Pragmatics of Elcari language

Questions or discussions about Almea or Verduria-- also the Incatena. Also good for postings in Almean languages.
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Pragmatics of Elcari language

Post by IkebanaZombi »

I have a half-question half-observation about the way that dialogues in Elcari would work in practice.

A feature of Elcari that fascinated me was the way that the assignment anaphora were binding on all participants in the conversation.

Now, I realise that the Elcari are not human, and in most ways seem less contentious than humans are, but doesn't that put a lot of power to shape the dialogue in the hands of whoever first assigns a particular variable using the "-qebVt" suffix. For instance the king who ordered Redfeather to "try listening to the human's babbling" could assign the label "that pathetic creature" to the human and, egalitarian though they are, it's going to be difficult for Redfeather to overrule the pronoun assignment just made by the king.

I can envisage that difficult conversations in Elcari might begin with a tussle to define your terms.

Or does that simply not happen, perhaps because there is strong social pressure to assign the variables in a way that doesn't provoke?

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Re: Pragmatics of Elcari language

Post by zompist »

Conversations, even among humans, are normally cooperative. Even in an argument, people take turns, try to use terms the other(s) will understand, etc.

So, I suppose you could try to obstruct a conversation by adding pronouns that won't be used, just as you could (say) suddenly start speaking in Cadhinor. But there are only a limited number of pronoun slots, and when you run out, people will make new assignments using slots that haven't been used lately.

(BTW, this feature is an adaptation of pronoun assignment in ASL, which of course works just fine in conversation.)

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