Natural languages, communication, etc

Archive for January, 2010

Re: Development of SOV -> SVO Languages

In article <38qrprINN2…>,
Martin Weidner <mweidner@spinfo1> wrote:
>While German is still an SOV Language other languages like English
>or French have been SOV and changed
>to SVO. I’d like to write a paper  of the reasons for this development.
>Does anybody know, if there are papers / books (especially in the
>background of generative grammar) concerning this problem

Another book that has some good discussions of this issue (long
with alot of other good stuff) is:

Principles of Historical Linguistics, 2nd Edition
by Hans Henrich Hock

Hmm, there are two ISBN’s on the cover:
        ISBN 3 11012962 0
        ISBN 0 89925851 4

NAMES: sar… s…

May the peace of God be with you.

posted by admin in Uncategorized and have No Comments

full PATR specs

Where can one obtain a full set of BNFs for some syntactic
description language like PATR?  Or anything else being com-
monly used today.

   -Richard L. Goerwitz              goer%mid…@uchicago.bitnet
   g…          rutgers!oddjob!ellis!goer

posted by admin in Uncategorized and have No Comments

Ferengi Language version 1.95

Preliminary Ferengi Lexicon
Version 1.95
Written by Timothy Miller
Email: tmil…
  Timothy Miller
  7519 Winging Way Drive
  Tampa, FL  33615-1519

This file is intended to spark interest in the Ferengi language and get a
foot-hold in the community of Trekkers on the internet.  Paramount doesn’t
know who I am and doesn’t know my experience with linguistics, so they
most certainly wouldn’t take me seriously.  On the other hand, if the
Trekkers see this file, accept the language, bring copies of this file to
Trek conventions, show it to others at Trek conventions, and basically
spread the word about this, then I’ll have a chance.

This file may be freely distributed to anyone, but you may not remove my
name or email address from the file, nor may you modify it in any way
except with the intention of sending the file directly back to me with
comments.  This language, not associated with the Ferengi name, is
copyrighted to me, Timothy Miller.  The name "Ferengi" is a trademark
of Paramount.  Since I do not have rights to use the name "Ferengi", I
cannot publish this text with the intent of making profit, but it is my
intention to contact Paramount to get rights to use this language in a
book.  If anyone can tell me who I should contact in this regard, please
tell me.

And speaking of comments, please feel free to make any comments and
suggestions that you like.  Tell me about errors, suggest additions,
express needs, etc.  Any and all feedback is welcome.

Once the existence of this text file is brought to the attention of those
at Paramount, I will be able to put together a complete book that includes
a complete language, as well as some history of the Ferengi language
and culture and two glossaries, one of regular words, and one of an extensive
vocabulary of economic and mathematical terms.

This is by far not a final version of the language.  There isn’t enough
vocabulary to get much of a point across, and there are many necessary
concepts missing.  I will be working from feedback I get from other
trekkers as well as people in the Foreign Language Department of the
University of South Florida.  Therefore, anything in this file is subject
to change from one version to the next.  I will try to keep continuity so
you don’t find yourself wasting time reading this, but I will correct
flaws when I find them, however I need to.

If you are interested in role-playing Star Trek, there is a multi-user,
interactive game on the internet called TrekMOO.  Just telnet to
" 2499" and you will find there a number of Ferengi
who are already trying to use this language.

Many thanks to Dr. Jacob Caflisch with the University of South Florida who
has provided me with valueable information and many suggestions for improving
this text.  And also many thanks to David Salo from Madison, Wisconsin
who helped me much by performing a "historical analysis" of the language and
who began to put sentences together which helped me much in building this

Table of Contents:

1.  Phonology:  How do I pronounce Ferengi words?
2.  Grammar:  How do I put words and sentences together?
3.  Vocabulary:  What do these words mean?
4.  Example Ferengi sentences, with English phonetics (yuck!)
5.  English (American) words spelled using Ferengi phonetics
    (to give you a better idea of how this writing system works)

Section 1 — Phonlogy

This section describes a spelling system that I use to write Ferengi
words.  It is a phonemic system that described Ferengi words sound-for-
sound, with a specific, consistent sound assigned to each letter.
Upper and lower case letters are distinct from one another.  Do not
try to pronounce any vowels as if the Ferengi words were English words;
your pronunciation will be wrong.

Phonemic spellings of Ferengi sounds, words, and sentences are often shown
beween slashes (/…/).

Mostly english words are used as examples, but for the vowels and foreign
consonants, it’s very hard, so I do my best.


