Print

Print


On Fri, Jun 15, 2012 at 12:20 PM, Alex Fink <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> I can't say I understand why the collective response to Jarrette's
> messages has been so negative.  To my eye what he's done is express a few
> matters of taste -- in fairly strong terms ("shame"), sure, and some of
> them based on measures that aren't the right ones (that natlangs retain
> noun classes is not because of any positive adaptive value; number of words
> in a comprehensive dictionary is surely bound to be a great overestimate of
> measure of amount of foreign vocab used as she is spoke).  But what's a
> little passion?


I reacted quite negatively because, frankly, shame of English seems to be a
common feeling among (especially new) conlangers, and I'm sick and tired of
it.  English has plenty of interesting features to look at -- and it's
possibly the most successful lingua franca ever.  I don't think anyone
should be ashamed of their language, and English speakers certainly not.

>5. Most complex: No rule can be created. It happens with semanto-syllabic
> >scripts, like the ideogrammic Chinese writing.
>
> No present natural language has an "ideographic scripts" as its current
> main script (though certain forms of proto-writing were ideographic).
>  Chinese writing, like any other, writes not abstract ideas but Chinese
> words.  There are of course some complications, many-to-one and one-to-many
> correspondences, the fact that the script has ignored the internal
> divergence of the Chinese language family, etc. -- but when are there not?
>  The modern term for such scripts is "logographic".
>

True.  I didn't jump on this because it's been said over and over.  I would
argue that "internal divergence of the Chinese language family" is, in
fact, not "ignored".  It just so happens that so many Chinese languages are
never written in Chinese characters.  Those that regularly are (Mandarin,
Cantonese, Shanghainese, Taiwanese), show their lexical and syntactic
differences in the writing.  Written colloquial Cantonese, for one,
contains characters that do not appear in Mandarin, though all of them use
different characters where the lexica have developed in different ways.
 Standards are a problem, due to the perception that Mandarin is "Standard
Chinese", so only Cantonese has a written standard, and Taiwanese is
written so inconsistently it's a wonder anyone can read it.