Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ   

Re Vector tense#11

From:Gerald Koenig <jlk@...>
Date:Monday, November 9, 1998, 22:22
>From jlk Mon Nov 9 14:14:39 1998
>I'd be glad to help when I get some time, but I'm not sure what you're >looking for. Are you looking to translate the _entire_ piece into >nilenga, or just the given examples?
Yes, just the examples. I agree that it's not a good idea to try to put complex ideas into NGL yet. It's better to accept that English is our metalanguage for quite a while yet.
>In my personal opinion, it would >be more productive to translate the examples alone. I still find that >the word list is so small that large, serious compositions seem to >inevitably require a lot of coining, or at least agonising over >derivations. I'm still trying to restrict my NGL composition to pieces
> >Also, let me see if I grasp the usage of {ror}, {inro}, {ros}, {rom} >and {rof}. {Ror} denotes an hypothetical proposition that the speaker >says isn't true. {Inro} is like {ror} only stronger, saying that not >only is the hypothesis untrue, it is also impossible to be true. {Ros} >says the hypothesis might or might not be true, the speaker doesn't >know. {Rom} says that the hypothesis is true (Question: isn't this the >same as the indicative? Or does {rom} mean something more like "I >_believe_ this is true, but it is possible to doubt). {Rof} is a >wildcard that can mean anything so long as the verb it applies to is >divorced from reality in some fashion. Presumably we depend on context >to differentiate a {rof} statement.
The above is quite an accurate reflection of what I had in mind, and it makes me feel good that it is understandable, at least for two of us now. I want to expand on some points though. What true means can get to be quite a sticky philosophical issue, especially if it is taken to mean only a correspondence to an outer reality. Ror just claims that the proposition exists only in-mind. Suppose I say "Ror I have invented a new type of machine". (according to my patent attorney, I probably have). Suppose this machine is still only in my mind, there are no protoypes. Ror doesn't claim that it is false that I have invented a new type of machine. It claims that it is, so far, purely imaginary, mental. That is what makes it subjunctive. If we take the definition of truth to be correspondence with something existent in the outer world, then the claim is false. Inro is just as you say, it can't exist so far as exist means outside someone's malfunctioning or artistic imagination. The predication violates severely the whole fabric of science and common sense, or else it is a logical impossibility, an inconsistency or fallacy. Rom. Suppose we go to lunch in Japan, we can't read the menu. But I know I like makunouchi (sp), I order it, and you say, I'll try one too, but you don't have a clue what it is. It arrives, and we are eating it. I can say "Rom mi te eat makunouchi." It means that the makunouchi I am presently eating corresponds to the idea I have and had in-mind as to what eating makunouchi is. You can't say that, because you didn't know what it was, or what it's going to taste like. You have to use the simple indicative, "mi te eat makunouchi". Makunouchi, according to the proprietess of one of my favorite restaurants, now closed, is a "Japanese lunch-box". It's a kind of smorgasbord in a divided tray.
> >What do you see as the place of the subjunctive in everyday language? >Do you see the subjunctive used sparingly (the extreme example being >English, which has experienced a severe decline in the use of >subjunctive forms) or used wherever a subjunctive would be the best >logical fit? (PVS, BTW, prefers that the subjuntive {xi}, which is >more like {rof} than anything, be used wherever a subjuctive would be >logically called for, but also tolerates a fair bit of over-extension >of the indicative so long as the intended meaning is not lost).
I feel a lot of the problem in the usage of the subjunctive is the archaic grammar. It's counterintuitive to shift tense and person to express it. With the advertising and political industries using more and more unreal (subjunctive) imagery and language, we are going to need a grammar which can clearly demarcate what is real from what is hype. At the same time we may wish to preserve a certain ambiguity for purposes of politeness and poetry. And
>more to the point, I think, where does {rof} fit into your system in >terms of frequency of use? Do you see {rof} as a highly popular form >chosen unless the speaker considers differentiation absolutely >required, or the opposite situation, where the speaker will always >choose the most precisely correct form and will only resort to using >{rof} if none of the others precisely fits or if she isn't sure which >one fits?
I think in the learning phase we will all use rof because it's what we are familiar with and learning proceeds from the familiar to the unfamiliar. Then I think we will gradually want to use the new concepts or rather the new short formulations of old concepts because they are easy to use. The last thing I would want is to mandate their use, or impose an unwanted degree of precision on anyone. They are there to facilitate understanding, and to prevent misunderstanding where that is really important. But I would not want to throw the baby out with the bath as far as maintaining the suggestiveness and ambiguity of English is concerned. Thanks again for you input, by some unknown synergy your questions always help me understand my own creations better, and hopefully this is true for the rest of our vast [:)] readership. Jerry
> >Naesverig, > >Stephen > >