One-word sentences

Posted by Jonathana Tegire on 12:24 7/2/02

In reply to: (none)

Airana and Emai!

       For an experiment, I started creating a language in which one sentence was one word. If this sounds like Speedtalk, it isn't. I got the idea from Vihal. In Vihal, the verb and subject are combined in one word, hyphenated when written in English characters. In this language, the subject( al ), the object ( ki ), and the verb ( ram ) are combined in one word, unhyphenated.
       You may ask how you would be able to pick it apart. You simply look for the dividers, al, ki, and ram, the words for the parts. Each divider words heads its part. So it is just like saying SubjectIVerbseeObjectyou ("I see you") in English, except that the pattern for this language is SOV.
       Other parts of speech would doubtless have their own divider words and be added in a similar way. This is just an experiment, I may or may not use it further.

Here is a list of parts:
I - ip
you - shi   you (plural) - shis
he - fa  she - fei  it - fal
we - ips
they - fas
man - pir
woman - pier
child - pikir

I - eip
you - sha  you (plural) - shas
he - fo  she - foi  it - fol
we - epas
they - feis
man - par
woman - peir
child - parkir

to love - kar
to be - (leave verb off)

alipkisharamkar - I love you
alipkiparram - I (am) (a) man
alipskipeirramkar - We love (the) woman.

Looking back on this, all words start the same old way. I see two alternatives.

(a) - have the divider words (al, ki, ram, etc.) come after their part, instead of before. This would make our sentence words above become ipalshakarram, ipalparkiram, and ipsalpeirkikarram.

(b) - have the initial divider word (al) be optional.

This was just an idea, so suggestions and comments are welcome.

Hemonea an hamunea hanarate hinaranafir, han arenasin!
       -J. Tegire

Mark responds:

"Word" can mean several things: 1) an orthographic entity written without internal spaces; 2) a phonological entity, used e.g. to determine stress; 3) a correctly formed morphological entity; 4) a lexical entry, something with a distinct meaning.

To explain (3) a bit more: a morphological word can (in the right context) be uttered alone. E.g. you can say "slowly" (perhaps as an answer to the question "How did it move?"), but not "-ly". And morphological words generally can't be freely interrupted by additional material. E.g. you can say "round baseball", but not "baseroundball".

Given all that, you should consider which sense of 'word' you're using. To put it another way, does your scheme differ from the simple rule of not writing spaces between the words?

You might be interested in looking at Inuit and other polysynthetic languages, in which a sentence is often a word (in senses 1 to 3).

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