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Re: Politics and the Constructed Language

From:Mark J. Reed <markjreed@...>
Date:Monday, December 17, 2007, 12:17
I seem to recall that one of the motivating examples for the use of
Loglan was legal contracts, the idea being that they would become
algorithms for determining if a breach occurred.  I don't think that's
really possible in general, but even if it were, I think it might
impede adoption, since. - agaiin speaking generally - *both* parties
potentially benefit from ambiguity.  And of course the lawyers.

On 12/17/07, Sai Emrys <sai@...> wrote:
> On Dec 15, 2007 2:56 PM, David J. Peterson <dedalvs@...> wrote: > > I should note I haven't read Orwell's essay (or at least no more > > of it than you quoted). Our initial poster might have provided > > us with a link. > > Sorry. It's easily googled and when I read it I just took the first > ghit. Since I don't know that that's the best one to refer to (e.g. > perhaps it's missing illustrations or formatting?), I didn't include > the link. > > > JQ: > > << > > The only > > real difference is that if you want to obfuscate and be vague in > > Ithkuil, > > you have to do it overtly rather than covertly. > > >> > > > > I suppose this is an important difference. You can be intentionally > > vague in English, but if one doesn't know the cues, one won't be > > able to see how it's done. In Ithkuil, even if you don't understand > > the meaning, one should be able to tell that the speaker/writer is > > intentionally being vague (i.e., this can't be hidden), and so they'll > > be able to say with certainty that they're a jerk, whereas in English, > > it'd be a guess, at best. > > I'm inclined to strongly agree here. > > IME, obfuscation and manipulation is a matter of misdirection; it > really does have to be covert to work well. > > A somewhat contentious point where this is relevant in modern > cog.ling. research is whether framing has a strong biasing or priming > effect *even if the listener is consciously aware of the framings > being used*. Frankly, I don't know whether this has been answered > well; I've only seen research about unconscious priming, which seems > to work pretty well. (John & other cognitive linguists in the audience > - do you know anything on this?) > > In Ithkuil/Ilaksh - or in any other language that tries to address > this, or in the hypothetical - how obvious is it what frames someone > is using (e.g. as a classic example, "pro-life" vs "anti-choice" as > two ways to frame the "same" position), how well they match factually, > etc? > > Could it be made equally obvious and explicit when someone chooses to > frame something one way vs another, so that it's cognitively salient > (rather than stealthed) when listening to the message? > > My guess is that if Ithkuil does make all of this necessarily explicit > - including vagueness - then it may well fit. > > However, I would wonder whether this might be vulnerable to language > change via laziness, where people would simply start (as a cultural > thing) *defaulting* to the vague versions, in which case it would > become unremarkable. Perhaps speakers would just not think enough to > fully specify everything they can, and certain grammaticalizable > features will start to drop? > > Similar example: If I say that I and my partner went to a holiday > party, I am necessarily either a) covertly saying that I am in a > non-heterosexual relationship, or b) covertly saying that I support > such. "Partner" just isn't a neutral term to use pragmatically, even > though semantically it is. > > I'm not sure whether this is possible to prevent, nor what the > analogous natlang trends are here. > > John, any thoughts there? How much have you attempted to engineer > language change in Ithkuil or Ilaksh (or, as it were, "pre-wash" the > languages)? > > Thanks, > - Sai >
-- Mark J. Reed <markjreed@...>