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Re: What psychological effect does word order have in languages?

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  • Roger Mills
    ... But * Once dreary a midnight upon would have been an impossible choice for Poe (unless he were writing in Turkish, incidentally). Where do you draw the
    Message 1 of 29 , Feb 21, 2013
      --- On Wed, 2/20/13, Matthew Boutilier <bvticvlarivs@...> wrote:
      But *"Once dreary a midnight upon" would have been an impossible choice for
      Poe (unless he were writing in Turkish, incidentally).

      Where do you draw the line between poetically grammatical and totally
      ungrammatical?
      ============================================
      When you break up constituents (as your example breaks up a prep.phrase.)

      Milton's great line:
      "Him the Almighty hurled headlong from the sky" can undergo a variety of permutations, but you have to keep "the Almighty" and "from the sky" intact, no matter where they're located.


      On Wed, Feb 20, 2013 at 4:51 PM, Daniel Burgener
      <burgener.daniel@...>wrote:

      > On Wed, Feb 20, 2013 at 4:56 PM, And Rosta <and.rosta@...> wrote:
      >
      > > Matthew George, On 20/02/2013 21:22:
      > >
      > >  Poetic language often violates principles of grammar regarding syntax
      > and
      > >> word order.  I think it may be for reasons other than meter and rhyme.
      > >>
      > >
      > > What sorts of principles of grammar regarding syntax and word order does
      > > it violate?
      > >
      > > Do you have examples in mind?
      > >
      > > (I think I would be inclined to say that poetic language doesn't often
      > > violate principles of grammar regarding syntax and word order.)
      > >
      > > --And.
      > >
      >
      > How about the first line of Poe's The Raven?  "Once upon a midnight
      > dreary".  In non-poetic speech that would be "a dreary midnight".
      >
      > -Daniel
      >
    • George Corley
      ... Ah, but you could say It was the sky that the Almighty hurled Him headlong from . It s not even such a poetic use, it s just suggest a very
      Message 2 of 29 , Feb 21, 2013
        On Thu, Feb 21, 2013 at 9:28 AM, Roger Mills <romiltz@...> wrote:

        > --- On Wed, 2/20/13, Matthew Boutilier <bvticvlarivs@...> wrote:
        > But *"Once dreary a midnight upon" would have been an impossible choice for
        > Poe (unless he were writing in Turkish, incidentally).
        >
        > Where do you draw the line between poetically grammatical and totally
        > ungrammatical?
        > ============================================
        > When you break up constituents (as your example breaks up a prep.phrase.)
        >
        > Milton's great line:
        > "Him the Almighty hurled headlong from the sky" can undergo a variety of
        > permutations, but you have to keep "the Almighty" and "from the sky"
        > intact, no matter where they're located.


        Ah, but you could say "It was the sky that the Almighty hurled Him headlong
        from". It's not even such a poetic use, it's just suggest a very
        low-frequency structure that would require a particular discourse context.
      • Matthew George
        ... General question: would be English equivalent be bitchin ? Matt G.
        Message 3 of 29 , Feb 21, 2013
          On Thu, Feb 21, 2013 at 4:40 AM, Leonardo Castro <leolucas1980@...>wrote:

          > BTW, the word "puta" ("whore") can have an exclamatory function when
          > placed before a noun (informally):
          >
          > "Este é um puta carro!" = "This is a great car!"
          > "Esta é uma puta conlang!" = "This is an impressive conlang!"
          >

          General question: would be English equivalent be "bitchin' "?

          Matt G.
        • Matthew George
          ... But then the subject becomes the sky instead of Him . The meaning is fundamentally changed - the alteration to word order disrupts the semantics. I m
          Message 4 of 29 , Feb 21, 2013
            On Thu, Feb 21, 2013 at 11:13 AM, George Corley <gacorley@...> wrote:

            > Ah, but you could say "It was the sky that the Almighty hurled Him headlong
            > from". It's not even such a poetic use, it's just suggest a very
            > low-frequency structure that would require a particular discourse context.
            >

            But then the subject becomes "the sky" instead of "Him". The meaning is
            fundamentally changed - the alteration to word order disrupts the semantics.

            I'm fascinated by the possibility that people with differently-structured
            native languages perceive preceding adjectives as having variant
            implications. Mr. Corley thinks they're more restrictive, while Mr. Castro
            thinks they're freer - and if their respective native tongues are English
            and Portuguese (correct?), that's very suggestive.

            Perhaps I should seek out some poetry in languages where either position is
            possible and see what choices people make.

