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Has anyone ever heard of Earth Minimal?

Posted: Wed May 12, 2010 9:51 pm UTC
by arpee
Human beings have identified about a million different things which warrrant the creation of a word (concept).
We only use about ~40,000-80,000 of them in the adult lexicon, i.e. the word set which allows us to sit in front of the tube and understand everything without opening a dictionary.

Such words are like file folders into which we put all the individuals which might be subsumed by the characteristics included in the "definition of the word".

Obviously, as civilization goes on, more concepts are added to our 'word pile'.
This pile is the hierarchical, pyramid-type thing, which you're not supposed to believe exists (because everything is equal-flat-blah blah blah).

At the top are the simplest words identifying the most common observations we make, e.g. place, time, direction, etc. Toward the bottom of the heap are more specific things like "elephant". So elephant is in the folder "animal" and is itself a folder if we subdivide the elephant population into say ... Indian and African types.

Clearly, we can subdivide until we get to an actual individual elephant (Horace-the elephant!).
What I think I'm doing in e-minimal is something akin to selecting "prime numbers". For instance, if you think of the first 80,000 numbers arranged in a pyramid with each successive level having one more member


1
2 3
4 5 6
7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15

... 79999 80000


you'll find prime numbers mostly at the top of the pyramid.

Now, to "make" any number you just multiply a few primes together to "get it".
5 x 3 x 11 x 23 = 3795
gray x big x animal x longnose = elephant

Get it?
...


What do you think?

http://www.ebtx.com/lang/eminfrm.htm
http://ebtx.com/lang/emintutr.htm

Re: Has anyone ever heard of Earth Minimal?

Posted: Wed May 12, 2010 9:54 pm UTC
by Makri
This reminds me of a course where we had a structuralist feature matrix for lexical meaning, in which "wolf" and "dog" were differentiated by ±wild animal. At least German, ±Wildtier sounded just so funny (and ridiculous)!

Re: Has anyone ever heard of Earth Minimal?

Posted: Thu May 13, 2010 6:16 am UTC
by ZLVT
reminds me of toki pona. I think it can be done but you'd have to be careful in selecting your bases. A lot of asian characters are just a collection of concepts which form a new idea, so the idea has been around for a while.

Re: Has anyone ever heard of Earth Minimal?

Posted: Thu May 20, 2010 8:08 pm UTC
by Marywoeste
This reminds me of a project I did in 8th grade. At the time I actually had no idea about linguistics and so it didn't really go anywhere, but I got a decent grade just for the idea. It occurred to me that it would be possible to create a bunch of very simple base words and then use those words to create more complex words. I invented an alphabet to go with it, too, but it was just a code for the roman alphabet minus the letters I thought were useless (like X and C) with some symbols for things like "th" and "ch" thrown in. Yes, I was 14. I lost it. I'm sad about that now. But it's cool to know that someone else did it, too, and carried it out so extensively. =D Linguistics nerds, unite!

Re: Has anyone ever heard of Earth Minimal?

Posted: Fri May 21, 2010 9:15 am UTC
by Asleep or Wrong
there is an entire category of constructed languages with this concept. i've seen it identified several times but i don't think i've seen it named, at least not properly. sometimes i hear "philisophical language," but that also includes some other things so idk. maybe someone who's more into the conlang community can better inform us. but for now let's call them "categorical languages."
in fact it was one of the most fruitful branches up until about 1850. a bunch of big name european philosophers tried their hand at it. it was sort of a holy grail, naming the world as adam did but better because we now have science and philosophy.

the reason this sucks is:
1. natural and a posteriori languages have to some degree redundancy in speech. if something gets garbled or cut off at the beginning or end meaning can frequently be reconstructed because there's a sufficient distance between most given words that the entire word isn't necessary. this is not the case here, there are collisions all over the place.
2. a massive change in the understanding of the world or even specific fields requires that everything be relexicalised.

Re: Has anyone ever heard of Earth Minimal?

Posted: Fri May 21, 2010 11:05 am UTC
by Bobber
I agree.
Relexicalized is a great word.

Re: Has anyone ever heard of Earth Minimal?

Posted: Fri May 21, 2010 11:46 pm UTC
by gaurwraith
what would it be useful for?

just wondering.

Re: Has anyone ever heard of Earth Minimal?

Posted: Sat May 22, 2010 1:45 pm UTC
by Bobber
Excuse me? Did you read the post above mine? 8)

Re: Has anyone ever heard of Earth Minimal?

Posted: Fri Jun 04, 2010 2:20 pm UTC
by gaurwraith
Used for creating new languages I guess. But I don't see how the pyramid, the prime numbers, and multiplications would be put to use. Maybe to create a calculator-dictionary?

