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Re: building from primitives (was Re: Language Contest)

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  • MorphemeAddict@WMCONNECT.COM
    In a message dated 11/30/2007 11:32:55 AM Central Standard Time, ... While _nena mama_ *can* mean woman s breasts and _toki pona_ *can* mean Toki Pona, they
    Message 1 of 3 , Nov 30 10:46 AM
      In a message dated 11/30/2007 11:32:55 AM Central Standard Time,
      joerg_rhiemeier@... writes:


      > Sure, by most definitions TP indeed has only 118 words - but it has
      > lexicalized idiomatic phrases such as _nena mama_ 'women's breasts'
      > (lit. 'parent bump') or _toki pona_ (lit. 'speak good'). We are
      > getting into the thorny ground how to define a "word" here.
      >

      While _nena mama_ *can* mean "woman's breasts" and _toki pona_ *can* mean
      Toki Pona, they both still have their literal meanings, which are so broad that
      the specific English meanings can be/have been attached to them. Anything
      that can be described as 'parent bump' or 'good speak' is appropriately called
      _nena mama_ or _toki pona_, resp. The literal meanings of the individual words
      are being used. There is no lexicalization of phrases. The only
      'lexicalization' is in how to translate them into English, and that's largely determined
      by context.

      stevo </HTML>
    • Matthew Martin
      Yes, in a semantic prime language you can create words on the fly and this may be the perscriptive preferred method, but often the *congative burden is so
      Message 2 of 3 , Nov 30 12:04 PM
        Yes, in a semantic prime language you can create words on the fly and
        this may be the perscriptive preferred method, but often the
        *congative burden is so great* to do this, that people will begin to
        resort to "idioms" "compound words" "lexicalized word phrases" which
        will in the long run be easier to memorize as single bit of meaning
        then to build words on the fly or attempt to parse someone's attempt
        to build such a word out of semantic primes. This is a practical
        weakness of semantic primes languauges. That said, I still think
        letting language users be able to build words out of semantic primes
        is a good thing and should be a feature of any conlang that hopes to
        attract a handful of users.

        On Nov 30, 2007 1:46 PM, <MorphemeAddict@...> wrote:
        > In a message dated 11/30/2007 11:32:55 AM Central Standard Time,
        > joerg_rhiemeier@... writes:
        >
        >
        > > Sure, by most definitions TP indeed has only 118 words - but it has
        > > lexicalized idiomatic phrases such as _nena mama_ 'women's breasts'
        > > (lit. 'parent bump') or _toki pona_ (lit. 'speak good'). We are
        > > getting into the thorny ground how to define a "word" here.
        > >
        >
        > While _nena mama_ *can* mean "woman's breasts" and _toki pona_ *can* mean
        > Toki Pona, they both still have their literal meanings, which are so broad that
        > the specific English meanings can be/have been attached to them. Anything
        > that can be described as 'parent bump' or 'good speak' is appropriately called
        > _nena mama_ or _toki pona_, resp. The literal meanings of the individual words
        > are being used. There is no lexicalization of phrases. The only
        > 'lexicalization' is in how to translate them into English, and that's largely determined
        > by context.
        >
        > stevo </HTML>
        >
      • David J. Peterson
        Steve wrote:
        Message 3 of 3 , Nov 30 1:10 PM
          Steve wrote:
          <<
          While _nena mama_ *can* mean "woman's breasts" and _toki pona_ *can*
          mean
          Toki Pona, they both still have their literal meanings, which are so
          broad that
          the specific English meanings can be/have been attached to them.
          Anything
          that can be described as 'parent bump' or 'good speak' is
          appropriately called
          _nena mama_ or _toki pona_, resp. The literal meanings of the
          individual words
          are being used. There is no lexicalization of phrases. The only
          'lexicalization' is in how to translate them into English, and that's
          largely determined
          by context.
          >>

          This sounds more like fancy than fact. "Blue bird" can also mean
          "a bird that's blue" in English, the only difference being the stress
          placement. If Toki Pona was a language spoken by no one but
          the creator, you could get away with saying that there is no
          lexicalization of phrases. I think the name of the language is
          good enough to prove that there is--even if it shouldn't (and
          even if it doesn't in the mind of the "ideal" speaker). Just because
          you can recover the meaning of the parts of the compound
          doesn't mean the compound isn't a separate word, and the
          same goes for being able to use the individual words of the
          compound in novel circumstances. Further, context is what
          helps define all words. If a word that can have different meanings
          in different contexts is *not* a word, then you're going to
          have a lot of non-compounds in every language that are not
          words.

          Given the nature of the language, a newcomer could come and
          start using novel compounds. But what if the community doesn't
          like them? For example, nena jan ike "bad person bump" =
          woman's breast. In fact, let's say they decide that jan ike is
          how they're going to say "woman". If they do us, two things
          could happen:

          (1) The users aren't going to get it, and the compound won't
          make sense.

          (2) The compound will have to be explained, and then they'll
          be able to recognize it as "this user we don't like's word for
          'woman'."

          Now here's the thing. If a particular meaning is assigned to it,
          then it becomes a lexical entry. In this case, the meaning is more
          than just the meaning--it includes the status assigned to it--the
          status that allows a user to know that good user A using "jan
          ike" in a context where they're talking about a thief, or something,
          means something like "bad person", whereas bad user B insists
          on using it as "woman" in contexts that would ordinarily call for
          "meli". This doesn't meaning that the meanings can't change,
          or that one phonological form can be used in multiple contexts.
          It does, however, mean there are things that can be latched
          onto and used over and over again, which, in my opinion,
          qualifies it for lexical entry-hood, at the very least.

          -David
          *******************************************************************
          "sunly eleSkarez ygralleryf ydZZixelje je ox2mejze."
          "No eternal reward will forgive us now for wasting the dawn."

          -Jim Morrison

          http://dedalvs.free.fr/
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