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Re: Comparison of philosophical languages

From:Sally Caves <scaves@...>
Date:Monday, January 20, 2003, 20:38
----- Original Message -----
From: "Padraic Brown" <elemtilas@...>

> --- Andrew Nowicki <andrew@...> wrote: > > > Sally Caves wrote: > > > Very interesting post! I agree that a rigid > > taxonomical language does not make sense.
Just to clarify, Andrew Nowicki wrote the above, not me. :) I offered the definition of a seventeenth-century philosophical language, along with several other people on the list. Andrew politely offered that it was "interesting." Padraic:
> Then why try to foist one on an unsuspecting > world? Every post you've made about your auxlang > has implied if not outright spelled out a > taxonomical language. Look at the words you've > given and their "translations". Every single one > is an exercise in sorting and taxonomy.
I agree with Padraic, Andrew. Andrew:
> > Of all the languages that > > I know Ygyde is the most promising because it > > OK. You've invoked Throckmorton's Law three times > now. That's QUITE ENOUGH, thank you!
Throckmorton's Law must have some bearing on the well-understood rule on CONLANG that it is generally considered irrelevant and a little obnoxious to be "selling" your language as the best, the most interesting, the most promising, the easiest, the funniest, etc. etc. because, and please read my lips, Andrew, CONLANG is not a list that advocates, anymore, for the most promising, easiest, funniest, most interesting auxlangs. In fact, the superlative, or even the comparative, is considered quite bad form. Nobody here who has any manners says "I think X is the best conlang of all!" We can express admiration for each other, but this isn't a contest. Years ago, CONLANG was a list for auxlangers and artlangers, but that has changed, Andrew. You really should take the advice of the more vocal members of this group, who look upon your advocacy with some amused hostility, and sell your wares on AUXLANG. That's not an invitation to leave us; but you don't seem to understand us yet. Maybe it's an invitation to stop boasting, or even defending, and just start listening.
> > vegetable = obiby = "noun anatomical part of a > > multicellular plant food" > > carrot = odibiby = "noun long anatomical... > > food" > > cauliflower = ocibiby = "noun sexual > > anatomical... food" > > corn = otybiby = "noun high anatomical... food" > > garlic = olubiby = "noun smelly anatomical... > > food" > > lettuce = okubiby = "noun lightweight > > anatomical... food" > > onion = ojibiby = "noun optical anatomical... > > food" > > parsley = olibiby = "noun medical anatomical... > > food" > > potato = opebiby = "noun warm anatomical... > > food" > > OK. So you replace Sally's ellilli ellillo > ellilla ellillylally by ollibby ollibbo ollibbu > ollibbinabbyo.
Agreed. There's no difference much that I can see. And I had just made those up. And BEFORE I had even seen your example! (I can't remember Wilkins' actual categories but they are very much like that. Polysyllables for like things that sound all alike) Andrew:
> > > > When you learn a new language, you do not > > > > walk around with dictionaries,
> > > Sure you do.
> > I did not use dictionaries when I was learning > > my mother tongue.
> Note that you specified "new langauge" not > "mother language".
Ditto. I responded assuming that Andrew meant learning a new language, not a mother tongue. As for learning a mother tongue, children have been doing that with ease for millennia. It doesn't take a philosophical language to make it any easier for a brain, equipped as it is for that, to learn associations for thousands of arbitrary sounds. And as a number of our listmembers have pointed out to you, Andrew (I included), your method makes memorization harder, actually. Language is based on difference and personal associations for sounds, not ready-made ones. Not words designed to describe what they signify. Furthermore, your system is culturally based, to boot. Just as Wilkins' was. Who's to say that onion has to be described as an eye-irritant? In another mindset, or another culture, an onion is a layered root. It is in Teonaht. Or that garlic has to be "smelly vegetable"? I love garlic. It has no more smelliness to me than rue. And a lot less smelliness than a rotten potato. And how are you defining vegetable? In Teonaht, there is no distinction between fruits and vegetables, and I dare say a number of cultures are like that. Understand, please, that these are rhetorical questions. Sally:
> > > But this system can only go so far. Let > > > anyone stray > > > from it by introducing a new word, or let > > > it evolve > > > as all languages do, and it will start > > > developing idiosyncracies and > > > irregularities and > > > eventually maggelities. > > > <G> Unless you try to "fix" it-- Jonathan > > > Swift's mistake. > > > > Ygyde's grammar imposes some standards that > > cannot > > be abolished.
Any part of any language is abolishable. That's crap. Speakers, not prescriptive grammarians, decide on the shape of their language as it changes with time.
> > If Ygyde becomes a mother tongue, > > idiosyncrasies are most likely in the names of > > flora, fauna, food, and dress.
Says who? Why not sex, surfing, education, technology ESPECIALLY, .... God what a desolate language it is that affixes the meanings of words and considers itself immutable. Look at all the words for "urinate": piss, pee, take a wiz, point Percy at the Porcelain, tinkle, spend a penny, go to the bathroom... There's no rule that says that flora, fauna, food, and dress, are the only categories given to idiosyncratic development. Look at what the computer has done to our vocabulary. Padraic (getting about as frustrated as I am):
> You don't get it, do you? Language doesn't work > that way. Idiosyncrasies pop up _everywhere_ in a > language. > > > Basic ideas and > > technical names have no reason to drift into > > idiosyncrasies.
TECHNICAL NAMES, Andrew? Technology is changing under our noses as we speak. See above. Padraic:
> Sure they do. They do it all the time. You come > across as a person who, while an eager conlanger, > is not that familiar with the realities you're > dealing with.
I'm afraid I have to agree with Padraic. Maybe, before you go on with your project, you should more closely examine some things about language, the brain, language history, and especially the history of universal languages and why they have all failed. At least read Saussure for starters. It's not because IALs are not "easy" enough. If it's an easy language you wnat, you might do as someone suggested and scrap the whole "philosophical" design. You make it harder, not easier, to memorize words, and you assign cultural meanings to your words, which are basically descriptions of things, that not every culture might share. So it's useless as a world language. Andrew:
> > Or we can guess the meaning from the context. > > Television, > > Internet, fast food chains, and globalization > > may prevent idiosyncrasies. > > Nah. They just create more space for > idiosyncrasies to happen in and more people to > make them.
And more new words. Okay, look. People are getting a little intense here, myself included. I vote that we put a moratorium on this thread. Andrew, if you want to talk about the details of your language, that's fine. That's appropriate in this venue. But no more advocacy or propaganda. Take that to AUXLANG, please. You haven't really answered any of our harder questions. Perhaps the frustration I'm detecting and feeling among our members is that you don't seem to absorb what some people are telling you, including the real hostility towards insensitive proselytizing. This list is full of people who have spent their lives studying languages and how they work; they are worth listening to. None of us "sell" our languages to each other. Maybe we can lay this discussion to rest now. If Ygyde has any merit as an interesting conglang, that will come out--or not--and we welcome you. If all you want to do is argue how it is workable as the best and easiest, and funniest, and most interesting auxlang, the "Linux" of invented languages that we all ought to put links to on our websites so that you can help sell it, then you're talking to the wrong group of people. Enough said. Sally Caves Eskkoat ol ai sendran, rohsan nuehra celyil takrem bomai nakuo. "My shadow follows me, putting strange, new roses into the world."


Joseph Fatula <fatula3@...>
Dan Sulani <dnsulani@...>