On Wed, 3 Jun 2015 13:43:21 -0700, Jeffrey Brown <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

>Jörg R: I apologize for my lack of clarity: I didn’t mean to imply that a
>naturalistic grammar had to contain the same COMBINATION of grammatical
>features as a natlang, but that use of a truly novel feature, one that is
>not observed in any natlang whatsoever, will compromise the naturalism of
>the grammar (such as Fith’s stack-based grammar). I think that any
>(consistent) combination of natlang grammatical features ought to work.

Re this, and re your original (2), I'd add that "consistency" is a fuzzy property.  To resume Joerg's example, are ergativity and VO order _inconsistent_? No.  So are they just another unremarkable combination? No again, they're pretty rare together.  That is, the combination is somewhere in the fuzzy periphery of "consistency", not in the centre near its prototype.  

I've stated my concept of _strong naturalism_ around here before, as the version of naturalism I aspire to, though surely don't attain.  The strong-naturalist strives to make conlangs whose statistics, on every feature and combination of features, follow the distribution of natural languages, given a large enough sample (this bit is necessarily a bit nebulous, e.g. we might have to observe the world for a million years to get enough data).  If 43% of natlangs are VO, then your languages should be VO with 43% probability.  If only 7.5% of natlangs have [T], then you'll have to go without [T] 92.5% of the time.  (That's one of the scores on which conlangers taken collectively are way out; there's way too much [T].  Of course that's a hard type of thing to "solve"... not entirely unlike the problem of ensuring representation of minorities in fiction collectively, though of infinitely less social importance.)

>Taliesin: But would you say that Tariana has a naturalistic grammar,
>despite it being a freaky monster conlang?

I wondered if you had confused Tariana and Tariatta.

>John Q: (1) If cryptotypes are defined in the description of a conlang, are
>they still cryptotypes? Hmm…? I don’t think a constructed language can have

My reaction to that idea is not dissimilar to my reaction to Lakoff's "a conlang can't have frames": both seem to include a sort of confusion of levels between the description and the (imagined, typically) describendum.  

A cryptotype is simply a semantic or syntactic type of feature which lacks explicit _morphological_ expression.  It's not something like an "undiscovered" feature.  One could easily even make a sketchlang with a cryptotype -- you know, suppose verbs don't express an active vs. stative distinction in their morphology at all, but suddenly when you add an adverbial adjunct naming a point in time ("at noon"), statives are all of a sudden read inceptively while actives are read normally.  Bam, cryptotype.

>(And I suspect that is why, in my opinion, no exolang really “feels”
>complete and naturalistic, even on its own terms. It’s missing a consistent
>conceptual framework which is a deducible extension of the sensory/motor
>apparatus of the aliens who are purported to speak it. To create a great
>exolang, one probably has to spend a few years beforehand working out the
>anatomy and physiology of the aliens, before tackling the conculture and
>the language.)

Well said.

>Anyway, this (conceptual metaphors and cognitive frames) is a really
>excellent point, and something that conlangers striving for naturalism
>should pay closer attention to.

In accord with your "read a dozen natlang grammars" advice, what we really need is a cross-linguistic (and not overfocussed on SAE) treatment of which sorts of metaphors and frames are commonplace and which are rarer -- without this, how will we know what makes a naturalistic and not too calquey set of frames and metaphors?  So, have any linguists done any work at all like that?