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Re: lincos?

From:FFlores <fflores@...>
Date:Saturday, February 26, 2000, 19:23
Jeffrey Henning <Jeffrey@...> wrote:

>Is anyone familiar with Lincos?
I quote and translate from _The Search for the Perfect Language_, by Umberto Eco: "Lincos... designed by a Dutch mathematician, Hans A. Freudenthal (1960), to be able to interact with possible inhabitants of other galaxies... Lincos is not a language intended to be spoken: it's more of a model of how to invent a language while teaching it, at the same time, to beings that... would have a history... and biology different from ours." "Freudenthal assumes that signals can be emitted... of which the substance of expression is not taken into account (... it's assumed that they may be radio signals)." Communication starts by sending numbers, then some mathematical operations and (in)equations, etc.; by making questions and answering them several times, it's expected that the aliens can figure out what's going on. Thus you can move on to conditionals, evidentials, simple verbs like "want", "know", etc. Eco comments that, while Lincos is interesting as a pedagogical experiment, it has some limitations, because it assumes a lot of things about the aliens (for example, that they have the custom of considering results based on induction, or deduced empirically; that they understand the concept of a question-response structure --since they could be telepathic and not need such interchange). Moreover, the language only provides some basic syntactic rules, but leaves the rest in the hands of hypothetical "universals" of grammar. --Pablo Flores