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Vocab building

From:Erich Rickheit KSC <rickheit-cnl@...>
Date:Tuesday, January 7, 2003, 23:55
Christopher Wright wrote:
> And speaking of this, how does everyone else make their > vocabularies?
I have a machine readable-lexicon, and have carefully constructed scripts that read it. I have scripts that can generate phonologically correct words, of any part of speech, minding a arduously thought out set of probabilities for each phoneme. They can check the lexicon to ensure that there is no collision with existing words, and tentatively apply every derivational form to ensure there is still no collision. When translating, and finding I have no appropriate word, I run these scripts, generating eight or ten scrupulously checked word forms at random. I then stare at these words until my eyes begin to bleed. I discard them and try again. Then I try to find some contorted excuse to re-use an existing word (perhaps 'chewing' is the same as 'pounding'?) Then I hit a dictionary and discover that the original term in English means something different than I've been using it for the last thirty-five years. Then I realize I've spent half an hour on this word and run the randome generaton again, swearing that I'll just take the first result. I take the fourth or fifth. Then I decide that word should mean something related and the word I'm looking for will be derived from it in a way that I haven't yet put into the language but should have because of its obvious utility. Then I alter the scripts (remember them?) to add this derivational rule to their lists, and re-run them against the whole lexicon to make sure I haven't just created a stack of new lexical collisions. Then I go back to the text I'm translating, and try the sentence in Quenya, Esperanto, and Ubby-Dubby to see how a _real_ language designer would do it. Erich


Sally Caves <scaves@...>