Re: Bootstrapping a cooperative conlang
|Date:||Saturday, November 17, 2007, 19:45|
In a message dated 11/16/2007 11:45:14 PM Central Standard Time,
> I think the picture idea is better for most vocabulary words than a
> convoluted definition built from a minimal vocabulary. You'd want to
> include more than one picture, and some way of indicating "not". For
> instance, while English speakers think of "mouse" as one concept and
> "rat" as something different, some languages have a single word meaning
> "mouse or rat". If you have a picture of a mouse and a picture of a rat,
> then you can label each one so it's clear that your "sawiki" can be
> either a mouse or a rat (or on the other hand, that a house mouse is
> "sawiki" but a rat is not one, and the thing with buttons that you use
> to move your cursor around isn't either.) You could, I guess, just
> introduce the word for "not" in this way and use it in the captions.
> Picture of deer mouse: "sawiki". Picture of four-leafed clover: "sawiki
> nui". Picture of striped grass mouse: "sawiki". Picture of volcano:
> "sawiki nui".
A picture only shows what the animal looks like. It doesn't give any of the
rest of the meaning of the word, like how it moves, what sounds it makes, what
kinds of food it eats, why it's a pest or pet.
The "convoluted definition built from a minimal vocabulary" gives a
comprehensive definition of the complex meaning of the word "mouse". The minimal
vocabulary ensures that it can be understood by anyone who knows those English
This type of definition also allows one to compare the differences in
definition between synonyms and other related words. What part of the definition of
"mouse" does not apply to "rat", e.g., and what parts are common to both? I
don't have a similar type of definition of "rat", so I won't try to answer that
question, but these explications permit such fine discrimination.