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NGL: Gettysburg in VT

From:Gerald Koenig <jlk@...>
Date:Sunday, September 20, 1998, 3:11
Subject: gettysburg.html

Stephen and others have told me that they learn best by composition and
reading a language, and have advised me that vector tense is somewhat
inaccessible when presented as theory only. I hope that this
nilenga-english mix proves a practical route to the understanding and
use of vector tense.

I would really like to see if vector tense works as a language-
platform-independent tense system. So if you have any inclination at
all, please translate the below English into your home language, but
try to use vector tense by simply taking the bracked tense particles
supplied and placing them in front of the infinitive or other untensed
form of your root verbs.  I would really appreciate it and it would
give everyone a feel for your language.  It would be interesting to see
in natlangs as well, but I personally could only read it in Spanish
and French. But perhaps others would be interested in other natlangs.
A truly exportable universal tense system would be a good thing. Since
V-tense in its present incarnation is entirely off-verb, it seems
like a possibility. If vector tense is voted in for NGL I intend to
combine it with inflected forms of the verb.

The brackets [tense-particles] show the final or preferred V-tense
form. It can be usually be inserted into a language before the
infinitive form of the verb. The infinitive verbs are bracked thus:

Vector tense allows multiple encodings of the same semantic tense.  It
is similar to the way that a point in space can be described in
rectangular or spherical coordinates. The expressions look different
from one another but they describe the same relationships. I have
supplied more than one version of tense in many instances. The preferred
form is contained in brackets; [ ]. If you are not concerned with
brevity you can use your own pronouns and omit the contractions with
pronouns that I have worked so hard to develop. Please let me know if
you find any residual ambiguities in the contractions.


              The Gettysburg Address by Abraham Lincoln

BIM: (bim sets up a world of predicates that allows the use of the mu
or now to represent another-now. It is story time, and the story
can be a true  one. It is in force till explicitly cancelled)

AL: "Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this
                              vo mu         [pa] <bring>
logographic form:              <*             bring *
vo mu means left of, before, now on the timeline. pa means past.

AL: continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the
                  (that was) conceived   (that was) dedicated
                         pa ju conceive         pa ju dedicate
                        [ paj]  < conceive>     [paj] <dedicate>
                         conceive -*             dedicate -*
(Is conceived a participial modifier of nation or a part of a relative
clause? In any case it is a perfected action in the past and calls for
the nilenga ju form for an end constant on a past vector. The action is

AL: proposition that all men are created equal.
                            [poa] <create>
poa means necessarily, so is for all time. Like poa 2+2=4. A logical
truth. Or "are created" could be a claim, past, present, future:
                            patefu create

pa=past; te=present; fu=future.
The object of the dedication of the nation is a proposition: A second
order logic claim.

AL: Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation
      ni  em engage                       [which is testing]
      [niem] <engage>
           en(em)gage enemgage                    [em] <test>
           *@engage (mu me engage)         t(em)esting temesting
           engage@* (engage mum)            *@test (mu me test)
                                               test@* (test mum)

ni=we; em= now executing, the mu is a member of the vector atom-list.
em is from tE+Mu.
The above shows the multiple possible linguistic encodings of the same
vector: !---@==*==>---> which applies to both engage and test.
It is present progressive tense.

AL: or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure. We are
             [paj] <conceive>   [paj] <dedicate>  [leho ka]<endure>
    past perfect; j,a definite end-constant.      long-vector can endure.
leho means long vector or time interval.
ka is the modal for can.
"are met" looks semanticly like present tense to me. I need help on this
AL: met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a

 <meet>                                 ni  ko ja mu come  dedicate
meet:to assemble. intr.                 we, with end-constant adjacent
to come into the company or             to the now, (mu). nik
presence of. tr.
                                        abbreviates ni ko ja mu.
                                        [nik] <come>  [fu kaz] <dedicate>

                                        The kaz modal means "cause" the
                                        ensuing proposition to be true.
                                        Its default tense is to match
                                        its verb. A "purpose" modal
                                        might be better.

AL: portion of that field as a final resting-place for those who here gave
                                                                [pa] <give>

AL:their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and
                              [roa] <live>                    <fit>

roa= possibly. don't memorize modals, they are under construction.
There will be three grades of possibility, corresponding to may, might,
and will, besides the existing fuzzy and probabalistic numbers.
"is fitting" is present tense and can be translated by a simple
infinitive root form. Default tense for infinitives of the source
language is present tense.

AL:proper that we should do this.
            {ni xas] <do>
xas means ought to or should. Tense of the modal, xas, matches verb

AL:But in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we
                          natu ni ka dedicate natu ni ka consecrate
                          [natu ni ka] <dedicate> [natu ni ka] <consecrate>

Again, present tense is the unmarked infinitive by default. natu means
"it is not the case that" and negates the following claim, "we are able
to dedicate".. ni+ka do not contract to a unique contraction,
nik. (ni+ku=nik has another meaning. We could say natu kan (ka+ni); it
is not true that we are able..and get a 3 syllable form as english. I'm
working on it.

AL:cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead who
  [natu kan] <hallow>                       [emlive]

AL:struggled here have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or
   [pa] <struggle>  ko vo mu consecrate                  [fu] <add>
                      [ko] <consecrate>
                      present tense end-constant is left of now.
present perfect.Not the have-just form which is ko ja mu.

AL:detract. The world will little note nor long remember what we say
 [fu] <detract>          [fu]     <note>      [fu]<remember>   [ni]<say>
                                         "we" can be any language here.

AL:here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the
                natu ka fu  forget su pa do             be
                [natu kaf] <forget>   [sup] <do>       <be>

"It is not true that they will be able to forget.." The future by
default in nilenga is open and has no defined end.

AL: living rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they
                      [fu] <dedicate>

AL:who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us
      [pa] <fight>  su ko ga mu advance
                     [suk gam] <advance>
(they)   advance  ko
                  mu="thus far"; up until the present moment.
                  ko ga mu means that the mu equals ko, the
                  definite value of the constant, the day of the

The purpose of this diagram is to show that the dead soldiers have
advanced their cause up to the current moment. Presumably up till now
this advance was linked to the mu, so the expression "thus far"
implies an end to the advance caused by the dead soldiers. It de-links
the advance. A linked advance would read:  zu ga mu; z=*; where z is a

AL:to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us--that from
     [fu] <dedicate>                   [em] <remain> ??
AL:these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which
                         <take>  default present tense.

AL:they gave the last full measure of devotion--that we here highly
     su pa give

AL:resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation
   <resolve>             xa na la vo nu    <vain-die>
             shall not (end-constant left of future-now) die in vain.
                         xa na la
                         [xa nal ] <vain-die>

   <---leVO--       ----DExtro-->
  mu      vain-die   la     nu
  diagram for "will have died in-vain." Future perfect.

(dying in-vain is a possible future event. It is indeterminate from the
mu. I take the use of shall at the time used to be a modal expressing
force, rather than simple futurity. Actually I believe it is a doulble
entendre expressing force and futurity. What do you think?)

AL:under God shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of
             xa fu have
              [xaf] <have>

AL:the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the
                                               xa na fu perish
                                               [xa naf] <perish>
Again I read this as the modal and the future; must not and will not
perish... Simple future would be: naf perish.

   This file came to IU via
   credit is
   given to the preparer(s) and the National Public Telecomputing

Gerald Koenig, for the NGL project.
Vector tense is a Next Generation tense.