            Matt g.
          • George Corley
            ... The semantics don t change. The syntax does, as do the implications for discourse (as you would only see this construction in the wild in very particular
            Message 5 of 29 , Feb 21, 2013
              On Thu, Feb 21, 2013 at 2:24 PM, Matthew George <matt.msg@...> wrote:

              > On Thu, Feb 21, 2013 at 11:13 AM, George Corley <gacorley@...>
              > wrote:
              >
              > > Ah, but you could say "It was the sky that the Almighty hurled Him
              > headlong
              > > from". It's not even such a poetic use, it's just suggest a very
              > > low-frequency structure that would require a particular discourse
              > context.
              > >
              >
              > But then the subject becomes "the sky" instead of "Him". The meaning is
              > fundamentally changed - the alteration to word order disrupts the
              > semantics.
              >

              The semantics don't change. The syntax does, as do the implications for
              discourse (as you would only see this construction in the wild in very
              particular discourse circumstances, such as a correction or clarification),
              but the sentence still means the same thing. I just used the clefting
              structure as a test.


              > I'm fascinated by the possibility that people with differently-structured
              > native languages perceive preceding adjectives as having variant
              > implications. Mr. Corley thinks they're more restrictive, while Mr. Castro
              > thinks they're freer - and if their respective native tongues are English
              > and Portuguese (correct?), that's very suggestive.
              >
              > Perhaps I should seek out some poetry in languages where either position is
              > possible and see what choices people make.
              >

              It seems interesting. I think one point is that both languages put
              restrictive adjectives in the more common of the two positions (if I
              understand the Portuguese example correctly -- it sounds similar to what
              I've heard for Spanish).
            • Leonardo Castro
              ... I didn t know this expression, but, judging by Urban Dictionary definitions, yes. [...] ... Yes with regard to me. ... I guess the less common order is
              Message 6 of 29 , Feb 22, 2013
                2013/2/21 Matthew George <matt.msg@...>:
                > On Thu, Feb 21, 2013 at 4:40 AM, Leonardo Castro <leolucas1980@...>wrote:
                >
                >> BTW, the word "puta" ("whore") can have an exclamatory function when
                >> placed before a noun (informally):
                >>
                >> "Este é um puta carro!" = "This is a great car!"
                >> "Esta é uma puta conlang!" = "This is an impressive conlang!"
                >>
                >
                > General question: would be English equivalent be "bitchin' "?

                I didn't know this expression, but, judging by Urban Dictionary
                definitions, yes.

                [...]

                2013/2/21 Matthew George <matt.msg@...>:
                > On Thu, Feb 21, 2013 at 11:13 AM, George Corley <gacorley@...> wrote:
                >
                >> Ah, but you could say "It was the sky that the Almighty hurled Him headlong
                >> from". It's not even such a poetic use, it's just suggest a very
                >> low-frequency structure that would require a particular discourse context.
                >>
                >
                > But then the subject becomes "the sky" instead of "Him". The meaning is
                > fundamentally changed - the alteration to word order disrupts the semantics.
                >
                > I'm fascinated by the possibility that people with differently-structured
                > native languages perceive preceding adjectives as having variant
                > implications. Mr. Corley thinks they're more restrictive, while Mr. Castro
                > thinks they're freer - and if their respective native tongues are English
                > and Portuguese (correct?

                Yes with regard to me.

                > ), that's very suggestive.
                >
                > Perhaps I should seek out some poetry in languages where either position is
                > possible and see what choices people make.

                I guess the less common order is always considered more "poetic". In
                the first strophe of one of the most famous Brazilian poetic text
                "Navio Negreiro", we see two cases of adjective preceding nouns:
                "pleno mar" ("open sea") and "dourada borboleta" ("golden butterfly").
                In the second one, we find "líquido tesouro" ("liquid treasure").
                However, the following three adjective-noun follow the conventional
                order: "abraço insano" ("insane hug"), "vibrações marinhas" ("marine
                vibrations") and "naus errantes" ("wandering ships").
                http://www.culturabrasil.pro.br/navionegreiro.htm

                "Canção do Exílio", probably the most famous Brazilian poem,
                apparently doesn't have any united adjective-noun pair:
                http://www.stirlinglaw.com/ea/exilio.htm

                The second most famous poem is probably the 5th part of "Navio Negreiro":

                V

                Senhor Deus dos desgraçados!
                Dizei-me vós, Senhor Deus!
                Se é loucura... se é verdade
                Tanto horror perante os céus?!
                Ó mar, por que não apagas
                Co'a esponja de tuas vagas
                De teu manto este borrão?...
                Astros! noites! tempestades!
                Rolai das imensidades!
                Varrei os mares, tufão!