    Voiceless   Labial      /p/ — [p]et, sto[p]
                Dental      /t/ — [t]op, po[t]
                Velar       /k/ — [k]ite, ba[ck]
                Uvular      /q/ — Like /k/ but the back of the tongue
                                   is against the uvula, rather than
                                   the velum.
                Glottal     /?/ — the stop in the middle of uh[-]oh
                                   Also in Cochney or Scottish bo[tt]le
    Voiced      Labial      /b/ — [b]et, sta[b]
                Dental      /d/ — [d]umb, ba[d]
                Velar       /g/ — [g]ood, ba[g]
    Voiced Implosive
                Labial      /V/ — pronounced like /b/, but air is sucked
                                   into the mouth at the instant that the
                                   lips part.
                Dental      /C/ — pronounced like /d/, but ingressive
                Velar       /X/ — like /g/, but ingressive

    Voiceless   Bilabial    /P/ — like /f/, but with the lips
                Labiodental /f/ — [f]an, hal[f]; becomes /P/ after /p/
                Interdental /T/ — [th]in, ba[th]
                Dental      /s/ — [s]top, pa[ss]
                Palatal     /S/ — [sh]ine, bo[sh]
                Velar       /x/ — Ba[ch] (composer, German)
                                   [H]annukah (Jewish holiday)
                                   Analogy:  s:t::x:k
                Glottal     /h/ — [h]ello, [h]alf
    Voiced      Bilabial    /B/ — like /v/ but with the lips
                Labiodental /v/ — [v]ery, hal[v]e; becomes /B/ after /b/
                Interdental /D/ — [th]is, ba[th]e
                Dental      /z/ — [z]ip, spa[zz]
                Palatal     /Z/ — a[z]ure, mea[s]ure, [j]our (French)
                Velar       /G/ — [gh]adha (Arabic for ‘lunch’)
                                   Analogies:  z:d::G:g, s:z::x:G
                Uvular      /R/ — Pa[r]is (French), d[r]ei (German)
                                   Like /G/ but with tongue against
                                   the uvula.

    Voiced      Labial      /w/ — [w]et, ho[w]
                Palatal     /j/ — [y]ou, bo[y]
         Retroflex Palatal  /r/ — [r]un  (seldom used this way)

    Voiced      Dental      /l/ — [l]ive, ta[ll]

    Voiced      Labial      /m/ — [m]ud, spa[m]
                Dental      /n/ — [n]ed, fa[n]
                Velar       /N/ — ba[ng], si[ng], [ng]uyen
                Plosive     /M/ — lips together or back of tongue against
                                   velum with velum up, holding in air.
                                   Then air is allowed to suddenly excape
                                   through nose by lowering
                                   of velum, while vocal chords vibrate.


   Front   Unrounded  High  /i/ — b[ee]t, p[ee]k  {iy}
                      Mid   /e/ — b[ai]t, p[ay]   {ey}
                      Low   /&/ — b[a]t, c[a]t, p[a]ddle (not in Ferengi)
           Rounded    High  /y/ — m[ue]de (German).  Say /i/, but with
                                   lips rounded for /u/.
   Central Unrounded  Mid   /^/ — b[u]t, m[u]d  {^h}  In English, this
                                   is allophonic with /@/, but here it is
                                   strongly tense and distinct from /@/.
                 Retroflex  /r/ — [r]un, f[ur], wat[er].  These are
                                   the American pronounciation.  They
                                   most be pronounced correctly, and
                                   strongly retroflex.  Used as a vowel.
                                   Sounds just like "er" in American.
   Back    Rounded    High  /u/ — m[oo]d, f[oo]d, g[oo]p   {uw}
                      Mid   /o/ — b[oa]t, t[o]ne, tac[o]   {ow}
                                   (NOT Brittish /@U/)
                      Low   [A] — br[a], b[o]x (American)
                                   (interchangable in Ferengi with /a/)
   Front   Unrounded  High  /I/ — b[i]t, m[i]lk
                      Mid   /E/ — b[e]t, f[e]lt
   Central Unrounded  Mid   [@] — Schwa.  Fers[e] (German), c[o]mputer
                      Low   /a/ — m[a]nn (German), t[a]sk (Brittish),
   Back    Unrounded  High  /U/ — b[oo]k, f[oo]t
                      Mid   /O/ — b[o]y, w[a]ter (Brittish), m[o]re

Gap                         [-] — This usually represents a syllable

Ferengi have the tendancy nasalize vowels.  This means that the velum is
lowered so that air can resonate through the nasal cavities as well as in
the mouth.  For example, in English, all vowels before nasal consonants
are nasalized.  The nasalization in Ferengi has no effect on meaning, but
there is a pattern to it:

Front vowel + /n/   — nasalize vowel and often drop /n/
Back vowel + /N/    – nasalize vowel and often drop /N/
Rounded vowel + /m/ — nasalize vowel, but don’t drop /m/

