Post Reply 
Thread Rating:
  • 0 Votes - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Does having a closed lexicon kick tp out of the category of "Language"?
01-10-2013, 10:16 AM (This post was last modified: 01-10-2013 10:23 AM by janmato.)
Post: #1
Does having a closed lexicon kick tp out of the category of "Language"?
So there was a discussion on the Brown Conlang list (links at end) about a worksheet one of the list members is planning on handing out in class, which appears to be trying to teach students what is a language and what is not. Or it is teaching the controversy. Good points in the discussion: academics have to define their field, they can't include everything just because everything is tangentially related to everything.

Quote:I. The Klotrops: The Klotrops, ..., have a system of communication that consists of exactly one hundred words. They can string these words together into phrases and sentences, but they do not coin new words or change their words over time. They are born knowing the one hundred words of their system of communication as well as its rules for putting them together.

This describes toki pona *except* for proper modifiers and *except* that the hypothetical assumes the speakers are not humans and couldn't learn a new word if they had to.

I'd say that if you have syntax, your language is productive. The only difference is if you memorize your phrases or coin new ones each time. The observed effect is the same-- you see someone say "mi en sina li ken kama jan pona" - they understand it, they can't tell if jan pona is lexicalized. If it wasn't lexicalized, you can always make it up again.

So, if we remove proper modifiers from toki pona, it no longer is a language and isn't productive (in the sense of being able to say new things, of course it isn't productive as actually working instead of hanging out on forums)?

The bit about aliens and instinct is just for the people who think that language is what human do. People can call what ever they want a language, but the anthropomorphic stuff (in Hockett's Principles) has important consequences for nationalism, racism and animal rights.

The Discussion

Hockett's Principles
Find all posts by this user
Quote this message in a reply
Post Reply 

Forum Jump:

User(s) browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)

Contact Us | Toki Pona Net | Return to Top | Return to Content | Lite (Archive) Mode | RSS Syndication