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Re: quadrivalent verb

From:Philip Newton <philip.newton@...>
Date:Tuesday, September 30, 2008, 8:17
On Tue, Sep 30, 2008 at 04:23, Mark J. Reed <markjreed@...> wrote:
> On Mon, Sep 29, 2008 at 1:57 PM, deinx nxtxr <deinx.nxtxr@...> wrote: >> Check out Lojban. Some definitions that are pentavalent. > > There must be some with even more parameters than that, aren't there?
Only implicitly; the list of root words has no more than five explicit arguments for any relation, but in a couple of words, one of the arguments (typically/always(?) the last) can in fact be an arbitrary number of arguments -- the examples that come to mind are ones with hierarchies, e.g. "A is a [kind of animal] of breed B, species C, genus D, family E, order F, class G, phylum H, kingdom I, domain J", though I doubt that these are much used with all possible places filled. fact, now that I've briefly scanned the list of _gismu_, I can only find two with open-ended place structures: {jutsi} "x1 is a species of genus x2, family x3, etc.; [open-ended tree-structure categorization]" and {du} "identity selbri; = sign; x1 identically equals x2, x3, etc.; attached sumti refer to same thing". I would have thought there'd be one for, say, political hierarchies ("A is a village in township B, county C, state D, country E" or the like). The limit of five explicit arguments to root words is also, no doubt, related to the fact that there are only five basic words (fa fe fi fo fu) for explicitly assigning an argument slot to a word. (Though additional ones are possible through subscripting: {fa xi ze} " subscript 7", for example, would make the following argument the seventh argument of its relation; the choice of {fa} for the initial word of the phrase is arbitrary and it could have been one of the four others, too.) Also, arguments beyond the second or third tend to be rare in Lojban; perhaps an effect of people whose native languages tend to have only two or three core arguments and who are more used to adding additional arguments with adpositions. {vecnu} "buy; sell" is perhaps the most frequently-seen with four arguments (seller, goods, buyer, amount). Cheers, -- Philip Newton <philip.newton@...>