Language evolution and the icëlani

Posted by Irgend Jemand on 15:00 7/7/02

In reply to: Language evolution and the icëlani posted by Glenn Kempf on 9:58 7/4/02

Do the Icëlani perhaps have pidgin languages? Those languages usually consist mainly of substantives, verbs and adjectives, don't have much of a fixed word order, are primitive in some other ways and are therefore not as useful for communication as real languages are. Or they might talk a bit like, say four-year olds.

As for the iliu languages, I guess it may be the best to forget all that you've ever learned about grammar, including everything that's in the language construction kit, then think about what language is actually expected to do, and then, like an engineer who's been told to invent a machine that does a certain thing, invent something that does those things.

Mark responds:

1. For the icëlani... maybe. :) It's true that pidgins are simple languages; but are they really simple? and not just simple for creatures like us who speak complex languages? Maybe some of the complexity come in things that seem simple even to a two-year-old... the idea of verbs, for instance.

2. For the ilii, what I've done so far is take a list of apparent universals of human language, and attempt to violate all of them. For instance, iliu language is not primarily communicative, has no pronouns, is not linear (i.e. doesn't consist of one sign after another, nor is it limited to saying one thing at a time). Words are not uniform, sound is not related arbitrarily to symbol, and the concepts handled most directly by human speech (e.g. attitude, style, emotional feeling) are the direct content of iliu speech, while what for us is the 'content' (actual actions, attributes, and actors) is left to be inferred.

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