Battle of the *langs

For the discussion of language mechanics, grammar, vocabulary, trends, and other such linguistic topics, in english and other languages.

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Battle of the *langs

Postby ZLVT » Mon Aug 04, 2008 11:22 am UTC

Here's a place to debate and argue over the values of learning any or all:

obsolete/historic/obscure/extinct languages (I propose "oldlangs" or "uselangs")
and
artificial/constructed languages (conlangs)

including but not limited to:
artistic languages (artlangs)
auxiliary languages (auxlangs)
and
engineered languages (englangs)


which I think you'll all agree should collectively be called "nerdlangs"

Anyway, here you can all argue about the various merits and shortcommings of your favourite or least favourite languages. For instance "Ido is a disgusting perversion of Esperanto" or "Latin is not spoken by any major group of people and is useless as a language".
This is NOT a practice thread, so if you write in a nerdlang, translate it.

Personally, I'd be interested in knowing what people think of the following:
uselangs: Latin, classical greek
auxlangs: Esperanto, Interlingua
englangs: Lojban

___________________________________________________
Note: threads exist for Esperanto, Toki Pona, Volapük, and Latin
Last edited by ZLVT on Tue Aug 12, 2008 5:33 am UTC, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Battle of the *langs

Postby steewi » Tue Aug 05, 2008 1:06 am UTC

I'm a fan of oldlangs (which I prefer over uselangs). I've a smattering of Lating, but I prefer Anglo-Saxon*, which I can read a lot more easily than I could a few months ago. I'd like to get to a stage where I can compose easily in it. I've a smattering of Gothic and Classical Chinese (文言) as well. Why? Because I'm into Historical Linguistics and reconstruction, and because I enjoy the history and the old original texts. If we forget how to read them, someone will have to decipher them again later, which will suck.
I like artlangs, but don't take them seriously. If you've made an artlang for your fictional world which you're going to publish in, cool! But at the same time, the world doesn't need to know about it until your book's famous. The good reasons for artlangs, as I see it, is for experimentation with possibilities. What if we want to distinguish this weird thing in a language? What if the speakers want to talk about good and evil as cardinal directions? What if the speakers have no lips? And it encourages creativity from people who decide to do it. On the other hand, the number of relexified Enlgishes (with the same phonology and random apostrophes) out there is frustrating...
Auxlangs have a great idealism to them. I don't think anything will ever come of them, but I like their optimism. Unfortunately it's difficult to engineer a successful auxlang, especially if you want it universally (read: worldwide, not universe-wide) easily learnt, while still able to communicate all the necessary things.
Englangs, well, they have a purpose - to reduce (better word?) language to a logical sequence, without irregularities and human quirks. It has a good reason for existence, but doesn't pique my interest.

*Edit: Anyone for an Anglo-Saxon practise thread?

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Re: Battle of the *langs

Postby Klotz » Tue Aug 05, 2008 2:18 am UTC

I find Latin is great for having a pretentious knowledge of etymology. What's the difference between an englang and an auxlang?

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Re: Battle of the *langs

Postby Asleep or Wrong » Tue Aug 05, 2008 8:36 am UTC

Klotz wrote:What's the difference between an englang and an auxlang?

Auxiliary languages are created for the purpose of being a universal second language, facilitating communications between disparate peoples. For example, Esperanto.
Engineered languages are created to mess around with language. For example, Toki Pona.

Ancient languages are nice. I haven't strayed out of the old Indo-European languages (Latin, Greek, Sanskrit), but I'd like to learn more from other cultures with rich literary traditions. It's great to have access to a huge corpus of works of all sorts of varieties. And there's a lot published online, too.
Artistic languages aren't a very good grouping, should be blown apart into personal languages, languages created as part of a fictional work, languages speculating on alternate developments of existing languages, etc.
Of those, personal languages are cool and I want to make one one day, languages part of fictional works are usually unwarranted and silly, speculative history languages are cool and I appreciate the work people who make them put into them.
I can't take pure auxiliary languages seriously, sorry.
Engineered languages are a neat idea, not really familiar with them in practice.

