One-word sentences

Posted by Glenn Kempf on 9:58 7/4/02

In reply to: One-word sentences posted by Jonathana Tegire on 12:24 7/2/02

Jonathan's system reminds me more of Japanese or Korean, where the subject and object both have markers to indicate their function, as in the Japanese sentence in my encyclopedia: "Namoi-ga kompyuta-o tsukau," where -ga is the subject marker and -o is the object marker (most Japanese verbs end in -u in the present, but I'm not sure whether this counts as a "verb marker" as such). Of course, in this case, they're still considered separate words. (Most languages with case systems do this, of course, but the majority lack a "special" marker for the subject--that is, the nominative case.)

In Japanese, the case markers are all suffixes, but I know that there are languages where they're prefixes. (If your markers come first, your sentences do all "start the same way," but if your markers come after and you always use the same markers, all your words will rhyme, and poetry will be a snap. :-)

I guess the difficulty in my mind is that the subject, object, and verb "roots" in the example still feel like separate words. As far as I know, in polysynthetic languages like Inuit, none of the parts of a word/sentence, except maybe the root, can be used a words on their own; all the rest are modifiers.

As far as writing without spaces between the words is concerned, there are writing systems that do just that, like Chinese and Japanese. Older writings in European alphabets sometimes do the same; I've looked at copies of old Russian chronicles written without spaces, puzzling in vain to pick the words apart.

Mind you, the categories in languages exist at least in part in the minds of the speakers, so if they "see" a sentence like those the examples as a single word, then more power to them! :-)

Ad onlelán,

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