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Re: LUNATIC again

From:Logical Language Group <lojbab@...>
Date:Wednesday, November 4, 1998, 23:51
>Actually, it's far from clear to me what the English word >"morning" means. >...
Of course it is not particularly clear what the English word means. But it does have a meaning, or perhaps two or three that are context dependent. But the German word Morgen has a differentt set of meanings, and the Russian word utra has a different set of meanings, and the LOjban word cerni has a different set of meanings than English "morning". It is important with an IAL if not with all conlangs, to make sure that people understand whether your word means the same as English "morning" or that this only an approximation.
> I think there are heaps of >words in a natural language that simply aren't defined strictly, and >though you might say that's a failing, somehow we seem to manage.
No. natlang words have clear meanings, but often have multiple, even contradictory, meanings.
>So if >I were devising an auxlang, I might well decide not to define the words >for the parts of the day too exactly, but leave them to acquire meaning >by use.
This would be fine if you define your conlang in mutiple languages. But if you are monolingual and/or if your conlang is only described monolingually, I will give you one guess what your word for morning will come to mean "in usage". You have no forces acting to make it plausible that someone would ever CONSIDER a meaning other than that of English.
>But I suspect that that wouldn't be the lojban way :-)
Lojban has almost the opposite problem. When people try using the one word glosses as "definitions", they end up with encoded English which often gets made fun of by more experienced people (which is not it itself good recruiting politics)_But then, when people try to think more deeply about the semantic issues, they often get so hung up about the semantics of words that they spend minutes or even hours looking to say or to coin exactly the right word. Thuis pretyty much ruins a pretense of spontaneous and fluent speech %^). lojbab