Monday, May 13, 2013


Meaning: Inflectional morphology. (Helpful, eh?) The parts of grammar that are concerned with the way words change to indicate different things - conjugation, declension and so on.

Usefulness: 2 (At first I thought this might mean I wouldn't have to think about whether a word was being conjugated or declined, but after writing that definition I think I'm better off sticking with my basic verbs-are-conjugated theory.)

Logofascination: 1 (It's accidents, but this specialised term has developed from the sense of an accident as something incidental, not of the essence. So number and gender are incidental - accidental - to some words, rather than essential, and are therefore expressed through inflection. The word cars indicates that there is more than one car, but the car-ness of the cars involved is not altered by the -s; the plural is an accident.*)

In the wild: Mentioned in Asterix, and explained rather better in the post translating the Latin joke in the same comic: it's funny, if you find grammar amusing.  There's a post for every Asterix book here - I'm going to be scouting second hand bookshops for a while, as it's brought on a terrible nostalgia for them.

Degrees: 1 or 2 (I'm really not sure.)

Connections: n/a

Which is used in: Logopandecteision; also in Ekskybalauron, since it repeats large chunks of Logopandecteision, but as we're concerned with language we'll go with the former.  Sir Thomas is discussing the shortcomings of existing languages, and I really can't tell whether he means accidents in the grammatical sense (which existed at the time - the OED's first citation is from 1434) or if it's a reference to the haphazard formation of languages:
27. Nevertheless, why for representing to our understandings the essence of accidents,** the fluency of the form as it is in fieri**, the faculty of the agent and habit that facilitates it, with many thousands of other such expressions, the tearms are not so genuine as of the members of a man's body, or utensils of his house; the reason is, because the first inventers of languages, who contrived them for necessity, were not so profoundly versed in philosophical quiddities as those that succeeded after them; whose literature increasing, procured their excursion beyond the representatives of the common objects imagined by their forefathers. 
Sir Thomas is positing that languages start with the words for body parts, and things around the house, and then move on to fancier things.

*Clarification or correction welcome, as always! This is my best explanation.
**This could be a little joke, since, as above, the grammatical - and philosophical - sense of accident is as something that is not essential, the essence of accidents is a contradiction.
**In becoming, in progress. 

No comments:

Post a Comment