In most languages, vowels preceding nasal consonants must be nasalized in
order for there to not be a drastic changein air flow from the oral-vowel
to the nasal consonant.  In Ferengi, though, this isn’t always the case,
but it produces a peculiar result.  The Nasal Stop listed above is an
artifact of an oral vowel being pronounced before a nasal consonant.  The
sound /M/ is the result of the air flow being halted by the tongue on the
mouth (reaching the point of articulation for the nasal consonant), then
suddenly being released through the nose.  The proper nasal consonant then
follows that release, but it often overwhelmed by the sound of the nasal

As an example, consider the case where you try to pronounce /an/ but with
/a/ being an oral vowel.  Due to changes in air flow, you actually get
something that sounds like /adMn/.  Similarly, /am/ becomes /abMm/ and

read more »

posted by admin in Uncategorized and have Comments (3)

Damin (Lardil) spoken by Australian Aborigines


I am trying to find references (grammar, syntax, vocabulary…) of an
Australian Aboriginal language called Damin. It is a ceremonial version
of an Australian Aboriginal language called Lardil, which is spken by the
inhabitants of Mornington Island.
I would be most grateful to anyone who could provide me with references
on this subject (either documents or people that I could contact who
are familiar with this language).

Plese reply by private E-Mail to:
Jean Lette

Thank you for your time and help,

Jean Lette
University of Montreal

posted by admin in Uncategorized and have No Comments

omission of conjunction that

I wonder if there are any recent articles dealing with the omissibility
of the subordinating conjunction ‘that’ in sentences like:
      ‘I’m glad (that) you’re home.’
      ‘I think (that) he’s home.’
The most recent research I know of dates back to 1984 (Elsness, Johan).
I’d be very grateful if anyone could put me on the right track.
Any other information re conditioning factors (apart from the well doc-
umented arguments of style, formality and disambiguation) would be welcomed
as well.

Heidi Martens

posted by admin in Uncategorized and have No Comments

Software to learn Spanish


I apologize if this newsgroup is not the place to ask this question:
Does anybody have any references, on the Internet or elsewhere, to quality
software that could help someone to learn Spanish? And I mean, not the
twenty-seventh home-made program to drill a wordlist stored in a database, with a
due respect :)

Thanks for your time

Sandor Spruit, computer science student | "There’s a bit of magic in everything
University of Twente, The Netherlands   | and then some loss to even things out"
spr…                    | (Lou Reed, "Magic and loss")

posted by admin in Uncategorized and have No Comments

Re: Etymology of Butterfly

In article <1994Nov6.141900.29…>, nex… (Christopher Majka) writes:

|> leh… (Franz Lehner) writes:
|> > would anyone give examples of the etymology of the equivalents of butterfly
|> > in different languages? I could make out 3 different origins in european
|> > languages. the first comes from the indogerman root *pal- and is present
|> > in latin papilio, french papillon, german Falter, ancient teutonic languages
|> > fifildri (old nordic), fifealde (anglosaxon), vivaltra (ancient german).
|> > A second family of words is present in english and german, where we have the
|> > superstitious idea that butterflies steal the cream of the milk, hence
|> > butterfly in english and Schmetterling in german (from slavonic smetana =
|> > cream).
|> *Perhaps.* In relation to English I have more often heard the etymology
|> ascribed to the bright butter-yellow butterflies of the genus Colias — hence
|> ‘butter’-'fly.’

I once read somewhere that "butterfly" used to be "flutter-by" in English.
Can anyone confirm or deny that?

Ulrich Koch, stud. inform.    Rose tint my world
                              Keep me safe from my trouble and pain

posted by admin in Uncategorized and have Comments (24)

What exactly was Saxon

        In my readings for a paper on the influences of Old English, I’ve
noticed the lack of any definite treatment of Angle or Saxon languages.
I’m told that Saxon and Old Saxon are definitely not the same thing, but
not effort seems to be made to explain either language (dialect) in
relationship with the others.  Any help here?

posted by admin in Uncategorized and have Comments (3)

Butterfly in Japanese (Chocho)

 nex… (Christopher Majka) wrote

     —- Lots of part deleted.—

> Is there kanji character for the Japanese ‘chocho’ or is the
> word written only in kana?

  Yes, it does have a chanese character. However, let me note, chocho is
  a loan word from chinese.

posted by admin in Uncategorized and have No Comments

need info on Chechen language

A question from a novice at the sci.lang game:

I’m trying to find some information on the Chechen language. In particular,
what script does it use and are there any sources of additional information
on this language? If Chechen too obscure, how about Caucasian languages in
general? I looked in the Cambridge Encyclopedia and found a short blurb
on Caucasian languages but it doesn’t even indicate the script.

I only have access to a run-of-the-mill small city library so obscure or
specialized references would be less useful. Anything on the internet?

Thanks in advance,


posted by admin in Uncategorized and have Comment (1)