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Page history last edited by Matthew McVeagh 1 year, 7 months ago



Matthew McVeagh | my conlangs


Verbs become nouns and nouns become verbs


Why not just switch nouns and verbs entirely?


The cat sat on the mat > Sitting cat-agented and mat-located

Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny > Recapitulation ontogeny-agents(gnomic) and phylogeny-patients(gnomic)

Peter picked a peck of pickled pepper > Picking Peter-agented and pepper-patiented pickledly peck-amounting-to


What makes the nouns verbs is that they have tenses (in the large sense, i.e. including aspects, moods, voices as appropriate). What were their argumental syntactic roles become a new kind of TAMV factor. What would be adjectives for nouns become adverbs, modifying the nouny verbs.


What makes the verbs nouns is that they do not have any TAMV, and can be modified by adjectives (which were once adverbs), also determiners, numbers, and can inflect for different factors. You could even have a 'verby noun class' system where different kinds of verbs (according to valency, lexical aspect etc.) get different markings as nouns.


The semantics are all rearranged. Any translations into it would structure clauses completely differently from other languages. Its whole perspective on describing situations would be to treat actions and states as entities and subjects for discussion, and any people or objects involved as more specific processes or predicates that help describe them.


There's a logical effect on verb valency. Because the one verb of a usual clause is now the subject, but the multiple arguments of a usual clause are now multiple verbs, there would logically be quite a few conjoined intransitive clauses corresponding to a single clause with multiple arguments.


But it occurs to me we could add more arguments per clause by treating serial verbs in certain ways. Constructions like trying/wanting/deciding/preparing to could be rendered with one verb as subject and another as object. In a way we might need to abandon the usual "subject/object" categories appropriate to object-nouns and create some new ones by which action/state qualities can relate to one another.


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