On 8 August 2015 at 01:33, Patrik Austin <[log in to unmask]> wrote: > I'm not convinced of any counter arguments as of yet. I never tried to make an all-noun language, but now that I look at it, I simply don't see anything more to it. > > Of course it can be a matter of definition - what is a part of speech? Wikipedia says: "Commonly listed English parts of speech are noun, verb, adjective, adverb, pronoun, preposition, conjunction, interjection, and sometimes numeral, article or determiner." That is exactly what it is- a matter of definition. The trick is convincing people that *your* definition is a sensible one. > However I did also propose ways to speak FL. For example, I have the sentence "Boy nominative action, hill top accusative action, house accusative action, see action." (This is the regular grammar S -> | aS; as I mentioned earlier, 'top' can be used instead of 'on', and 'action' can be used instead of 'topic'.) > > Shouldn't this be pretty straight forward: just show me which of these words are not nouns! Oh, that's not straightforward *at all*. Or, alternately, it is trivially straightforward: *none* of them are nouns, because this language does not conform to the traditional parts of speech for European-like languages, and properly needs completely different terminology to describe it so as to avoid confusion with things that would have the same names but actually behave differently! (This is why I Capitalize the names of parts of speech for WSL- there are native terms for them, but using native terms all the time, like Lojban does, means that nobody can remember them or understand what you're talking about, and Capitalizing keeps them visually marked so yo know a WSL Noun is not the same thing as an English noun.) > Suppose you'll agree at this point that it's all nouns, but someone goes on to argue that it's not unambiguous (whether that was required or not) . That's a mistake because now that we have the sentence, _now_ we'll have to think of how to generate the correct parse tree for it, and we already know exactly what it must look like. The correct parse tree is this: [action [nominative boy] [accusative [top hill] house] see]. If this tree is ambiguous, then there is no unambiguous! The argument for two parts of speech is thus: For each word, we need to know one bit of *syntactic* information about it, entirely independently of its lexical semantics; specifically, whether it begins a constituent, or ends one. If you think that that is simply obvious and unambiguous, that is only because you, as the creator and/or theoretical native speaker, only know it intuitively and lack conscious access to your implicit syntactic knowledge. With that bit of syntactic information, the tree is indeed unambiguous. But you need that bit per word, and the standard, traditional view would note that, since there are two classes of words that have different syntactic behaviors, even though there *may* be no clear semantic boundaries between them, that we call those two classes different parts of speech. Or, we can just straightforwardly call them "lexical classes" in the official analysis, and let other people muddy the waters with talk of "parts of speech". My "Intro to Structure" professor once said (paraphrasing generously, because I don't remember verbatim that far back) that, when it comes to parts of speech, there are only two kinds of languages: those that have two parts of speech, and those that have more parts of speech. And among languages with only two parts of speech, they are almost always divided into "function" words (which tell you syntactic information) and "content" words. On 8 August 2015 at 02:18, R A Brown <[log in to unmask]> wrote: > On 07/08/2015 17:03, Logan Kearsley wrote: [snip] >> This last bit about all leaf nodes being nouns not being >> the same as everything being a noun does bring up a bit >> of ambiguity that you can address to better define your >> position, though. There are, after all, natlangs that >> are reasonably argued to have *no* nouns, but that >> doesn't mean they don't have something that could >> reasonably be called a "noun phrase"- just that there are >> no *individual words* in the class "noun phrase". > > Ah, _words_ - that's another term that's not clearly > defined. Are the things separated by white space in written > French separate words? They certainly do not correspond to > the phonological words of the language. Recently And seemed > to using 'word', partly at least, to mean what I would call > a morpheme. I suppose I really should have been more careful about that, especially seeing as how "where do words start and end" is central to my very-slowly-progressing thesis research! And it is indeed defined differently on a language-by-language basis. > But enough of that - I sort of think I know what you're > getting at when you write "[t]here are, after all, natlangs > that are reasonably argued to have *no* nouns", but I may be > wrong. Could you point me to one or two of these? I believe Straits Salish is the typical example, as analyzed by Eloise Jelinek (http://www.jstor.org/stable/416325). Several Salishan languages seem to work pretty much the same way. David Gil's analysis of Riau Indonesian which he uses to make the case for the Isolating-Monocategorial-Associational categorization of languages does not so much claim that it has no *nouns* as it simply claims that there is no way to tell the difference between verbs and nouns. Jelinek makes the same claim, but in the case of the Salish languages it's pretty obvious that members of the single class in question really do consistently act like verbs, while Riau Indonesian is much more "fluid". -l.