Re: Comparison of philosophical languages
|From:||H. S. Teoh <hsteoh@...>|
|Date:||Monday, January 20, 2003, 18:38|
On Mon, Jan 20, 2003 at 04:25:50PM +0100, Christophe Grandsire wrote:
> > At present Ygyde's names of vegetables are very similar:
Which is precisely the problem. Like I said before, the brain works much
better when similar yet different things are described by *very* different
words. It's easier to remember. The natural tendency of the brain to
equate similar things will cause endless confusion when two different but
related things are described by almost identical words.
It would be somewhat more acceptable if you have a suffix "-by" for
vegetables, and have *divergent* prefixes to indicate different
vegetables. (Cf. Mandarin, which has the "tsai4" suffix used in many
vegetable names. But also keep in mind that the prefixes in these names
have NOTHING in common with each other. That's the point. A different word
must be unique enough the brain can keep a handle on it.) But under the
current system, you have names like "obiby", "odibiby", etc., which are
way too similar to each other. It's very difficult to learn such a
language, because there is not enough uniqueness within each word for the
brain to easily sort them apart.
> > vegetable = obiby = "noun anatomical part of a multicellular plant
> > food"
> > carrot = odibiby = "noun long anatomical... food"
> Which fits also leek, white radish, courgette, bananas (parts of plants
> aren't they?), etc... The problem with your compounds is that their
> meaning is not readily identifiable from their parts, which defeats
> somewhat the very purpose of a philosophical language.
Exactly. You want to either be completely, rigidly, taxonomic, which has
been proven to be of little use; or you want to just have arbitrary words
for each thing you want to name. But this not-here, not-there approach of
arbitrarily assigning names to things will only cause Ygyde speakers to
arbitrarily invent new words for things. Everyone will invent a different
word for the same things, and Ygyde will diverge into mutually
unintelligible dialects. Then there is no point of learning it at all---we
might as well just stick with the natlangs that already exist.
Introducing a new family of mutually unintelligible languages only makes
the problem of mutual unintelligibility worse.
> > garlic = yluby = "noun smelly food"
> Never grilled sardines, boil cabbage or gave food to a cat did you? ;)))
Durians. 'Nuff said.
(Now it would be utterly hilarious if a Ygyde speaker from England visits
a Ygyde speaker in Malaysia, and tells the Malaysian to buy some "yluby"
(she meant garlic) for the dish she wants to cook. The Malaysian brings
home a large juicy durian, and the poor Brit faints at the stench... only
to wake up and find her dish reeking of pure durian delight.) :-P
> > onion = ojibuby = "noun optical sickness food"
Why onion? "optical sickness food" sounds like carrots to me. After all,
carrots are supposed to heal blindness, aren't they?
> So if I understand correctly anyone is allowed to define his/her own
> opaque compounds? (yes, opaque. In all those compounds you presented,
> except for the fact that they were nouns and had to do with food,
> nothing was clear enough to explain their meaning.
Which is why I said, Ygyde will diverge into mutually unintelligible
dialects, probably no better than the Sinitic languages (Chinese
> In this case, better scrap the idea of compounds entirely, and come up
> with a language with arbitrary roots but a regular grammar. Oh wait,
> there are plenty of those around already ;)) ). Best way to have your
> language turned into a multitude of non-intercomprehensible dialects.
> Kind of defeats the purpose of an International Language too.
It wouldn't *be* an international language; it'd be a family of divergent
languages, each as similar as English is with Sanskrit.
> > I did not use dictionaries when I was learning my mother tongue.
Yes, because your mother tongue was actually a natlang with *arbitrary*
words (*gosh*! Imagine that!), and with none of the inane consistency
Ygyde. When you have a language like Ygyde with so many related words so
close to each other, you have *no choice* but to use a dictionary, because
your brain cannot possibly cope with all these ultra-fine distinctions
between words. Plus, you'd *certainly* need a dictionary to realize that
"yluby" could refer to garlic, ginseng, ginger, or durians, so that when
you write a recipe containing "yluby", you'll be sure to clarify exactly
which ingredient you meant. I for one would love to see somebody fry beef
with "yluby" thinking "yluby" meant durians.
> > Basic ideas and
> > technical names have no reason to drift into
> > idiosyncrasies.
Umm... have you ever realized that the one part about different natlangs
that is the MOST different from every other natlang, even those with
common ancestors, is precisely in the area of *basic ideas*?
Think about it... given a passage in an unknown European language, what
are the words that are most immediately recognizable? Words like
"technology", "democracy", "analysis", etc., which are basically
*loanwords* derived from ancestor languages. The words that *least*
resemble each other are the COMMON words, like the pronouns, the
grammatical particles, words for common concepts like "male", "female",
basically, words that are used every day.
> If two different kinds of food are
> > called "container food," we can distinguish them as
> > "american container food" and "spanish container food."
> > Or we can guess the meaning from the context.
OK, this is no better than "French horn" and "English horn". A French horn
is first of all NOT French; most of its major developments were in
Germany. And the English horn is NOT English. It's not even a horn!!
If Ygyde is going to have these kinds of arbitrary terms for things, then
it has completely lost any value it may have had as an international
language. We might as well stick with English, since English is understood
by the most people on this planet, and it is ALREADY recognized as an
international language for communication.
I'm sorry, but frankly, I see no additional value Ygyde contributes than
what English already has. And English is already universally accepted as
the international medium of communication. Ygyde is nowhere close to being
this widely accepted, and if it is no better than English, then it's a
waste of time to learn.
> Which defeats the purpose of a philosophical language again. Context is
> also culture-dependent. "Depending on context" works only for people
> with the same background, and even close backgrounds like different
> European countries are far enough to provoke plenty of misunderstandings
> due to a different way to take context (believe me, I have first
> experience in those things). In any case, an IAL cannot rely on context
> to disambiguate meaning.
Not to mention that even people in the *same family* interpret words
differently. Judging from how common it is that siblings argue over
whether carrots are red or orange, I *bet* you that if Ygyde ever gets
widespread, mutually unintelligible dialects will spring up *very*
quickly. Everybody will be assigning their own meanings to religious
plants, watery plants, sickness plants, and what-have-you. And none of it
will make *any* sense whatsoever to anyone not in the immediate community
where the terms originated.
> > Television, Internet, fast food chains, and globalization may prevent
> > idiosyncrasies.[snip]
This is ridiculously myopic. The Internet does NOT prevent idiosyncrasies;
it actually *accentuates* differences even more. Global communications
only mean that now it's easier for different people to find different
cliques that they fit into. Eventually, they will no longer need to adapt
themselves to people around them who are different from them; they will
just go online and find people who are different the way they are. The
result is, people will fragment into small tightly-knit communities of
like-minded people. And you *bet* each of these groups will develop so
much of their own idiosyncrasies that you won't be able to understand
If you don't believe me, just try joining some of the chatrooms today.
You already see things like l33tsp34k which is pure gibberish to those not
in the know. Just wait a few more decades, and it won't even resemble
English, which it started from, anymore.
The most powerful one-line C program: #include "/dev/tty" -- IOCCC