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Synthetic > analytic

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Synthetic > analytic

Postby Lavrentivs » Fri Nov 11, 2011 11:31 am

Why do synthetic languages become analytic?
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Re: Synthetic > analytic

Postby Grochojad » Fri Nov 11, 2011 12:47 pm

Because analytic languages are simpler, and the languages (or rather they're speakers) tend to simplify, even if it appears otherwise.
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Re: Synthetic > analytic

Postby thesaurus » Fri Nov 11, 2011 3:39 pm

Grochojad wrote:Because analytic languages are simpler, and the languages (or rather they're speakers) tend to simplify, even if it appears otherwise.


Which raises the question of whether all languages are moving from complexity (morphologically) to simplicity, from synthetic to analytic. Will we all end up speaking purely analytic languages devoid of cases, etc.? Surely there must be languages that become more synthetic over time? This also raises the question of why languages, at least in the Indo-European tradition, started in a state of great complexity in the first place if it would have been easier to be analytic. Perhaps long ago, before our records, indo-european languages reversed this process by becoming more synthetic over time and then started reversing the trend circa the birth of Latin, Greek, etc.

PS Does anyone object if I move this thread to the General Forum?
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Re: Synthetic > analytic

Postby Grochojad » Fri Nov 11, 2011 4:12 pm

thesaurus wrote:
Grochojad wrote:Because analytic languages are simpler, and the languages (or rather they're speakers) tend to simplify, even if it appears otherwise.


Which raises the question of whether all languages are moving from complexity (morphologically) to simplicity, from synthetic to analytic. Will we all end up speaking purely analytic languages devoid of cases, etc.? Surely there must be languages that become more synthetic over time? This also raises the question of why languages, at least in the Indo-European tradition, started in a state of great complexity in the first place if it would have been easier to be analytic. Perhaps long ago, before our records, indo-european languages reversed this process by becoming more synthetic over time and then started reversing the trend circa the birth of Latin, Greek, etc.

PS Does anyone object if I move this thread to the General Forum?


The simplification of languages over time is a fact, as well as that the analytical languages are simpler compared to analytic languages. But the route between these 2 is not straight and languages rarely move step by step in the analytic direction. Analytic-synthetic is also not the only way of dividing languages. Polish didn't become more analytic when animate-inanimate distinction became non-productive, but it certainly simplified the language and it is going to simplify it further as the declension paradigms will probably merge or become more uniform.
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Re: Synthetic > analytic

Postby Sinister Petrus » Mon Nov 21, 2011 8:13 pm

Grochojad wrote:Because analytic languages are simpler, and the languages (or rather they're speakers) tend to simplify, even if it appears otherwise.


Well, simpler for whom?

From what I've read, it would seem that languages tend to move from synthesizing to analyzing when many adult learners are speaking the language. To wit: English and Persian. Both were at one time fairly typical IE languages with case and gender on their nouns. Both have had long histories of adult learners. Persian as a court language and lingua franca throughout central Asia. English as the language of the conquerers imposed on Celtic-speaking natives and as the language of the conquered spoken by the Norse conquerers. (Or at least that's what I drew from my reading of McWhorter's Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue and Ostler's The Last Lingua Franca.)

Now of the two classical languages we focus on here, which one had lots of non-native adult learners? Which one didn't so much? Which one ditched case? Which one (mostly) hasn't?
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Re: Synthetic > analytic

Postby Grochojad » Mon Nov 21, 2011 10:26 pm

Sinister Petrus wrote:
Grochojad wrote:Because analytic languages are simpler, and the languages (or rather they're speakers) tend to simplify, even if it appears otherwise.


Well, simpler for whom?


Native speakers obviously.
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Re: Synthetic > analytic

Postby spiphany » Tue Nov 22, 2011 1:20 am

Grochojad: Explain what you mean by "simple" and "complex" here. It's true that analytical languages are simpler morphologically than synthetic ones, but at the same time there's an increase in complexity in other forms of the language. If you're not learning case endings, you still have to learn the ways your language chooses to express this relationship instead (i.e., things like syntax and prepositions). Loss of inflection is not "decay", nor is analytic equivalent to "easier to learn". They're just different ways of dividing up the work.

