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Is analyticity normal?

  Tags: Linguistics | Grammar
 Language Learning Forum : Philological Room Post Reply
11 messages over 2 pages: 1
Senior Member
United States
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Speaks: English*
Studies: Thai, Lowland Scots
Studies: Arabic (classical), Cantonese

 Message 9 of 11
18 August 2014 at 7:12pm | IP Logged 
Iversen wrote:

If you want to see a circular movement that passes like a clockwork through four stages with uniform grammatical
typologies you will be disappointed - and this will also make it difficult to find purely analytical languages.
When a language is getting close to this stage there will already be processes underway that transform isolated
elements into affixes or endings.

I just want to confirm, did you read all of the paper I linked? Could you offer some opinions on what McWhorter
directly claimed?

Old Chinese and Hmong fit the criteria for pure analyticity, heck, Old Chinese pronouns didn't have plurality either.
In your humble opinion, did they just end up like that because they could? Take into account the grammar processes
too of Hmong and Old Chinese, wh-in-situ, no word order difficulties (only SVO, OSV is BARELY tolerated in
Hmong), lack of mandatory grammatical markings, no morphophonemic processes, no derivational methods aside
from reduplication, this is not only analyticity but a grammar that has much in common with a creole.

Slight off topic:
I may be mistaken but you seem to imply that infective languages are inherently more irregular for being so but that
is not the case, hittite is fusional but extremely simple, simpler than English despite having more inflection.
The irregularity and redundancy of features of modern IE languages and those influenced by
them is exceptional and not a mere matter of lazy sound changes.
Sound changes are like a 1/6th of it.

Edited by Stolan on 18 August 2014 at 7:20pm

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Speaks: Croatian*, English, Spanish, Portuguese
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 Message 10 of 11
18 August 2014 at 10:28pm | IP Logged 
Futurity in Portuguese:

''I will love''

Latin: amabo
vulgar Latin: amare habeo
early Portuguese: amar hei
Portuguese: amarei
poetic Portuguese: hei de amar
colloquial Portuguese: vou amar

So, the tendency is not the one toward definitive analytic structure,
but the one of ''what goes around comes around''

analytical -> synthetic -> analytical -> synthetic -> analytical -> ...

Edited by Medulin on 18 August 2014 at 10:34pm

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 Message 11 of 11
19 August 2014 at 1:42am | IP Logged 
I read the article through, but didn't study it assiduously for days (and I can't open it at the machine I'm using right now - even after removing the extra space).

The main point seemed to be that only creolization could result in a 100% analytic language freed of all the usual complications of naturally grown languages, and the rest of the text was dominated by a discussion of possible candidates for this process, none of which are known to me.

In this context I found it relevant to point out that it would be hard to achieve total analyticity because most languages contain elements on different stages of the circle mentioned by Medulin - and total analyticity would presuppose that all these tendencies in a language somehow became synchronized. Like McWhorter I find it likely that the occurence of total analyticity takes something like a clash between languages, resulting in the creation of a new simplified language mostly spoken by adults as a secondary language. Whether this actually happened anywhere is beyond my horizon.

Edited by Iversen on 19 August 2014 at 1:54am

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