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Re: Bootstrapping a cooperative conlang

From:Gary Shannon <fiziwig@...>
Date:Friday, November 16, 2007, 18:35
---QUOTH: stevo---

(1) This vocabulary is very similar to that of Toki Pona.  Perhaps you could
start with its 120 words and build from there.

(2) Who decides what the words look/sound like?
(3) What are the sounds of the language?  Syllable structures?

(4) I'd love to do this with someone who didn't share any of my languages.

(5) This reminds me of the Forth programming language.

(6) Of these words, "a", "asi", "denau", "ena", and "espeli" are not primitive
NSM concepts.
Also, NSM has 'person, someone' and 'people' as primitives, whereas "ashani"
(someone) and "shanu" (person, people) split these ideas differently.
"ashani" and "shanu" both contain "shan", as if that were a shared morpheme.
If this
is the case, then I suggest eliminating one from the basic list.
Also "den" (a thing, something) and "denau" (this thing) both contain "den".
Does the apparent suffix "-au" on "denau" mean 'this'?  If so, then perhaps
it should be a separate entry, if not an entirely separate word.


(7) In _Understanding cultures through their key words_, page 52, Wierzbicka
gives this explication for "friend2" (the modern meaning):


(8) The English word "friend" has a lot of nuance to it.  Words could be
to each line of the definition, and then be used modularly.

---QUOTH: mike---

(9) I don't want to put a damper on things, but I think you'll find there are
problems with some of these seemingly-cross-cultural-equivalent terms.


(10) "be" = surely the very last semantic area you'd want here!


(11) To my mind, virtually none of the terms given have "simple equivalents
the same meaning in most other languages" - I don't wish any slight on your
efforts, by the way, it's just that trying to do this at all is a really
herculean undertaking, probably not even possible.


---QUOTH: li_sasxsek---

(12) Yes, I liked Kalusa, but that's just the nature of cooperative
efforts like this.  Once the novelty wears off people seem to lose



(1) Yes, Toki Pona came to mind as I mulled this over.

(2)-(3) Nobody "decides" on the sounds or structures of the words. They are not
planned or defined, but "discovered" as people create new words which are
either widely adopted or not. Natural selection decides which words survive.

(4) That would be interesting, wouldn't it. :)

(5) That thought also occurred to me. I wrote my first Forth compiler on the
Apple II computer in the 1970's. :)

(6) In a project like this I wouldn't expect a 100% match between this core
vocabulary and the NSM primes simply because this project would be free to
place utility above theoretical "purity". Are "shanu" and "ashani" related? are
"den" and "denau" related? Only time and usage will tell. In practice, certain
words in the core vocabulary might fall out of general usage, being replaced
with words that are more generally preferred. Something like that cannot be
planned or predicted.



(9)(10) The idea is to NOT pull the sneaky stunt that "Basic English" pulls by
sneaking in 15 words under the guise of 15 meanings for one word, and then
calling that "one word." Rather, only ONE key meaning would be assigned to each
word in the core vocabulary. Thus, if "be" were in the core vocabulary it would
have to be made very clear which SINGLE meaning and usage is intended, and
"be"could not be used in any other manner in definitions.

(11) Again, the intent is to start with a workable set of core words, whether
they satisfy the "ideal" criteria is something for theoreticians to mull over.
If I go to the marketplace in a linguistically diverse area where a new contact
language is coming into being I'm not particularly worried about the
theoretical deatails of choosing a way to say "I need to buy a cabbage please."
Likewise, this project would not be meant as a rigorous study in any kind of
linguistic theory, but as a rough-and-ready linguistic mele with few, if any
rules set out in advance.



(12) I think one of the reasons Kalusa failed was that too many people were
pulling in too many different directions. That and the fact that some
contributors headed off on some pretty bi
bizarre tangents that adversely affected the usability of the language. Perhaps
by setting up a situation in which the language CANNOT be discussed, but MUST
be used, instead, then the language would, by necessity, evolve to become



Mia Soderquist <happycritter@...>