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On Thu, 17 Mar 2016 21:23:46 +0530, Decremental Bug <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

>> The motivation for E-Prime was that one should not use "be" in an equative
>> sense, [...] because Mary is much more than a slob! [...] so as to remind
>> the
>> speaker that individuals are not identical to their actions.
>
>That was EXACTLY my reason for using it ! Thanks for the validation.

Eh, don't fall into the trap of thinking that the English "be" is cross-linguistically a unitary meaning.  Plenty of languages just have a different construction for identity than for class membership, and yours could be one of them.  One of the constructions could use a copular verb; one could be zero-copula; one could be locational; one could be based on a pronoun; one could be based on a word like 'same'; etc.  For that matter, you could decide that meanings like 'slob' are construed verbally or adjectivally (or in whatever word class you use for prototypical non-time-stable notions), rather than as nouns as English has it -- if I say "Mary is eating", the reply "No, she does so much more than eat" doesn't chime so well anymore.

>>> I don't think it will reduce prejudice -- anywhere humans are humans,
>>> prejudice
>>> will crop up and spread if people lack vigilance and the fortitude to
>>> extirpate it.
>>
>>Yep. I don't think such a strong version of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis is
>> true that people's social behaviour can be appreciably altered by language
>> engineering.
>
>I totally agree with both these points. But it so happens that the speakers
>of this language *created* this language (yes, the internal history also
>presents it as a conlang) 

You can do what you want in your conworld, etc., but I read that crestfallen.  Many people use this conceit (sometimes, it seems, because they are perturbed to observe unnaturalistic elements in their creation but are too attached to it to change them), but very few of them do the legwork to explain how a conlang widely used as a first language could ever be plausible.  In your case, you can have

>a case of social behaviour affecting the language

in a less extreme way.  I mean, you imagine your speakers coming in with a hundred languages: how would that even work?  Surely they'd _have_ to creolise or adopt a consensus language or whatnot before they could have serious conversations about culture-shaping; and then they may as well have started from one language anyway.  Why not just have them excise bits of their earlier language through taboo?  If there is enough social muscle behind the imperative that "you can't say 'my trowel' anymore because we have abolished individual ownership", it's very natural to imagine speakers overgeneralising the rule out of a zeal to show their ideological correctness -- the very words "my" "your" etc. become tainted and it becomes a sign of even greater revolutionary commitment or whatever not to say "my mother".  

>Now of course, if this was passed down from generation to generation, both
>the culture and language will change back to the human-tendencies of
>prejudice and ownership, love and hate, etc etc. The solution to which is
>NOT to pass it down via generations and not to have children or families.
>They will all die in that same generation. End of story.

That's only a solution if the tendency you name is a problem.  I don't see it as a problem for the "pure" language and a "corrupted" descendant to exist sequentially in the same timeline; I like smashing down my sand-castles after I build them.  (Ƿıdse was awesome.)

Also, cultures aren't such fragile things that they snap right back to the biologically-determined human mean after a generation or two... if the founders' kids are indistinguishable from other kids, the founders wouldn't have done a very good job of building in transmissibility into their culture (or should we even call it a "culture" then?).

>Which raises the question - will the language die too ? Because a language
>without speakers is a dead language. The solution to that is a
>work-in-progress. If someone has ideas for making a language survive
>without speakers, you could start another thread for that. I would be very
>interested.

It might have readers and writers even without speakers.  A group that could actually pull off seceding and constructing its own culture would probably leave a literature of interest to many generations thence.

>>What about removing alienable possessive constructions, but leaving
>> inalienable ones? Perhaps you could use a partitive, instead of a genitive?
>
>Partitive sounds interesting because it will help retain the emotion that
>the hand is a personal part of me, and not an external property to be
>owned. But as 'hand' is the topic of the sentence, I will be marking it on
>the word 'me', like this - "I moved hand PART-OF-me".
>
>Now I worry if the speakers will start using this structure for emotions as
>well, for example "You can see my happiness" --becomes-- "You can see
>happiness PART-OF-me". 

That's the reason I favoured just "I moved (the) hand": if you allow 'me' to sneak into the construction in any way, it's too tempting to use whatever morphosyntactic material glues 'me' to 'hand' as a generalised possessive.

Alex