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Re: Bootstrapping a cooperative conlang

From:Michael Poxon <mike@...>
Date:Friday, November 16, 2007, 14:30
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.
To take a few examples:
"know" = even in common IE langauges, there are at least two terms here.
Take French "Savoir" / "Connaitre". I can also envisage some langs having
degrees of knowing (i.e., to know something with certainty / to know a fact
/ to know somebody / to be familiar and so on.

"want/desire" = again, even in English, a word like "desire" has other
connotations, usually carnal!! And "want" is sometimes used (often
unwittingly) in its original sense of "to be lacking" as well as the
'desire' idea.

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

"bad" = in fact, my own conlang has several terms for both "good" and "bad".
To take "bad" - does this mean 'morally bad, evil', 'not appropriate' (as in
'a bad choice of words'), rotten (as in 'a bad apple')?...

To my mind, virtually none of the terms given have "simple equivalents with
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.
> > Bootstrapping a collaborative conlang: Begin with no more than 100 basic > words > which have simple equivalents with the same meaning in most other > languages, > and which suffice to define further words (Idea borrowed from the > "Semantic > Primes" of "Natural Semantics Metalanguage"). >