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Re: Battle of the *langs

Postby ZLVT » Wed Aug 06, 2008 4:24 am UTC

steewi wrote:
*Edit: Anyone for an Anglo-Saxon practise thread?


that'd be like totally ueber pwnage. I don't speak but I want to, It'd be so cool, finally I could satisfy the pretentious prig in me.
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Re: Battle of the *langs

Postby Alpha Omicron » Thu Aug 07, 2008 3:21 am UTC

I'm a little surprised there's no thread dedicated to Lojban. Which is especially odd since it has been mentioned in the comic.
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Re: Battle of the *langs

Postby ZLVT » Thu Aug 07, 2008 3:36 am UTC

Well, I started a lojban/esperanto thread (or they were merged) anyway, as the discussion didn't touch on lojban much and there weren't many speakers, I changed it to an esperanto thread.
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Re: Battle of the *langs

Postby Asleep or Wrong » Thu Aug 07, 2008 3:48 am UTC

now that i think of it, Ido/Interlingua/non Esperanto auxiliary language speakers, do you value the nature of the language or the idea of a universal culture-neutral secondary language more? i've had a lot of trouble wrapping my head around the idea that there are people who want this but would refuse to tack themselves to Esperanto's rising star. 'slike Marxists, put two in a room and you get three parties and eight steering committees.

edit: now that I think of it I just assumed that Esperanto was doing well. How are auxiliary languages progressing currently?

edit2: now that I think of it I just began paragraphs with "now that I think of it" twice. odd, that.

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Re: Battle of the *langs

Postby ZLVT » Thu Aug 07, 2008 8:02 am UTC

Ido and Esperanto have large speaker bases, but Esperanto is succeeding better, estimates* put the population at: "Fluent speakers: between 30.000 and 300.000 [1]; Casual users: est. 100,000 to 2 million; native: 200 to 2000 (1996, est.) [2]. The most popular constructed language."

Interlingua is the second most spoken language (or third depending on where Ido is this week) but it also has the purported benefit of being intelligible to hundreds of millions of romance speakers

The other "major" IAL's (according to wiki) are:

Volapük - Well, check the Volapük thread...
Idiom Neutral - Virtually extinct
Latino sine Flexione - Replaced Idiom Neutral in 1908 and is now nearly extinct
Occidental - precursor to interlingue, which later become interlingua
Novial - similar to interlngua but more germanic, it was abandoned for the interlingua movement
Glosa - currently has less speakers that Volapük

So...they're all basically dead. Seems Eo and Ia are the only real runners (Ido sux0rz)

*wiki
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Re: Battle of the *langs

Postby TimM » Mon Aug 11, 2008 9:23 pm UTC

I learned some Latin and less Greek at school. The languages themselves are useless and I don't generally acknowledge having any because of the tiresome micturation tournaments that often result -- people who have the same vague schooltime memories as me, trying to leverage their fading knowledge into a nebulous feeling of superiority and/or clubbishness.

I feel safe coming out here though.

I absolutely don't regret learning either, because:
  • their vocabularies (esp. Latin) are a great little lever for opening up Romance languages, and make scientific terminology less opaque -- the languages are a little alive in that limited way
  • the lessons often involved readings which made learning a little history palatable even to a committed philistine like me

I can't work up any enthusiasm for artificial languages. The reason I like learning (tiny, tiny fragments of) foreign languages is because then if you manage to go to the right country and say the right thing -- you get a drink! Or a meal! Or to know where the hell you are! Or... well you get my drift. That's your motivation right there.

I can't think what the equivalent experience is with Esperanto (for example). If there is one, though, I want to know.

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Re: Battle of the *langs

Postby ZLVT » Tue Aug 12, 2008 7:11 am UTC

TimM wrote:
I can't work up any enthusiasm for artificial languages. The reason I like learning (tiny, tiny fragments of) foreign languages is because then if you manage to go to the right country and say the right thing -- you get a drink! Or a meal! Or to know where the hell you are! Or... well you get my drift. That's your motivation right there.

I can't think what the equivalent experience is with Esperanto (for example). If there is one, though, I want to know.


Well, same thing, if you wear your little esperanto pin, and go into a bar, people who can speak it will be even more happy than if you were to speak their native language, thus resultign in even MORE free stuff. and you could pull it off in most countries using only the one language
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Re: Battle of the *langs

Postby TimM » Tue Aug 12, 2008 6:56 pm UTC

ZLVT wrote:
TimM wrote:
I can't work up any enthusiasm for artificial languages. The reason I like learning (tiny, tiny fragments of) foreign languages is because then if you manage to go to the right country and say the right thing -- you get a drink! Or a meal! Or to know where the hell you are! Or... well you get my drift. That's your motivation right there.

