In a message dated 6/1/2008 16:03:55 PM Central Daylight Time,
> As I recall from Mark's discussion of the idea when he was on this list, a
> "Russian Lawn" is a large, grassy field without any paved walkways. People
> traversing the lawn will eventually wear paths in the grass, which can then
> be paved over. The paved walkways are thus established according to the
> natural habits of the pedestrians who traverse the field.
> The analogy to grammar was to have a language without any derivational
> machinery; all concepts (I believe he used WordNet) are mapped to roots of
> roughly equal size without any systematic attempt to relate one idea with
> another. The roots that are used more frequently are retained, while the
> less frequently used forms are eventually dropped and replaced with forms
> derived from the frequent items. In this way, the language should reflect
> the natural habits of its users, much like the pathways of the Russian Lawn
> reflect the natural habits of pedestrians.
> I have always thought it to be an interesting idea.
I agree that it's an interesting idea.
Your description matches the vocabulary of Classical Yiklamu pretty well.
When I was going to the University of Arizona in Tucson, there was a new bank
near campus that had no sidewalks to the main door. There were only unpaved
paths, apparently a 'Russian lawn'.