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Re: HeadFirst

From:Jim Grossmann <steven@...>
Date:Sunday, May 7, 2000, 8:37

> "I have a brother, Steve." > Me with brother Steve.
Well, so far, I don't think you've restricted your parts of speech to nouns & connectives. Is "me" a noun, or a pronoun? Does "me" describe the whole HP, or does it name the topic? To get rid of the pronouns, you may want to just name everybody, and compound the names with the names of conversational roles for first and second person: Jim-speaker with brother Steve. (I have a brother, Steve.) The name is necessary: otherwise, you'd have ... Speaker with brother Steve. (A/the speaker has a brother, Steve.) Which speaker? 2.
> Having with agent me and patient brother with name Steve.
Having a brother is not an act, and "me" is not an agent in this sentence, nor is "brother" a patient. 3.
> "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth."
> Creation with time beginning and agent God and patient
heaven with
> number plural and patient earth.
> I just noticed that there's a big ambiguity in this grammar.
It's not
> clear except from context that "and patient earth" is supposed
> coordinate with "and patient heaven" rather than with "with
> plural."
I'm not sure that the ambiguity you've named is that big. There's no law against context resolving ambiguities in natlangs. The identification of "earth" as another patient, and the meaning of "earth" as opposed to "heaven," is probably sufficient to let the listener know that "earth" is not just another attribute of the heavens. But I don't think you have a sufficiently clear way of indicating which attributive nouns describe which other nouns. You could start by specifying that "and" connects constituents of equal rank, whereas "with" introduces an attributive NP associated with the previous NP. You might also add "then" to your repertoire of connectives, which could shorten some sentences considerably by allowing the two heads to be together in chronological order in one clause. If I'm all wet, here's hoping someone says why. BTW, it is most important to try your grammar out on complex sentences. He who lives by the sword dies by the sword. Becoming with life then death with human-agent and sword-instrument. DV betrayed and murdered your father. Betrayal and Murder with DV agent and father-patient with this listener-son. (Wow! I'm beginning to enjoy writing like this! No joke, just fact.) 4. Getting rid of pronouns won't be easy and may not be desireable. How about variables? e.g. "Anyone who goes to school will need pencils." Try that in Headfirst. Writing-source-Jim