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Conjunctions and Other Parts of Speech

Alan Reed Libert

The classification of words in terms of parts of speech is frequently problematic. This book examines the classification of conjunctions and similar words of other classes. It reviews work done from the 19th century to the present on a wide range of languages, including English, German, French, Latin, Ancient Greek, Welsh, Persian, Chinese, Japanese, Ute, and Abun. Most chapters treat conjunctions as opposed to one of the other traditionally recognized parts of speech: nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, adpositions, and interjections. The book’s major focus is on the terminology used to describe words on or near the borders between conjunctions and other parts of speech, such as «deverbal conjunctions», «conjunctional adverbs», «prepositional conjunctions», and «so-called conjunctions».

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Chapter 9: Conjunctions in Artificial Languages


This chapter is unlike the previous chapters, in that it consists of new analyses, and these analyses are of material and data which have very rarely, if ever, been seriously studied before with respect to the conjunctional status of some words, namely material on and data from artificial languages, henceforth ALs. One might feel that such languages are not worthy of scholarly attention, but I have tried to demonstrate elsewhere (e.g. Libert (2000), Libert (2013b)) that one can carry out serious studies on them which will be revealing and relevant for linguistics more generally. In this chapter, and in general, I am only interested in “serious” ALs, which are usually those created as international auxiliary languages (e.g. Esperanto), and not in those created in connection with works of fiction (e.g. Klingon) or for personal enjoyment/fun.1

Because the majority of readers will not be familiar with most of the ALs which I will discuss, I will say a few words about ALs. A distinction is often made between a posteriori ALs and a priori ones – the former (e.g. Esperanto) are based mainly on one or more natural languages, while the latter are attempts to build a language “from scratch”, i.e. not drawing on natural languages. A priori languages have had little success and are usually obscure. There are ALs which have taken a substantial amount of material from natural languages, but which also have a substantial amount of a priori components; these ALs (e.g. Volapük) are...

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