Re: Mad Proposals II: The watered down version.

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Matthew Faupel

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Mar 11, 1994, 1:04:11 PM3/11/94
to Veijo Vilva
Hmm...

Veijo's comments provided food for thought. Unfortunately they did so after
I deleted the message from my mail file, so I can't quote any of them here,
but the thought that was fed was:

"Well what's Lojban for anyway?"

Jorge's proposal seemed to me to be characteristic of people's natural
tendency to try and make their life easier as far as language goes. If a
natural language has awkward corners, these tend to get rubbed off either
slowly over the course of time or relatively more quickly if one language
community comes into close contact with another. So, an attempt to simplify
a feature of Lojban when that simplification is possible and unambiguous is
(I think) a perfectly natural occurance in a language's life-cycle.

This idea was so ingrained in my subconcious that I didn't even question the
validity of Jorge's attempt to simplify the language *for the user*, nor my
automatic equation of this simplification with improvement. Veijo's remarks
on his liking of the wide range of connectives made me remember that Lojban
has purposes attached to it other than just that of being a communications
tool and thus, perhaps, simplifications are not in the best interest of the
language.

As a for instance, one of the original purposes of Lojban was to test the
Sapir-Whorf hypothesis by providing a language that was significantly
different from existing natural languages. Simplifying it (for which read
making it more user-friendly) could actually be working against this goal.
I'm not claiming that Jorge's relatively small and logical changes would
render the language invalid for this purpose, but it's something to bear in
mind when considering any modification.

Having said all this, I still feel that Jorge's proposals have merit, but
this is because testing the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis is probably at the bottom
of my list of reasons to learn Lojban. I'm learning it because planned
languages in general interest me for a variety of reasons, and Lojban is one
of the few which is well thought out, well documented and supported by a
core group who seem to have some sort of an understanding of linguistics
where most just have enthusiasm. So, my gut feeling would be to make Lojban
more usable rather than more alien.

Going back to Veijo's comments on the proposal, one thing that did ring true
was that the presence of duplication in the language wasn't in keeping with
a well designed logical language. Allowing both A and JA, and GA and JAGI
is, I think, not a good idea; if you're going to do it, go the whole hog.

This of course means that we have to start using more "ku"s, but maybe with
another mad proposal we can avoid this - how about removing the LALR(1)
restriction on Lojban.... :-)

Cheers,


Matthew

Jorge Llambias

unread,
Mar 10, 1994, 9:53:14 PM3/10/94
to Veijo Vilva
Thanks to Art, And and Matthew for their responses. It seems we
all agree that it would be nice, but maybe too big a change at
this stage of the project.

I agree with And that the proposals don't stand a chance, but
something as trivial as that won't stop me from proposing a
second version which is not quite so elegant, but still is
worthwhile.

Two things convinced me that the full proposal might not be a
good idea (appart from the political aspects, I'm just looking
at the language-in-itself for now, not the lenguage-and-its-users,
if you see what I mean).

First was Matthew's comment that {gu} changes its meaning, and thus
old texts that use it become wrong. (Old texts using the really
eliminated cmavo do not become wrong, but archaic. With a cmavo
used in a new function however, it's worse.) This can be solved
by using another cmavo instead of {gu} in that function, but it has
to be a CV'V cmavo, and the pleasing symmetry of {gi}-{gu} is lost.

The second reason came out of some comments that lojbab sent me.
This problem already exists for the {joi}'s, but nobody seems
to mind because nobody seems to use them in forethought.
It's this:

When you start a sentence with

.i joi ...

there are two possibilities: either you're connecting this sentence
non-logically to the previous one, or you're starting a non-logical
forethought connection, in which case you'd continue:

.i joi gi ...

This, of course, won't confuse the parser, but if the gi takes some
time in coming, it will probably make the human listener have to make
some jumps in mid-understanding, and this can be confusing when you're
at the same time working out truth tables in your head.

The GAs save the day for the logical connectives, because

.i je ...

won't be confused with

.i ge ...

If we add this two reasons together, we are forced to admit that the
GAs have to stay. Thus MAD PROPOSAL NUMBER 1 part B is hereby withdrawn.

I have not heard convincing arguments (lenguage-in-itself-wise) against
the other four proposals, but I will argue now that No.3 may not be
worth bothering with.

This one dealt with the GUhAs, which (I don't know if I've mentioned this
before) serve a pretty useless function, namely forethought tanru
logical connection. I'm now persuaded that the best thing is to ignore
them and let them disappear from the language simply from not being used,
rather than find a replacement for them. Forethought tanru non-logical
connection, which my proposal made possible, is almost as useless, and
therefore nobody will miss it if it's not provided.

With this explanation, MAD PROPOSAL NUMBER 3 is hereby withdrawn.

I'm still in favour of the remaining three, which I'll repeat here
(without giving all the arguments I gave before):


MAD PROPOSAL NUMBER 1:

Extend the grammar of {je} connectors to that of {joi} connectors.

COMMENT: This means that GAs and As have an equivalent JA form, but
both forms are legal. No relearning required whatsoever.
Simply a natural extension.