I can't think what the equivalent experience is with Esperanto (for example). If there is one, though, I want to know.


Well, same thing, if you wear your little esperanto pin, and go into a bar, people who can speak it will be even more happy than if you were to speak their native language, thus resultign in even MORE free stuff. and you could pull it off in most countries using only the one language


Whoops, I didn't intend to imply that I was mooching (though now you mention it that's exactly how it reads) - money changes hands too. The kick isn't in getting free stuff, it's in getting stuff at all. Oh I know I could bellow very slowly in English and wave my arms, but... not the same kick in the head department.

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Re: Battle of the *langs

Postby ZLVT » Wed Aug 13, 2008 4:16 am UTC

Meteorswarm wrote:So how do you go about learning an unnatural or no-longer-extant-in-the-wild language? It's easy enough to find literature or classes on even obscure living languages, but I've never seen advertisements for Esperanto classes.


There are Esperanto clubs around the place, you can also learn on lernu.net and as for oldlangs,well, classical greek, latin, farsi, hebrew, classical arabic are all taught prominently, things like Anglo-saxon would be harder, but a university campus would have at least one speaker, and they could point you in the right direction. When in doubt, go to uni.
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Re: Battle of the *langs

Postby steewi » Wed Aug 13, 2008 4:43 am UTC

I regularly attend an Anglo-Saxon reading group (near you, ZLVT). There's also a Latin reading group. It's not even a particularly oldlang based university, although there is a Classics dept.

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Re: Battle of the *langs

Postby ZLVT » Wed Aug 13, 2008 10:54 am UTC

Would you happen to have an address? Maybe we can meat up.
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Re: Battle of the *langs

Postby Aveteomni » Wed Aug 13, 2008 2:01 pm UTC

I find that, since I'm learning Latin now (taking AP next semester,) not only does it help me with vocabulary in English and grammar in English, but it also helps me with grammar in any other languages, whether or not they be Romance languages. I believe the reason for this is because, in Latin, one must be able to look at individual words solely for their grammar and find their use in a sentence. Since I'm so much better able to understand grammar this way, I can figure out how structure functions in other languages, like in Japanese. I haven't taken a class, but I've been to Japan and found that I can figure out how it works because of my classical training. For this I am very glad to have taken Latin =D. I don't know much about these auxiliary languages, but it sounds like a very interesting concept -- a universally understood language. I don't really think they could be so effective, however. What is the point of adding an auxiliary language when one could (probably, since I don't know how they work) learn a current language as a second language just as easily, and have most people decide to learn that current language as a second language universally anyways?
I'll put something here when I see/think of something witty..

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Re: Battle of the *langs

Postby ZLVT » Wed Aug 13, 2008 2:11 pm UTC

Agreed, without latin, I wouldn't be the linguistic nut you see before you today, also, Latin taught me more English than English did.

As to your question:
a) languages usually have political affiliations, for instance, everyone learning Mandarin would certainly be a bias toward non-chinese people, not to mention pissing everyone off "but how come /they/ don't have to learn a language". And could you see the US teachign compulsory Russin?

b) an auxlang has to be very easy to teach/learn and completely regular in order to limit foolish mistakes. I've yet to encounter a euro language so far which has a regular verb for "to be". It has to be simple enough that people can manipulate it

c) it needs to accomodate people from all over the world, bringing elements of various languages together so that everyone can find their bearings.

Zamenhoff (Esperanto) vowed at age six to teach the world latin, until he learned latin and went about creating a new language. Rwal languages are often already too complex to teach to large groups of people rapidly.
Here's a youtube clip of:
"A former UN and WHO translator, who is also a psychologist -- Claude Piron taught for 20 years at the Psychology Department of the University of Geneva - shares his experience of international communication and discusses the international language Esperanto."
http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=_YHALnLV9XU

Very good clip, I enjoyed watching it.
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Re: Battle of the *langs

Postby Alpha Omicron » Wed Aug 13, 2008 7:38 pm UTC

ZLVT wrote:b) an auxlang has to be very easy to teach/learn and completely regular in order to limit foolish mistakes. I've yet to encounter a euro language so far which has a regular verb for "to be". It has to be simple enough that people can manipulate it.

Some *langs get along fine without any verb for "to be". In English it's really just used to connect stative verbs with their subjects, when do you ever just say "X is."?
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Re: Battle of the *langs

Postby TimM » Wed Aug 13, 2008 10:37 pm UTC

ZLVT wrote:http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=_YHALnLV9XU
Very good clip, I enjoyed watching it.


