Thursday, August 19, 2010
D: its not it's! Bloody hell....
S'ok - HIOXian punctuation can overtly denote which subset a punctuation is expressing. Should be clear.
Still nailing down which figure-shape denotes what aspect of language. Syllable stress and pitch are getting tacked on the left/right half of the HIOX figure presently. Likely. Paired punctuation like brackets and Spanish-style sentence-initial cues imply I should reserve the left/right HIOX for those punctuation symbols. That would leave the 3 tiers (top, mid, low) for stress/pitch.
`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.
That poem is now famously known as “Jabberwocky.” It is often hailed the most important nonsense poem in the English language. But if a reader looks closely, there is a method to the speaker’s madness in this poem. As Humpty Dumpty explains the poem to Alice, he demonstrates that the poet actually created an important, intelligent poem that is not entirely nonsense.
D: English has grammatical indicators. They are a closed class of function words. The list hardly ever changes historically. I think the last addition was from old English, "will".
These function words, infixes and word order all effectively create distinct meaning in English.
Infix cues in English include:
1) plural - s
2) possessive - 's
3) 3rd person singular - s
4) past tense - typically -ed
5) present participle -ing
6) past participle - (have plus) -ed typically
7) comparative and superlative -er and -est.
Word order is SVO - subject verb object. Noun verb noun.
With some details, like Subject: Article, adjective, noun...
Subject and object pronouns provide additional detail.
Subject: I. BUT object: me.
Twas -, and the -y -s
Did - and - in the -:
All -y were the -s,
And the - -s out-.
D: If we used existing standard vocabulary, the first line could easily be as follows.
'Twas pithy, and the funny puns
But even without these known words, the nonsense verse somehow FEELS sensible as our grammar brain organ parses it according to cues.
"A tove honey loves."
By using Yoda style SVO reordering, we have completely spoofed the grammatical cues to denote sentence structure.
Slithy toves - adjective noun(plural).
Honey loves - noun verb.
Both -y -es.
i can only imagine how difficult such variations must be to ESL students.
I keep reading newspaper articles saying immigrants are not being taught enough English.
Well, how about inverting that to English is too hard for most immigrants?
Then the logical conclusion becomes we need a simple interlang for typical adult second-languagers.
An aux-lang - auxiliary language. An artificial designed human language.
Lacking the complex stress contours of English.
(Making headway on Chomsky's SPE. NOT an easy read at all. Finishing up chapter on phonology so I can complete HIOXian. I get the PC that can handle the font design software this afternoon.)
D: Other English quirks - the illusion of apparent syllable/word abundance with generous syllable design rules.
Take, for example, the apparent simple indefinite article / singular plus adder.
Well, it was originally a ... NADDER!
Examples of the reverse can also be found.
The word “nickname” was originally rendered as an “ekename,” because “eke” is an obsolete word that means “additional.” Similarly, the original word for a “newt” was “ewte,” and one can easily see how “an ewte” became “a newt.” The process often worked in reverse with words that started with “n”: “An adder” was “a nadder,” “an apron” “a napron” and an auger” “a nauger.” Also, “an umpire” was at first a “noumpere,” a word that derived from the Old French nonper, “not equal” and thus qualified to settle disputes.
D: we get no farther ahead if we try removing that particular indefinite article.
Some or any other word preceding it poses the same problem.
Nouns and other grammatical elements lack a distinguishing and unique syllable structure, or choice of phonemes.
Decimese will solve this. <:
Many words came into English by this route: Pease was once a mass noun but was reinterpreted as a plural, leading to the back-formation pea. The noun statistic was likewise a back-formation from the field of study statistics. In Britain the verb burgle came into use in the 19th century as a back-formation from burglar (which can be compared to the North America verb burglarize formed by suffixation).
Other examples are:
adj. "couth" from "uncouth"
Verb "edit" from "editor"
Singular "syrinx", plural "syringes" (from Greek): new singular "syringe" formed
Singular "sastruga", plural "sastrugi" (from Russian): new Latin-type singular "sastrugus" has been used sometimes
"euthanase" or "euthanize" (verb) from the noun "euthanasia".
D: Examples of other 'make-work' English vocabulary items abound.
Notice that the very cues we needed to make sense of Jabberwocky have become the enemy when word boundaries and lexical parsing is considered.
... we've painted ourselves into a corner! Natural languages are like that.
Only a designed language is not.
Note: I'm porting HIOXian and Decimese to LiveJournal blogs. This blog will focus solely on new language news and research. D.
Posted by Dino Snider at 6:07 AM
Monday, August 9, 2010
The Ring Inscription
The only example given of "pure" Black Speech is the inscription upon the One Ring:
Ash nazg durbatulûk, ash nazg gimbatul,
ash nazg thrakatulûk, agh burzum-ishi krimpatul.
When translated into English, these words form the lines:
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them.
Parallels to natural languages
Russian historian Alexander Nemirovski identified an ergative suffix (-uk in "durbatuluk" is the verb suffix meaning "them all" and is related to object and not to subject, verb forms related to object are specific to ergative languages), and claimed a "strong lexical similarity" to Hurrian (also an ergative language).
Hurrian was a recently deciphered language at the time of the writing of The Lord of the Rings, E. A. Speiser's Introduction to Hurrian appearing in 1941.
D: nice analysis of the Black Speech.
The black speech has a CVC syllable structure.
We will assume for the moment that gh is one sound, rather than a g sound followed by an h sound (which would be unpronounceable finally).
The following consonants are attested: sh, d, r, b, th, k, m, p, t, l, k, gh, z, g, n, h, s.
We know that the l and r are pronounced at the back of the mouth (similar to English but without exception) - this is a sound which the Elves find extremely unpleasant.
Some consonant clusters occur; these are thr, kr, gl, sk initially, and zg, mb, mp, rz, nk finally. Medial consonant clusters usually result from compounding or affixing.
D: now I have some fun.
D: I have had the ill fortune in my life to meet self-identified Otherkin.
I ran into them in gaming circles, being into RPGs myself.
Otherkin think they are various mythical creatures. "I'm an ELF!" Yeah, sure you are....
It is a strange fringe sect. By that I mean a religion that never got popular.
It can be best summarized, as by my roomie, who made a university presentation about this group, as if all the kids playing Shadowrun scifi/fantasy RPG about awakened modern supernaturals in the 1980s in their mom's basement managed to later network over the internet. LOL. Yeah, pretty much.
I played DnD 'n Shadowrun and whatnot. At no point did I think I was my character, or anything but human.
I don't mind some of them, but know too many unsavoury types in their circle to ever trust the group.
So here is where it gets funny.
They suggest maybe Tolkien was an otherkin.
Then they whip up subcultural idiom, all based on English phonotactics.
Well... if Tolkien's elves really hate the L/R sound, then that sinks that theory.
Leave poor Tolkien alone. He'd be rolling over in his grave if he knew!
As an aside, Tolkien learned Esperanto as a teen. At first he liked it.
Later, he lamented the lack of literature and a mythology/culture associated with this.
I took this to heart. I hope to breathe life into my language projects via sci-fi fiction.
Posted by Dino Snider at 5:55 AM