Print

Print


On 8 August 2015 at 08:58, And Rosta <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> On 7 Aug 2015 14:36, "R A Brown" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> "... it is
>> not likely to [be] possible to produce a language with what
>> _everyone_ is going to accept as a single part of speech."
>>
>> You will have seen even from current threads that there are
>> differences of opinion on linguistic matters on this list -
>> and a good thing too IMO.  Not only would it be dead boring
>> if we all agreed all the time, it would not advance our
>> knowledge or make us think of other possibilities.
>>
>> But to produce a language in which everyone on this list,
>> let alone in the big, wide world, is going to agree has only
>> one part of speech is, I think, unlikely.  All you can
>> hope for IMO is that you satisfy yourself that it has only
>> one part of speech and you persuade some others that this is so.
>>
>> If you asking me personally whether such a thing is
>> impossible, I must answer that I think it probably is, but
>> I've learnt in such matters never to say "never"    :)
>
> If the essence of your argument is that however solid the case for X being
> the case is, there will always be someone sufficiently foolish to insist X
> is not the case, then I'd agree. But that is a lesson in the
> ineradicability of foolishness, not a lesson in linguistics.
>
> But I certainly wouldn't agree that it isn't possible for there to be a
> syntax such that there is a rational consensus that it has just one PoS.
> Setting aside special quotative devices, my Livagian has one PoS, and this
> is not especially impressive or surprising. The one PoS corresponds to the
> logical category of predicates. The cobinding of arguments, standardly
> notated with variables, is expressed by inflections. Trad logic's
> quantifiers, connectives and constants are also treated as predicates.
> There are no syntactic subcategories of predicate. So just one PoS.
>
> To contest my claim that one PoS suffices, if argument structure is encoded
> inflectionally, one would need to argue either that the apparatus of
> predicate logic is insufficient to represent linguistic meaning or that the
> ingredients of predicate logic can't be reduced to pure predicate--argument
> structure.

Palno is similar (some versions of it, anyway- others have two or
three, due to splitting out atoms and conjunctions from predicates).
I don't know how well this would apply to Livagian, but my Devil's
Advocate position on Palno is that, even in the version designed with
only the one part of speech for predicates, can reasonably be argued
to have 4 parts of speech by an outside observer, based on the
different syntactic behavior of predicates with 0, 1, 2, and 3 arity.
The voice inflections that alter arity and the projection inflections
that determine whether a phrase constitutes a proposition or an
argument can be seen either as purely inflectional (if there is one
part of speech) or derivational (if there are more). But the further
counterargument to that is that, if you admit more than one lexical
class, you must admit a potentially infinite number of lexical classes
distinguished by arity, which seems *more* ridiculous than accepting
that there is just one.

There are, however, definitely more than one kind of internal
syntactic node in all versions of Palno.

I also can't speak as to how well Livagian avoids the linguistic
equivalent of the Turing Tarpit, but as I have noted before I find
basic monocategorial Palno *incredibly* difficult to actually use
fluently. Experience with other conlangs suggests to me that this is
to some extent inherent to the language, not purely a result of my own
unfamiliarity with that kind of language. So I am still waiting to be
convinced that an unambiguous monocategorial language is not merely
*possible*, but that one can be made *ergonomic* and *practical*.

You've said enough about Livagian in the past that I suspect the
evidence to convince may exist, but I have yet to be able to analyze
it myself.

-l.