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Today we tackle a big grammar and discourse topic: anaphora and co-referentiality.  We go through a list of options you have for cleaning up ambiguities and keeping your discourse coherent.  Just don’t throw them all into the same conlang.

Top of Show Greeting: Minhast

Links and Resources:

Special Mention: Talossa has been reunited



From Robert:

Dear Dudes,

I like the new format.  I think it will help you keep the show going strong for longer.  I look forward to the more manageable episodes!  Keep up the great work


Robert Murphy

From Joe:

Hi guys…

I’ve been listening to your podcast for a few months now- it’s the majority of what I listen to back and forth to work. (I usually listen to the new episode on monday, then again on friday, with random ones inbetween to make up tuesday-thursday 🙂 ) Anyway, I’ve had ideas I wanted to share with you percolating in my brain for a while, and I finally now am getting to write them down. I’ve been conlanging on and off, for almost as long as William. I started from french in HS, then Klingon/ASL at college, then all of a sudden I had a ‘Holy crud, I can do this!’ revelation and off I went. I realize from listening to you guys that I was missing a bunch of interesting things that I could do, and was probably making nooblangs all that time (but now I’m getting better). So I just wanted to say I really like the show. It’s got interesting discussion, and sometimes wild ideas that make me ponder and want to try things out. Just wanted to say you guys rock!

The one thing that frustrates me, is every time you mention tlhIngan Hol, you play the crap from the show. Not real tlhIngan Hol! Need a good song in Klingon? Here’s a link

Ok, enough ranting, I had a idea for you guys. I was thinking, instead of reviewing a complete (or nearly complete) conlang, how about getting a newbie on, or having them send you a nascent conlang that they are having issues with, so you guys can suggest things, encourage people for things you like that they came up with, make suggestions on how to fix potential problems that newbies don’t see yet. This would take some of the pressure off of finding a new awesome conlang every week, and it would be helpful to people as well.

That’s all for now, keep up the awesome, and let me know of what you think of my idea 🙂

Joe Schelin /ʃəlin/ (unless I’m mangling the ipa 😉

3 Responses to “Conlangery #62: Practicum — Anaphora and Co-reference”

  1. DanielM

    A donkey sentence is not about reference but about the article “a” (see Wikipedia):

    The sentence “every farmer who has a donkey beats it” becomes “for all F and all D it is the case that if F is a farmer and D is a donkey and F owns D then F beats D” in first order logic (paraphrased, see wiki article for formal description). Thus here the article “a” in “a donkey” appears to map to the universal quantifier “all” in “all D”.

    This appears to contradict the expectation that “a” denotes existential quantification as in “a donkey ran” which becomes “there exists a D such that D runs” in first order logic (as opposed to “every donkey ran”). This is resolved by recognizing that unlike the determiners “every” and “there is” the article “a” does not serve quantification. Instead it only marks something as indefinite, i.e. a newly introduced linguistic entity, and the quantification has to be derived from context.

  2. Mike Yams

    So if a language was ergative-absolutive (almost entirely so) and also topic-prominent, what would that imply for conjunction reduction?


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