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It is only regularity, i.e., following a pattern, that allows a language to
be learned.

Not all German verbs end in -en: sein ('to be') and its compounds. Many
German verbs end in -ln, -rn.

stevo

On Sun, Jun 7, 2015 at 2:16 PM, Leo Moser <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> You mention "complete regularity (which is not very naturalistic at all). "
>
> That is of course true. But many natural languages have full regularity in
> one word-form or another. So regularity to that extent seems IMO quite
> natural. No need to fear it in creating your naturalistic grammars.
>
> I believe the following are all true.
> Every full English verb (not modals) has a regular -ing form.
> Every German infinite ends in -en.
> Every Spanish plural ends in -s.
>
> I don't think of examples in Russian, Chinese, Japanese, or French right
> off.
> Were there any such examples in PIE? That might be revealing. And
> Sanskrit, Latin, etc. ?
>
> Yes, things like Esperanto and Ido probably went too far (all those myriad
> proper nouns in -o, for example.)
>
> Regards,           Leo
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Constructed Languages List [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On
> Behalf Of Mark J. Reed
> Sent: Sunday, June 07, 2015 4:01 AM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: Naturalistic Grammars
>
> > Esperanto would be the worst and most artless language ever created,
> > if
> judged solely by William Shatner’s performance in Incubus.
>
> Inkubo aside, you could make the case Esperanto is pretty "artless" by
> design, since Zamenhof's goal of ease of learning (which requires a certain
> degree of naturalism) included complete regularity (which is not very
> naturalistic at all).  Even if we stipulate that conlanging is an art,
> auxlangs are not artlangs.  Writing is an art, and a well-written
> instruction manual is both hard to create and a thing of beauty, yet an
> instruction manual is not judged by the same criteria as literature.
>
> On Sat, Jun 6, 2015 at 8:38 PM, David Peterson <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
> > > On Jun 6, 2015, at 10:22 AM, Jeffrey Brown <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> > >
> > > Instead of the lightbulb analogy, let's use playing the piano.
> >
> > No, this is a poor analogy. If you’re talking about playing the piano,
> > the analogy for conlanging is speaking the conlang (for example, is
> > Actor A better and more convincing speaking Dothraki than Actor B).
> > It’s definitely something that can be measured objectively and
> > subjectively (did they pronounce every phoneme correctly? did they say
> > every word?), but the resultant judgment says absolutely nothing about
> > the conlang—just as if I, someone who can’t play the piano well, play
> > a piece by Mozart badly, it doesn’t mean that the Mozart piece is a
> > poor quality piece. It says nothing about the piece or about Mozart
> > and everything about my ability to play the piano and play that piece of
> music.
> >
> > The only reason an analogy like this would work if there were
> > absolutely no possible way to measure the quality of a piece without
> > it being performed. We know that’s false in music (hence the academic
> > study of music theory), and it certainly is false in conlanging. Plus,
> > it would be kind of
> > silly: The quality of a piece would change depending on who played it.
> > That is, me playing Mozart would result in Mozart’s piece being
> > considered a very bad piano piece; a professional pianist playing
> > Mozart’s piece would result in it being considered quite good. By this
> > measure, Esperanto would be the worst and most artless language ever
> > created, if judged solely by William Shatner’s performance in Incubus.
> >
> > > The point being that process and result are different, and that any
> > > assessment (whether objective or aesthetic) is based on the result,
> > > not
> > on
> > > the process by which it was achieved.
> >
> > I’ll agree with that, but disagree with what the result is, when it
> > comes to a naturalistic conlang. Let’s say you had some sort of series
> > of sound changes like this:
> >
> > *V > [-high] / q_
> > *q > k
> >
> > Thus: *qile > kele; *kele > kele
> >
> > You may argue that the synchronic snapshot of the language presented
> > at the end is the result. I say it is not: The whole thing is the
> > result. The sound changes were chosen specifically, and the resultant
> > homophony that would occur is something that was planned. You can’t
> > ignore the diachrony the way you can in linguistics: The diachrony is
> > itself part of the presentation, and the diachronics should be
> > evaluated along with the conlang. With a naturalistic conlang, I feel
> > the presentation is lacking if this element is lacking—and I usually
> > give those conlangs that lack it a pass (after all, the results may
> > just be the result of random noodling or a computer program, which
> > isn’t interesting—or is interesting in precisely the way that it’s
> > interesting if you dump out a bunch of children’s letter blocks and it
> > randomly spells a word). That, though, is my choice as an evaluator,
> > and is based on my definition of naturalism, which is why the
