Alternatives to SVC
I have some difficulty believing that serial verb construction is a good explanation for the typical Eloi sentence length of two words. I'm not a professional linguist either, but I'll do my best to explain my thoughts.
The Time Traveller's comment about two-word sentences reminded me mainly of telegraphic speech. A sentence structure resembling telegraphic speech would explain the two-word length more consistently than would SVC. Of the sample texts on Wikipedia, only the second is two words long, and it originates from a language where verbs conjugate for tense and person (a complexity unlikely to exist in the Eloi language). To explain it differently, it seems more reasonable for the two words to be an explicit subject+verb than a SVC of two verbs.
- How would a linguist reliably distinguish SVC from other syntactical possibilities in a language that has little or no conjugation?
- Are you aware of scientific papers that aim to extrapolate human linguistic evolution into the distant future, using assumptions more or less compatible with those of H. G. Wells?
- Have notable commentators on the book identified speakers of strict-SVC languages as significant evolutionary contributors to the Eloi species? You mention Chinese and "some African languages," but the latter can be ruled out by consideration of socioeconomic status.
- According to Wikipedia, "Serial verbs are found ... in many pidgins and creoles." What currently existing languages might give rise to the Eloi language after passing through a pidgin or creole stage? How could this relate to the question above?
Eighty5cacao 11:34, 19 August 2010 (MST)