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Re: Another Sketch: Palno

From:Alex Fink <000024@...>
Date:Tuesday, August 26, 2008, 6:06
On Mon, 25 Aug 2008 23:04:40 -0400, Logan Kearsley <chronosurfer@...>

>On Mon, Aug 25, 2008 at 10:04 PM, Alex Fink <000024@...> wrote: >> Given that clauses can be zero-converted to arguments just as atoms can, is >> there really a distinction between atoms and predicates? Why not analyse >> atoms as 0-ary predicates? > >Mm... because I didn't think of that? It probably is a valid analysis, >if you allow single atoms to be sentences.
Indeed. And this is what I did. One of the design goals of my language was to have one open word class, so I didn't want any distinctions based on arity. Another, for that matter, was strict compositionality.
>> One change that doing this would make to your grammar as presented is that >> an atom or a conjunction of atoms standing alone would become a complete >> clause, where it's not now. But I don't see much else. Maybe you mean >> there to be other distinctions. > >There is the issue of what, exactly, the sentential meaning of a >standalone atom would be. Probably just an assertion "x exists".
That's what I had -- in fact that was the top-level meaning of an assertion in every case, and so formally speaking all {verbs} had the semantics of a nominalisation everywhere they were used, so that this worked out uniformly.
>I think it's useful to make the distinction between things that >represent individual noun-like ideas, and things that describe >relations between other simpler ideas, though.
I'm not sure about useful, but if nothing else it's probably something well embedded in the human linguistic capacity. I was trying to go without such, anyay. Of course what a noun-like idea is a fuzzy boundary. {Adjectives} in langs without a class of adjectives are treated nominally in some and verbally in others (and we've taken opposite approaches on this, it seems -- I made adjectives zero-ary and consequently had great amounts of the appositive adposition).
>> How do you deal with nominal sorts of notions that "want" to have an >> argument, or verbal sorts of notions that don't "want" any? > >I leave them out. Weather verbs, for example, don't exist- rather than >saying "It's raining", you'd say "rain falls". I can't think of any >such concept that can't be re-lexed in a more convenient fashion >(though I'd be fascinated to be presented with some).
I don't have any convincing ones. (Anyone?)
>> I had an engelang whose grammar was of a similar sort, and eventually I got >> really tired of the inelegance and inflexibility of different fixed argument >> sets and return values, as it were, of various types of word. [...] >> So klugey. > >Can you elaborate on what's klugey about it? Or is it just an >un-analyzable matter of aesthetic preference?
In most part it was, if not violation of the one open word class goal, then at least not having smoothed the distinctions between its subclasses out as I might have wanted to. (So aesthetic, but at a higher level.) Something more akin to the system in Rikchik (which I didn't know of at the time) would've satisfied me better.
>> So. Do you have a way of rendering relative clauses, or anything like them? > >Yes. There are two ways of doing it, one which conforms to the postfix >parse tree, and one which temporarily sets up its own parsing >environment. >Sample sentence: I like people who eat apples. >Method one uses a determiner to pick out the relevant case of the >argument that's being modified: >I ((people these) apples-ACC eat)-ACC like.
Ah, okay. So you only provide one level of scope? the relative anaphor (er, cataphor) points to the nearest clause containing it, always?
>Method two uses a relative pronoun to indicate that you should pause >the current clause and start parsing a new one, and sets of the >relative clause with commas: >I people-ACC, who apples-ACC eat, like.
This seems to have potential for ambiguity, if one's not fastidious about the positions of the commas (and maybe even if one is, with a more complicated example -- I haven't convinced myself either way). Consider a sentence of form a who a.ACC p a.ACC p a.ACC p where each a is an atom, and each p a predicate taking nom and acc arguments. Does the relative clause finish after the first p, or the second?
>I'm pretty sure every case can be handled with the first form, but the >second form I think is more generally human-comprehensible.
I wouldn't make that leap. There are plenty of natlangs with internally headed relative clauses, which is your first strategy. Standard Average European speaker comprehensible, maybe.
>Try this example, then: >"Frodo of the Nine Fingers of Hobbiton"
Mm, that's cleaner. Anyway, slightly sharper example of the "schizophrenia" I was talking about. Suppose you have a sentence of form ... hm, what's not a too pragmatically strained example? arrow [hand me.ACC of].ACC through partial Is this "an arrow is partially through my hand", taking the adjective at the end as a clause adverbial? Or is it "there is a partial arrow through my hand", taking the internal clause as nominal in force? Supposing it's just one of these, how would you say the other? Alex


Logan Kearsley <chronosurfer@...>