Re: LUNATIC again
|From:||Logical Language Group <lojbab@...>|
|Date:||Tuesday, November 10, 1998, 5:25|
>I think we're converging on a notion of tolerance that I approve, as well
>as seeing some eyes opening as well, which is also good!
>>The proof is in the pudding, so to speak. We have claimed that Lojban is
>>adequate, but we have felt it necessary to prove it. And our credibility
>>greatly enhanced when we did so. People want to SEE that a language is
>>being used in order to believe it CAN be used.
>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
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.
>We _know_ that it's possible to create such a system.
Umm, we know that it is possible that such a system can be created. It is not
entirely clear to me that anyone can create such a system by act of will. This
question can be examined by looking at Esperanto, which you also cite:
>matter, Esperanto is an existence proof in itself that language creation is
Well, if we grant that Esperanto as defined by Zamenhof as of the Fundamento
was at that point (its time of 'completion') adeqyate, then we have a case.
I am reasonably sure this is so, but am not an Esperantist and have to take
the word of others. On the other hand, the core of Esperanto, the "16 rules",
demonstrates how much Z. was assuming of the norms of Standard European. He
invented a language, but hardly started from scratch, and indeed had 95% of
the grammar defined for him, if not more.
But all in all I am inclined to admit that Z "invented" the language, and that
Esperanto is a "conlang" %^). So no definitional quibbling is needed.
However the creation of E. may show the possibility of language creation,it
does not show that any particular other creation is speakable, is "a system
_adequate_ to communication". Thus E. is NOT an argument that anyone else
OTHER than Z. has "had the experience of creating a system
_adequate_ to communication" until they have demonstrated it.
>That's fine. I think that the need for such proof is relatively small in
>this forum.I accept that this is true, but am arguing that it may perhaps be too true.
For artlangs, especially those that are presumed to be spoken by speakers
quite unlike 20th century humans, there is arguably no need to prove effectiveness.
In a fictional world, a claim of adequacy can hold, because fictional
elements can hold if plausible, and many conlangs are *plausibly*
communicative even if not demonstarably so. I guess I can and will stop
arguing completely insofar as the topic includes fictional langauges, because
plausibility is even harder to argue about than the definition of language $%).
>What a critical mass of speakers proves is that the language has a chance of
>>continuing beyond the inventor. (critical mass means of course that you have
>>a self-sustaining interaction). Given the tendency of conlangs to not
>>survive their inventors, and indeed usually to not be learned except by them,
>>I recognize legitimate skepticism in people who sayor imply "not another
>Your desire to prove feasibility to others doesn't change the fact that
>_you knew_ that it was adequate.
au contraire. I did not know, and indeed still do not know. I strongly believe
and now have supporting evidence for that belief. There remain some
active supporters of Lojban that still have their doubts about its ultimate adequacy.
>>We all can play Humpty Dumpty. %^) Language is luckily not very proprietary.
>>But most people rely either on dictionaries or experts for their definitions
>>and categorizations of phenomena.
>Actually, most people rely on usage, not on either of those two things.
John Cowan's quote answered this. Most people, whether relying on usage or
not, will change their belief when confronted by an expert saying something
else. Exceptions tend to be confined to arenas of life where other
epistemologies can challenge science, i.e. anywhere where a person's religion
dares to tread.
>My dictionary (AHD college) has 10 meanings (or usages) for the word
>language, including verbal and written utterances, animal comminication,
>mathematical notations, programming languages, etc...
>The term is a broad one. Your stubborn insistence on a particular
>(imperfect) definition of the term is what I'm arguing against.
To the extent that this is NOT a linguisitcs forum, I will condcede this.
And Sally among others seem to be strongly arguing that this is not a
linguistics forum. Fine. But does this then mean that the rest of the plethora
of linguistic hjargon terms that are regularly thrown around in this forum
have Humpty Dumpty meanings as well? How am I (or others) to knwo when one is
to take the popular definition of a term as distinct from the linguistics
definition, when so much of the discussion is dominated by linguistics
information expressed in quite sophisticated linguistic jargon?
At worst (and probably true), I am guilty of taking a term with a jargon
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 maybe
I won't get into that %^).
>English is not entirely fixed, because people extend it all the time,
>invent new narrative styles (Joyce did, certainly),With John Cowan the Joyce quoter in my camp, I should not argue this, but at
times I wonder whether most people would consider Joycisms to truly be
English (I enjoy them anyway %^).
>Once the system has a certain ciritical
>mass of _grammatical rules_ it can continue to be extended from within.
>That state is one that art- and aux- and log-langers alike do, and _can_
Yep. I believe that this critical mass is somewhere at about the current
LOjban level of completeness. As supporting evidence I will cite the
histoyr of Loglan, wherein JCB admits himself that his initial design as
proposed in 1955 and promoted in the Scientific American article in 1960
"merely rattled around in peoples' heads" - it proved NOT to be sufficiently
defined so as to be speakable. Likewise, the 1968 version and the 1974-5 versions,
which were published and saw wide spread readership, proved inadequate to
communications when put to the test (though passages could be translated with
some difficulty, much revision, and no real proof that anyone would understand
the translations as expressing what th orginal expressed. Some attempts at
conversation took place in 1976-7, but were not especially successful. It
was not until we tried in 1989 that I think any Loglan variety proved
capable of extensive communication without a dictionary in hand - we spoke it
in the car during the long drive from Washington DC to Boston for Noreastcon.
And even then we took another 5 years before continued usage testing showed
that the language grammar was complete enough for baselining. Somewhere around
then the language first showed some capability to be "extended from within".
Otherwise all extensions to the langyuage were posed from outside by prescription. Our
tough standards for baselkining are the result of the tendency for
prescriptivists tampering from outside to prevent the development of the
capability to extend from inside the language. Lojban, however was almost
certainly not adequate for communications until at least 1989-90 by the most
sparing of definitions, andI don't think TLI Loglan was any more adequate than that
until even later.
>>I would have to understand better what you mean by those aspects, since
>>English aspect is so unlike Russian aspect which is how I have finally come
>>to understand perfect/imperfect.
>Assume it's just like russian. That's my point. I don't see how your discussion of your"English-prime" has anything to do with
Russian which has tense and number disticntions. So I do not see your point,
But i think that we've moved past whatever you were tying to show.
>That E-prime is unconvincing to me because I think it's just paraphrasing
>around one grammatical construction, and preserving the semantics whole.
Yet it is "spoken" and adequate for communications, according to some proponents
who claim to use it in everyday life. It is more complete than most conlangs,
has speakers, has a grammatical difference from standard English (albeit
essentially only one, it is a fairly big one). Is it a "language"; is it
a distinct language from English. Is it a conlang (it is invented and it is
a language)?As you say, it largely preserves semantics whole- I would thus call
it a code and not a language despite the grammatical difference.