According to some theories of language change the synthetic/analytic shift is only part of a larger cycle which looks like this:
fusional (i.e. synthetic) -> isolating (analytic)
isolating -> agglutinative
agglutinative -> fusional

This blog post has a good summary of the topic, as well as a few remarks on possible causes for such changes.
http://languages-of-the-world.blogspot. ... types.html

As I understand it, it has to do with how independent the bits of meaning in a sentence are. If separate words are consistently used together so that they function as one word (including stress etc), you start to get agglutination (think of "gunna" for "going to" in spoken English). On the other hand, things like syntax and stress can mean that inflectional endings become less and less important for determining meaning, and so they start to disappear and be replaced with more moveable units like prepositions and auxiliary verbs.
IPHIGENIE: Kann uns zum Vaterland die Fremde werden?
ARKAS: Und dir ist fremd das Vaterland geworden.
IPHIGENIE: Das ist's, warum mein blutend Herz nicht heilt.
(Goethe, Iphigenie auf Tauris)
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Re: Synthetic > analytic

Postby Sinister Petrus » Tue Nov 22, 2011 4:12 pm

Grochojad wrote:Native speakers obviously.


Nonsense. Any given language is "simple" to its native speakers, no matter how convoluted the morphology and syntax may seem to outsiders.
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Re: Synthetic > analytic

Postby Grochojad » Tue Nov 22, 2011 11:18 pm

Sinister Petrus wrote:
Grochojad wrote:Native speakers obviously.


Nonsense. Any given language is "simple" to its native speakers, no matter how convoluted the morphology and syntax may seem to outsiders.


Nonsense. Native speakers usually know they language well, but not perfectly, their mistakes are what largely constitutes language change. And they are most often mistaken where there is some kind of difficulty.
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Re: Synthetic > analytic

Postby Lavrentivs » Tue Nov 22, 2011 11:20 pm

But it is possible to recognize a foreign language as simpler than one’s own.

Conflation of distinctions is a kind of simplification. If someone were to make no distinction between see and look and perhaps use only one of them, his English would be simpler from the perspective of someone whose English was therefore not for him the simplest kind.
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Re: Synthetic > analytic

Postby Lavrentivs » Wed Nov 23, 2011 4:09 pm

Grochojad wrote:Nonsense. Native speakers usually know they language well, but not perfectly, their mistakes are what largely constitutes language change. And they are most often mistaken where there is some kind of difficulty.


Exactly. And therefore languages and chronolects of less democratic times are superior.
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Re: Synthetic > analytic

Postby spiphany » Wed Nov 23, 2011 5:35 pm

No, no, no and no.

This is a belief which classicists seem to be particularly prone to (partly because for a long time inflected languages were seen as superior to analytic languages). There are no serious linguists today who would support this position, though.
Languages are always changing. This is perfectly normal, and has very little to do with people "simplifying" because of "mistakes". At any given time there is always variation in a language. After a certain amount of time it may happen that a construction which was previously used only by a minority becomes predominant. Changes aren't always in the direction of simplification, either. For example, there are a number of formerly regular English verbs which have become irregular.

Please look at the link I posted above. These two articles also discuss some of the reasons for language change:
http://www.lsadc.org/info/ling-fields-change.cfm
http://www.uni-due.de/SHE/HE_NatureOfCh ... e%20change

edit: I'd also like to challenge the assumption that "simplification" -- for example, regularization of forms, so that all verbs follow a particular pattern -- necessarily equates to loss in meaning.
What meaning is lost when I say that I write "with a pen", using a preposition instead of an ablative of instrument?? It could be argued, in fact, that the preposition is actually more precise than the case marker because "with" has a more limited range of meanings (accompaniment, instrument) than the ablative (agent, manner, time, accompaniment, instrument, location etc).
IPHIGENIE: Kann uns zum Vaterland die Fremde werden?
ARKAS: Und dir ist fremd das Vaterland geworden.
IPHIGENIE: Das ist's, warum mein blutend Herz nicht heilt.
(Goethe, Iphigenie auf Tauris)
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Re: Synthetic > analytic

