
>>"instrument-symbol-draw"?
>
> My first suggestion would be *not* to distinguish them, at the basic level,
> mindful of the fact that languages differ in what semantic divisions are
> reflected in basic-level categories (and wanting to avoid an English
> lexical-structure bias). †If you need to speak of pens and pencils in
> cÚntrast to one another, then stick on whatever disambiguatory modifier you
> need: "liquid drawing-tool" vs. "sticklike drawing-tool"? †"erasable d.-t."
> vs. "unerasable d.-t."? †But in most contexts this modifier would be
> dispensable.

Yeah, that's the basic thought behind using classifiers of some sort.
I'm a big fan of Rick Morneau's approach of breaking things down into
really basic concepts and then using derivational morphology to build
them back up again, which has resulted in a lot of very different
basic distinctions than what we'd get from just using English as a
starting point.

>>I'm averse to just making up a whole lot of basic nominal roots
>>because I don't want a) to shift the character of the language too
>>much or b) to impinge on the phonological space that's available for
>>the regular derivational system to grow into; e.g., if there's a
>>verbal root R-K and an unanalyzable noun "rok", the pattern -CoC- is
>>excluded from possible use in the derivational system, or else we risk
>>homophony, which eliminates potentially hundreds of possible derived
>>words for the sake of one basic root.
>
> Why isn't a little homophony tolerable?

A little is- there's even some potential homophony built into the
derivational system already. I just don't want *every* potential noun
root to be conflicting with a possible deverbal form. And I'm rather
fond of the existing capacity to recognize a word as a verb or
deverbal derivation based solely on the shape of the word;
specifically noun-verb homophony messes that up, where verb-verb or
noun-noun homophony presents less of a problem.

>>So, I am looking for various morphological strategies that can are
>>used for nominals in other verb-oriented languages.
>>For the pen/pencil/ink sort of problem, I was thinking of using
>>classifiers to distinguish different possible meanings of general
>>nouns; regarding which, does anyone know of a good large list of noun
>>classifiers / counters used in various languages?
>
> Hm. †I get the feeling that would sometimes help but often not. †My
> impression is that natlang classifiers tend mostly to be based on
> shape+size+consistency, or broad functional groups (rarely does it get finer
> than "tools"), or broad associational groups (e.g. men's objects vs. women's
> ones). †Ink is liquid whereas both pens and pencils are sticklike; the
> latter two are less likely to be distinguished in a class system, but maybe
> (oldschool) pencils could be made to fall in a "trees & their products" class/

That's why I'd like to look at comprehensive lists from multiple
languages. They probably don't all divide things up in the same broad
ways.
But where it doesn't help anyway, that's where I need more than just
one possible nominal-formation strategy.

> My impression is that, in the verb-prominent native languages of North
> America, one of the common strategies for naming particular objects is just
> nominalizing a whole verb phrase, with whatever necessary modifiers in it.
> Along the lines of "ink" = 'writing-tools are filled with it'.

Indeed it is; unfortunately, I can't find a good dictionary with
morphological information in it to see how those nominalizations are
formed.

On 27 February 2012 14:47, Jeffrey Daniel Rollin-Jones
<[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> You could just have a verb that means "to rock" or "to be a rock", and then syntax or morphology which makes it clear when the lexeme is being used in the nominal sense,

I've taken that approach to form adjectives- making adjectival
concepts into verb roots, which have derivations for the quality-noun
(e.g., red = red-ness) and an attributive (red = red-ish).

But it feels to me like that strategy just wants to be used for
qualities and other abstract things. There's a big difference between
having a verb for "to be happy" and a verb for "to be a rock".

I'll have to think about it some more; that approach could certainly
work for some things, but it just doesn't quite feel right.

> Depending on what you're looking for, homophony could make your conlang more naturalistic.

I expect it to; I'm looking forward to it just happening as the
language gets put into use. But if I'm going to have a lot of
homophony, I do want it to be genuinely naturalistic, not something
that I am putting in consciously knowing that it will make it seem
more naturalistic.

> Also, you could disambiguate (some/all) homophones by derivation, compounding, and/or tone, so that

Hm. I could introduce lexical stress. But then I'll have to come up
with a good way to notate that....

On 27 February 2012 15:30, Peter Cyrus <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> You could also consider that nouns are binominal conjunctions of structure
> and function. †Your verb system is providing the function, so you need a
> few roots for structures, maybe just a few more than a classifier system
> would have,

I am not at all sure what you mean by "structure" in this case. Or
really what you have in mind at all. Could you elaborate? Maybe with
examples? Is there a natlang I could reference?

-l.