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Revision as of 13:17, 25 March 2020 by Uakci (talk | contribs) (sentinel value)
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Modular Language Architecture

This section will explore how a language could be broken down into modules.

Module Breakdown

Different sets of phonemes which can be used.
Different rules for how a phonology can be assembled into words.
Writing System
Structure, Syntax, and Semantics
  • Provides set of non-core/non-syntactic/non-structural words with defined meanings
  • Not attached to specific phonological forms
  • Different vocabulary module instances could incorporate different philosophies
  • e.g. world view for constructing composites:
    Have a word for 'tooth', or have a compound like 'mouth-stone'?

Module Hierarchy

  • Morphology
    • Written
      • Writing System
    • Verbal
      • Phonotactics
        • Phonology
  • Vocabulary
  • Structure, syntax, semantics

The contents

This part of the document is a draft. -- Uakci (talk)


  • Self-segmentation strategies
    Continuation marker
    certain feature or features of a syllable is used to determine if it is a continuation of the previous word
    • Toaq uses the flat toneme for this[1]
    Word length marker
    the first syllable of each word determines how long the word is
    Initial consonant cluster
    Sentinel value
    programming concept: special predetermined value as a signal for termination
    • Lojban: name words (cmevla) are booked with pauses[4][5]; foreign quotes triggered with zoi/la'o start and end with any chosen one-word terminator[6]


Predicates and their arguments

  • Sentence functions
    predicates, together with arguments, form predications; both must be present (at least implicitly)
    • see(man, cat)
    • present in most logical languages
    predicates only accept variable labels as terms; these, in turn, can be bound by quantifier expressions and restricted with subsequent predicate clauses
    • ∃xy[man(x) ∧ cat(y) ∧ see(x, y)]
    • Xorban
    no arguments are exposed; predicates are implicitly connected with quantified variables
    • man₁ = see₁; see₂ = cat₁
  • Ad-hoc predicate composition
    Serial predicates
    the embedding of one predicate's structure inside another
    • Toaq[7] and Gua\spi[8], which is signalled with the falling and high even tonemes respectively
    • Lojban of at least one dialect: turtau[9]
    Compound metaphors
    predicate apposition as modification of one predicate's meaning by the other's
    • Lojban has a highly developed appositional tanru grammar

Numbers and counting

  • Representation
    Numerals as a part of speech
    numbers constitute a separate grammatical class
    Numbers as predicates
    numbers are cardinality predicates (‘x₁ is three in number’ etc.)
  • Composition
    values are expressed as a sequence of digits in positional notation
    • Lojban: pa re ci vo mu (lit. ‘1 2 3 4 5’) denotes the number 12,345[10]
  • Usage
    As quantifiers
    numbers attach to terms and scope over the sentence, signifying how many values of the term satisfy the sentence
    • Lojban: pa da (lit. ‘one something’) = ‘there exists exactly one thing that…’[12]