Postby Lavrentivs » Wed Nov 23, 2011 10:24 pm

Appealing to the authority of »serious linguists« doesn't prove anything.
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Re: Synthetic > analytic

Postby spiphany » Wed Nov 23, 2011 11:14 pm

No, but actually reading some of their arguments might.
All I'm saying is that there's another way to look at this, one which is supported by what scientists today know about how language works. I've given some reasons why I disagree with some of the specific claims you are making. I've offered counterexamples and alternative explanations. I would be interested in knowing on what basis you feel the argments are insufficient.
IPHIGENIE: Kann uns zum Vaterland die Fremde werden?
ARKAS: Und dir ist fremd das Vaterland geworden.
IPHIGENIE: Das ist's, warum mein blutend Herz nicht heilt.
(Goethe, Iphigenie auf Tauris)
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Re: Synthetic > analytic

Postby Sinister Petrus » Thu Nov 24, 2011 12:56 am

Grochojad wrote:Nonsense. Native speakers usually know they language well, but not perfectly, their mistakes are what largely constitutes language change. And they are most often mistaken where there is some kind of difficulty.


Ha. I deserved the nonsense right back at me. Here is my understanding of the linguistic score of moving from synthetic to analytic.

Over time, adult learners have stripped complex morphology out of English. Case, gender, noun/adjective agreement in English all went away due to many years of adult learners—Norse and Celt—certainly no later than the 13th century. Given the number of Slavic-language speakers learning English as adults in the area I live in, the article could find itself next. (I live in Chicago which has a large and long-standing Polish immigrant community). :o Adult learners (probably) did the same to Latin. Case, gone. Remember, Latin was not spoken across the Italian peninsula in 753 BC so someone had to learn it to spread it across all of western Europe—that would be the adult learners.

This isn't to say that these sorts of pressures are strictly destructive, but since we're talking about morphology they have been in the case of case. I don't know enough about the source of all the verbal reanalyses going on in the Romance verb, e.g. future tense moving from amābō to amare habeo to (Spanish) amaré, so I won't comment.

Native speakers are responsible for different sorts of changes. And I do not deny that these changes exist. If I were to deny their existence, I'd be bounced form my grad program. Some of changes driven by native speakers are phonetic in nature—Northern Cities Shift (21st century America). Some are grammatical in nature—turning "going to" from a verb of motion into "gonna" a future marker (15th to 17th century England). Some may even be morphological in nature—the decline of the English subjunctive. But native speakers tend not to make wholesale remodels to the language, as in the previous paragraphs.

Language change is devilishly complicated business, as far as I can tell. But if I were to simplify the way these changes come about, I'd lay it out this way: Natives drive changes that while incremental, add up. See Greek (or that's what I understand). Adult learners drive wholesale changes to languages. See Latin and English.
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Re: Synthetic > analytic

Postby Sinister Petrus » Thu Nov 24, 2011 1:02 am

spiphany wrote:This is a belief which classicists seem to be particularly prone to (partly because for a long time inflected languages were seen as superior to analytic languages). There are no serious linguists today who would support this position, though.


One of my reasons for choosing a linguistics degree over classics. And I do love the classics.
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Re: Synthetic > analytic

Postby Lavrentivs » Thu Nov 24, 2011 9:03 am

spiphany wrote:No, but actually reading some of their arguments might.
All I'm saying is that there's another way to look at this, one which is supported by what scientists today know about how language works. I've given some reasons why I disagree with some of the specific claims you are making. I've offered counterexamples and alternative explanations. I would be interested in knowing on what basis you feel the argments are insufficient.


I suspect that these views are the result of an ideology.

Heidegger, SZ, 70. wrote:Die Pflanzen des Botanikers sind nicht die Blumen am Rain, das geographisch fixierte »Entspringen« eines Flusses ist nicht die »Quelle im Grund«.


And the language of the linguist is not the poet’s.
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Re: Synthetic > analytic

Postby spiphany » Thu Nov 24, 2011 12:30 pm

Ideology?? I beg your pardon?
What does ideology have to do with it? Linguistics proposes a model for how language works, yes. "Belief" has little to do with it, however.

