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Re: Language-generating software (was Re: Replies to my Introduction)

From:Josh Brandt-Young <vionau@...>
Date:Saturday, January 18, 2003, 10:53
Quoth Jeffrey Henning:

> I'm appalled that anyone uses LangMaker in this day and age. It's an awful > little Windows 3.1 program that suffers from bit rot. I just downloaded it > last night for the first time since 1998 and boy is it buggy and ugly. I > also think the interface is pretty unintuitive. It looks like a warmed-over > version of Excel 95.
All quite true. On my system (Win98) opening, closing, or saving any file which contains data causes it to generate a "subscript out of range" error. And sometimes if you click "Cancel" instead of "Save" when leaving the "Define column" dialog box, it clears all fields in a particularly satanic manner. Although, I am quite impressed with its support for specified frequencies--the way you can put "30%" after "CVCV".
> 1. Do you regularly use language-gen software? > [X] Yes [ ] No {place an X in the appropriate box}
> 2. If yes, which one?
On my PC I still use LangMaker, just because the only other one I have is in QBASIC and it's incredibly unwieldly. For my Mac I actually wrote my own program using FileMaker, AppleScript and perl--it has a nice GUI, it's blindingly fast (10,000 words in less than five seconds), has 12 columns for variables instead of just six, maintains the "exclude duplicates" option, calculates the total number of words possible from your provided syllable structures, &c; but I still haven't found any way to do the percentage thingy mentioned above, or handle sound changes.
> 3. What do you like about the language-gen software you've looked at?
Although it's extremely inflexible, and only marginally usable, I like the fact that LangMaker *provides* a method for doing historical change. Its columnar layout is convenient for some types of activity, but in fact the program is so unstable that I don't like to keep it open for long enough to use that functionality. Once again, I like the percentage thing. Oh, and it's free, of course.
> 4. What do you dislike?
Er...instability, slowness (I didn't realize this until I saw how incredibly fast perl does it), inflexibility particularly in the number of variables usable simultaneously, inability to handle Unicode...I'm sure there's more, but others will catch them. :)
> 5. What would you all like to see in such software?
There have been various points at which I would have found it useful to be able to use columnar variables in calculations/formulas; see above. Now, do you ask because you're about to *design* such a program? :) Cheers, Josh ---------- Josh Brandt-Young <vionau@...> "After the tempest I behold, once more, the weasel." (Mispronunciation of Ancient Greek)