Me too. I recognise his description of the experience of being a foreigner, although he was talking specifically about the difficulty of English, and I personally enjoy the feeling of being out of my depth.

I also like the idea of a language that copes when everyone speaks with their own accent and sentence ordering. Oh and apparently Cambridge is chock-a-block with esperantists. So I'm off to spend some time with this little green character on Lernu.

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Re: Battle of the *langs

Postby ZLVT » Thu Aug 14, 2008 3:48 am UTC

Alpha Omicron wrote:
ZLVT wrote:b) an auxlang has to be very easy to teach/learn and completely regular in order to limit foolish mistakes. I've yet to encounter a euro language so far which has a regular verb for "to be". It has to be simple enough that people can manipulate it.

Some *langs get along fine without any verb for "to be". In English it's really just used to connect stative verbs with their subjects, when do you ever just say "X is."?


True but I was only pointing out the inherent irregularities in languages with the most common example. Also, in Hungarian, the third person "to be" is the only person not used as a copula, but it IS the existencial affirmative (there is, es gibt)

TimM wrote:I also like the idea of a language that copes when everyone speaks with their own accent and sentence ordering. Oh and apparently Cambridge is chock-a-block with esperantists. So I'm off to spend some time with this little green character on Lernu.

His name is Zam and he loves you, lernu was good, but I didn't go too far, I do however have the book "A complete grammar of Esperanto" which I find is rather good. It also has a mini dictionary in the back, but it does lack grammar tables, fortunately, wiki has all of them so with those two combined you're set.
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Re: Battle of the *langs

Postby Alpha Omicron » Wed Apr 15, 2009 2:25 am UTC

nuqDaq tlhIngan Hol jatlhwI'pu'? naDev chaHbe'mo' jI'IQ.
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Re: Battle of the *langs

Postby ZLVT » Wed Apr 15, 2009 3:35 am UTC

Is there a copy of klingon dictionary online? Cos the only one I know of requires you to have the dictionary before you can use it.
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Re: Battle of the *langs

Postby Alpha Omicron » Wed Apr 15, 2009 3:38 am UTC

ZLVT wrote:Is there a copy of klingon dictionary online? Cos the only one I know of requires you to have the dictionary before you can use it.
There is an online version of an analyzer/dictionary program but hush, lest Viacom bring the intellectual property hammer down.
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Re: Battle of the *langs

Postby Roĝer » Wed Apr 15, 2009 4:14 pm UTC

The equivalent for speaking a language and actually knowing what you ordered (getting stuff) would be looking up an address in a little pink book, sending an email or calling, and two weeks later be discussing local traditions and customs with a stranger who is letting you sleep in his house for free. And they usually offer you breakfast too. That is the Pasporta Servo. Does any of the languages discussed here offer you this?
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Re: Battle of the *langs

Postby Alpha Omicron » Wed Apr 15, 2009 4:45 pm UTC

Err, what?
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Re: Battle of the *langs

Postby ZLVT » Thu Apr 16, 2009 4:34 am UTC

Esperanto speakers sigh up to a list where they offer other esperanto speakers free/cheap lodgings overseas. It's a really cheap way to find lodgings overseas if you speak the language. However it isn't an inherent part of the language, just of the community.
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Re: Battle of the *langs

Postby Alpha Omicron » Thu Apr 16, 2009 1:54 pm UTC

ZLVT wrote:Esperanto speakers sigh up to a list where they offer other esperanto speakers free/cheap lodgings overseas. It's a really cheap way to find lodgings overseas if you speak the language. However it isn't an inherent part of the language, just of the community.
Ah. I just had trouble understanding the post. Thank you.
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Re: Battle of the *langs

Postby vaguelyhumanoid » Fri Jun 25, 2010 1:54 am UTC

I love *langs.
I've studied (to some meaningful extent):
Koine Greek
Anglo-Saxon
Latin
Esperanto
Toki Pona

as well as the writing system of Egyptian and creating an artlang, KoˀZezak.
Spoiler:
tesseraktik wrote: of course you need to gornax your frifftop to a proper taibou (which, as the construction of this tempered tutatu suggests, consists of two bed.pans joined by a haiku), or else angry zubat are going to flork off your penis.'

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Re: Battle of the *langs <- Georgian!

