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Re: Comparison of philosophical languages

From:H. S. Teoh <hsteoh@...>
Date:Friday, January 17, 2003, 20:59
On Fri, Jan 17, 2003 at 09:18:55PM +0100, Andrew Nowicki wrote:
> "H. S. Teoh" wrote: > HST> Furthermore, in order to cope with speakers > HST> of some languages that only have 3 consonants > HST> (p, b, g), you'd have to *majorly* cut down the > HST> phonological inventory. Probably to the point > HST> you can't do very much with it. > > The same limitations apply to artlangs. If we use > this logic, no conlang should have more than 3 > consonants because some speakers cannot pronounce > other consonants.
No. Artlangs are *not* intended to be spoken by everybody; hence there is no restriction on them except as the creator of the artlang chooses. But since your stated goal is to please *everyone*, you have to aim for the lowest common denominator.
> Chinese ideograms are pronounced differently by different speakers, so > it is OK if some speakers pronounce some Ygyde letters differently.
Umm... do you even begin to comprehend what this means? Do you realize that someone speaking Cantonese cannot even *begin* to guess what a Hokkien speaker was saying? They can only understand each other if they had pencil and paper handy. I seriously doubt this is your intention here.
> Many chinese speakers learn English language as > written language only because they cannot pronounce > English phonemes. I once met a russian scientist > who could read and write in English, but could not > speak the language. Apparently this skill was useful > to him.
Sure it is useful. So is Ygyde intended to be a written language only? If so, we don't need a phonology at all. Anyone can pronounce it however they please, and probably others would not understand anything they said. (Just like a Cantonese speaker has *no* clue what a Hokkien speaker says.) But it wouldn't matter; since you can just write it down and then people would understand you. But if you intend Ygyde to be intelligible as a *spoken* language, then it's a totally different story. [snip]
> I disagree. The fluent speaker does not care about the roots of compound > words, but someone who learns the foreign language benefits a lot from > the sophistication and simplicity of compound words.
Yes, but isn't the whole point to make people speak Ygyde fluently? If not, I'm not sure I see the point behind it---you could just as easily pick up broken English, enough to understand and be understood. English is already very widespread, so this immediately gives you an advantage. There would be not much incentive to learn Ygyde, which isn't very widely known at all.
> When you learn a new language, you do not walk > around with dictionaries, but you try to guess > the meanings of new words. If you know that > "legal expert" means a lawyer, and you hear a new > word sounding like "medical expert," you may guess > that this means a physician. If you are learning > English language and hear the word physician for > the first time, you do not have the vaguest idea > if this means a physicist, a cuss word, or yet > something else.
Sure, but you could just ask, and then you'll know from then on. Extrapolating the meaning of a compound based on limited knowledge of the language is not very accurate either; sooner or later, you'll have to ask in order to be certain, so why not sooner? [snip]
> HST> I'm not so sure about that. I think women just > HST> associate colors with emotions more strongly > HST> than men, and so they tend to notice things men > HST> are completely oblivious to. > > I am sure. Approximately 5% of men and 0.5% of > women are color blind.
That doesn't say anything about the relative perceptual abilities of those that *aren't* color-blind, though. You're assuming a linear degradation in color vision amongst the entire population, which is not necessarily true. But of course, this point is irrelevent. I'm not a physician, so I wouldn't know anyway. [snip]
> This could be done with accent. For example, stressed > first syllable would mean adjective, stressed > second syllable would mean noun, and stressed > last syllable would mean verb.
Be careful there. Different languages have different ways of indicating accent. In some languages you *always* stress the penultimate syllable. It's not easy for a native speaker to stop doing this and adopt Ygyde's system of stress. And what if your verb is monosyllabic, or disyllabic? How would you distinguish it from a noun? [snip]
> Utter chaos? Probably not. Nonetheless you are right > about the pronunciation problems. I believe that all > children have tonal ability but they loose it if they > do not use it. It seems that tonal differences are > needed to make vowels more distinct. For example, > letters /a/, /e/, and /i/ should have high pitch and > letters /y/, /o/, and /u/ should have low pitch.
Then native English speakers speaking Ygyde would not be able to understand Chinese speakers speaking Ygyde, because the Chinese speakers would pronounce /y/ as [i] with a high tone and /i/ as [i] with a low tone, but the English speakers can't tell them apart. Anyway, I'm not going to spend much more energy on this topic. The point is that it's *very* difficult to please *everyone*, and unless you have extraordinary evidence that *every* aspect of Ygyde is going to make sense for everyone and still be mutually intelligible, then it's going to be very difficult to believe the extraordinary claim that Ygyde is a "superior" IAL. I'm not saying it's impossible; but that it's going to take extraordinary effort to achieve. T -- "You are a very disagreeable person." "NO."


Peter Clark <peter-clark@...>
Andrew Nowicki <andrew@...>