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Re: Universal Language Dictionary

From:Herman Miller <hmiller@...>
Date:Thursday, May 23, 2002, 4:10
On Sun, 19 May 2002 12:48:57 +0100, And Rosta <a-rosta@...> wrote:

>I would be interested in people's views on the efficacy and >utility of Rick Harrison's Universal Language Dictionary, >which, iirc, used a combination of various strategies to >compile a list of the 2000 most basic content words of >language. In particular, I'd like to know >(a) whether there are apparently strange inclusions and >exclusions, >(b) how far the 2000 words get you towards a functional >vocabulary, >(c) the extent to which the 2000 words cover semantic space, >so that they at least serve as hypernyms for the many extra >words that would still be needed. > >--And.
It's been a while since I looked at the list, but one that I thought was especially unusual to include was "safflower" (when other, more familiar plants like "birch", "cactus", "cherry", "maple", and "strawberry" are absent from the list). Certain categories of words, such as pronouns, are absent, but those are words that vary widely from one language to another. The ULD is useful as a guide to avoid omitting words for common objects and actions, at least. Here are some words (not a complete list) from the Tirelat dictionary that don't have any ULD cross-references listed. This doesn't necessarily mean there isn't an equivalent in the ULD. (Some of them might in fact have ULD equivalents that I didn't notice, or ones with very slightly different meanings.) azhi "crazy, wild" bruwa "trumpet" daga "hoe" dizhi "interesting" dzat "plank, beam (of wood)" dzeret "ribbon" dziri "to survive, endure" dzita "straw (for drinking with)" eba "aunt, uncle" fada "to leave (something) behind" findza "nostril" giri "move, turn (in a game, sequence, etc.)" ispa "indeed, really, truly" kabi "overturned, upset, over" kaifu "marker, placeholder" kihtza "to chew" kinta "ceramic, porcelain" klhadi "finished, complete, done" kusa "particle, grain, speck" kuza "grassland, prairie" lahku "mask" laru "column, pillar" lesh "spot, point, dot" lhik "beak, bill, snout" lhiwi "lazy" lira "flute" luzh "ice cream" lyfi "to function, work" maralu "a good time" mohgu "belly" myzi "sleepy" nihzha "raisin" njami "delicious" njamuhtzi "dense, crowded, thick" piwri "welcome" raigi "to wear out, erode" rhade "to call, name" rhahfi "marshmallow" rirmu "marble (rock)" rjewa "to lead, manage, supervise" sarihzh "lava" shirhi "bushy (as of tails)" shuwi "annoying" siwa "to operate, run" takara "intent, purpose" terima "musical keyboard" tiski "quick, fast" tzelhki "fine, excellent, of high quality" tzin "cake" tziri "pale" unga "canyon" warhk "coward" werahdz "puzzle, riddle, enigma" woklha "to deceive" wrash "waterfall" xatka "to react, respond" xolhpi "ill, sick" z'bota "to get rid of" zhada "to discover, find out" zhalh "fur" zhalhka "archive" zhali "adorable" zhani "tame, domesticated" zhepa "cookie" zhihri "pretty" zhlozi "bored" zjanj'ki "nice, pleasant" zwidzi "bewildered" -- languages of Azir------> ---<>--- hmiller (Herman Miller) "If all Printers were determin'd not to print any email password: thing till they were sure it would offend no body, \ "Subject: teamouse" / there would be very little printed." -Ben Franklin