Really, it's not about despising it, but...
gray x big x animal x longnose ?

gray should be in the color "folder", big in the size, and it's always relative, same with long...
Elephant have a long nose, just like me? or is it a different thing? now it's easy cos' I know what an elephant is, but I suppose one of the good things of this system would be getting to the meaning of a new word by mix of previous known ones?

And there's always word that belong into more than one folder.

And... dunno, maybe I just don't get it.
Image

What is this all about?

Posted: Fri Jun 18, 2010 11:09 am UTC
by Logomachist
If I understood correctly, they're talking about languages with a limited set of base words and affixes, which can be combined to express complex ideas. To use a simplistic example I've devised:

la = a record, communiqué or message
ma = origin, country
Lama = Literally "diplomatic mail"; Any official governmental or religious document, dossier, or communication
ka = evil, destruction, pestilence
kalama = Literally "An evil diplomatic message"; a warning; to warn; A loud, unexpected noise that gets people's attention.

This is what I think of when people talk about "philosophical languages".

Re: Has anyone ever heard of Earth Minimal?

Posted: Sun Jun 20, 2010 6:52 pm UTC
by gaurwraith
this has been posted in another post, but I thinks belongs here too:

http://www.alamut.com/subj/artiface/lan ... lkins.html

Re: Has anyone ever heard of Earth Minimal?

Posted: Thu Jun 24, 2010 10:54 pm UTC
by SeverinK
It can be amusing as a game but I have to admit that all attempts to decompose meaning into discrete units have always seemed a bit clumsy and unnatural to me (which is also why I’ve never been much of a fan of structuralist semantics). And let’s not forget that meaning is always a bit individual – the “primes” I would select to express a given concept aren’t necessarily the ones someone else would choose, especially if that someone comes from a different culture. Which is likely, considering the fact that such a language would mainly serve to communicate with people from other cultures (or at least with different linguistic backgrounds). I simply do not believe it would work well enough to be worth it.

Anyway, learning a few words or phrases in a real, living and breathing language with a history every time you travel beats having to spend an evening or two memorizing words from an artificial, sterile code like this one. But that’s just my personal issue with artificial auxiliary languages. (Artificial languages created as a game or a creative pursuit are however cool, in my opinion.)

Re: Has anyone ever heard of Earth Minimal?

Posted: Sat Jul 03, 2010 1:40 pm UTC
by the hamid
ZLVT wrote:A lot of asian characters are just a collection of concepts which form a new idea, so the idea has been around for a while.
I'm asian and I've never heard of this. Could someone explain?

Re: Has anyone ever heard of Earth Minimal?

Posted: Thu Jul 08, 2010 7:42 am UTC
by Asleep or Wrong
i think zlvt is referring to the fact that hanzi are composed of several radicals e.g. 李 plum tree is 木 tree + 子 child. of course for the crushing majority of characters (like the example) this kind of decomposition doesn't reveal anything useful.

Re: Has anyone ever heard of Earth Minimal?

Posted: Fri Jul 09, 2010 6:44 am UTC
by the hamid
Ah, I think there are only a few characters that actually work like that, and most of them are recent coinages and are either chemistry terms or profanity. For example, 羥 (hydroxyl), which is composed of the 羊 from 氧 (oxygen) and the 巠 from 氫 (hydrogen) and pronounced like a combination of the two.

Re: Has anyone ever heard of Earth Minimal?

Posted: Fri Jul 09, 2010 7:39 am UTC
by vaguelyhumanoid
I had an idea once for a categorical language where the consonants of a word make the general meaning and the vowels and tones show the specifics and grammar, but I never made it.
Earth Minimal seems like an interesting but poorly-executed concept, to me anyways.

Re: Has anyone ever heard of Earth Minimal?

Posted: Fri Jul 09, 2010 10:39 am UTC
by gaurwraith
vaguelyhumanoid wrote:language where the consonants of a word make the general meaning and the vowels and tones show the specifics and grammar


That is pretty much Arabic. I don't know about the "categorical" part though.

KaTaBa: to write
KiTaB: book
KaTiB: writer
maKTaBa: library
maKTuB: letter, written

Maybe you'd like this language (if you don't know it already)

Re: Has anyone ever heard of Earth Minimal?

Posted: Wed Jul 14, 2010 4:52 am UTC
by vaguelyhumanoid
I know about Arabic, that's kinda my inspiration.
This would be more specific. Let's assume that the IE-based k-v-n is the category for "dog, wild canine, barking, fetching".
Thus kav-n would be "domestic dog"-anything pertaining to domestic dogs.
Kaven would be "hunting dog", and kávẹn, with á meaning rising tone /α/ and ẹ meaning falling glottalized /e/ would put in the collective plural vocative, or something.

