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On Wed, Nov 14, 2012 at 12:51 PM, Logan Kearsley <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> On 14 November 2012 02:41, Alex Fink <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> On Wed, 14 Nov 2012 01:41:19 +0000, And Rosta <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>
>>>Alex Fink, On 14/11/2012 00:39:
> [...]
>> Alright, I'll try to think a bit more through how the predicates-and-arguments skeleton of it might work.
>>
>> I want to be able to say more or less
>>     nurse.NOM teacup.ACC throw.3>3
>> (or possibly the same in a better-chosen case system) for "the nurse threw the teacup" (putting aside worries about "the"), and have this work out to
>>     nurse(n) & teacup(a) & throw(n, a).
>> So the lexical entry for the "throw" lexeme would contain the argument--variable mappings {thrower: n, projectile: a}, and when used with this default 3>3 affix (which concision suggests making as formally empty as possible) uses those mappings in the clause.  The lexical entry for "teacup" would also contain some argument--variable mapping {teacup: foo}, for some variable foo; by explicitly saying "teacup.ACC" I'm overwriting the foo binding with an  a  binding.  In fact, in a nominative-accusative-flavoured system, the lexical case for typical unary noun-like predicates might also be nominative, so that "nurse.NOM" and "nurse.3" would be the same thing, the as formally empty as possible one.
>>
>> Two important choices already are:
>> - What case system shall we use?  We want one that allows the defaults to be used in the greatest proportion of pragmatically arising sentences.  Among other aspects, this subsumes the question of pivots.  For instance if I want to be able to say
>>     nurse(x) & teacup(y) & throw(x, y) & break(y)
>> "the nurse threw the teacup and it[sic] broke" with default argument--variable mapping on "throw" and "break", I've got to be using ergative alignment.  Or again, is it worth it to treat animate nounish predicates and inanimate ones differently, so that "nurse" and "teacup" might also both be default-marked here?
>
> Palno has the same problem, but so far ignores it; you just have to
> start a new clause, and use and anaphor to indicate co-referentiality
> just like you do in the English version. Palno, however, is based on a
> functional paradigm without explicit variable binding (so far; I have
> been pondering predicate-calculus inspired revisions), under which any
> expression is only *allowed* to be an argument of at most one
> predicate anyway. If case markings are standing in for variable
> bindings, I would suggest going with a trigger-style system, so
> "throw" has some morphology that says its positional arguments are NOM
> and ACC respectively, and  "break" has morphology indicating that its
> sole argument is ACC.
>
> At that point, however, I find it much more natural to associate
> variable bindings not with the concept of case, but with pronouns.
> Each predicate would simply be marked with a pronominal clitic string,
> formed from a closed set of possible "variable names" for the language
> (perhaps corresponding to first, second, third proximate, and third
> obviative; the set could be expanded with, say, definiteness, or
> encoding of stuff that could be put into predicates but is common
> enough to warrant a special pronouns, like gender). That would limit
> the total number of distinct argument referents you could have per
> clause, but that's plausibly not that big a deal. It could perhaps be
> extended with an incorporation mechanism to say "I only need to use
> this referent once, so I'm just putting a defining predicate for it
> directly in something else's argument slot without bothering with
> variable binding". So, say, "the man in the house" might be encoded as
> "man(a) && in(house,a)" rather than "man(a) & house(b) & in(b,a)" if
> you don't need to refer to the house elsewhere in the clause.

I'm interested in this discussion, because this sounds a lot like my
idea for Kulaqil. Each noun gets an ending roughly corresponding to
its importance in the sentence, and the verb agrees in this category
for each of its arguments. It wasn't inspired by computer languages,
though (even though I was a comp sci student at the time): it was
inspired by reading the section on "trigger languages" in Pablo David
Flores's primer (IIRC) and extending it to all arguments. It was an
attempt at coming up with a grammar with maximally free word order (my
other attempt, Ekmar-Tenkar, takes the opposite approach of massive
marking on nouns via suffixaufnahme).

I justified it by saying that the endings were originally space deixis
markers that became fused to nouns and used metaphorically for
discourse distance until they became semantically bleached past the
point of no return. I don't know of any cases of space deixis
agreement marking on verbs but it doesn't seem totally unreasonable. I
also tweaked it by adding incorporation, which frees up a lot of room
for the system (since there's a limited number of markers) and also
possibly serves as way for the deixis marking to arise.