I don't think that linguistics and poetics are incompatible. We may have to agree to disagree on that, however, as you seem to be pretty convinced that the scientific investigation of language can bring no insight into how language works.

I do wonder a little bit why you ask a question about why languages change but are apparently not willing to even consider or try to understand the responses you get. If what I've written isn't clear, I'm happy to explain, but simply dismissing or ignoring it doesn't take the discussion anywhere. If you feel like you already have refuted my arguments and I've missed it, I apologize. You'll obviously have to explain yourself more because I can't find any substantiation for the belief that synthetic languages are automatically capable of making more nuanced distinctions than analytic ones.

I was going to post about how the English system of helping verbs is in some respects actually a much more elegant and efficient way to express tense and aspect distinctions than Latin or Greek with their endings. I don't think I'll bother, however, since I suspect I would be wasting my time.
IPHIGENIE: Kann uns zum Vaterland die Fremde werden?
ARKAS: Und dir ist fremd das Vaterland geworden.
IPHIGENIE: Das ist's, warum mein blutend Herz nicht heilt.
(Goethe, Iphigenie auf Tauris)
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Re: Synthetic > analytic

Postby adrianus » Thu Nov 24, 2011 10:12 pm

Linguistic models are based on assumptions that are believed to be correct, but might not be,—assumptions which escape testing, especially if commonly held, or are untestable. In hindsight, scientists/academics, believing themselves scientifically objective, may be shown to have uncritically adopted cultural, historical, political, social (ideological) perspectives within their research paradigm.

A person might accuse another of ideological assumptions to deflect attention from their own.

Pendent paradeigmata linguistica de praesuppositionibus quae ab eis tenentibus rectae creduntur forsit perperám, nec spectantur quidem (nec sic fieri possunt, praesertim si communes). In retrospecto, possibile est ut ita ostendatur, scilicet naturales/academicos, objectivos se credentes, in exquaerendo intra paradeigma proprium, sententiis ideologicis (historicis, politicis, socialibus cultûsque) modo subobscuro utos esse.

Aliqui alium de praesuppositionum ideologicarum usu accuset ut usum suum dissimulet.
Last edited by adrianus on Thu Nov 24, 2011 10:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Synthetic > analytic

Postby Lavrentivs » Thu Nov 24, 2011 10:23 pm

Spiphany,
if I somehow offended you, then I sincerely beg your pardon, although I am surprised that the utterance of a suspicion should be offensive. I'll look at your articles when I have time. Is there some locus classicus of your view?

Adriane,
Before the last sentence I thought you were on my side. For clarification: I don't consider myself to be objective (I would have thought the Heidegger-quotation had made that clear).
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Re: Synthetic > analytic

Postby adrianus » Thu Nov 24, 2011 10:45 pm

As a confirmed relativist, it would be mere accident whose side I was on.
Ego relativisticus sincerus, solummodo casû cui faveam.
I'm writing in Latin hoping for correction, and not because I'm confident in how I express myself. Latinè scribo ut ab omnibus corrigar, non quod confidenter me exprimam.
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Re: Synthetic > analytic

Postby adrianus » Thu Nov 24, 2011 11:08 pm

Lavrentivs wrote:I would have thought the Heidegger-quotation had made that clear.

You weren't seeking to be clear. Only by implication, Laurentius, was it clear, since one doesn't usually quote Being and Time in the original in a Latin-English thread and without context to make oneself clear. But it is nice, though.

Clarè exprimere non voluisti. Solùm impliciter clarum est, Laurenti. Nemo normaliter latino-anglico in filo, ut se clarè explicet, Ens Et Tempus de Heidegger citet, linguâ pristinâ sine contextu. Dulce autem est, fateor.
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Re: Synthetic > analytic

Postby spiphany » Fri Nov 25, 2011 10:29 am

Look, skepticism and a critical attitude are fine, ok? I'm just saying that if you disagree with the claims that I'm making it isn't very useful to simply say "oh, that's just ideology". It doesn't tell me anything about why you don't think my claims are valid. See what I mean?

