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Re: Comparison of philosophical languages

From:Andrew Nowicki <andrew@...>
Date:Tuesday, January 21, 2003, 6:22
Andrew Nowicki wrote:
AN> At present Ygyde's names of vegetables
AN> are very similar:

"H. S. Teoh" wrote:
HTS> Which is precisely the problem.

This is indeed the problem. There a millions of species
of flora and fauna. No language can assign short and
yet unique names to all those species. At present Ygyde
uses only consonant-vowel root words (CV). If we
add CVV root words, we can increase the number of root
words to about one thousand. This kind of Ygyde would
be similar to Chinese, I guess. The big question is
whether we need so many root words. I hope not.

Ygyde performs well except for the names of flora and
fauna. Most meanings of compound words can be guessed.
Names of body parts require taxonomy which is described
at the end of Ygyde's dictionary

HTS> It would be somewhat more acceptable if you have
HTS> a suffix "-by" for vegetables, and have *divergent*
HTS> prefixes to indicate different vegetables. (Cf.
HTS> Mandarin, which has the "tsai4" suffix used in many
HTS> vegetable names. But also keep in mind that the
HTS> prefixes in these names have NOTHING in common with
HTS> each other. That's the point. A different word
HTS> must be unique enough the brain can keep a handle
HTS> on it.)

I agree. If we use suffix "-by" for food and impose
very strict rules, we get 180 5-letter VCV-by words
(at least 1 unique letter) and 180 7-letter VCVCV-by
words (at least 2 unique letters). The only problem
is that such names are arbitrary; we may get a name
like "mathematical war food." If nothing else works
we can use other suffixes:
-bi = anatomical part of a multicellular plant
-pa = anatomical part of a multicellular animal
-ke = soft solid
-ky = rigid solid
-fe = powder
-ki = rod
-fa = ball
-wo = disk

For example, carrot can be called "food rod" (obyki)
and pancake can be called "food disk" (obywo).

HTS> ... You want to either be completely, rigidly,
HTS> taxonomic, which has been proven to be of little
HTS> use; or you want to just have arbitrary words
HTS> for each thing you want to name. But this not-here,
HTS> not-there approach of arbitrarily assigning names
HTS> to things will only cause Ygyde speakers to
HTS> arbitrarily invent new words for things. Everyone
HTS> will invent a different word for the same things,
HTS> and Ygyde will diverge into mutually unintelligible
HTS> dialects. Then there is no point of learning it at
HTS> all---we might as well just stick with the natlangs
HTS> that already exist.

There is a third way: rather arbitrary names of flora
and fauna and rather precise names of other things.
Every living language evolves. Every technical field
has its unique, evolving language. If a general purpose,
spoken language is used as an auxiliary language, e.g.,
Latin and Esperanto, its evolution can be controlled.
If the auxiliary language does become a mother tongue,
its evolution and possible divergence will be shaped
by television.

AN> Basic ideas and technical names have no reason to
AN> drift into idiosyncrasies.

HTS> Umm... have you ever realized that the one part
HTS> about different natlangs that is the MOST different
HTS> from every other natlang, even those with common
HTS> ancestors, is precisely in the area of *basic ideas*?

"Milk," "mother," "is," and a few other words sound similar
in all Indo-European languages. This seems to prove that
names of basic ideas do not change.

HTS> Think about it... given a passage in an unknown
HTS> European language, what are the words that are most
HTS> immediately recognizable? Words like "technology",
HTS> "democracy", "analysis", etc., which are basically
HTS> *loanwords* derived from ancestor languages.

Yes. Technology and television are melting pots of

HTS> If Ygyde is going to have these kinds of arbitrary
HTS> terms for things, then it has completely lost any
HTS> value it may have had as an international language.
HTS> We might as well stick with English, since English
HTS> is understood by the most people on this planet,
HTS> and it is ALREADY recognized as an international
HTS> language for communication.

English is hard to beat, but it does show signs of weakness.
New names, e.g., insurance salesman, hard disk, suicide
bomber, are long and awkward. Some English words are
not easy to pronounce. Although I am a fluent English
speaker, I can hardly pronounce word "prototype."
Ygyde is better at coining new compound words and its
long version is easy to pronounce. I do not know Chinese,
but I guess that it may be good at coining new words too.
Too bad it is so hard to pronounce. Ygyde has serious
problems with flora and fauna, but other languages
have the same problem, so biologists avoid common names.
The big problem with vegetables is that they are going to
be manipulated by genetic engineering. For example, there
may be a new veggie which is a cross between potato and
carrot. Its name must be arbitrary! There is a similar
problem with optical memory disks -- every few years there
is a new kind of disk which does not differ much from the
previous one.

AN> Television, Internet, fast food chains, and
AN> globalization may prevent idiosyncrasies.

HTS> This is ridiculously myopic. The Internet does NOT
HTS> prevent idiosyncrasies; it actually *accentuates*
HTS> differences even more. Global communications only
HTS> mean that now it's easier for different people to
HTS> find different cliques that they fit into. Eventually,
HTS> they will no longer need to adapt themselves to
HTS> people around them who are different from them; they
HTS> will just go online and find people who are different
HTS> the way they are. The result is, people will fragment
HTS> into small tightly-knit communities of like-minded
HTS> people. And you *bet* each of these groups will
HTS> develop so much of their own idiosyncrasies that you
HTS> won't be able to understand them.

What they make are not idiosyncrasies of the general
purpose language, but specialized extensions of the
language. Every technical field does the same thing.
The English computer terms are very similar to Polish
and Russian computer terms.


Joseph Fatula <fatula3@...>
Arthaey Angosii <arthaey@...>Hyperambiguity