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 Post subject: Re: On succinctness
PostPosted: Wed Nov 02, 2011 12:37 pm 
Avisaru
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JeremyHussell wrote:
Chuma wrote:
It's easy to do what Esperanto does, piling up suffixes for all your inflection needs. But fusion/irregularity is more succinct.
I've noticed that filling a language with regular, combinatorial patterns (the oligosynthetic model) leads to a lot of verbosity in the form of long, descriptive compound words containing many morphemes. On the one hand, the idea that there could be a core vocabulary of simple concepts which can be combined to say anything seems like a good idea, since there's less vocabulary to learn. On the other hand, when you do that it seems the burden of learning the language shifts from learning individual words to learning what combinations to use when you want to speak about anything not covered by the core vocabulary. Creating a single word to lexicalize a concept that was previously represented by combining many morphemes definitely makes a language more succinct, but does it actually make a language harder to learn? Possibly harder for readers who can't ask anyone what a new word means, since they cannot break the new word down to core components in order to get some idea of the meaning, but a speaker is likely to have to learn the combinations pretty much by rote to begin with. People tend to learn languages in large, non-decomposable chunks at first. The use of general patterns usually comes later, even for seemingly "obvious" generalizations like figuring out the morphemes of a word, noticing patterns in how they're used in different words, and finally using the morphemes productively to create new words. (Hell, children even learn questions and statements separately before figuring out how to convert one to the other.)


This is similar to the problem with Basic English. It only has 800 words, but it has hundreds of idioms that must be memorized as well.

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 Post subject: Re: On succinctness
PostPosted: Wed Nov 02, 2011 1:43 pm 
Sanci
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Ollock wrote:
This is similar to the problem with Basic English. It only has 800 words, but it has hundreds of idioms that must be memorized as well.
The difference being that Basic English doesn't use enough regular derivational processes either. I'm not really familiar with Basic English, but an example I've read says it has 'make good' to mean 'succeed', but does not have 'make bad' to mean 'fail'. Putting patterns like that into your language can reduce the number of idioms which need to be learned separately. That's pretty much the whole idea behind oligosynthetic languages.

However, regular derivational patterns don't eliminate idioms that are effectively arbitrary. Once you've got one of 'make good' and 'make bad' you've got the other, but you still have to learn one of them first. Is the thing ants live in an ant-hill, an ant-home, or an ant-nest? Is a unicorn a one-horned.thing, a mythical-horse, or a horned-horse? Languages tend to pick a single form as standard, and the standard form has to be memorized as a unit. While designing a language, when you find a concept which doesn't have an obvious derivation, it's a judgement call as to whether to coin an entirely new word or stick with a somewhat arbitrary compound. The compound is slightly easier to understand the first time someone hears it, but will usually be longer. IMHO, since words are learned once and used many times, it makes more sense to optimize for usability than learnability. People will be willing to put in more effort to learn a language if it is useful enough. (This is not to say that learnability should be discarded entirely. A balance is required. I just tend to put the balance point a little further away from learnability. And of course, some people will take issue with my definition of 'usability'. I invite you to submit a better definition rather than simply asserting that succinctness != usability.)


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 02, 2011 3:47 pm 
Sumerul
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Does "make good" really mean succeed? Anyway, you'll have read that in the LCK. (It was the first time I'd ever seen "make" and "good" next to each other, so I didn't quite understand what was what)

I've heard it since then to mean something more like pay up, or keep to one's promises – you would "make good on a promise" or a debt.


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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Wed Nov 02, 2011 5:01 pm 
Avisaru
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finlay wrote:
Does "make good" really mean succeed? Anyway, you'll have read that in the LCK. (It was the first time I'd ever seen "make" and "good" next to each other, so I didn't quite understand what was what)

I've heard it since then to mean something more like pay up, or keep to one's promises – you would "make good on a promise" or a debt.


It can mean that, but it also means "to succeed", as in "Local Boy Makes Good".

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 Post subject: Re: On succinctness
PostPosted: Wed Nov 02, 2011 5:22 pm 
Smeric
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Rodlox wrote:
yeah, and others you love will be suffering eternal torment; neither is the point of Heaven. God is the point of Heaven.


Extra-celestial references are in favor of a verbal-tense-favorable environment, actually. And in Hell the notion of time, I believe, would be quite important, since time can be one of the greatest torments. Right now I'm studying in literature a Spanish author, called Azorín (José Martínez Ruiz), who often delved in the topic of time and its reckless flow, taking all as it passes through.

Rodlox wrote:
with God. and God is not bound to time, so why would anything/anyone with God be bound to time?


