Converting content words to function words

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janMato
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Converting content words to function words

Postby janMato » Sat Dec 05, 2009 4:10 pm

I think it has been establish that the community can coin new content phrases using existing content words. But I would guess that conversion of content words to function words would be fundamentally changing the language because a new function word means new grammar rules. I know some function words can be used as content words, and expansion and evolution of the language in that direction I presume is okay.

I tried to split the 123 current words into content and function.. I get more or less 25 function words. Given the goal is come up the list of valid words words that can appear a phrase marker, conjunction, preposition, auxiliary verb pronoun etc---any miscategorizations?

a - content
akesi- content
ala
alasa - content
ale / ali
anpa
ante
anu
awen - content
e
en
esun - content
ijo - content
ike - content
ilo - content
insa - content
jaki - content
jan - content
jelo - content
jo
kala - content
kalama - content
kama
kasi - content
ken
kepeken
kili - content
kin
kipisi - content
kiwen - content
ko - content
kon - content
kule - content
kulupu - content
kute - content
la
lape - content
laso - content
lawa - content
len - content
lete - content
li
lili - content
linja - content
lipu - content
loje - content
lon
luka - content
lukin - content
lupa - content
ma - content
mama - content
mani - content
meli - content
mi
mije - content
moku - content
moli - content
monsi
mu - content
mun - content
musi - content
mute - content
namako - content
nanpa - content
nasa - content
nasin - content
nena - content
ni
nimi - content
o
oko - content
olin - content
ona
open - content
pakala - content
pali - content
palisa - content
pan - content
pana - content
pi
pilin - content
pimeja - content
pini - content
pipi - content
poka
poki - content
pona - content
pu... um what is pu?
sama - content (reflexive marker?)
seli - content
selo - content
seme
sewi - content
sijelo - content
sike - content
sin - content
sina
sinpin - content
sitelen - content
sona - content
soweli - content
suli - content
suno - content
supa - content
suwi - content
tan
taso
tawa
telo - content
tenpo - content
toki - content
tomo - content
tu - content
unpa - content
uta - content
utala - content
walo - content
wan - content
waso - content
wawa - content
weka - content
wile - content

janKipo
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Re: Converting content words to function words

Postby janKipo » Sat Dec 05, 2009 6:21 pm

I'm not quite clear what the bold-face means; most of the words there are clearly content words (so maybe what I don't understand is what your content/function distinction is).
So, by cases.
I would think that 'a' was pretty much a contentless word; it is just an exclamation, without any meaning, though perhaps with some form of presentation (varying with the situation).
'ala' is a negation, so a (as we would say) syncategorematic term, one that reverses the truth value or the range of reference of that to which it is attached. It also functions as a noun, verb, modifier, and pronoun, at least -- and as an exclamation.
'ale/i' is also syncategorematic, a quantifier. It is also a noun, modifier, and pronoun. I wouldn't be surprised to see it as a verb.
'anpa' means "bottom" or "down" as noun or adverb. "lower" or "go down" as a verb, apparently cannot be used alone as a preposition, despite temptations that way
'ante' - "different", "change" "otherwise"
'anu' is syncategorematic "or" I can imagine it as a noun or verb but haven't seen it.
'awen' I think this may be a modal, too.
'e' really is only functional, it marks the direct object of a transitive verb.
'en' is probably close to syncategorematic as "and" but it only joins nous and maybe modifiers, not predicates or objects.
'insa' is just like 'anpa' in most structural ways.
'jo' means "possess", "possessions," "character" and so on -- noun, verb, modifier, at least.
'kama' means "arrive" "become," serves as a tense marker for future, takes a predicate complement like 'ken' and 'wile,' "bring (about)", "event"
'ken' is a modal (takes a predicate complement) but also means "ability' 'permiossion" and thus "permitted," "rights" "legal" and so on,
''kepeken' means "uses" and then "useful" and, as a sort of preposition, "with (using)"
'kin' might be called functional (if 'a' were); it is a rhetorical flourish, emphasizing or adding to a cases: "iondded, too, moreover, similarly" and the like.
'la' more or less syncategorematic as a marker of conditionals, an adverb/context marker with non-sentences.
'lawa' is pretty much like 'anpa' again, but develops more fully in metaphorical uses.
'li' clearly functional -- starts a predicate (or ends a subject --a philosophical question).
'lon' is basically the preposition "at, on" which then develops a number of other meanings in context. it can always take its prepositional object as a complement, outside the usual rules of modification.
'mi' refers to the speaker and those for whom s/he speaks, so, "I, me we, us, mine, ours, my, our" Like some similar words it has a potential for development, but this has not been realized, so far.
'monsi' is just like 'anpa' and 'insa' applied to a different body part.
'ni' the one deictic pronoun/adjective -- overworked and confusing occasionally, forcing more careful formulations; pragmatic, but not syncategorematic or merely functional.
'o' functional, I suppose: marks vocatives, imperatives and optative/hortative and the like (directive use of language).
'ona' the only anaphoric pronoun -- not overworked so far, since its unclarity leads immediately to using repetition instead -- like all pronouns, it is hard to classify among semantic and pragmatic and paralinguistic roles.
'open' is probably a modal as well as the usual things.
'pana' is not too clear yet -- it does not seem to be a modal or a preposition, yet is it used to do the same sorts of things sometimes.
'pi' functional -- right grouping strings of mdoifiers within a left-grouped structure. Though it has been used as a verb for "owns."
'pini' may be a modal, like 'open' and 'awen'
'poka' means 'side" and is like 'anpa' and 'monsi' and 'insa' etc. but it also has a separate use as a preposition meanin "with (accompanying)"
''pu' seme li sona I don't treally think it means "uncarved block" but I haven't seen anything else about it.
'seme' marks a fill-the-gap question (Hw question in English)so it has at least pragmatic and paralinguistic significance; grammatically howver it is totally normal.
'sin' content maybe, but note the curious meanings "new" and "again"
'sinpin' like 'monsi,' etc.
'sina' 2nd person pronoun, same status as 'mi' and 'ona' and 'ni'
'tan' the preposition "from" with developments like 'tawa' and 'lon'
'taso' restrictions, exceptions, contrary evidence -- partly syncategorematic, partly pragmatic
'tawa' the preposition "to, towards" with strange developments
'wile' just like 'ken'

