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Most logical languages

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basica
Senior Member
Australia
Joined 1702 days ago

157 posts - 269 votes 
Studies: Serbian

 
 Message 137 of 143
20 June 2015 at 12:14pm | IP Logged 
Saim wrote:
How is it that this thread has 17 pages when the original question is for all intents and
purposes meaningless? No linguist will try and establish which languages are more or less
logical, it's just impossible to measure.


You seem to be new to the internet ;)
5 persons have voted this message useful



Monox D. I-Fly
Senior Member
Indonesia
monoxdifly.iopc.us
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753 posts - 663 votes 
Speaks: Indonesian*

 
 Message 138 of 143
20 June 2015 at 2:06pm | IP Logged 
Saim wrote:
How is it that this thread has 17 pages when the original question is for all intents and
purposes meaningless? No linguist will try and establish which languages are more or less
logical, it's just impossible to measure.


Yeah, you're right that it's just impossible to measure. That's why it's worth a discussion.
1 person has voted this message useful



Retinend
Triglot
Senior Member
SpainRegistered users can see my Skype Name
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283 posts - 557 votes 
Speaks: English*, German, Spanish
Studies: Arabic (Written), French

 
 Message 139 of 143
20 June 2015 at 2:45pm | IP Logged 
Do any languages have more logical concepts in the core vocabulary than others?
I've heard that words like affirmation, negation, ALL, NONE, SOME, IF, THEN are
linguistic universals, but what about words like VALID CONJUNCT INDUCT DEDUCT and so
on?

I find it hard to believe that such things exist without an intellectual culture that
progresses to analyze the meaning and implications of the more natural observations of
completeness and incompleteness, "all of them" "some of them" "none of them."

Where "if then" came from is a complete mystery - it could even be one of the keys to
the whole human condition - but it exists in all languages. I don't see that a language
could be more or less logical so long as this cornerstone is in place, which is the
case with all.

Are languages which have professional logicians amongst their ranks, e.g. most,
"better" at logic than the ones which don't? Maybe, in a narrow sense, but not in a way
that means every speaker of that language shares in the logical advances. It must be
learned, generation by generation, and in fact most people abuse strict logical
convention in everyday life like "imply" "valid statement" double negatives,
"conversely", "contradictory" and so on.
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Stolan
Senior Member
United States
Joined 2198 days ago

274 posts - 368 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Thai, Lowland Scots
Studies: Arabic (classical), Cantonese

 
 Message 140 of 143
02 August 2015 at 6:51am | IP Logged 
One thing I have noticed pertaining to "logic" is how "quirky" the assignment of objects is by a
particle/case, and the lack of compositionally of them in general is hard to ignore.

In the realm of European languages, I have noticed they display some of the most non-compositional
assignment if not the most within a single definable region. Examples include the usage of in/at/on
for time and location such as "on Christmas" "at night" "in the morning" where the whole phrase
must be memorised. Contrast this against Korean which uses one single marker for all three (and the
absence of articles which further can create idiosyncrasies such as "at work" vs "at the store").
The combination with adjectives in phrases such as "proud of" "interested in" and so on also is a
strange area.

Let's use an extreme example which is Russian: There are 5 oblique cases, and 2 dozen basic
prepositions with different assignments to case based on numerous difficulties such as:

-Usage of case for syntactical purposes only for certain words.
-Verbs requiring non-accusative objects whether it requires another case or preposition which then
requires one of 2-3 potential cases based on the word which must be memorized. Languages like
Korean or Japanese may have a few exceptions but otherwise do not do this.
-Adjectives requiring the same as above.
-Time phrases requiring the instrumental or a preposition that is not predictable.
-An alternate locative case whose existence must be memorised for at least 150 masculine nouns
when "na" or "v" are used.
-Adverbial phrases built on nouns using idiosyncratic preposition/case combinations.
A person who speaks Japanese knows how predictable the assignment of their postpositions are in
comparison.
-Different location assignments for cities based on their historical placement.
-Differing cases used in combinations with the dozens or prepositions that are very lexical.

A simpler way I could put it is to say:
http://www.dartmouth.edu/~german/Grammatik/Prepositions/Prep ositions.html
Look at this page, it shows how difficult German prepositions are because of their randomness at
times and such, could you find an equivalent page for learners in the Japanese language? Korean?
Turkish? Any non-european language?

