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204133Re: Universal language for communicating with space aliens

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  • Logan Kearsley
    Jul 25 10:26 AM
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      On 25 July 2014 10:47, Patrik Austin <patrik.austin@...> wrote:
      > [Logan:] > CLS tree PAT forest LOC fall EVT END IMPL CLS it CAUSE sound PAT
      > future TIME END INT
      > Thanks Logan! Let's parse:
      > CLS = conjunction
      > tree PAT = 'patient?' that's a cool idea.
      > forest LOC = adverbial

      No, it's not. "in the forest" is an adverbial prepositional phrase in
      English, but that analysis is only possible after you have already
      understood the translation.

      Consider "A forest is fallen in by a tree." In this English sentence,
      "forest" becomes the subject, while "by a tree" is an adverbial
      phrase. The translation into logical form, however, is the same. It's
      still "tree PAT forest LOC fall EVT". You could even say "There is a
      fall by a tree in the forest"- now you've made "fall" the subject, but
      it's still represented in weird-syntax-lang by "fall EVT".

      There is no consistent basis on which to interpret any of the
      clause-internal argument phrases as subject, object, verb, or

      > fall = verb
      > EVT END IMPL CLS = function words such as conjunctions with their usual consequences (a sub clause follows:)
      > it (subject)
      > CAUSE = verb
      > future TIME = a temporal morpheme/particle
      > PAT future = looks like an object/adverbial

      That's not a constituent. "sound PAT" and "future TIME" are
      constituents- argument phrases formed by a content word and a

      You've called both "fall" and "CAUSE" verbs, but they clearly can't
      both be verbs because they are completely different parts of speech in
      weird-syntax-lang. One is a content word (which we previously
      established can be *translated* as a subject, object, verb, or
      adverbial), while one is a postposition. They occupy completely
      different syntactic positions. They *translate* as verbs in one
      possible English translation of the sentence, but they are *not*

      > END INT = function words
      > Thanks again. This was a good start!

      For reference, here is the properly parenthesized parse of that sample sentence:

      (((CLS (tree PAT) (forest LOC) (fall EVT) END) IMPL (CLS (it CAUSE)
      (sound PAT) (future TIME) END)) INT)

      Note that it's not binarized- there is an arbitrarily high branching
      factor at the clause nodes, and any binarization method would be

      An equivalent in slightly more standard predicate calculus notation is
      as follows:

      ∃t[(∃e∃f FALL(e) & TREE(x) & FOREST(f) & PAT(e, x) & LOC(e, f)) ->
      (∃g∃s∃i SOUND(s) & FUTURE(i) & CAUSE(g, t) & PAT(g, s) & TIME(g, i))]

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