I don't know if this clarifies anthing, but it givew you some more data to work with perhaps.

What is this all leading up to?

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Re: Converting content words to function words

Postby janMato » Sat Dec 05, 2009 6:31 pm

janKipo wrote:I'm not quite clear what the bold-face means; most of the words there are clearly content words (so maybe what I don't understand is what your content/function distinction is).

What is this all leading up to?


To write toki pona, one has to be inventive. If one is so inventive as to convert existing words into new propositions and grammatical particles, then I think that would be fundamentally changing the language. In natural languages this happens all the time. For example in Icelandic, I suspect the preposition for "to"/"handa" in the sense of "give a give to someone" was hijacked from the content word for "hand"

So if one didn't want to fundamentally change the language, one would have to be careful to not turn a content word into a function word. To do that, one would have to pay close attention to what is content as what is function.

If Jan Sonya already has already made a word into both content and function, then no problem. But if a word currently never gets used as a function word, then we probably should not accidentally convert content words to function words.

janKipo
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Re: Converting content words to function words

Postby janKipo » Sat Dec 05, 2009 7:15 pm

Well, the official situation is really that most words can be used in most contexts (condition, noun, modifier, verb - t and i, preposition, exclamation, whatever) but that some have not been developed in some ways and others do not seem to have obvious uses so far. The only clear exceptions are la, li, and e; the less clear are pi, en, anu (and pi has already spread a bit). The pronouns and ala and ale/i have also already spread a bit. Some words haven't moved much, others have spread all over the place ('tawa' to take the most fluid case -- I think). The point is that, the first three aside, tp words are all content words and can take on (in the appropriate circumstances -- some of them now unimaginable) any role in the sentence, except the three grammatically defined ones (and those words cannot, presumably, take on content roles -- oh, yeah, probably o, too). And when the circumstances arise, the words will do their thing, confusing people for a minute and then leading to an Ahah! So Pecca fortiter and it will probably not turn out to be a sin at all.

So, content words are nouns, verbs and modifiers, and function words are grammatical tags, pronouns, conjunctions and prepositions -- roughly. I don't think that is a useful division for tp (or English, for that matter).

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Re: Converting content words to function words

Postby janMato » Sun Dec 06, 2009 10:15 pm

Hmm, lots to think about here. I'm reading up on "clitics", maybe that line of research has some guidance.

If a word is a clitic, i.e. it can't stand alone. If it does stand alone it means something else. Wikipedia says that a clitic can still be a clitic even if it written with a space between it and the word.

"ed" can be removed from "horsed around" but "Ed" means the horse. The name of the band "The The", only the first "The" means "I got something specific in mind". The second is nonsense noise, or refers to the dictionary entry.

If a word is a clitic, it has grammatical meaning, not lexical. I suspect that in the common use of "mute" for plural it becomes a clitic. It is accidental grammaticalization.

Anyhow, here my reference: http://www.sil.org/linguistics/GlossaryOfLinguisticTerms/WhatIsACliticGrammar.htm.

