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Re: LUNATIC again

From:Raymond A. Brown <raybrown@...>
Date:Tuesday, November 10, 1998, 21:59
So far I have remained aloof from this thread & the related "the Maligned
Art" thread. There has been a bit too much verbosity for my taste & we seem
to be getting nowhere over defining either what language really is or,
therefore, what the proper study of linguistics is.  I guess it depends a
good deal upon what school of linguistics one is inclined towards.  One
thing, however, is certain - I'm going to make darned sure I read the book
that's been sitting idle on my shelf too long - "What _is_ language?" -
right through to the end next time :)

But the following caught my eye this morning & got me thinking (mainly in
English ;)

At 12:38 am -0500 10/11/98, Logical Language Group wrote:
>(I admit that the phenomenon of thinking in a different language remains >beyond my understanding, since I have yet to master any other language besides >English to know exactly how thinking in that language is different from >thinking >in English. > >lojbab
And I thought lojbab had been using lojban for some while now. And wasn't the (one of the) main aims of the original Loglan to test the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis? Surely, if one can't even _think_ in the loglan, it can't shed any light on the hypothesis? As many know I was pretty conversant with Latin for many years. When reading Latin the meaning normally went straight from the Latin to the brain, so to speak, without any English intermediary. Indeed, on many occasions I've been asked "What does that mean?" I can understand the meaning immediately; but I can't come out with the English immediately. I'm thinking in Latin when I read it - I have to restructure my thoughts in a different pattern to get to grips with English. And, of course, even moderately successful Latin prose composition needs one to think in Latin. At the moment I'm reading a book in French. I find when I start reading, translation is going on & it's, so to speak, entering my head in English; but soon the English disappears and the meaning comes straight from French. English will 'interfere' only if I stumble on some unfamiliar word or construction. I find if I start to get into a language, some thinking in that language does take place, tho the extent to which this happens varies somewhat. But, I confess, all the languages I'm talking about are or were natlangs. Now I thought the way both Loglan & lojban were constructed was to deliberately make them different from natlangs, using the forms of predicate logic (which my favorite programming language also uses - but that really is another story :) in order to test inter alia the SW hypothesis. Now I guess lojbab must as familiar as any one is with lojban. The fact that he says: "I admit that the phenomenon of thinking in a different language remains beyond my understanding" seems to me quite suggestive. I wish to make it _ABSOLUTELY CLEAR_ that I am NOT trying to be sarcastic NOR trying to put down lojbab in saying this NOR to criticize or attack him in any way whatsoever. What I mean is that it does suggest to me that there is some qualitative difference between a conlang of the loglan type & a natlang and that, tho I wouldn't have put it quite the same way, Charles may be close to the mark in suggesting that lojban is rather an elaborate encoding of English. On the other hand I find some some so-called 'artlangs', e.g. Quenya & Tepa, much more reminiscent of non-English natlangs. Ray. PS - Oh dear - now I seem to have become verbose :=(