                Quem são estes desgraçados
                Que não encontram em vós
                Mais que o rir calmo da turba
                Que excita a fúria do algoz?
                Quem são? Se a estrela se cala,
                Se a vaga à pressa resvala
                Como um cúmplice fugaz,
                Perante a noite confusa...
                Dize-o tu, severa Musa,
                Musa libérrima, audaz!...

                São os filhos do deserto,
                Onde a terra esposa a luz.
                Onde vive em campo aberto
                A tribo dos homens nus...
                São os guerreiros ousados
                Que com os tigres mosqueados
                Combatem na solidão.
                Ontem simples, fortes, bravos.
                Hoje míseros escravos,
                Sem luz, sem ar, sem razão. . .

                São mulheres desgraçadas,
                Como Agar o foi também.
                Que sedentas, alquebradas,
                De longe... bem longe vêm...
                Trazendo com tíbios passos,
                Filhos e algemas nos braços,
                N'alma — lágrimas e fel...
                Como Agar sofrendo tanto,
                Que nem o leite de pranto
                Têm que dar para Ismael.

                Lá nas areias infindas,
                Das palmeiras no país,
                Nasceram crianças lindas,
                Viveram moças gentis...
                Passa um dia a caravana,
                Quando a virgem na cabana
                Cisma da noite nos véus ...
                ... Adeus, ó choça do monte,
                ... Adeus, palmeiras da fonte!...
                ... Adeus, amores... adeus!...

                Depois, o areal extenso...
                Depois, o oceano de pó.
                Depois no horizonte imenso
                Desertos... desertos só...
                E a fome, o cansaço, a sede...
                Ai! quanto infeliz que cede,
                E cai p'ra não mais s'erguer!...
                Vaga um lugar na cadeia,
                Mas o chacal sobre a areia
                Acha um corpo que roer.

                Ontem a Serra Leoa,
                A guerra, a caça ao leão,
                O sono dormido à toa
                Sob as tendas d'amplidão!
                Hoje... o porão negro, fundo,
                Infecto, apertado, imundo,
                Tendo a peste por jaguar...
                E o sono sempre cortado
                Pelo arranco de um finado,
                E o baque de um corpo ao mar...

                Ontem plena liberdade,
                A vontade por poder...
                Hoje... cúm'lo de maldade,
                Nem são livres p'ra morrer. .
                Prende-os a mesma corrente
                — Férrea, lúgubre serpente —
                Nas roscas da escravidão.
                E assim zombando da morte,
                Dança a lúgubre coorte
                Ao som do açoute... Irrisão!...

                Senhor Deus dos desgraçados!
                Dizei-me vós, Senhor Deus,
                Se eu deliro... ou se é verdade
                Tanto horror perante os céus?!...
                Ó mar, por que não apagas
                Co'a esponja de tuas vagas
                Do teu manto este borrão?
                Astros! noites! tempestades!
                Rolai das imensidades!
                Varrei os mares, tufão! ...
              • Matthew George
                I look back on the poetry discussion and am reminded of why I should not try to analyze sentence structure when very tired. Those weren t the subjects at all,
                Message 7 of 29 , Feb 22, 2013
                  I look back on the poetry discussion and am reminded of why I should not
                  try to analyze sentence structure when very tired. Those weren't the
                  subjects at all, were they? Oh well.

                  I happened to download Conlangery #44: Negation, and found that they spent
                  some time talking about pre- and post-noun adjectives and how certain
                  languages use them to express things differently. One language has all
                  pre-adjectives being figurative and post- being literal, which dovetailed
                  nicely with previous statements here.

                  Clearly I need to do more research - I hadn't realized this was such a
                  controversial issue.

                  Matt G.
                • Hugo Cesar de Castro Carneiro
                  This thread reminds me of a Latin sentence structure I cannot understand. I usually see adpositions coming either before the phrase it modifies (preposition)
                  Message 8 of 29 , Feb 23, 2013
                    This thread reminds me of a Latin sentence structure I cannot understand.

                    I usually see adpositions coming either before the phrase it modifies
                    (preposition) or after it (postposition).

                    Can someone explain me what is the role of the word "cum" in "SVMMA CVM
                    LAVDE"?
                    "Summa laude" is a noun phrase in the ablative case. Is "cum" a
                    preposition? Or a postposition?
                  • Hugo Cesar de Castro Carneiro
                    On Sat, Feb 23, 2013 at 1:33 PM, Hugo Cesar de Castro Carneiro ... A further question: Can someone show me the syntactic tree structure of this sentence?
                    Message 9 of 29 , Feb 23, 2013
                      On Sat, Feb 23, 2013 at 1:33 PM, Hugo Cesar de Castro Carneiro
                      <hcesarcastro@...> wrote:
                      > This thread reminds me of a Latin sentence structure I cannot understand.
                      >
                      > I usually see adpositions coming either before the phrase it modifies
                      > (preposition) or after it (postposition).
                      >
                      > Can someone explain me what is the role of the word "cum" in "SVMMA CVM
                      > LAVDE"?
                      > "Summa laude" is a noun phrase in the ablative case. Is "cum" a preposition?
                      > Or a postposition?


