Posted by Jonathana Tegire on 8:18 8/26/02

In reply to: (none)

Airanasin and Emai!

In the neverending quest that is language creation, there is one major problem for speakers of almost every, if not every, language : How to get around the idioms that are taken for granted. Every language has a way of saying things, and many of them are idiomatic.

For example : You may not think of this, but why do we English-speakers ((oh we evil English-speakers)) say that something is an adjective, such as when we say, "The cat is orange." How can the cat be a property? A thing can only have properties. Or at least the Tigerians thought so. So they would say, "San athana sameni oshana," the cat has orange (-ness). English is always a very bad example when trying to create a language, in my humble opinion, because it is nothing more that a compilation and melding of almost every language type on the planet Earth. Anyone else have a problem with getting over the high hurdles of idioms, or is it just me?

-J. Tegire

Mark responds:

I wouldn't call that an idiom, since it's understandable from the meanings of the words (one meaning of English 'be' is predication, assignment of a property). I like your "The cat has orange." Another way of handling predication is to make the "adjectives" into verbs, as Japanese does.

Idioms in general are a snare for the monolingual conlang creator. I think the best cure is to learn another language, so you start to be aware of quirks in your native language.

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