Postby QuestioningLead » Fri Jun 25, 2010 9:38 am UTC

:D (Or Svan, but only one dictionary, really, in that, that I can use.)

But really... incredible warmth towards and intoxication of strangers, the coolest verb-puzzles in a literary language, or so, __cheap__ accommodations and lessons once you get there...

and the coolest looking glyphset on the left column of (en.)wikipedia!

I'm going. Really. Anyone want to come along? Say 3-4 months (I'm a whiz ;-] )
Maybe 2-3 5wk-ish chunks?

I can teach Japanese, as bait. Full-on geekfully
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I'm sooo ready to learn a less-learned language.
I'll join you in your choice of language afterwards, if you want. We can find shortcuts. Fun.
(And Arabic. Cantonese after that).
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Re: Battle of the *langs

Postby Iulus Cofield » Fri Jun 25, 2010 10:32 pm UTC

Not a lot of anti-Esperantists here. Well, I've always been a rather hopeless person, so I'll have to ask: isn't Esperanto, despite its relative success, usually criticized for being, instead of a truly international, culture neutral auxlang, a truly Indo-European, with its own developing interculture, auxlang?

As for the use of oldlangs, the knowledge of them is invaluable if we want to keep having the knowledge and art of dead cultures. And the oldlangs that are still spoken tend to be the languages of cultures that modern cultures have descended from. It's not enough to simply translate all the texts from an oldlang into a modern language now and then stop learning, either. As a translator whose name I can't remember said, every text, especially literary texts, need to be retranslated every generation or two to keep up with the modern language usage. The KJV Bible is still legible, kind of, but soon it will be no more readable than Chaucer. We could of course just keep updating translations without knowing the source language, but that tends to lead to very bad translations with lots of grammatical and semantic shifts.

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Re: Battle of the *langs

Postby vaguelyhumanoid » Sat Jun 26, 2010 3:10 am UTC

I actually like the fact that Esperanto has its own culture, and the grammar isn't really Indo-European, exactly... though a more neutral relexification would be nice.
Spoiler:
tesseraktik wrote: of course you need to gornax your frifftop to a proper taibou (which, as the construction of this tempered tutatu suggests, consists of two bed.pans joined by a haiku), or else angry zubat are going to flork off your penis.'

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Re: Battle of the *langs

Postby Alces » Thu Jul 01, 2010 9:00 pm UTC

Latin, classical greek


These are very worthwhile to learn since you can read all sorts of philosophy, histories, plays, epic poems, etc. that don't work as well when translated into other languages.

auxlangs: Esperanto, Interlingua


I'm not a great fan of Esperanto. Its creator clearly wasn't much of a linguist, and much of the details of the language are very vague. Its speakers, who are mostly European, have therefore given it very European characteristics because of this. And the language itself is blatantly eurocentric; for instance you have to front interrogative pronouns in a question. It seems arrogant to pass itself off as the 'world's auxiliary language'.

Interlingua I have less of a problem is, since it is more specifically about Romance languages in particular. I can see people actually bothering to learn it.

englangs: Lojban


Not a great fan of Lojban. Attempts to fit any language into logic are doomed IMO. I don't know much about Lojban, but I'll bet it isn't rigorously logical about semantics. And it's the irrationality of languages which interests me, anyway.

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Re: Battle of the *langs

Postby Makri » Fri Jul 02, 2010 8:47 am UTC

Is the wh-movement behavior of European languages really so rare typologically that one can say it makes Esperanto eurocentric?
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Re: Battle of the *langs

Postby Josephine » Sat Jul 03, 2010 2:38 pm UTC

On Lojban: It's a good concept. It's a good bridge between computers and natural language. It could never work as a native language. Children shaping a language add irrationalities that are essentially impossible to keep from incorporating into the language.
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Re: Battle of the *langs

Postby Makri » Sat Jul 03, 2010 3:12 pm UTC

It's got nothing to do with irrationality. Lojban ist simply outside the space of possible grammars for natural languages.
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Re: Battle of the *langs

Postby PM 2Ring » Sat Jul 03, 2010 6:07 pm UTC

I agree that Loglan-like languages could never arise naturally in a human society. However, I don't think that makes them unsuitable as a mother tongue. But as I said earlier (in another thread), I believe it'd take a fluent Loglan speaker to design a proper Loglan that was "organic" enough to be used as a primary language.