MAD PROPOSAL NUMBER 2:

Replace {gi'e}'s by {gije}'s, and allow {gijoi}'s for the same function.

COMMENT: The relearning effort for this is almost zero.


MAD PROPOSAL NUMBER 4:

Place {ji} in selmaho JA

COMMENT: Just to make things nice. The meaning of {ji} does not change
by doing this, it's simply extended. No relearning, other than
to remember those {ku}s.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

The connectors would then be

proposed: today's:

.... je .... .... je .... for tanru
.... je .... .... .e .... for sumti
.... .ije .... .... .ije .... for bridi
.... gije .... .... gi'e .... for bridi-tails

.... joi .... .... joi .... for tanru
.... joi .... .... joi .... for sumti
.... .ijoi .... .... .ijoi .... for bridi
.... gijoi .... not possible for bridi-tails

je gi.... gi.... ge .... gi....
joi gi.... gi.... joi gi .... gi....

{.e} and {ge.... gi...} would also be allowed for convenience.


(And GUhAs don't exist, as far as I'm concerned :)


All comments wellcome, especially if there's some obvious flaw I missed.

Jorge

Jorge Llambias

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Mar 11, 1994, 7:27:51 PM3/11/94
to Veijo Vilva
la djan cusku di'e

> I hadn't really given thought to these proposed {gijoi} forms before. The
> main question is, what do they mean? Bridi-tails aren't really semantically

[li'o]

> 3) mi klama le zarci .ijoi do klama le zarci
>
> and in fact Example 3 doesn't have a well-understood meaning. (What does it
> mean to construct a mass of two sentences, or of the claims of two sentences?)

I never claimed {gijoi} is more meaningful than {.ijoi}, but it's not less
meaningful either. When we discover what {.ijoi} means, we'll know what {gijoi}
means (it's not just an expansion, but their meanings are related).

Or are we going to eliminate all constructions for which we don't know the
meaning yet?

> The only ijoik explained in my reference grammar is ".ice'o", which separates
> the elements of an ordered list of bridi.

"gice'o" would have a very similar meaning (from the same example):

{mi ba kanji lo ni cteki kei gice'o lumci le karce gice'o dzukansa le gerku}

is just as meaningful as

15.9) mi ba gasnu la'edi'e
.i tu'e kanji lo ni cteki
.ice'o lumci le karce
.ice'o dzukansa le gerku tu'u
I [future] do the-referent-of-the-following:
( Compute the quantity of taxes.
And-then wash the car.
And-then walkingly-accompany the dog. )
List of things to do:
Figure taxes.
Wash car.
Walk dog.

>
> I believe that non-logical bridi-tail connectives have no place in the
language,
> because they have no natural semantics.

They have the same natural semantics that non-logical bridi connectives have,
since bridi-tails are just a type of bridi. If they don't have a place in the
language, neither do non-logical bridi connectives.

And here's a possible example with {gijo'u}:

mi zgana le se tivni gijo'u citka le cidja
"I watch the TV program along-with eat the food"

Any doubt what that means? I think {gijo'u} is what is meant in many cases
that {gi'e} is now used, because there's no other option. {gi'e} makes the
two claims without establishing any connection (other than the logical one)
between them, while {gijoi} and company make a single claim, composed of
subclaims that are not claimed separately.

Here's another one:

mi'a cinba vo'a gijoi dasgau vo'a noda

I'll let you all figure out what that one means.

Jorge

(This makes me think that we urgently need the {gijoi}'s, if nothing else.)

loj...@digitalkingdom.org

unread,
Mar 14, 1994, 10:24:50 AM3/14/94
to loj...@cuvmb.cc.columbia.edu, Logical Language Group
la xorxes. cusku di'e

> I never claimed {gijoi} is more meaningful than {.ijoi}, but it's not less
> meaningful either. When we discover what {.ijoi} means, we'll know what {gijoi}
> means (it's not just an expansion, but their meanings are related).

Related, yes, but not necessarily in an obvious way. In particular, all the
JOIs are defined for sumti.

> Or are we going to eliminate all constructions for which we don't know the
> meaning yet?

Actually, one of the reasons the papers have been going so slowly is that
I don't know the meaning of every construct yet! But we have eliminated
some (NAhE NUhI, NAhE KI, e.g.) because no discernible meaning existed.

> > The only ijoik explained in my reference grammar is ".ice'o", which separates
> > the elements of an ordered list of bridi.
>
> "gice'o" would have a very similar meaning (from the same example):
>
> {mi ba kanji lo ni cteki kei gice'o lumci le karce gice'o dzukansa le gerku}
>
> is just as meaningful as

[example omitted]

This looks like explanation-by-expansion, but we know that this does not
work for non-logicals. Why should non-logical bridi-tail connection be
explained by non-logical bridi connection? After all, non-logical sumti
connection and non-logical tanru connection
are known to be independent in meaning (though intuitively related).

> They have the same natural semantics that non-logical bridi connectives have,
> since bridi-tails are just a type of bridi. If they don't have a place in the
> language, neither do non-logical bridi connectives.

