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Re: LUNATIC again

From:Logical Language Group <lojbab@...>
Date:Monday, November 9, 1998, 23:16
>The key to the non-speakability of your code >is that every verb is a separate idiom, >exactly like unix utility commands, >taking different positional parameters. >True langs have some concept of cases >or some other way to regularize parameters.
You appear to have suddenly changed the subject with this comment, so I am guessing that you have changed from responding to my comments to a criticism of Lojban. To accept this criticism, oif course, I have to accept your labelling of Lojban predicates as "verbs" which they are not, though they arguably serve a verb-like function when used as the main selri (predicate) of a sentence. Logicians do nott generally call predicates "verbs", and sometimes a Lojban predicate is more akin to a predicate nominative or a predicate adjective in English (though other languages have "stative verbs" for some of these functions). Moving beyond that, I interpret your criticism as saying that Lojban is unspeakable because Lojban predicates have an arbitrary number of positionally determined arguments (which you call "positional parameters"). This is true, although there are some patterns built into the structures. Since Lojban has been spoken extensively in conversation, it is incorrect to say that it is "non-speakable". It is true that most languages have some concept of cases, although many languages have completely degenerate case structures and hence no case markings. Lojban would be like such languages. (I do not know that ALL languages have a case concept, however). As to your criticism, it would therefore apply to all languages that have no case markings. English has few case markings, using prepositions irregularly to identify cases and otherwise relyinmg on positions, as does Lojban, especially to identify nominative and accusative cases. But "I gave John the book" has an unmarked recipient case. That the prepositions of English are ambiguous and often misleading as to the meaning/case of the place/object would by your argument make English unspeakable which it is not. But Lojban is not in particular modelled after English, which does use some prepositions and indeed requires them. Lojban never requires prepositions, but has things defined which can serve an adverb/adjective/preposition like function depending on where and how they are used. You COULD use Lojban with prepositions optionally, and indeed could probably mimick English prepositions (using prepositions where English does, and only where English does), but doing so would IMHO be perverse and more confusing than using no prepositions. YOu could also label all arguments with preposition-like constructs, though that would also be perverse, and wordy as well. Because this capability exists, it is incorrect to say that Lojban has no concept of case. More correct would be to say that Lojban has a concept of case, does not require the most common cases of its verbs/predicates to be marked, and has that set of cases indefinitely extensible to match any real or conceivable set of cases among the world's languages or potential languages (although some of those cases would indeed have to be marked). If your comment is merely to be taken as criticizing Lojban because the set of place structures is hard to memorize, well it is certainly no harder than memorizing the set of cases and prepositions applicable to each English (or Russian) verb, and what said prepositions mean with different cases of these verbs.
>Lojban is simply a bad imitation of English.
If you had said that Lojban was a bad imitation of Chinese, which has rather less case marking as I understand it, then I could see your point. Other than the general positional vs. casemarking nature of English and Lojban (which are each different from the other in degree andgeneral nature), I have no idea why you would call Lojban an imitation of English at all, much less a bad one. Sounds instead like you are trying desperately to flame the language, and cannot find the way to express whatever is bugging you.
>If you want to see a much better conlang which >achieves your putative aim of disambiguation, >try Classical Yiklamu, which is at least >based on some scientific research (WordNet).
I would claim that Lojban is based as much on scientific research as Yiklamu. That the research is not a single unit like Wordnet is irrelevant. Otherwise I have no idea what you are trying to claim. 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.