IME, it really doesn't take that much exposure to Loglan before you start thinking in a more Loglanesque fashion. My small efforts with it certainly had a greater effect on me in a few months than 5 years of highschool French ever did.

But that's not to say that children speaking it would utilize all its complex potential. For that matter, neither would many adults.

Some peope get the idea that Loglan "wants" its speakers to become hyperlogical. Not at all! But if you do wish to speak in propositional logic, Loglan allows you to do so with a minimum of fuss.

One of my favourite aspects is the way it handles tenses: you don't need to impose a tense on your utterance if you don't want to, but if you do wish to specify various temporal qualifications on your utterance you can easily do so, and the same machinery can be used to impose spatial qualifications on your utterance, if you want.

Alces wrote:Not a great fan of Lojban. Attempts to fit any language into logic are doomed IMO. I don't know much about Lojban, but I'll bet it isn't rigorously logical about semantics. And it's the irrationality of languages which interests me, anyway.

The originator of Loglan, JCB, agrees that semantic ambiguity is impossible to eradicate. But there is no syntactic ambiguity in Loglan. You can say very irrational things in Loglan, if that is your desire, and unlike a natural language, your listener never needs to use "common sense" to disambiguate your syntax.

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Re: Battle of the *langs

Postby Makri » Sat Jul 03, 2010 7:05 pm UTC

However, I don't think that makes them unsuitable as a mother tongue.


If you don't believe that there is such a thing as universal grammar, that is. But if some word order rule of Lojban is a typological impossibility, then there is some reason to believe that it couldn't be acquired.

I'll take an example from Wikipedia to illustrate the point:

* mi prami do (SVO) (I love you)
* mi do prami (SOV) (By me, you are loved)
* do se prami mi (OVS) (You are loved by me)
* do mi se prami (OSV) (You, I love)
* prami fa mi do (VSO) (Loved by me, you are)
* prami do fa mi (VOS) (Love you, I do)


This is typologically impossible, because topicalization in natural language is, if syntactially marked, always accomplished by movement of a constituent to the beginning of the sentence. At least I know of no exception to that. Consequently, "mi do prami" could only mean "me, you love", and "do mi se prami" would have to mean "by you, I am loved" (given the neutral versions of the sentences).

Also, there's no consistent passive morphology here, and the last sentence should, if anything, mean "loved, you are by me".

So I bet that it is simply impossible for children to natively acquire such syntax.

This, however, is nothing against Lojban, because it is interesting in its own right in virtue of its computational properties, quite independently from natural language.

But if you do wish to speak in propositional logic, Loglan allows you to do so with a minimum of fuss.


Predicate logic (which is what you must mean, as it makes no sense to want to speak in propositional logic), as classically conceived is a mistaken ideal for a language, though. That's because the core, as it were, of sentences in natural language is an existence statement about an event or state, not a relation between individuals.

you don't need to impose a tense on your utterance if you don't want to


What happens if you don't specify the tense? Is it existentially bound? If so, what's the domain of the quantifier? I guess you end up with something truth-conditionally equivalent to a so-called E-perfect, that is, a perfect that says that some time in the past, an event of the described kind has happened. Like in "I have been to Vienna".
Tense and spatial specifications don't really work alike in natural language, nor does, I would assume, the human mind treat them analogously...
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Re: Battle of the *langs

Postby PM 2Ring » Mon Jul 05, 2010 9:47 am UTC

Yes, I suppose I should've said predicate logic, not propositional logic. :)

Sorry, makri, I'm unwell and feeling a bit vague at the moment, and it's been years since I studied Loglan, so I don't think I can currently answer your questions with the attention they deserve. But hopefully these link will be helpful:

3.5 On the Metaphysics of Predicates
[...]if you learn the language you will find that while the mechanics of the predicate grammar are very simple for your tongue to master, its metaphysics are not easy for the mind. For your mind, gentle reader, has almost certainly been shaped by an Indo-European language. It is therefore admirably equipped to deal with a world of enduring objects (nouns), of actions and processes (verbs), of permanent qualities (adjectives), of transitory qualities (one kind of adverb), and of qualities of qualities (another kind of adverb); and it is just this partition of the world you will miss in speaking Loglan. Your world is a time-bound world; it makes its fundamental distinctions on the basis of permanence or change. The world you will gradually come to see in speaking Loglan is time-free; for its fundamental notions contain no hint of time. Your world has hard, categorical boundaries between one thing-class and another; in the Loglan world the classifying qualities of things are more softly viewed. Your world is a world of separate objects; the things of the Loglan world are caught up in a web of relations. In short, the world of Loglan is just that time-free world of continuous qualities and things-in-relation that science has taught us to expect to find under the appearances we see. Perhaps if it helps us see that world a little more directly, it will have been worth the price of these wrenches to our minds.