So back to my original thesis, accidental grammaticalization by the community is accidental language design.

janKipo
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Re: Converting content words to function words

Postby janKipo » Mon Dec 07, 2009 12:38 pm

This discussion presupposes that 'kin' (I take it this is still the subject) is a clitic. But it is not obvious that 'kin' is phonologically bound, though it may be. It is more importantly not obvious that 'kin' has only grammatical, not lexical meaning (the point at issue, in fact). Nor is it clear that 'kin' functions at the phrase or clause level rather than only at the word level. so, the case that 'kin' is a clitic is not ordained. The clear cases of "only grammatical meaning" are the old foursome, which simply represent sections of the sentence, without regard to content. 'kin' is clearly different from these, since its use does not resection the sentence in any way (the grammar of the whole is the same as when 'kin' does not occur). It has a non-grammatical meaning, though whether it is a matter of semantics or pragmatics or paralinguistics is one of those border disputes that may not be worth pursuing.
I doubt that 'mute' is -- within tp -- a clitic at all; it is just another modifier, in this case adding the information that there are many of these things (would 'tu' be a clitic, or 'wan'?). There are no plurals in the normal sense in tp.
An accident can't be a design. But, yes, if we make a change, it changes things. Perhaps the issue is whether using 'kin' in 'kin la' is making a change. It is certainly not going beyond the given potential, but it is going beyond what was the given actual at a certain point. This does not seem to be a new design so much as filling out a piece of the design in the realized form. Accidental only in the sense that this particular piece was not specifically thought out beforehand. But that is true of most of the developments in tp: 'poka' as a preposition, for example, or 'lon' as a transitive verb.

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Re: Converting content words to function words

Postby janMato » Thu Jan 28, 2010 3:41 pm

I'm posting again in this thread because maybe it would have been more productive to ask:

Which lexical categories in TP are open and which are closed?
Ref: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lexical_category

For natural languages, this relies on modestly fuzzy criteria like "resistant to change", "new words show up in more than/less than a life time"

In the various stories I've read about how language change to gain prepositions, lose/gain case ending, etc, the process tends to be a glacially slow process with lots of intermediate steps, where as coining new words in open lexical categories seems to be something that happens in a flash and people start using the new word without fuss. Adding new words in closed categories will make people

Interestingly in Volapük, "prepositions and conjunctions are open-class words", so in the case of conlangs, unless the designer says, I suppose one could equally argue that any lexical category is open or closed and no one could prove them right or wrong. Esperanto is in a similar situation for it's phonotactics (because the designer explicitly say if new root words mega-consonant clusters like ofklnfkdjkjr-o are valid or not)

janKipo
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Re: Converting content words to function words

Postby janKipo » Thu Jan 28, 2010 5:54 pm

The interesting questions are, for each word, to what primary category does it belong? and then, for each category, what does being in that category mean for the grammar and semantics of words in that category in various functions. Back to our favorite: 'tawa' is a Preposition. That means that in a verb slot (after 'li' or a modal) it can be followed by an NP complement -- denoting the destination of a move in this case. 'lon' and 'tan' behave similarly as far as grammar goes, but with appropriately different semantics -- always the same as their uses as prepositions. And there are (or will be, by God!) similar rules for all the classes and all the roles. Actually, the rules are fairly simple and ov=bviousm(for the most part) once we get the classes right.
So to your current question. I think that the POS in tp are pretty much all closed, but the rules about their uses are still in flux. For example, 'nasin' is a Noun (there may, of course, be several kinds of nouns -- that is yet to be seen) but some Nouns can be used a prepositions. Can 'nasin'? It hasn't been and the case for doing so as not been made, but it might be. If it is, does that mean that other Nouns could be prepositions -- 'akesi', for example -- or does it mean that 'nasin' has been found to be in a separate class of Nouns which allow this move. You can work it either way and, at this early stage, both amount to about the same, but eventually the whole will settle down to a rather fixed set. Until then, let's continue to press the envelope when it looks useful to do. Or just for the Hell of it.

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Re: Converting content words to function words

Postby janMato » Thu Jan 28, 2010 6:33 pm

janKipo wrote:I think that the POS in tp are pretty much all closed

The only sense in which I see the various POS in tp are closed is -- it has a specification (or did) and the spec, and short of Sonja creating a new word or us creating a proper modifier, it's not getting any new words.

Now given people don't and aren't speaking according to specification, verbs and nouns and modifiers definitely appear to be open, but only as open as to potentially allow movement amongst them. The specification (as it is) is quiet on if this is permissable or against the rules. We just know that this sort of thing happens in natlangs.

janKipo wrote:Can 'nasin'? It hasn't been and the case for doing so as not been made, but it might be. If it is, does that mean that other Nouns could be prepositions -- 'akesi', for example -- or does it mean that 'nasin' has been found to be in a separate class of Nouns which allow this move. You can work it either way and, at this early stage, both amount to about the same, but eventually the whole will settle down to a rather fixed set. Until then, let's continue to press the envelope when it looks useful to do. Or just for the Hell of it.


Maybe 'kama' can be extended to prep and a plausible case could be made for it, but soweli?

* jan Jona li lape soweli sijelo insa pi kala suli.
Jonah slept [animal] belly of whale.

Normally prepositions say something about the action and it's relationship to time, space, agency, etc and other abstractions. I think by the time one found a prepositional use for soweli, it probably wouldn't have anything to do with animals anymore. If nasin was used as prep, it probably would be about spatial relationships, which has precedent in natlangs.

Anyhow, the truth is probably somewhere in the middle. Some POS categories in tp are permeable, some are not so permeable.


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