> > definition is key. If you’re looking for something different, it’s going
> to change the evaluation radically.
> >
> > > I posited that utilizing a novel grammatical feature, one that was
> > > present in no natlang whatsoever, would compromise the naturalism of
> > > the grammar. This is like saying hitting the wrong notes on the
> > > piano will compromise the beauty of the performance.
> >
> > Of course, if you talk about a wrong note in a piano performance, I
> > immediately think of Thelonious Monk. He hits wrong notes all the time
> > (I think we would be forced to agree with this), yet it’s part of the
> > performance, and part of the performance’s charm—almost to the point
> > that playing the piece absolutely correctly would damage the
> > performance. The same is true of Bruce Dickinson’s singing.
> >
> > That aside, though, I’d suggest that this is a poor way to evaluate a
> > conlang simply because of the way reality works. There are features
> > present in natural languages that weren’t present in natural languages
> > 2000 years ago. If a conlang uses some modern features, it gets a pass
> > as naturalistic now, but doesn’t 2000 years ago? That’s a poor, poor
> > metric by its very conception, which, to me, is enough to dismiss it
> > entirely. After all, one could create a feature that doesn’t exist in
> > any natural language at present, but evolve it as responsibly as
> > possible, and it would fail this metric—until a natural language we
> > speak now happens to evolve the same feature, then, presto-change-o, the
> conlang suddenly passes the test!
> >
> > Another problem with this is it doesn’t address how the feature
> > happens to be present in the language, so the judgment will be
> > meaningless. All these features, for example, are present in natural
> languages:
> >
> > Verb Stem: mana “to eat”
> >
> > Present Tense: manaa “eats”
> > Past Tense: manab “ate”
> > Hodiernal Tense: manac “ate earlier today”
> > Distant Past Tense: manad “ate at some time in the distant past”
> > Narrative Past Tense: manae “ate in the context of telling a story”
> > Perfect Aspect: manaf “has eaten”
> > Pluperfect Aspect: manag “had eaten”
> > Imperfect Past Tense: manah “was eating”
> >
> > Etc. If a conlang that looks just like this passes the naturalism
> > test, the test is meaningless—or at least as a sole metric of evaluation.
> >
> > One way to address this is to use the statistics Alex was talking about.
> > With this example, the presence of a distant past tense *and* a
> > narrative past tense would probably, on its own, be enough to raise a
> red flag.
> >
> > On the other hand, I expect this inventory would pass Alex’s test:
> >
> > Verb Stem: mana “to eat”
> >
> > Present Tense: manaa “eats”
> > Imperfect Past Tense: manab “was eating”
> > Perfect Past Tense: manac “ate”
> > Future Tense: manad “will eat”
> >
> > So if the test wasn’t a stand-alone filter but was just a tool
> > conlangers could use (e.g. run it through this and see how it scores),
> > it might be useful—kind of like TurnItIn.com. TurnItIn.com maintains a
> > large database of written material and professors paste their
> > students’ papers into it to determine if they’ve been plagiarized.
> > When you do that, it stores the paper, and also returns the percentage
> > that matches other material in the database. Professors are instructed
> > *not* to use it as a simple test of plagiarism, though. After all,
> > enough students write position papers on abortion in the United States
> > that someone is bound to accidentally write the same exact sentence
> > twice. Plus, quotes from other sources are flagged as being identical.
> > The professor, then, goes through the report, sees the quotes flagged
> > and ignores them (provided they’re properly cited), and if an
> > identical sentences pops up, the professor can look at the paper it
> > matches and determine how likely it was that actual plagiarism happened
> (usually not likely).
> >
> > So yeah, if you could throw the conlang in and it returned a score,
> > like, “74% likely to occur in the world”, that’s useful to the
> > conlanger. It doesn’t mean anything on its own—and shouldn’t be used
> > as a metric to either praise or critique a conlang—it just might be nice
> to know.
> >
> > > ​My original posting was mostly (d), but specifically about
> > > naturalistic conlang *grammars*, and a little bit about (e), also
> > > specifically
> > grammars.​
> >
> > Here I’d say the diachronics are a crucial part of the naturalistic
> > conlang grammar.
> >
> > > I was looking at the categories of conlangs, and explaining why I
> > > felt
> > that
> > > some of the categories resulted more often in naturalistic grammars.
> > > In
> > my
> > > subjective opinion, that is. I think this was an initial attempt at
> > > a framework.
> >
> > That’s not bad, actually. I’d propose a different model, but it’s nice
> > to have multiple models.
> >
> > David Peterson
> > LCS Member Since 2007
> > [log in to unmask]
> > www.conlang.org
> >
> > =================================
> > Pre-Order The Art of Language Invention!
> > (Available September 29th!)
> >
> > http://bit.ly/conlang
> > =================================
> >
>
>
>
> --
> Mark J. Reed <[log in to unmask]>
>