Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Word Order, Adjectives & Adverbs

Many languages, notably Latin & Esperanto, change word endings to indicate the word's function in a phrase.
Esperanto, in particular, has a vaste range of word prefixes & suffixes, which allow logical generation of adjectives, adverbs, comparatives, collectives, diminutives - you name it.
Worth a visit:

This is intellectually satisfying & permits efficient expression of a great wealth of ideas.
It also often allows word order to be adjusted for artistic or emphatic reasons.
But it takes a lot of learning.

And means affixed words have to be mentally broken up into root & affix before they are recognized & analysed.
Not quite as confusing as some German words, like "Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz".
But I want to stay a long way away from that sort of thing!

If I was ("were" sounds pompous) trying to design a powerful, beautiful, poetic language, I would go the Esperanto way.
In fact, I may steal some of those ideas...

But here I am looking, above all, for easy learning.
So I want all words to be invariable - no exceptions, not even accusative forms like "him" & "her".
This forces the use of word order as an essential part of grammar.

The first word-order basic rule is:
This is usual in many languages, including English, where "Johns hits Jane" leaves no doubt as to who does what to whom.

The second rule is, when describing something, to start with what is being described, then describe it in diminishing order of significance:

This is usual in, say, French, but quite opposite to English.
Where English would talk about a "Fairly Light Blue Wooden Box", then we should logically prefer a "Box Wooden Blue Light Fairly".
Any describing or qualifying word, comes after what it describes.

The same logic should apply to adverbs:

Where English says "He Runs Quite Quickly", then we would more logically have "He Runs Quickly Quite".

But I don't want any special adverb forms, like quickly, well, etc.
Nobody has a problem with "A Fast Car Goes Fast".
So why not "A Quick Car goes Quick", "The Good Boy Reads Good" etc?
I don't think they lose anything in meaning or clarity.
So, no special adverb forms.
The same descriptive word can describe an object and an action.
It just has to come immediately after what it is describing.

Summary of 2 rules on word order:
1. Subject-Verb-Object
2. Item-Qualifier

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