Linguistics does make certain theoretical assumptions. I'm not claiming that any science is ever going to be completely unbiased or uninfluenced by theory. But it's not just based on "beliefs". There are reasons why I've been saying certain things about how language works. Because there's evidence for it.

And when I disagree with you that language change is due to native speakers making mistakes, it's not because I just don't happen to like the idea that languages decay, but because there's no evidence if this. Because if you actually look at language this claim simply doesn't make sense.

For example, the fact that languages don't just change from synthetic to analytic, but also from analytic to agglutinating and agglutinating to synthetic ought to give you pause, don't you think? Because it suggests that there's more happening than just loss of grammatical distinctions. If that were the case, we should all be talking like Tarzan right now (or at least all speaking analytic languages), and we're not.

(It's true that we don't see change in the other direction, but there are reasons for this. Speakers tend to work with the grammatical patterns already present in the language; they're not likely to simply start producing new features out of the blue, and this is what would be required to make a synthetic language out of an analytic one.)
IPHIGENIE: Kann uns zum Vaterland die Fremde werden?
ARKAS: Und dir ist fremd das Vaterland geworden.
IPHIGENIE: Das ist's, warum mein blutend Herz nicht heilt.
(Goethe, Iphigenie auf Tauris)
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Re: Synthetic > analytic

Postby Lavrentivs » Fri Nov 25, 2011 11:56 am

To deny that there is evidence of decay one must know how to look for it. My suspision is that modern linguists præsuppose the æquality of all languages just as moralists præsuppose the æquality of all men. They do not ask themselves under which conditions they would consider one man superior to another; this possibility is excluded by the axioms of their science.

One can refuse to act morally claiming that there is no evidence of any moral imperative in nature. This mistake would not prævent one from being a "serious" physicist.

Go easy on me if I have been too brief, unclear, or have misunderstood something.
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Re: Synthetic > analytic

Postby spiphany » Fri Nov 25, 2011 6:02 pm

Ok, explain to me what is inherently superior about inflections. Explain to me why analytic languages are by their nature unable to express the same nuances as inflected ones. Give me concrete examples of where Latin, say, is a richer language than modern English.

I like inflected languages a lot. I've studied Latin, classical Greek, and modern Russian -- all Indo-European, all more or less synthetic. And each in their own way very different from each other. I love the amazing flexibility and fluidity of Greek and the craziness of the Russian verb system. I'm not blind to the purely aesthetic pleasure of such languages. I still disagree that this automatically makes them more expressive or richer or even better at purely functional level than a language like English.
IPHIGENIE: Kann uns zum Vaterland die Fremde werden?
ARKAS: Und dir ist fremd das Vaterland geworden.
IPHIGENIE: Das ist's, warum mein blutend Herz nicht heilt.
(Goethe, Iphigenie auf Tauris)
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Re: Synthetic > analytic

Postby adrianus » Fri Nov 25, 2011 8:53 pm

Lavrentivs wrote:My suspision is that modern linguists præsuppose the æquality of all languages just as moralists præsuppose the æquality of all men. They do not ask themselves under which conditions they would consider one man superior to another; this possibility is excluded by the axioms of their science.

One can refuse to act morally claiming that there is no evidence of any moral imperative in nature. This mistake would not prævent one from being a "serious" physicist.

Go easy on me if I have been too brief, unclear, or have misunderstood something.

It isn't unclear what you wrote, Laurentius, it's clearly muddled! You suspect something that is untrue, that modern linguists presuppose the equality of all languages, suggest that this is an axiom of their science, and then suppose that they don't ask a question that has nothing to do with linguistics: "Under what conditions is one man superior to another?" Then you shift ground, by using an example of someone refusing to act morally because there is no evidence of any moral imperative in nature. You claim that this is a mistake, and that it is a mistake that doesn't stop someone from being a "serious physicist". There are many things that stop people from being serious physicists and that indeed is not one of them. But your argument itself would be taken more seriously if it were coherent.