                      A further question: Can someone show me the syntactic tree structure
                      of this sentence?
                    • Matthew A. Gurevitch
                      Dear Conlang-L, According to what I know of Latin, in summā cum laude, the cum is a preposition that introduces an ablative of manner. With some
                      Message 10 of 29 , Feb 24, 2013
                        Dear Conlang-L,

                        According to what I know of Latin, in "summā cum laude," the "cum" is a preposition that introduces an "ablative of manner." With some prepositions, especially in more poetic texts, adjectives precede the preposition that introduces its related noun for stylistic reasons.

                        I have no experience with trees, so I cannot comment on that.

                        All my best,
                        Matthew Gurevitch



                        -----Original Message-----
                        From: Hugo Cesar de Castro Carneiro <hcesarcastro@...>
                        To: CONLANG <CONLANG@...>
                        Sent: Sat, Feb 23, 2013 4:45 pm
                        Subject: Re: What psychological effect does word order have in languages?


                        On Sat, Feb 23, 2013 at 1:33 PM, Hugo Cesar de Castro Carneiro
                        <hcesarcastro@...> wrote:
                        > This thread reminds me of a Latin sentence structure I cannot understand.
                        >
                        > I usually see adpositions coming either before the phrase it modifies
                        > (preposition) or after it (postposition).
                        >
                        > Can someone explain me what is the role of the word "cum" in "SVMMA CVM
                        > LAVDE"?
                        > "Summa laude" is a noun phrase in the ablative case. Is "cum" a preposition?
                        > Or a postposition?


                        A further question: Can someone show me the syntactic tree structure
                        of this sentence?
                      • Jeffrey Daniel Rollin-Jones
                        Sent from my iPhone ... Sorry, but that s neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition, even of it were true. In Turkish, the said word order would be
                        Message 11 of 29 , Feb 24, 2013
                          Sent from my iPhone

                          On 21 Feb 2013, at 15:28, Roger Mills <romiltz@...> wrote:

                          > --- On Wed, 2/20/13, Matthew Boutilier <bvticvlarivs@...> wrote:
                          > But *"Once dreary a midnight upon" would have been an impossible choice for
                          > Poe (unless he were writing in Turkish, incidentally).
                          >
                          > Where do you draw the line between poetically grammatical and totally
                          > ungrammatical?
                          > ============================================
                          > When you break up constituents (as your example breaks up a prep.phrase.)

                          Sorry, but that's neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition, even of it were true. In Turkish, the said word order would be acceptable (a) because Turkish uses prepositions and (b) the numeral "bir" means "one" if it is placed before any adjectives, but "a(n)" if it is the last constituent before the noun. Furthermore, many Australian languages are non-configurational, (meaning that the elements of a constituent need not be contiguous), and Latin and Ancient Greek approach non-configurationality in poetry.

                          Jeff
                        • Roger Mills
                          ... Sorry, but that s neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition, RM it is in English. I d imagine Turkish and Australian languages have their own rules to
                          Message 12 of 29 , Feb 24, 2013
                            --- On Sun, 2/24/13, Jeffrey Daniel Rollin-Jones <jeff.rollin@...> wrote:
                            On 21 Feb 2013, at 15:28, Roger Mills <romiltz@...> wrote:

                            > --- On Wed, 2/20/13, Matthew Boutilier <bvticvlarivs@...> wrote:
                            > But *"Once dreary a midnight upon" would have been an impossible choice for
                            > Poe (unless he were writing in Turkish, incidentally).
                            >
                            > Where do you draw the line between poetically grammatical and totally
                            > ungrammatical?
                            > ============================================
                            > When you break up constituents (as your example breaks up a prep.phrase.)

                            Sorry, but that's neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition,

                            RM it is in English. I'd imagine Turkish and Australian languages have their own rules to determine ungrammaticality.

                            even of it were true. In Turkish, the said word order would be acceptable (a) because Turkish uses prepositions and (b) the numeral "bir" means "one" if it is placed before any adjectives, but "a(n)" if it is the last constituent before the noun. Furthermore, many Australian languages are non-configurational, (meaning that the elements of a constituent need not be contiguous), and Latin and Ancient Greek approach non-configurationality in poetry.

                            Jeff
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