Actually, I'm dubious about even the ".ice'o" usage, but Bob suggested it,
so in it went. I think that jek/joik interchangeability is probably a
mistake, adopted for simplicity but not really semantically sound.

> And here's a possible example with {gijo'u}:
>
> mi zgana le se tivni gijo'u citka le cidja
> "I watch the TV program along-with eat the food"
>
> Any doubt what that means? I think {gijo'u} is what is meant in many cases
> that {gi'e} is now used, because there's no other option. {gi'e} makes the
> two claims without establishing any connection (other than the logical one)
> between them, while {gijoi} and company make a single claim, composed of
> subclaims that are not claimed separately.

I don't see it. This seems as clear-cut a logical connection as any:
you watch-and-eat just in case you watch and (.ije) you eat.

> Here's another one:
>
> mi'a cinba vo'a gijoi dasgau vo'a noda
>
> I'll let you all figure out what that one means.

Means bugger-all to me.

Part-of-the-mass-of-us-(excluding-you) kisses part-of-the-mass-etc.
[forming a mass claim with?]
part-of-the-mass-etc. is-an-agent-in-the-wearing-by part-of-the-mass-etc.
of-zero-things.

Note that the morphology rules demand "dasygau".

This gives a general impression of kissing while undressing, but I fail to see
the precise significance of the "gijoi"/".ijoi" here. Looks more like ".ije" or
".ica".

--
John Cowan sharing account <loj...@access.digex.net> for now
e'osai ko sarji la lojban.

Jorge Llambias

unread,
Mar 14, 1994, 7:17:42 PM3/14/94
to Veijo Vilva
la djan cusku di'e sera'a lu .ice'o li'u jo'u lu gice'o li'u

> This looks like explanation-by-expansion, but we know that this does not
> work for non-logicals.

It doesn't work for logicals either, in the case of tanru, and yet we don't
generalize from that to say that it doesn't work for logicals.

In any case, non-logical bridi tail connection already exists in the
language, but only in the forethought version. Adding the afterthought version
when the forethought one already exists is just for convenience.

> Why should non-logical bridi-tail connection be
> explained by non-logical bridi connection?

On the other hand, why not? I'm not saying that it necessarily should be,
but there's no intrinsic reason why it shouldn't.

> After all, non-logical sumti
> connection and non-logical tanru connection
> are known to be independent in meaning (though intuitively related).

The same can be said for logical sumti and tanru connections. But the
relationship between bridi and bridi-tail is much stronger than
that between sumti and tanru.

> > mi zgana le se tivni gijo'u citka le cidja
> > "I watch the TV program along-with eat the food"
>

> I don't see it. This seems as clear-cut a logical connection as any:
> you watch-and-eat just in case you watch and (.ije) you eat.

It means the the same as:

mi jo'ugi zgana le se tivni gi citka le cidja

I don't want to make the two separate claims, I'm claiming a relationship
between {mi}, {le se tivni} and {le cidja}, not two separate relationships.
My mind and body are absorbing the two types of junk as a single event.
(perhaps I should have used {maldja} to make this clearer.) If I say

mi zgana le se tivni gi'e citka le maldja

I'm not establishing any relationship other than the logical one between
the two events.

It's like the difference between:

mi jo'u do klama le zarci

and:
mi .e do klama le zarci


The last one is equivalent to two claims, and if each of those two is
true, then the {.e} claim is true.

The first one claims more, and at the same time is more ambiguous. It
probably means that we go together to the market, or something of the sort.


Jorge

loj...@digitalkingdom.org

unread,
Mar 11, 1994, 5:41:46 PM3/11/94
to loj...@cuvmb.cc.columbia.edu, Logical Language Group
> MAD PROPOSAL NUMBER 2:
>
> Replace {gi'e}'s by {gije}'s, and allow {gijoi}'s for the same function.

I hadn't really given thought to these proposed {gijoi} forms before. The


main question is, what do they mean? Bridi-tails aren't really semantically

meaningful in the Lojban context; "gi'e" exists primarily to imitate natural
languages which have NP-VP sentences:

1) mi klama le zarci gi'e cadzu le bisli
I go-to the market and walk-on the ice.

In the English sentence, the "and" is connecting VPs, but in the Lojban it's
connecting a selbri-plus-trailing-sumti, a purely "surface syntax" notion.

We explain giheks by the corresponding ijeks, as it is a principle in Lojban
that all logical connectives "expand out" to bridi logical connection. For
non-logical connection, though, this rule does not hold:

2) mi joi do klama le zarci
I massed-with you go-to the market

does not expand to

3) mi klama le zarci .ijoi do klama le zarci

and in fact Example 3 doesn't have a well-understood meaning. (What does it
mean to construct a mass of two sentences, or of the claims of two sentences?)

The only ijoik explained in my reference grammar is ".ice'o", which separates
the elements of an ordered list of bridi.

I believe that non-logical bridi-tail connectives have no place in the language,


because they have no natural semantics.

--

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