3.6 The Simple Tenses pa na fa
We have said that the Loglan world is time-free because its fundamental notion--the unadorned predicate--contains no hint of time.
[...]
The optional character of the Loglan tenses permits the direct expression of many things that are hidden in certain arbitrary-seeming usage-patterns of the natural languages. In English there is no "time-less" tense. But we need one; therefore we make one up. We use the present tense of verbs like 'swim', 'dance' or 'fly' and expect our listeners to know when we say 'He swims', 'She dances well', and 'John flies to New York' that we do not mean these remarks literally. For when we use the so-called "present" tense in these sentences we do not intend to claim that he is swimming now, or that she is dancing now, or that John is flying now, but only that he can swim, she can dance well, and that John does fly to New York when he goes there at all. We expect--and get--the cooperation of the listener in these non-literal uses of the English present tense because we need a time-free tense in English and do not have one. Loglan has one. Therefore in speaking Loglan you can mean what you say.


3.8 Conversion with nu fu ju
[...] the little word nu exchanges the meanings of the first and second places of any Loglan predicate. This includes those with adjectival and noun-like meanings as well as those that behave like verbs.
[...]
In exactly the same way the operators fu, and ju work to bring third-, and fourth-place arguments into the first-place of predicates of higher form.

By using two or more of these conversion operators, it's possible to rearrange the arguments of a predicate into any order possible. Now, in actual use, it may be unlikely that such multiple rearrangements will be easy for either the speaker or the listener. So I agree that they may be difficult to acquire by children learning the language as their mother tongue. And the same could be said for some of the other types of syntactic transformations that Loglan allows. In fact, mechanisms have been added to the revised versions of Loglan to try & make some of these things more natural.

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Re: Battle of the *langs

Postby Makri » Mon Jul 05, 2010 10:05 am UTC

Thanks for the references! Now I'm completely and utterly convinced that this language is definitely not acquireable by children natively. :mrgreen:

For your mind, gentle reader, has almost certainly been shaped by an Indo-European language.


The metaphysics of natural language semantics seem to be universal. :roll:

In English there is no "time-less" tense. But we need one; therefore we make one up. We use the present tense of verbs like 'swim', 'dance' or 'fly' and expect our listeners to know when we say 'He swims', 'She dances well', and 'John flies to New York' that we do not mean these remarks literally. For when we use the so-called "present" tense in these sentences we do not intend to claim that he is swimming now, or that she is dancing now, or that John is flying now, but only that he can swim, she can dance well, and that John does fly to New York when he goes there at all. We expect--and get--the cooperation of the listener in these non-literal uses of the English present tense because we need a time-free tense in English and do not have one.


This is completely wrong. The sentences in questions are habitual, generic, or dispositional, and they're quite obviously not tenseless because the same thing can be put in the past or future tense.

"He used to swim, but he's given it up."
"Once you have completed this course, you will speak Spanish much better."
"What? Mary even won a tournament, so you see that she did dance very well at the time!"

The only sentences I can understand without reference to time are logical truths like 2+2=4. Talking about the world without reference to time doesn't seem to make much sense to me.
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Re: Battle of the *langs

Postby spamtrap » Thu Aug 25, 2011 5:39 pm UTC

ZLVT wrote:Latino sine Flexione - Replaced Idiom Neutral in 1908 and is now nearly extinct

It is a shame. If someone wrote a Latino sine Flexione 2.0, almost "sine flexione" (with accusative to avoid strict word order), but with some useful grammar like Esperanto, I would be very enthusiastic learner. No double consonants is a useful rule for E-Z seplling. Of course the word endings should be "Latin sounding" to keep the coolness factor of it. Something like:

nouns: -ius ( filius )
... plural: -iji (filiji )
... accusative: -um ( Ancilius vinum portat. ), in plural: -ijium
... Genitive would practically turn the noun into Adjective.
Adjectives: -a
... plural: -ai
... accusative: aum, with plural: ajium
Verbs:
... Future: -erint
... Present: -at
... Past: -eramus

etc...

Or something completely different.


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