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Re: LUNATIC again

From:Logical Language Group <lojbab@...>
Date:Tuesday, November 10, 1998, 18:47
David Durand:
>>>That's fine. I think that the need for such proof is relatively small in >>>this forum. Most of us have had the experience of creating a system >>>_adequate_ to communication, if impoverished (in grammar or vocabulary, or >>>both). >> >>And the question I have essentially asked is: how can you know, unless you >>have >>used it in communication with others (however impoverished that communication >>might be)? I guess I am a little weak on argument by faith. > >I guess I trust the _incomplete_ knowledge that linguists have gathered by >studying thousands of natural languages.
Butthey haven't studied your conlang or most others we might be referring to and indeed many/most seem to believe that conlangs are indeed distinct from the thousands of natural languages that they study. In terms of our duck, we agree that it looks something like a duck, but we haven't determined that it quacks or walks like one %^).
>I feel that If I can get respectable grammar coverage relative to a book >like Payne's describing Morphosyntax, or the Timothy Shopen volumes, then >I'm probably defining an adequate system. These are books about descriptve >linguistics, defining concepts and giving examples of constructions >typically found in ntural languages.
Ah, so you are prescribing a system that has the properties by definition. Of course we then have to decide whether a language prescription is a language %^). If you were to use the language that is prescribed as having all the properties that you think necessary, then you've got the walk and the quack down, at least assumingt hat your usage matches your prescription.
>I don't think that communicational adequacy is that hard, actually, because >_people_ will solve whatever problems they find within a system, and make >themselves understood, given even a little bit of ground to stand on.
But if your prescription is incomplete, what they do to make themselves understood may violate what linguists think are properties of natural languages. For example, I might need to use non-linguistic means to clarify intent (like pointing at the objects I am referring to).
>>At worst (and probably true), I am guilty of taking a term with a jargon >--More-- >>definition and presuming that this definition is intended by peopl who use it >>along with related jargon on this forum. Where are the context clues that >>tell me NOT to use the jargon meaning of the word? Some would think this >>is obvious, but I guess I am obtuse at understanding context then ( people >>have >>indeed accused me of having all the sensitivity to context of a ... well mayb >>I won't get into that %^). > >I don't believe that language is a jargon term, and that's why I don't see >this problem.
Given the exclusion by (most) linguists of animal languages, and all manner of other things termed "language" by the masses, it is clear that linguists do not use the term in the breadth of meaning that is common. We can agree that linguists probably don't have an ironclad deifintion of language that they all accept, but there are things called "language" by some people that they DONT accept as such.
>But applying that same technique with meatier changes is what I'm getting >at. You seem to think that the vocabulary is the only repository of >semantics in the language. Many features of morpohology and syntax amount >to mandatory semantics. In English, you must decide whether something is >singular or plural to talk about it, even if that notion is irrelevant.
Actually you don't. You have to decide to treat it as if it were singular or plural. "The lion is found in Africa." appreas to be singular but doesn't actyually imply whether multiple lions exist or not. It is just a connvention that this kuind of generic statement takes the singular. But I am quibbling. lojbab ---- lojbab Bob LeChevalier, President, The Logical Language Group, Inc. 2904 Beau Lane, Fairfax VA 22031-1303 USA 703-385-0273 Artificial language Loglan/Lojban: /pub/access/lojbab or see Lojban WWW Server: href="" Order _The Complete Lojban Language_ - see our Web pages or ask me.