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
> 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
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

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?