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Re: THEORY: Language for a Multi-Species Society: Non-SexBased Gender Among AIs

From:John Vertical <johnvertical@...>
Date:Sunday, July 17, 2005, 12:26
>I have been reading Anna Siewierska's "Person", in which I came across a >version of the Animacy Hierarchy that extends the lower end somewhat.
>The version (of the Animacy Hierarchy) in question is her (51)c. on her >page 149, which looks like this: > >human > animate > inanimate > abstract
Well, what do you know! That's almost exactly the hierarchy / gender system I'm currently using in Uwjge! Using your markup, hers are [+SA(L)C] [-S +AC] [-SA +C] [-SAC]. Mine are approx. [+S] [-S +AC] [-SA +C] [-SAC]. (I can't speak for her system, but myself, I find the living/unliving disctinction not really useful enough to make it as basic as a gender.)
>(Abstractions cannot speak new sentences, nor understand new sentences, nor >learn languages --- so they can't be Sapient.)
I think some would position God or gods and other spiritual beings as [+S +A].
>(Abstractions cannot move from one place to another under their own motive >power and control --- so they can't be Animate.)
This might be a little stretched ... but how about dreams? They're certainly not concrete, and yet they can be quite animate.
>Remember when we said that infectious diseases would be (nonsapient >inanimate) Living? (Because they can grow or multiply or --- this is the >key one in the "infectious disease" case --- spread.) > >Well, an idea or organized group of ideas which happens to be "infectious" >or "contagious" --- a "meme", in not-too-unmodern SF parlance --- could be >considered "Living". Of course, it would also have to be considered >"Abstract".
A good analogy. I think people who haven't discovered germs yet would likely consider real diseases "abstract" as well...
>[Nonsapient] [Inanimate] Living Abstract (Memes, e.g. -- growing or >spreading religions or schools of thought or movements in politics or art >or litcrit or whatever) > >[Nonsapient] [Inanimate] Nonliving Abstract (really, really boring >ideas, for example)
Drawing the line between these two groups is not easy. Even the memeticists themselves do not agree which ideas are memes and which (if any) are not. Now, your examples are quite obvious ... but what about public opinion? History? Widely accepted beliefs & theories - and not only "theory of evolution" level, but also "grass is green"? With this disctinction in place, the language would end up having at least some of your own beliefs hard-coded.
>I could abbreviate this, I think into a "bit vector"; for example, > >[+S +A +L +C] == Sapient Animate Living Concrete >[+S +A -L +C] == Sapient Animate Nonliving Concrete >[+S -A -L +C] == Sapient Inanimate Nonliving Concrete >[-S -A -L +C] == Nonsapient Inanimate Nonliving Concrete >[-S -A -L -C] == Nonsapient Inanimate Nonliving Abstract > >That requires only 13 characters to write the gender, instead of 32 to 40.
>Thanks for writing, > >Tom H.C. in MI
And if you group all the pluses and minuses together, and skip undefined distinctions, as I've done in this message, you can save a few further bytes. John Vertical PS. I'll reply to your other messages as soon as I have the time... my available internet time is currently relatively limited. _________________________________________________________________ Löydä etsimäsi - testaa MSN Search


tomhchappell <tomhchappell@...>