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Padraic,

I saw your reply to "George Mann's" earlier e-mail, and since you appear to be taking at least some of his claims at face value, once again I feel compelled to offer some clarifying details.

[>> -- quotes from Mann]
[> - quotes from Padraic]

> > (The corpus is mostly "Oganza bisasa !" 
> > repeated over and over and over.  It's very telegraphic. ) 
>
> That's not really enough of a corpus to count as "largest"
> by really almost anyone's definition. Most conlangers on
> this list have languages with more texts or more
> detailed grammars or larger lexicons. 


While I might agree with Padraic's analysis of "largest" here, I would disagree with the suggestion that the corpus is "mostly" two words repeated over and over. I suppose one could quibble over the definition of "mostly."

> I am curious: how large is Pakuni's corpus?
> How many words int he lexicon? How
> large are the texts in the language?

As a first order of magnitude answer, there are "a few hundred" Pakuni words.
My transcription of the Pakuni dialog from the show fits on 14 handwritten pages. There are also examples of Pakuni in some comic books, but these are just repetition of common phrases from the show.

> What would really be nice to see is a collaborative
> and reasonably authoritative grammar and lexicon
> for this conlang.

Does this count?

http://www.dementedstuff.com/lotl/pakuni2.html


> > Also, it'd be cool if someone 
> > could machine-analyze all of the spoken
> > dialogue and determine exactly what 
> > allophones the actors were saying.
>
> I've talked about this with Alexander.
> You can take this for what little it's worth: 
> you're dealing with actors,
> not native language speakers.

Exactly - and not just actors, but actors wearing false teeth. There are times that it's obvious they're even saying the wrong word (where a phrase like "big brown cat" comes out"big brown bat". To speak of allophones in this context is just silly.

> > None of the people who made or developed
> > Pakuni were conlangers as I know the 
> > type from Conlang List and Zompist Bboard. 
>
> Once you make a language, you become a conlanger!
> By definition.

I think what "Mann" was getting at is that Fromkin wasn't overly interested in putting Pakuni in the context of the fictional world, and that people like Olsen, Barr, and Laurel are not overly interested in linguistic details, or in languages at all outside of Pakuni. If it is, then I think he's got a legitimate point. It's the sort of thing that you (Padraic) said above when you said you wanted a "reasonably authoritative" grammar. It's hard to be authoritative if one doesn't use a consistent orthography. or fails to make distinctions between nouns and verbs.

Of course, saying so this openly might also be seen as bad manners.

> > Alexander is very adamant that the Pakuni are aliens 
>
> That's not really how I understood him, but whatever. 


Haha, exactly! I never said that. I certainly never said it adamantly either.

Come to think of it, it's hard to be "reasonably authoritative" while simultaneously misrepresenting a person.

> It would be very nice if the information in that
> reference grammar could itself be put on line.
> I know you guys have been working hard at
> deciphering words and so forth, but surely
> there's a lot of authoritatively known data in
> that grammar of Fromkin's??


Funny you should mention this. :-)

As I've mentioned here, I'm planning on putting together an article discussing how "authoritative" the data in Fromkin's grammar is (or isn't), at which point, I could easily pass along the grammar itself. I'll leave it up to the Fiat Lingua folks whether they feel comfortable including the document on their page, because it's copyrighted material.

I was shooting to have this ready by March 1. If I miss that date, it will be ready for April 1 for sure.

Thomas