Clarum est, Laurenti, id quod scripsisti, clarè perplexum! Suspicaris rem falsam, scilicet linguisticos modernos assumare ut aequales sint omnes linguae, tunc axioma scientiae linguisticae hoc esse adicis , dein rogas cur quaestionem isti scientiae non referentem non rogent quando enim praestet aliquis alium. Deinde, rem mutas in exemplo ponendo hominis qui modo probo non agat cum careant vestigia in naturâ jussorum moralum. Id erratum esse clamas, erratum quod non vetat aliquem physicum verum esse. Sunt multa quae obstant ut homines physici sint. Verum est non obstat exemplum tuum. Serius autem argumentum tuum habetur si condensius.
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Re: Synthetic > analytic

Postby Lavrentivs » Sat Nov 26, 2011 1:37 pm

S.,
I have never said that I meant richer or better at a purely functional level; I meant æsthetic and poetic quality. There was a shift in the discussion: I begun asking about the reason for the change and at some point someone said that that was people making mistakes: then the focus became evaluative.

A.,
"They" refer to the moralists, not the linguists. Perhaps I should have said "These". I cannot see that my argument is incohærent. I give two comparisons, that is all.

I think the last thing I shall say to this matter is that if you do not understand the argument, then maybe, just maybe, I am not the one to blame.
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Re: Synthetic > analytic

Postby spiphany » Sat Nov 26, 2011 9:04 pm

Lavrentivs wrote:I have never said that I meant richer or better at a purely functional level; I meant æsthetic and poetic quality.

I understood your argument as follows: analytic languages are simpler than synthetic languages. The movement from complex to simple is the result of mistakes and is a form of decay. Languages which have not undergone this process of decay are superior to ones which have not.

You wrote, for example:
But it is possible to recognize a foreign language as simpler than one’s own. Conflation of distinctions is a kind of simplification.
From the context I conclude that you believe English has conflated distinctions which are present e.g. in Latin and is therefore a simpler language. It is this claim -- that analytic languages are simpler than synthetic ones -- which I have been trying to show is simply untrue. Just because a language is morphologically simple doesn't mean that it's not complex in other ways.
And therefore languages and chronolects of less democratic times are superior.

That is pretty unambiguous statement of position, is it not? Obviously you don't specify here in exactly what sense such languages are superior -- i.e., moral, aesthetic, overall. But even if you mean "aesthetically superior" here, the claim needs further support.

Please note that my comment on the aesthetic qualities of certain inflected languages was framed as a statement of personal taste. You seem to be arguing that synthetic languages are innately richer aesthetically than analytic ones. I disagree with this. I think the poetic qualities of a language are mostly the result of who is using it. What, in your opinion, makes a language particularly aesthetically pleasing? Conciseness? Flexibility? Rhythm? Nuancedness? Euphony?

I think the last thing I shall say to this matter is that if you do not understand the argument, then maybe, just maybe, I am not the one to blame.

I'm sorry but I'm not going to let you off that easily. I'm not unwilling to consider other points of view, but I do expect to be convinced of the other person's position. You haven't thus far offered much concrete in the way of supporting evidence except to say that if I weren't hindered by my ideology I would understand what you are talking about. If you're truely convinced of what you're saying it should be possible to justify it in such a way that others are capable of understanding where you are coming from, even if they disagree with you.
IPHIGENIE: Kann uns zum Vaterland die Fremde werden?
ARKAS: Und dir ist fremd das Vaterland geworden.
IPHIGENIE: Das ist's, warum mein blutend Herz nicht heilt.
(Goethe, Iphigenie auf Tauris)
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Re: Synthetic > analytic

Postby adrianus » Sat Nov 26, 2011 9:34 pm

Laurentius wrote:I think the last thing I shall say to this matter is that if you do not understand the argument, then maybe, just maybe, I am not the one to blame.

You won't be surprised, Laurentius, if I agree with Spiphany. Maybe, just maybe, you way you express yourself demonstrates the type of superior aesthetic and poetic qualities you are talking about, that ideological preferences prevent others from appreciating.