Re: Has anyone ever heard of Earth Minimal?

Posted: Thu Jul 15, 2010 8:22 am UTC
by arpee
It would be an awesome idea to make a Semitic language with Latin roots.

k-l-r = color
kolore = color
kalara = red
kolare = orange

v-s-n = vision
vison = vision, sight, view
vason = eye
visen = to see, to view

and so on...

Re: Has anyone ever heard of Earth Minimal?

Posted: Fri Jul 16, 2010 11:10 pm UTC
by GarrettIrish
arpee wrote:It would be an awesome idea to make a Semitic language with Latin roots.

k-l-r = color
kolore = color
kalara = red
kolare = orange

v-s-n = vision
vison = vision, sight, view
vason = eye
visen = to see, to view

and so on...


Only thing I had to say is Arabic makes the vowel distinction very important. Same thing would happen there, but I can say at least with English we tend to get lazy with our vowels. Be hard to keep up the distinction. In fact in my experience with spoken Arabic, its difficult to keep that distinction alive. Of course its easier in MS Arabic where everyone sort of over-enunciates. Not to mention vowel length isn't formally fixed in most Latin- based languages( to my limited knowledge) like Arabic ( alif Vs fatha ).

Re: Has anyone ever heard of Earth Minimal?

Posted: Wed Jul 21, 2010 12:25 am UTC
by vaguelyhumanoid
arpee wrote:It would be an awesome idea to make a Semitic language with Latin roots.

k-l-r = color
kolore = color
kalara = red
kolare = orange

v-s-n = vision
vison = vision, sight, view
vason = eye
visen = to see, to view

and so on...


I recommend you Maltese-it's basically Arabic, but with a HUGE Romance substratum... for some reason I find it "steampunk", even though that doesn't make ANY sense... might just be the faux-Latinate names & titles in the more recent Final Fantasy games. (FFX is a big offender, though it also has some Polynesian(?) names for the islanders or what have you)

Re: Has anyone ever heard of Earth Minimal?

Posted: Wed Jul 21, 2010 5:33 pm UTC
by moonshadow
There is alanguage like this! It's called Ithkuil (It's successor, which has a revised system of phonology and some additions, is calles Ilaksh)

The word "Ithkuil" is in fact a word in this language. In it's own alphabet it is rendered iţkuîl. This breaks down as:

Root: k-l (Speech, Voice, Interpretation)
Vocalic infox: -u- (a meaningful unit of speech)
Infix Mutation: -uî- (mental representation rather than real-life phenomenon of a meaningful unit of speech)
First Radical Consonant mutation: ţk- (multiple diverse meaningful units of speech forming a coherent emergent entity)
Vocalic Prefix: i- a clearly defined whole; the individual parts act together for a higher purpose
[Strees: -u-: A single specific entity, the general phenomenon of language]

formally, this translates to “an idea/fantasy of a complete purposeful system of complementary speech elements”.

So you see, this is a complex language. All of the 3600 Possible Word roots are inflected for 3 stems, 3 patterns, 2 designations, 9 configurations, 4 affiliations, 4 perspectives, 6 extensions, 2 foci, 4 contexts, 2 essences, and 81 cases, and can be affixed with 153 affixes, each put into one of 9 degrees. Verbal formatives are inflected for 7 illocutions and 7 conflations. Two types of adjuncts are inflected to indicate 14 valences, 6 versions, 8 formats, 37 derivations, 30 modalities, 4 levels, 9 validations, 9 phases, 9 sanctions, 32 aspects, 8 moods, and 24 biasses.

Due to the density of this grammar, fairly complex ideas can be expressed in a few words, for example, in two Ithkuil words and in 19 english ones: Oumpeá äx’ääļuktëx. (On the contrary, I think it may turn out that this rugged mountain range trails off at some point.).

I myself have begun to explore the depths of the grammar, but I've never got very far as it is so complex, and learning 96 mutations for each of the 4 vowels, and 3 mutations for each of the consonants (which are quite a lot, and they do not follow a very regulkar pattern!).

Due to this, i scrounged information mostly from wikipedia, and while i cannot completely affirm this, it is alt least not completely wrong. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ithkuil

Re: Has anyone ever heard of Earth Minimal?

Posted: Wed Jul 21, 2010 6:52 pm UTC
by vaguelyhumanoid
I actually know about Ithkuil, I meant something slightly different... but yeah, Iţkuîl is awesome.
I like englangs in general.