Oligosynthetic languages

Oniw17

ascetic, sage, diogenes, bum?
Valued Senior Member
How many of these languages exist, and what are they called? How hard would it be to create a language like this?
 
What is an oligosynthetic language? I know oligo- is "few". But I can't imagine how on Earth a language could be fewly (less?) synthetic. Does this mean it doesn't have as many verb conjugations, noun declensions, and such that synthetic languages usually do? If so, I might say English qualifies as one.

:confused:
 
A good one is Esperanto- it was manufactured to be a global language and is partial to know current "primary" language. It's easy enough to learn and it has NO double meanings or words with like meanings or any other bullshit- a word has ONE meaning and ONLY one meaning!
 
Oh, now it makes sense to me.

According to invert's link, the Nahuatl and Blackfoot languages have been said to exhibit oligosynthetic characteristics, but this is not a mainstream claim in linguistics. But the fictional Newspeak tends toward oligosynthesis because it attempts to communicate concepts in as few different morphemes as possible.
 
the fictional Newspeak tends toward oligosynthesis because it attempts to communicate concepts in as few different morphemes as possible.

Is this a full language system, or just different parts for the book(s)? I've been trying to create one of these types of languages, and it's really hard.
 
Is this a full language system, or just different parts for the book(s)?

I understand it to be a government-imposed change to English which is meant to restrict your thought processes and consequently render some ideas literally unthinkable. It's not really a language in its own right, but English strained through the sieve of oligosynthesis.

Oniw17 said:
I've been trying to create one of these types of languages, and it's really hard.

I imagine so. Some consider oligosynthetic languages to be either impossible or extremely impractical for common use.
 
It's all a matter of degree, rather than hard and fast definitions.

An isolating language has only one morpheme per word.

A synthetic language has words with more than one morpheme.

A polysynthetic language has even more morphemes per word.

An oligosynthetic language has still more -- really a lot -- of morphemes per word.

There are no exact measures that delineate these categories, so there's no objective way to assign a particular language to a particular category.

However, some of the languages with the most morphemes per word, such as Turkish, would probably be called polysynthetic. At the isolating end of the spectrum would be Chinese. English would probably fall between isolating and synthetic.
 
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