157556Re: Semantic Content of Grammatical Gender?
- Feb 1, 2009Daniel Bowman wrote:
> About 5 years ago, I started experimenting with grammatical gender in myFunny. I recently wrote an article about one of the earliest known pure
> conlang, Angosey. I decided that it would be neat to have a particle
> that could change the entire meaning of a noun. For example, one
> particle would designate the noun as a physical object, another as an
> emotion, situation, etc.
artlangs; Percy Greg's Martial language. (The entire article is in the
first issue of Rick Harrison's Invented Languages, and the mag just
happens to lie right in front of me as I write this.)
Greg basically has the same kind of function in his language that you
describe. Here is an example (c and k seem to be equivalent):
dâco stroke/striking [as given]
dâcoo blow/beating [as received]
dâky (not used)
dâke a thing beaten
Dak or dâc is the root meaning "to strike" (it can also be used as a verb,
and probably as an adjective).
> I'm running into the same problem with Angosey. When I coin a new word,Unfortunately, I think that what you are striving for (and what Greg seems
> I have to decide what category a certain meaning should belong to, and
> it's getting to the point where distinguishing via semantics is akin to
> splitting hairs.
to have strived for as well) is entirely impossible, for the very reason
that language by its very nature has to be a set of relatively arbitrary
symbols. As soon as you take that arbitrariness away, you also take away
the possibility for that language to function as a living language. It
cannot evolve; it cannot express immaterial concepts; it cannot, in fact,
do much of anything beyond working as a mental exercise.
> My mind wanders further, into Sapir-Whorf territory. If I learn aAs I stated above, I do not think that such a language is impossible, and
> language (or create a language) with strict semantic categories, does it
> affect how I see the world?
it mirrors my belief that a stric interpretation of S-W is also
impossible. The reality that surrounds us shapes our thoughts. Our
thoughts shape language. Of course, language can (and does) to some extent
help to shape our thoughts in return, but if a language does not conform
to reality, then the language will have to change. That is why Newspeak is
never going to happen.
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