Non mirum tibi, Laurenti, me cum Spiphany concurrere. Forsassè, si dubia sit res, modus exprimendi proprius tuus est illarum qualitatum superiorum aisthetikarum poeticarumque quas adnuis, quibus alii non fruuntur praepositionum ideologicarum suarum causâ.
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Re: Synthetic > analytic

Postby timeodanaos » Mon Nov 28, 2011 11:31 pm

Here's a simple thought: In order to convey meaning, e.g. the meaning of a sentence like foied vino pipafo cra carefo, you need the proper semes. foied vino pipafo includes a verbal meaning (to take in liquid through the mouth), a valency determined object (that which in its liqud form goes into mouth) which again contains information as to the physical object being denoted and about the possible place of this in the larger complex of the sentence, and information about who does the drinking. Furthermore it has two temporal specifications, namely foied and the tense of the verb. Questions of aspect are put aside, although you might want to stress the reduplication that marks the so-called imperfective aspect (which we shouldn't think too hard about, I should add). Add to this the second sentence and certain semantic and pragmatic features that presuppose our understanding.

Now, the ancient Faliscan brawler who wrote this expressed who did the consuming of liquids (which is the core of the sentence, the meaning inherent in the stem pip-) through the mouth by means of the ending -o. In English, we would have written a big, fat, vertical line; to specify when the drinking was to be effected, he chose to mark the verb for simple time (-af-) and to further specify when exactly in the future, he added the temporal adverb foed. To mark out what was being taken in, he took the for him natural word [i]vino[i], and when he spoke out the words, he would probably have nasalized the final vowel, thus marking it for case, which in Faliscan denotes the syntactic function of nominals. I'm in no doubt that every single person reading this will laugh at my simplicitas. But the example is only here to demonstrate once again the ridiculous simplicity of making sense.


Why is this way of conveying meaning superior or inferior to any other? It's all about putting the semes into a sentence to make sense. It's as rigorous a task to put together bits of meaning that have to be placed in the right spot as it is to remember to nasalize or add a suffix.
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Re: Synthetic > analytic

Postby adrianus » Tue Nov 29, 2011 12:28 am

Clearly, it pays to hang around in bars for what you pick up, timeodanaos.
Clarum est, timeodanaos, remuneratur qui in tabernis desidet ad cupediarum capiendum.
I'm writing in Latin hoping for correction, and not because I'm confident in how I express myself. Latinè scribo ut ab omnibus corrigar, non quod confidenter me exprimam.
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Re: Synthetic > analytic

Postby timeodanaos » Tue Nov 29, 2011 9:12 am

adrianus wrote:Clearly, it pays to hang around in bars for what you pick up, timeodanaos.
Clarum est, timeodanaos, remuneratur qui in tabernis desidet ad cupediarum capiendum.

You clearly have a working knowledge of university life in Scandinavia.

I tried making sense of the preceding discussion, but I couldn't. It's all apples and oranges, Vergil and Horace: all good, but de gustibus non disputandum. I know my predilection for Scandinavian languages comes from the fact that it was in my mother's milk, and yet it is no noxious feeling.
Language is a strong factor in (national) identities, and calling a language inferior can easily be equated with calling the people inferior. Hm. I hope no one here sees me as their inferior because I speak a language with no case system and only two synthetic tenses, unmarked and marked-for-past.
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Re: Synthetic > analytic

Postby beerclark » Sun Dec 04, 2011 4:11 am

timeodanaos wrote:I hope no one here sees me as their inferior because I speak a language with no case system and only two synthetic tenses, unmarked and marked-for-past.


Lol.. I hope you will be treated as an equal!

I think the premise of stating any particular language as superior of another (or simpler, for that matter) is like saying a sculptors tools are superior to a painters tools. While they may be expressing ideas in completely different ways, the end result is really the same. Is Picasso's "Guernica" simpler then the statue "Dying Gaul"? An art critic would classify that question as incomprehensible.

The simplicity of a language cannot be easily separated from the users use of it. Can you say that the ancient poets are more expressive then modern ones because modern poet's language is just too simple??


Sinister: You mentioned about the English language losing inflection due to time/culture? My understanding is that the inflections were gone after the Normans forced the french language into the courts after 1066 AD. English was inflected before then but the french put a heavy influence after that.
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