xBlackHeartx wrote:Sigh. My main question is: is there any benefit to explicitly marking part of speech?
Sure, there is. It makes parsing easier. I don't think it's necessary
though, considering the very large number of languages that happily use plenty of zero-derivation (English and Mandarin being prominent examples).
I've seen many configurational auxlangs be criticized for lacking this.
You make it sound like that's a problem. Auxlangs
be criticized for having this or not having that, it's unavoidable. Five years ago I once saw a Japanese conlanger come to the ZBB and criticize Westerners' conlangs in general (auxlangs and
artlangs!) for commonly having the singular-plural distinction in nouns, which he considered utterly unnecessary, and in fact, outright stupid. Yet if you made an auxlang without the singular-plural distinction (you know, following certain languages spoken by massive numbers of speakers, like Mandarin, Malay-Indonesian and Bengali), I'm sure there would be waves of conlangers, whose mother tongue is a Western language, criticizing you for it. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.
Probably the most common is the lack of distinction between object and possessive pronouns. For example, in Lingua Franca Nova, 'mi parla' can either mean 'I talk' or 'my talking'. Note that in the case of this example, this problem has been fixed. 'My talking' would now be 'ma parla'. Though I do recall running into the same problem with Glosa, and a few others I can't think of right now.
That sounds like a lack of distinction between subject
and possessive pronouns. Mandarin doesn't always make it either (wo3
'I, me', wo3 de
'my', wo3 ma1ma
'my mother', wo3 ge1bo
'my arm', wo3 de lin2ju1
'my neighbour'), and in fact it also uses complete sentences as the subject of another sentence all the time:
wo3men diu1shi1 yi1fu rang4 wo3 gan3dao4 hen3 ao4nao3
1PL lose clothes let 1SG feel very upset
(Somewhat literally: "us losing the clothes lets me feel very upset")
'I feel upset because we lost the clothes [that we had bought].'
"1PL lose clothes" is a complete sentence that can mean 'we lose the clothes', and yet it is used as the subject of rang4 'let'. So, more literally, this is "[we lose the clothes] lets me feel very angry". Distinguishing "I talk" from "my talking" is not really necessary, and might even be desirable
because of the many Mandarin speakers who don't make this distinction either!