No number base?!?

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Robin Lee Powell

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May 29, 2001, 6:51:25 PM5/29/01
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Why is there no sumti for number base in namcu?

In fact, I can find no way to ask the question:

"Why do you prefer base-16?"

-Robin

--
http://www.digitalkingdom.org/~rlpowell/ BTW, I'm male, honest.
le datni cu djica le nu zifre .iku'i .oi le so'e datni cu to'e te pilno
je xlali -- RLP http://www.lojban.org/

Rob Speer

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May 29, 2001, 10:30:45 PM5/29/01
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On Tue, May 29, 2001 at 03:51:25PM -0700, Robin Lee Powell wrote:
> Why is there no sumti for number base in namcu?

I'd think "na'ucmu" would suffice.

> In fact, I can find no way to ask the question:
>
> "Why do you prefer base-16?"

Furthermore, if the listener really does prefer base-16, how does he know
you're not talking about base 22?

This goes along with a few things I've observed:
* Lojban seems designed for base 16, having the digits 0-9 _and_ A-F in
single-syllable words - so perhaps a native of Lojbanistan would naturally
count in base 16
* There are gismu for various powers of 10, but none for powers of 16
* There are incidentally 3 words for "ten" in Lojban - pano, dau, dekto
* In any language, it's difficult to describe bases using numbers, because all
bases are 10 when you're actually using them (English has words like
'decimal' and 'hexadecimal' which counter this)

I'm not suggesting that we all start talking in hexadecimal. Far from it.
However, it seems that Lojban gives the appearance of supporting communication
using various number bases, but doesn't go all the way.

* Is there a way to specify what base you're using outside of a mekso? ju'u
seems to be only allowed immediately after a number.
* If a different base was established, would the meanings of dekto, xecto,
decti, etc. change?
* Could lujvo be used to describe a base? {dekcmu} seems appropriate for base
10. Would {pavyxavycmu} mean hexadecimal? If the meaning of {dekto} or the
default base were changed, what would those mean?

Note: I don't find this stuff nearly as important as a conclusion to issues
involving parts of the language people might actually _use_, such as how to
specify the subjunctive. But it's still something I'm wondering about.

--
Rob Speer


John Cowan

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May 29, 2001, 9:04:18 PM5/29/01
to Robin Lee Powell, loj...@yahoogroups.com
Robin Lee Powell scripsit:

> Why is there no sumti for number base in namcu?
>
> In fact, I can find no way to ask the question:
>
> "Why do you prefer base-16?"

You need a selbri for "base", something like digit-string x1 represents
number x2 in base x3. The mechanism for expressing numbers
in random bases won't help.

--
John Cowan co...@ccil.org
One art/there is/no less/no more/All things/to do/with sparks/galore
--Douglas Hofstadter

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