Realise that in a language like Russian, you would have two huge sections, one for using cases and
their exceptions and one for using prepositions and their exceptions which is complicated twice over
than German's by having a few more oblique cases.
https://books.google.com.hk/books?id=5ApM7jXrM88C&printsec=f rontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false
(The section on prepositions and syntax/cases)

Can anyone find a grammar with sections this large and dedicated to these things in any non-
european language? Can one find something like this for Japanese particles and locative nouns?

Edited by Stolan on 02 August 2015 at 6:59am

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Serpent
Octoglot
Senior Member
Russian Federation
serpent-849.livejour
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Speaks: Russian*, English, FinnishC1, Latin, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese
Studies: Danish, Romanian, Polish, Belarusian, Ukrainian, Croatian, Slovenian, Catalan, Czech, Galician, Dutch, Swedish

 
 Message 141 of 143
02 August 2015 at 2:35pm | IP Logged 
To me the Finnish cases and prepositions/postpositions are more logical than Russian, German or Latin, but there are certainly pages like that.
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Stolan
Senior Member
United States
Joined 2198 days ago

274 posts - 368 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Thai, Lowland Scots
Studies: Arabic (classical), Cantonese

 
 Message 142 of 143
02 August 2015 at 5:09pm | IP Logged 
Serpent wrote:
To me the Finnish cases and prepositions/postpositions are more logical than
Russian, German or Latin, but there are certainly pages like that.


Finnish falls near the area where idiosyncrasies in object marking exist, not directly within, but it does
seem strange how with Russian or Czech, marking time and date seemed to have acquired such
arbitrary assignment of case, prepositions, or both when it has not happened in other languages yet
time and date keeping are not ancient aspects of our modern languages.

This shows it is an areal feature, of course it is on a scale, some languages have as little as one
preposition or postposition for every single situation with no cases of special techniques at all to
compensate, zero, while others are like Russian at the extreme end of redundancy.

To make the image more clear, know some languages have no words for numbers beyond 4 while on
the other far end trying to figure how numeral systems (and everything else) such as the ones in
Russian could evolve naturally is much much harder to understand or even believe than
comprehending how the eye evolved in organisms through pure natural selection.

"Logicality" in an area or everywhere clearly is a regional feature. Why is derivation and object
marking so transparent (or weirdly nonexistant as in parts of Asia) here but not there?
It is a regional thing. Can anyone find an equivalent list (or 3 extra huge ones out of them in the case
of Russian) of all the rules and exceptions in a language like Japanese, Vietnamese, or Turkish? Even
Chinese is "quirkier" in this area.

edit: I asked a Korean friend about these things and he said that they do have quirkyness with motion
verbs such as "entering the army" but "ascending a job" while the locative phrase is unmarked so
"in the army" and "on (sic) a job" is not marked with different particles ever, as for the motion b I
wouldn't be surprised if Russian already outdoes Korean in this area by at least 10 fold...

Edited by Stolan on 03 August 2015 at 11:19am

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OwlPanda
Newbie
United States
Joined 1500 days ago

6 posts - 8 votes
Speaks: English*
Studies: Vietnamese

 
 Message 143 of 143
19 October 2015 at 7:53pm | IP Logged 
I see that some people don't think of measure words as logical, but I'm not sure I
agree. They aren't really arbitrary, even though they can sometimes be surprising
(such as 'con dao' for 'knife' in Vietnamese, when 'con' is usually used for animals
and children and other animate things). They make a nice distinction between
something denumerable and non-denumerable.

Now, Vietnamese and other isolating languages can be confusing because they use so few
syntactical elements. In Vietnamese, you basically have word order and function words
to work with. That's not so bad, especially if you don't mind sounding like a book.
The problem comes in practice when you encounter sentences in which the underlying
structure has the function words included and has the right word order but the actual
utterance you're encountering has some function words dropped and some of the word
order altered. This creates ambiguity for non-native speakers, where native speakers
can pick out the correct underlying structure from context and from the way alternate
resolutions of the ambiguity can be incorrect.


In particular, relative clauses are a giant pain. Really, whenever functional words
get dropped, I completely lose the plot.


Korean seems a bit more straightforward, by which I mean that it's usually easy to
parse something if you know the (many, many) rules. People much more knowledgeable
than I am have already said a lot about Korean in this thread, so I'll defer to them.


Of the others I've encountered, German and French aren't really contenders. German
seems easier, but I studied German for longer, so of course it seems easier for me.


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