Re: Formal vs. natural languages (was Re: Oligosynthetic languages in nature.)
|From:||R A Brown <ray@...>|
|Date:||Tuesday, March 31, 2009, 19:49|
Andrii Zvorygin wrote:
>>>> Yes it is wonderful how cohesive we with you are. As the concept "As
> >>> above, So below" of the gnostics, and "Macrocosm, Microcosm" of the
> >>> Elizabetheans, the "As in area, So in point" of Geometry.
> >> Maybe senility is now setting in, but I just do not understand
> what this is about. Is it possible to rephrase this in a way that an
> old timer can understand?
> >> Thanks.
> this is in reference to philosophy and religion.
Yes, I can see references, and obviously gnosticism involves religion
(which we treat with care on this list - respecting everyone & inflaming
no one) & philosophy; I guess Elizabethan microcosm/macrocosm ideas
involve philosophy (religion was a dangerous topic under Elizabeth; it
could cost you your life) - but "As in area, So in point" of Geometry
seemed to me to be a mathematical reference. I simply found difficulty
relating the disparate references with "Yes it is wonderful how cohesive
we with you are."
> An area can map a
> point, but that point can itself be an area -- like a fractal image.
Certainly a point made by me with a pencil has an area, but I thought a
geometric point was a _zero_ dimensional object so I'm not clear how it
has an area - nor, for that matter, how it relates to fractals. But I'm
no mathematician. Maybe others on the list with greater mathematical
knowledge can enlighten me.
> and so all things are, reflections of one another.
?? Infinite reflexions? So existence is illusory? Or what? Puzzled.
> This is particularly a reason why it makes so much sense to have an
> oligosynthetic language -- since in natural languages there are many
> very similar concepts with very different names
"When a foreign student of English first meets the words 'write',
'scribble', 'receipt', 'shorthand', 'stenographer', 'telegram', 'pen',
'correspondence', 'memorandum', 'signature', 'subscription',
'postscript', 'read', 'clerk', 'literary' and 'print' there is nothing
in the appearance or structure of the words to indicate that there is
any logical connection between them. Yet the first two letters of their
Speedwords equivalent - _ri_ - at once reveal they are connected with
[Reginald J.G. Dutton, "Dutton World Speedwords," 1943, London]
This is surely exactly what all previous authors of oligosynthetic
languages have observed and attempted to 'remedy.'
> not taking advantage
> of the hierarchical nature of the multiverse.
AFAIK there are various 'multiverse' theories, but no general acceptance
of 'multiverse' as proven entity; nor do I see how, with our present
technology, we could hope to prove the existence or non-existence of
As regards hierarchies, isn't this precisely the same approach that has
been taken by authors of oligosynthetic languages since the 17th
century? But the way 17th century philosophers saw the universe & its
hierarchies now seems quaint and erroneous to us in the 21st century. I
suspect even Ro's hierarchical classification of concepts would not be
universally accepted now. Probably not everyone on this list would
necessarily go along with Fuishiki Okamoto's more recent hierarchical
classification of concepts.
Don't misunderstand me. I have no objection to anyone taking this
approach in a _conlang_. But we have to remember that our knowledge is
limited. Future advances in science & our understanding of the universe
may well radically transform later generations' understanding of things
and our 21st century ideas may seems as quaint to them as the 17th
century philosophers' do to us.
While I think it is not at all unlikely that other intelligent beings
exist on other planets within our universe, I think I need slightly more
evidence than purported telepathic communication to persuade me to
accept the existence of a particular group of exterrestrials. I notice
it said that: "These entities claim that the ancient Egyptians
worshipped them as their deity, Ra ...."
But the ancient Egyptians did _not_ worship a deity _they_ called 'Ra'.
The form 'Ra' is simply a _modern convention_ for pronouncing the
ancient _rʕ_ (/r/+ pharyngeal voiced fricative); the ancient
vocalization is not known. IIRC evidence from Akkadian transcriptions
and from Coptic suggests that the ancient pronunciation was probably [ri:ʕ]
> there are also words like love/light and light/love, over a variety of
> texts by different extra-terrestrial races such and the Arcturians.
...who, of course, are telepathic and, in at least one report I read,
exist in 'etheric' form. Sorry - I find no convincing evidence for their
> As for the semantic primes being culturally neutral, mathematics is
> often considered culturally neutral -- on which my oligosynthetic
> language is based.
I must confess, I have not noticed that.
> An interesting thing i've recently come across is "the most common
> chinese characters" which will help identify what the core concepts
> are necessary for basic conversation.
Why? Surely what it will do is to identify the most common morphemes in
the corpus of Chinese writing examined - no more, no less.
> So defining these basic chinese
> hieroglyph words
Chinese _hieroglyphic_ words?? But the Chinese script is
morphemo-syllabic. This has been discussed more than once on this list;
look in the archives.
It seems to me that our ontologies are so different that we are not
going to agree, so maybe we'd better end this particular thread.
"Ein Kopf, der auf seine eigene Kosten denkt,
wird immer Eingriffe in die Sprache thun."
[J.G. Hamann, 1760]
"A mind that thinks at its own expense
will always interfere with language".