At 3:22 pm -0400 20/4/99, John Cowan wrote:
>Raymond A. Brown wrote:
>> Not only that but, e.g. in {table:on} {on} looks like and acts like a
>> postposition.  I know 'officially' it is a noun meaning
>> "thing(s)-something-is-on" but as Gary Shannon said of his 'nouns' which
>> some thought were verbs: "If it looks like a verb, and walks like a verb,
>> and quacks like a verb ... YIKES! it's a verb!"
>> I say that {on} looks like a postposition, and walks like a postposition,
>> and quacks like a postposition....YIKES!..........
>Would you believe it better if the gloss were "superpositee" rather
>than "on"?  In Lojban, the verb "zvati" is glossed "at", but
>really means "be at".

Yep - but one can hardly gloss 'on' as meaning 'be on' in AllNoun.

Anyway - what exactly _is_ a postposition or, for that matter, a
preposition?  I don't think I've found a convincing definition that covers
them all.  The term 'adposition' doesn't help at all and offends my
classical sensibilities - but the "correct" form 'apposition' has got
another meaning  ;)

Ah well.
But the point I was trying to make - I think - is that it is not going to
obvious to everyone that 'on' in 'table:on' is a noun, other
interpretations are possible.

>> I would say 'pronounceable morphemes' rather than 'pronounceable words',
>> but that's probably just a matter of semantics.
>"Word" has no cross-linguistic definition anyhow.

I know - and morpheme is a linguistic abstraction.  And I'd be mighty
surprised if there were not some linguists who'd reject that abstraction.
That why I say it's probably largely a matter of semantics.
At 3:02 pm -0400 20/4/99, Ed Heil wrote:
>I'm not sure how far you can push this argument, though.  I mean, surely
>"perch" is a noun, and yet it means "thing-something-is-on."  "Location" means

table:perch  ??

I think 'table:topside' might be better.

>In natlangs, semantic content which would
>prototypically appear in one part of speech sometimes shows up in another.

I agree - all I'm saying is thatsome of Tom's nouns can be interpreted
[snip - I think, in fact, we don't differ too much - it's rather, it seems
to me, a matter of emphasis]

>Ray,  I think that we have to accept that his nouns are really nouns.  If we
>don't, to be consistent, we have to deny that natural language gerunds and
>certain other nouns are nouns, and surely we can't do that.

Yes, but the whole point of things like gerunds and participles is that
they combine both _verbal_ functions and that of nouns or adjectives
respectively.  They stride both camps.  Once we try to eliminate finite
verbs altogether it seems to me very difficult to maintain that the gerunds
and/or participles use aren't in fact fulfilling the function of the finite
verbs we've bannished.

>This is how AllNoun works: in natlangs, the content of other parts of speech
>can be squished into nouns (i.e. gerunds, nouns like "perch" and "location"),
>and AllNoun simply pushes this tendency to its ultimate limit.

Basically I go along with that.

>The problem of course is that nouns, unlike other parts of speech which
>"modify" or "govern" other words, have no built-in way to relate to each other
>in any coherent way,

Cases  ;)

>so Tom had to come up with his own, artificial way to
>relate nouns to each other -- part-whole and role-value relations, expressed
>with punctuator morphemes.
>I think this is extremely extremely clever but unnatural and awkward to most
>human minds.

I certainly don't disagree on that - I said in my original mail that I
thought the experiment was well worth making.

>If there were a way to implement it less awkwardly, I'd love to
>use it in a conlang.

Well, why not try  ;)

You might even persuade my to forget Mathias' paroxystic poncifs and have
another go at 'All-Verb'   :-)



>     "Koy tse tl'an tse tum gen nekom payaw;
>           ts'enra me hlay man yatam."
>"The noble nation of Atlantis is greatest among men;
>    And its reign shall extend unto eternity."
>          (from a Linear P inscription.)

Linear P?  Tell me more ;)