Oligosynthetic languages in nature.
|From:||R A Brown <ray@...>|
|Date:||Sunday, March 29, 2009, 17:18|
Andrii Zvorygin wrote:
> On Wed, Mar 25, 2009 at 3:51 PM, R A Brown <ray@...> wrote:
>> Andrii Zvorygin wrote:
>>> A formal language that unites all the ideas of humanity (math,
>>> science, religion, society) is my goal.
>> Which sounds to me similar to the goal of Fuishiki Okamoto with his
>> language, Babm (1962)
> I have searched high and low and can not seem to find a book in or
> near Toronto, my area of residence. I was wondering if you know of a
> way that I might obtain a copy.
I'm sorry, I don't know. The book is certainly out of print. I have seen
copies in university libraries. There are some excepts from the book on:
> May you have an education experience as well. :)
I've had a fairly long one - just over 70 years - and I'm still
learning, thank you.
> On Sat, Mar 28, 2009 at 3:52 PM, Jörg Rhiemeier <joerg_rhiemeier@...> wrote:
>> You get a "language" with 20
>> "phonemes" (the amino acids) and thousands of "morphemes" (the
>> proteins). That "language" is thus "oligosynthetic" all!
> Wonderful, thank you so much for your great knowledge. It is wonderful
> that you have shown the similarity between for instance the English
> alphabet of 24 letters and that of the Amino Acids with 20 varieties.
26 letters are currently used in the English version of the Roman
But there seems to me to be some confusion here between 'formal
language' and 'natural language'.
A formal language is any language generated by a _formal grammar_. A
formal grammar is a "fully explicit device which specifies, for a given
initial set of elements (the 'vocabulary' or 'alphabet'), the complete
set of strings of those elements which are in the language defined by
the grammar." [Trask]
Possibly the DNA code does constitute a formal language - I don't have
the competence to say whether this is so or not. Certainly there is no
doubt one can define an 'oligosynthetic' _formal_ language.
But the term 'natural language', as used in linguistics, means quite
specifically: "A language which is, or once was, the mother tongue of a
group of human beings." AFAIK oligosynthesis is not found in any natural
language in the linguistic sense.
That does not, of course, mean that one cannot attempt an oligosynthetic
_conlang_ - but so far attempts to do this do not seem to have met with
> Yes it is wonderful how cohesive we with you are. As the concept "As
> above, So below" of the gnostics, and "Macrocosm, Microcosm" of the
> Elizabetheans, the "As in area, So in point" of Geometry.
Maybe senility is now setting in, but I just do not understand what this
is about. Is it possible to rephrase this in a way that an old timer can
"Ein Kopf, der auf seine eigene Kosten denkt,
wird immer Eingriffe in die Sprache thun."
[J.G. Hamann, 1760]
"A mind that thinks at its own expense
will always interfere with language".