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June 16th, 2013

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10:19 am - Languages without conjunctions
Are there languages that exist without conjunctions?
I am thinking of eliminating conjunctions in my language.

If so, how do they translate a statement like "We can stay here or we can go to the park."

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(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
Date:June 16th, 2013 06:54 pm (UTC)
Japanese has conjunctions, but it does without in your particular example, using question forms. So one way in Japanese of giving that statement would equate to: "Shall we stay here? Shall we go to the park?" A lot of conjunctions can be eliminated with reliance on context, but there might be confusion in some cases.
[User Picture]
Date:June 17th, 2013 03:56 am (UTC)
You could use adjectives, adverbs, or some type of auxiliary verb.
Something like "We can stay here, we can go to the park instead."
[User Picture]
Date:June 17th, 2013 12:40 pm (UTC)
My conlang Tirase doesn't lack conjunctions, but it does have a few different ways of expressing "or" which might give you some ideas. How you'd translate the example sentence depends on what the speaker means. If they're presenting these as two possibilities among others that aren't mentioned, you'd probably use the word méze "same".

Puló ze mazérre, puló méze nízan ov su skúve.
can.1pl here stay.inf / can.1pl same go.inf to the park
We can stay here or we can go to the park. (We can stay here, similarly we can go to the park.)

An mazeló ze, an ze ov su skúve, strére méze.
if stay.1pl here / if go.1pl to the park / be.3pl same
We can stay here or we can go to the park. (If we stay here, if we go to the park, they're the same.)

If the speaker is saying that these are two mutually exclusive options and one must be chosen, it would be phrased differently.

Mol mazeroló ze, ze te bezónumre ov su skúve.
without stay.nmlz here / go.1pl of necessity to the park
We can stay here or we can go to the park. (Without staying here, we must go to the park.)

An mazelobé ze, nizoló ov su skúve is su mándume.
if stay.1pl.neg here / go.nmlz to the park be.3s the option
We can stay here or we can go to the park. (If we don't stay here, going to the park is the [only] option.)

With questions, Tirase works similarly to the Japanese example stormteller gave. The question marker is repeated after each clause.

Vutés mazeló ze pal, ze ov su skúve pal?
want.2sg stay.3pl here Q / go.3pl to the park Q
Do you want us to stay here or go to the park? (Do you want us to stay here? Go to the park?)

Edited at 2013-06-17 04:01 pm (UTC)
[User Picture]
Date:June 19th, 2013 03:42 am (UTC)
With hundreds of natural languages, living and dead, that have existed on this earth, I'm sure at least one of them has omitted conjunctions. It's probably not what most speakers would do in shaping their respective languages, but why not try it?

Think about it from the point of view of you, an Anglophone, trying to communicate the two conjunctive ideas without the help of a conjunction. In writing the example sentence you provided, you might use punctuation to separate the two related clauses. In speaking, how would you get the idea across without the aid of a conjunction, and which conjunction could you mean? You might use a certain pause in the sentence, an inflection of the voice; the inflection might change depending on which kind of conjunctive idea is intended ("and", "but", etc.). Just my two cents.

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