Words are tangled

I was thinking about some neat linguistics stuff. Doubtlessly this has been studied, but I don’t know much about lingusitics yet, so I’ll study it again.

I’m thinking that words are tangled structure. In Quantum terms, they’re a composite state, made up of two base states: Meaning and Role. Take the word “ran”, for instance. This word is inflected, so it’s clearly not basic, but what are it’s components? The fundamental unit of meaning, “run”, which has no category (stop thinking about “run” the verb, and think about all things “run” represents: a run, to run, running (the adjective), running (the gerund), etc.) and the past tense verb role.

For purpose of study, let’s consider a English-like language where each word that contains meaning is written «meaning role». For instance, “I ran yesterday” would be written I «run past-verb» «yesterday adv» . (“I” doesn’t get a role, because it is a structural word that has no meaning. On the other hand, it may be «self nom-pron».)

How about this one: I «like pres-verb» «run noun». That seams to mean “I like running” or “I like to run.” Of course, these things must not be entirely orthogonal, since you get weird things like I «yesterday past-verb» «like noun», which is something like “I yesterdayed to like.” But the construction of nonsense is never something to hold back a language.

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2 thoughts on “Words are tangled

  1. Hi Luke,
    I’ve sent to you your “hdy” piece by my another email.
    I label : “I am Trieu, composer”
    check it out :-)
    tell me if you can not find out.
    Trieu

  2. Luke,
    I have made the link directly to Laura’s store from my page.
    You can click to my “Intermezzo” on my page, for instance. If there are somebody click, they
    can read our comments and instruction for use without visiting or knowing the web Laura, and
    we can save space from server.
    This was fun!
    I am going to do many more.
    :-)
    Trieu

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