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Boudewijn Rempt wrote:

> Dear people,
>
> I've been working on and off on ideas for a bit of software to help in
> analyzing and describing a language,along with my ideas for an ideal
> grammar (http://www.xs4all.nl/~bsarempt/conlang/dream.html), and I've
> prepared a design draft (which is also intended for consumption by the
> non-conlang linguistic community). I'd like you all to comment upon it:
>
> -----------------------------------------------------------------------

Boudewijn,
It looks like a very ambitious undertaking! I wish you success.

<big snip>

> Entities

<snip>

>      * Lexical data

        Just one question, though:
under the heading of  "Lexical data", are you considering only lexical
units
coinciding with what are usually considered single words, or perhaps
(although it probably increases the programming complexity  :-(  ) also
considering
lexical units which coincide with multi-word phrases such as
idioms, common metaphors and similies, and social phrases (with which
normal conversations are usually liberally sprinkled).   For example,
in English, I would tend to think of the following as unitary
expressions,
not created, "on the fly", by lexical selection and syntactic
construction:

        "how do you do" (which means "greetings"; if analyzed word by
word,
                                        the only logical response being
"do
what?"  :-)  )

        "a red letter day" (= important day )
        "drunk as a skunk" (= very drunk; makes no semantic sense if
analyzed
word by word)
        "cold as hell"  ( = extreme cold [ !!??])

BTW, I realize that the similies "drunk as..." and "cold as..." have
many
variations, (most of which
are not suitable for family entertainment   :-)  ), and  I've heard some
pretty

hard men curse at length, and it very quickly gets stereotyped and
boring,
suggesting that they were
in fact employing "frozen", non-productive metaphors and similies, i.e.
single
lexical units.
The true virtuoso probably _does_ compose on the spot, building
utterances as
the ideas come.

        Dan Sulani


--
 likehsna  rtem  zuv  tikuhnuh  auag  inuvuz  vaka'a.

 A  word  is  an  awesome  thing.