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Re: No more plural? No,more plural!:-- Gramm. Numbr when Non-Integer Semantic #

From:Jim Henry <jimhenry1973@...>
Date:Thursday, August 18, 2005, 15:13
On 8/17/05, tomhchappell <tomhchappell@...> wrote:

> So, of course, I got to thinking, what system would a language with > nullar and dual and trial (and maybe paucal) numbers use for > fractional amounts? > > One accepted system in science is to round to the nearest whole > number; and, in case of a tie, to the nearest even number. > > Pretend singular and trial are odd, and nullar, dual, and paucal are > even (letting paucal stand in for quadral). > > This would make > 1/3 day-NULLAR > 1/2 day-NULLAR > 2/3 day-SINGULAR > 1+1/3 day-SINGULAR > 1+1/2 day-DUAL > 1+2/3 day-DUAL > 2+1/3 day-DUAL > 2+1/2 day-DUAL > 2+2/3 day-TRIAL > 3+1/3 day-TRIAL > 3+1/2 day-PAUCAL > 3+2/3 day-PAUCAL
This looks fairly good, except that it seems counterintuitive to use a nullar number inflection to mark a nonzero amount of something.
> But the discussion about Chinese time had gotten me thinking about > complex numbers (a real number plus some real multiple of the square > root of -1). I wonder, does anyone's conlang handle complex numbers > of that type?
gzb has a word for i, {cix'tu}. So complex numbers can be expressed by compounding that with other number roots. E.g., 5 + 3i dxy-cix'tu-dax five-i-three
> The same impulse prompts me to ask about > a tense system for time-travellers. > > A society of time-travelers who meet at a particular time may need to > specify "past" or "future" in three different time-scales: > Speaker's past vs Speaker's future; > Addressee's past vs Addressee's future; > Subject's past vs Subject's future ("Subject" = subject of sentence.).
I worked out a similar system once; there were first-person, second-person, third-person, and absolute triplets of tense particles. They could be used alone or in combination with either nouns or verbs. But I didn't work on it for very long or develop the rest of the language much if any.
> That leads to 9 tenses, or maybe 11, since the Speaker's Present and > the Addressee's Present will be the same moment,
Not necessarily. The moment you are reading this is not the moment I am writing this, but sometime later; and with time-travel you might read this before I write it. gzb can express this well enough (it has different phrases for "now" corresponding to speaker and listener), though it is not robust enough for time travel without a little more tinkering.
> and we can assume > that the Subject's Present takes place in the Speaker's and > Addressee's Present.
Why? Suppose I (on Phobos Station in 2103) send you a chronogram (you receive it in London in 1666) asking you where/when you saw Henrik last, and you reply that you think he's in San Francisco in 1906. Three different persons, three distinct presents.
> Throw in Alternate Time Lines, and it could get more complicated; > since a given present moment could have more than one past as well as > more than one future, and a given past moment could lead to more than > one present moment. > > That was kind of why I suggested Time as a Complex Number in that > thread. "Sideways Time" was "Irrealis", I suggested; and a tense > could be some "linear combination" of Realis (past = negative (? or > positive ?), present = zero, future = positive (or the opposite of > past, at any rate) with Irrealis (a 0 "imaginary part" > meaning "nothing but realis" just as a 0 "real part" would > mean "nothing but present"). Of course I couldn't figure out what > the difference would be between positive and negative Irrealis time.
I toyed with this in the earliest stages of gzb; it had time postpositions formed from space postpositions by prefixing /w/ between the orientation prefix and the core directional vowel. So "after" was /swi/, "before" was /Twi/. (/si/ and /Ti/ are "above" and "below"). But I also had /tswi/ and /Zwi/ (from /tsi/ "left of" and /Zi/ "right of") for left and right alternate worlds. I think they were supposed to represent hypothetical worlds better and worse than the real one, but I don't recall for sure. -- Jim Henry ...Mind the gmail Reply-to: field