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Leo suggests another dimension:

A conlang may have more than one style or 'register' -- much as the three in traditional Javanese. 

Loglangs could have them, too. Near synonyms, like 'large' and 'big' in English, could be thus segregated out into more logical usage patterns.

Registers as in Javanese would seem more likely if there were class distinctions in your Conlang world or if you had various species that communicated on differing planes. 

In many Austronesian languages there are social-class registers. Besides vocabulary, there may be differing grammatical features, rhythm, stress patterns, intonation, etc.

Features like 'register' need not IMO be restricted to providing a class distinction. They could supply distinctive subsystems of other sorts -- e.g. for scientific/technical, religio-poetic, or other styles. 

The active use of 'King James English' by many Protestant ministers could be considered a religio-poetic 'register' of a sort within the modern English language. Perhaps the Latin of the Vulgate might be such a register of traditional Latin. 

There are 'posh' ways of saying things in London, Ebonics in some California suburbs. Does anyone recall the mention of "valley talk" in the past?

ANYWAY:
Those dealing with loglangs will be aware of the fact that natlangs typically have more than one way to say the same thing. (The early Ido movement had hoped to prevent such a thing, gave up.) Natlangs are a slush of meanings.

In a conlang, some of this wobble might IMO be replaced by the establishment of clear registers.

Best regards to all,   LEO

            Leo Moser 


-----Original Message-----
From: Constructed Languages List [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Jim Henry
Sent: Friday, August 15, 2014 11:28 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: "big" versus "large"

On Fri, Aug 15, 2014 at 11:30 AM, Julanga <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> One of the primitives in it is glossed with the word "big". I haven't 
> seen "large" contrasted with "big" in this context, but "large" isn't 
> mentioned as an alternative exponent of the primitive either. I guess 
> it is because of differences in meaning, and that "big" is an exponent 
> of the proposed primitive and "large" is not.

The fact that "big" and "large" aren't completely interchangeable doesn't mean they mean different things; their meanings largely overlap, and when they aren't interchangeable in particular contexts, it may simply be because they are used with different (fuzzily
defined) classes of referents.

For instance, in English we describe a variety of things as "long" -- ropes, wires, roads, rivers, planks, arms, legs, books, movies, etc.
You could have a language where one word means "long" with winding, twisting referents like rope or a river, and another means "long" with straight referents like planks or arms, while long books and movies are describe with something that translates as english "big" or "large" in other contexts.  That wouldn't show that "long" in English is polysemous.  Neither does the English use of "big" and "large" to describe the same basic quality in different kinds of referent mean that other languages's equivalent words are polysemous.

> As far as I can see, the word "big" is used in NSM to refer to 
> physical objects and places, and it contrasts the referent with other 
> possible
> referents: "A big dog" is a dog that is bigger compared to other dogs.

And "large dog" means essentially the same thing, though it may occur less often than "big dog".

> I am contemplating on whether "large" could be synonymous to "high" in 
> "high speed" and "high temperature".

"Large speed" sounds weird to this native speaker, and a web search for "large speed" turns up results that are mostly spurious -- they are substrings of phrases where "speed" is just part of a noun phrase modified by "large", not where "speed" is itself directly modified by "large".  Ditto with "large temperature" -- I find phrases like "large temperature meter", "large temperature range" etc.

"Big speed" and "big temperature" would also sound odd, but less odd than the phrases with "large".

--
Jim Henry
http://www.pobox.com/~jimhenry/
http://www.jimhenrymedicaltrust.org