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Re: Comparison of philosophical languages

From:Shreyas Sampat <ssampat@...>
Date:Sunday, January 26, 2003, 20:07
> There are only 180 root words in Ygyde, so some > compound words do not describe the ideas well. > Some posters suggested adding more root words. > I do not like that because I believe that additional > root words would not be used often enough to justify > the burden of memorizing more root words. Ygyde means
Aha! I was looking for this statement. I have a question to pose for you: Why are your root words used so much? I reply, "Because they carry little meaning". What? Yes. I'm not going to question your decision to have 180 roots. Whatever. But, I am going to question, _again_, the criterion you use to choose roots. You have chosen to use roots that "would be used often". Why? I pose that these words would be used often because, alone, they do not carry enough information to be useful. Rather, suppose you were to attempt to maximize the information density of an utterance, choosing roots that were most informative rather than most productive. Note that I use informative in a special way here. "Interestingly informative" might be a better way to put it, or "relevantly informative". That is to say, I don't want, necessarily, to know that a xbranch is an "anatomical part of a multicellular plant" and a ybranch is an "anatomical part of a unicellular plant". That's ridiculous. Plants are not, in common speech, unicellular, and we should never have to specify that they're not; that should be a default assumption. What I care about knowing is if xbranch is bigger, or maybe good to eat, or underground rather than above, or leaf-bearing as opposed to flower-bearing. Similarly, I don't need to have a grammatical structure for telling my listeners that I'm about to say something that's a foreign borrowing. I guarantee you that if I pronounce it even close to correctly, they'll notice that I suddenly used a foreign word. I don't need to know where words end and begin because I, like any other human, am smart enough to hear words in connected speech. That's all extraneous information. If you don't believe me, I challenge you to find me one - just one - natlang where it is possible to know exactly where each word begins and ends, without any knowledge of vocabularly or grammar, simply given a set of phonological constraints. And again, I challenge you to give me a natlang whose structure is such that you can unambiguously always know the grammatical role (noun, verb, etc) of any word by its form alone. Until then, I will hold that you are wasting effort in your word-segregation trips that you could be applying elsewhere, like learning your own lang, as Joseph has repeatedly complained. Finally, a request: Without commenting on how your lang achieves these goals, I'd like you to list all the goals you have in mind when designing your lang. Following that, I'd like some insight into your design process. I've become curious. --- Shreyas Sampat


John Cowan <jcowan@...>
Aidan Grey <grey@...>Vocab #10a and b