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VMs: Re:Paradigms Regained

--- Jacques Guy <jguy@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

> There was never any suggestion that they were
> elements of conjugations or declensions. 

Tiltman did suggest this, but he also suggested
that it could be an indication of (Roman) numerals.

Stolfi's more recent and more elaborate paradigms
make me favour the 'number' theory rather than
grammar, since the patterns do affect all parts
of the words, not primarily the endings.
(now why do I have this hunch that someone on
the list will soon provide us with a sample
language that has exactly this feature :-/) 

In any case, this beginning-middle-end pattern,
all with variable length, is so special to the
VMs that almost by itself this feature can be
used to reject most false hypotheses. It cannot have
'just arisen' by coincidence. It must be key to
the meaning of the words, if there is any.
If there isn't any (meaning), then this feature
must be the key to how so many words without 
meaning could have been generated by anyone.

It does not in any way reject the Chinese theory
or a number-based encoding:

> In fact (Chinese again!), as I looked at those
> suffixes in  EVA, I could not help think of
> tones, viz ain aiin aiiin,
> ey, eey, eeey. and so on.

Indeed. But how many tones should one allow as
a maximum? I think I heard of nine tones in some
context or other, but not in one single language.
I think these were dialects of the same language.

A problem is that there are many
words that do not end in:
> ain aiin aiiin,
> ey, eey, eeey.
so what to do with these?

To make matters worse, the one language I know
(Thai) that actually uses symbols (graphemes?) to 
indicate tones, doesn't use one symbol to indicate
one tone, another to indicate another, but rather
symbols that make a somewhat complicated modification
of the default tone that follows a really complicated
rule. And this set of rules was designed by one
man in the 13th Century. It was probably a bit more
logical then, but it evolved with time.
This man is still now revered as a genius.
One has to wonder what kind of a system a
man with a 'twist in his mind' would come up
with. Or do we know already?

Cheers, Rene

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