God is divine, perfect, and uncreated. We are not God and we are not any of these three. So temporal beings can be with God, specially since God has created us temporal in a temporal universe.

Rodlox wrote:
being born marks an chronologically important event in fetal development - the biological clock of fetus and mother don't always stop just because that period came to an end.


Yea, but the time of the placenta does. Because it's the mother's creation. So if time is God's creation, then Apocalypsis, which is devised as time's end (the universe's end as we know it) is an important -- and ultimate -- event. For example, Dante thought people in the Sixth Circle of Hell (Sin: Heresy, maybe some atheism as well), who are trapped in flaming tombs, will see these tombs finally and eternally closed on Doomsday.


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 Post subject: Re: On succinctness
PostPosted: Wed Nov 02, 2011 6:01 pm 
Avisaru
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Cromulant: Yes, my guess is any such changes in English are quite minor, not enough to affect succinctness noticeably.

One thing I've heard is that English speakers tend to me more accepting of people speaking with foreign accents, since they're so used to it. But that's more of a social change than a linguistic one.

JH: I suspect the morpheme-piling of Esperanto really does make it significantly easier to learn - but I can't prove that, of course. It's important to know what your goal is; the goal of Esperanto is learnability, because it's meant as an auxiliary language, so it probably wouldn't be suitable as a first language. (Altho people manage, apparently.) With my conlang, I'm not overly concerned with learnability; I try to make it a suitable first language, basically. (That seems to be what Ithkuil does, too.)

I would say bound morphemes usually have strict regulations on what they can be bound to. So is "'s" in "he's here" a bound morpheme? Maybe. We can also have zero-syllable pronouns, for example - French does that, doesn't it? I think they're usually called particles, I don't think they're generally seen as bound morphemes. But what do I know.

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 Post subject: Re: On succinctness
PostPosted: Wed Nov 02, 2011 7:38 pm 
Avisaru
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Chuma wrote:
Cromulant: Yes, my guess is any such changes in English are quite minor, not enough to affect succinctness noticeably.

One thing I've heard is that English speakers tend to me more accepting of people speaking with foreign accents, since they're so used to it. But that's more of a social change than a linguistic one.


Yes, and not a perfect one. I live in a fairly rural state (West Virginia), and there are some people here who can be very intolerant and/or ignorant as regards foreign accent. When working in a Burger King I felt quite annoyed at the people who would complain about customers with foreign accents. Including the managers.

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 Post subject: Re: On succinctness
PostPosted: Wed Nov 02, 2011 7:54 pm 
Avisaru
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Eandil wrote:
Rodlox wrote:
with God. and God is not bound to time, so why would anything/anyone with God be bound to time?


God is divine, perfect, and uncreated. We are not God and we are not any of these three. So temporal beings can be with God, specially since God has created us temporal in a temporal universe.


never said we were God. I said we were with God. you know, "the blessed dead and the saints are one with God" and such examples.

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 Post subject: Re: On succinctness
PostPosted: Thu Nov 03, 2011 10:36 am 
Smeric
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Rodlox wrote:
Eandil wrote:
Rodlox wrote:
with God. and God is not bound to time, so why would anything/anyone with God be bound to time?


God is divine, perfect, and uncreated. We are not God and we are not any of these three. So temporal beings can be with God, specially since God has created us temporal in a temporal universe.


never said we were God. I said we were with God. you know, "the blessed dead and the saints are one with God" and such examples.


That's a metaphor. Christianity is quite clear in this regard, God is God and the rest is the rest. It's monotheistic, not pantheistic. As such, the properties of each category are still separate.


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 Post subject: Re: On succinctness
PostPosted: Thu Nov 03, 2011 10:55 am 
Sumerul
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JeremyHussell wrote:
People tend to learn languages in large, non-decomposable chunks at first. The use of general patterns usually comes later, even for seemingly "obvious" generalizations like figuring out the morphemes of a word, noticing patterns in how they're used in different words, and finally using the morphemes productively to create new words. (Hell, children even learn questions and statements separately before figuring out how to convert one to the other.)
What does that mean, the "large, non-decomposable chunks" bit? Rote-learning set phrases? And that noticing patterns comes after learning things is completely wrong, for me at least. Patterns are always the very first things I notice in a language I'm not familiar with (same with maths, I couldn't learn multiplication until I saw listed each one and then the patterns were extremely obvious), and that's a better way to learn it too, IMO. If you try to start by memorizing lots of phrases to which you don't understand the underlying patterns, you'll just break your head because it's like trying to bake a cake without reading the instructions. But if you start by following patterns then you'll know how the pattern works and you can just grab new words as you need them and slot them into the patterns.


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