tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Wed Oct 28 12:08:45 2009

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Re: intuition and grammar (was Re: Ditransitive reflexives)

Tracy Canfield (

Elvish is an interesting case, where speakers have filled in the gaps left
by Tolkien - quite problematically in some cases.  On the one hand, it's
comparable to the kind of change languages undergo in time; on the other, it
moves speakers farther away from Tolkien's vision.  Carl Hostetter has a
terrific article about this, "Elvish As She Is Spoke", at .
In addition to conlangs, I would say that languages which are dead (but
still studied and learned as second languages) have fixed grammars, even if
the lexicons aren't fixed.  New Latin words get coined for use in the
Vatican, for example, but you aren't going to see a change in verb endings
or the case system.

I believe that Laadan, like Klingon, has an active speaker group that can
result in changes to the "official" Laadan grammar, but I haven't looked
into it as I am allergic to granola.

2009/10/28 André Müller <>

> 2009/10/28 <>
> > If speakers are  allowed to add their own grammar into the language,
> > doesn't that defeat the purpose of speaking the native language of the
> > Klingons?  I don't know if I should be saying anything considering my
> n00b
> > status but I just couldn't help but seeing that.  I know that in any
> other
> > language grammar is set in stone and never changed.
> > Just my two cents
> >
> Quite the contrary actually. No grammar is really "set in stone" (in the
> sense of 'may not change over time'). Grammar (as well as the lexicon and
> the semantics) in natural languages changes over time, due to speakers
> introducing new habits, stopping using certain forms or making "mistakes",
> which spread and get grammaticalized sometimes. Some of these changes we
> can
> notice ourselves.
> The only languages with a grammar "set in stone" that I could think of,
> would be constructed ones. Not Klingon, as Okrand adds stuff to it (not
> much
> and not too often, but still once in a while). Not Esperanto, as it has
> changed a little since its invention too... but those two languages'
> grammars get close to be "set in stone".
> So in Klingon, speakers (with the exception of Marc Okrand) are not allowed
> to change the grammar or to introduce new words, although there's no one
> really to punish them. ;)
> Prescriptive grammars in natural languages such as English or German are
> merely a snapshot of the grammar currently used by the majority of the
> people... and sometimes (at least for the German Duden grammar) it's partly
> obsolete and should be updated to reflect the modern grammar of the
> language.
> Just my two (Euro-)cents. :)
> - André

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