Re: Impossible Gibberish (was Re: On the design of an ideal language)
- On 5/1/06, Paul Bennett <paul-bennett@...> wrote:
> -----Original Message-----[...]
> >From: And Rosta <and.rosta@...>
> >7. Principle of Semantic Conservation
> >"There should be no such thing as a "nonsense" or "incorrect" phrase."
> I rather suspect every language has its own colorless green ideas, and I rather suspect that at least some utterances will either be grammatically incorrect or lexically nonsense.
FWIW, what I meant by the PSC is not necessarily that every utterance
must make sense in some *pragmatic* sense (vis. colorless green ideas)
- that's impossible AFAICT - but that it must be *parsable*.
E.g. "I eat five apple yesterday." That's just "wrong", and in fact
it's wrong in a way that could only be reasonably interpreted as one
thing - "I ate five apples yesterday". That one is "correct" and the
other not is a waste of semantic space. I would have the two sentences
mean different, but both parsable (and plausible in that sense).
I am in no way AT ALL opposed to poetic use of language, including the
bizarre or extreme - just to "jibberish" in the sense of "farkol is
korp last tuesday". First, the sort where you can have sentences that
are "ungrammatical" (present-tense is vs last tues), and second, where
such relatively simple lexemes are NOT real words, but really long
complex ones are.
FWIW, the PSC and the (implied, but should be added explicitly)
Principle of Noise Resistance (per previous poster) are of course at
odds to a certain extent.
I would argue, though, that if you were going to build in redundance
for the sake of a PNR, it could take on a much more elegant/efficient
form than this sort of rule.
It's also at odds with space-reservation (i.e. to accomodate a growing
vocabulary or other needs).
As I said elsewhere, this sort of balance through opposing forces is
perfectly acceptable to me.
P.S. After having written this, I read:
> The Principle, in its extreme form, is that every well-formed... I totally concur. (Of course, I would not limit it to phonological
> phonological string corresponds to all or part of a well-formed
> sentence. Weird lexeme combinations produce weird meanings, but remain
> meaningful and well-formed. The Principle is not about colourless green
> ideas, but about "the and but not though".
P.P.S. I would like to add that I would like to find a niche for
Jabberwocky-style not-quite-nonsense... but it does conflict with this
pretty directly. Except, of course, if you carve out some way to have
the sort of onomatopaeic / associational semantics that are implicit
in Jabberwocky. It does make one think of things, after all. There
just isn't a grammar for creating that, in English, which makes it
'jibberish' rather than 'onomatopaeia'. (I'm using a very loose sense
of 'onomatopaeia' here, not necessarily to mean it sounds like a
sound, but it sounds like an idea. Hopefully that makes sense.)
- Hanuman Zhang wrote:
>Methinx that "non-sense" and/or "incorrect" are quiteI agree, actually. A language where you *cannot* construct nonsense
>socio-culturally-dependent and subjective.
>Ferinstanz, to average monolinigual American with the bare minimum of 4 yrs
>of college or less, James Joyce's _Finnegans Wake_ is impossiblly hermetic
>"non-sense"... and auxlangs like Interlingua or Novial "incorrect," vaguely
would seem to restrict creativity.
- On 5/2/06, Sai Emrys <sai@...> wrote:
> FWIW, what I meant by the PSC is not necessarily that every utteranceThis particular kind of ungrammaticality is easy enough
> must make sense in some *pragmatic* sense (vis. colorless green ideas)
> - that's impossible AFAICT - but that it must be *parsable*.
> E.g. "I eat five apple yesterday." That's just "wrong", and in fact
> it's wrong in a way that could only be reasonably interpreted as one
> thing - "I ate five apples yesterday". That one is "correct" and the
> other not is a waste of semantic space. I would have the two sentences
> mean different, but both parsable (and plausible in that sense).
to avoid in a conlang; make the plural marker optional
when another number word is present, and the tense
markers optional when a specific temporal complement
(like "yesterday") is present. Nonsense like "I eat
future yesterday apples" would still be possible, where
you have a tense marker that contradicts the temporal
complement; but I reckon that's the sort of
"colorless green ideas" that you aren't trying to rule out.
>and second, whereIf you use up all or almost all of the monosyllabic
> such relatively simple lexemes are NOT real words, but really long
> complex ones are.
word-shapes your language allows before
creating any disyllables, and so forth, then the
language will have no noise resistance; the
slightest amount of background noise or the
most trivial typo will make a sentence mean
something different and in many cases
equally plausible in context.
> FWIW, the PSC and the (implied, but should be added explicitly)If you mean "no two morphemes differ by fewer than
> Principle of Noise Resistance (per previous poster) are of course at
> odds to a certain extent.
> I would argue, though, that if you were going to build in redundance
> for the sake of a PNR, it could take on a much more elegant/efficient
> form than this sort of rule.
two phonemes", I agree. This is an experimental
language and the redundancy criterion will probably change in a future
revision. If you think "no two morphemes
differ by fewer than two distinctive features" is still
too inelegant or inefficient, what do you suggest
as an improvement on that?
Actually, I think "minimum two different distinctive
features" is maybe not noise-resistant *enough*, and
"minimum two different phonemes" wastes space.
A good compromise might be "minimum three
different distinctive features", but I'll need to
make extensive revisions to my vocabulary generation
script to handle that efficiently.
> P.P.S. I would like to add that I would like to find a niche forIf you define a redundancy criterion that
> Jabberwocky-style not-quite-nonsense... but it does conflict with this
> pretty directly. Except, of course, if you carve out some way to have
> the sort of onomatopaeic / associational semantics that are implicit
> in Jabberwocky. It does make one think of things, after all. There
suits you -- for instance, no two morphemes
differ by fewer than two distinctive features
-- and then use up as many monosyllabic
words as you can consistent with that redundancy
criterion, then any mutation of one distinctive
feature in one of your words would produce
a nonsense word that's halfway between two
real words (it sounds equally similar to both).
Maybe that would allow Carrollesque poetry.
For instance, if "ba" and "mi" are real words
then "bi" or "ma" would be nonsense-portmanteaux
that suggest "ba" and "mi" simultaneously.
....I also note that neither Sai nor And includes
self-segregating morphology in their criteria
for an ideal language. In And's case, he
has something else that's just as good in
disambiguating a parse string for a fluent
speaker, though not as helpful for a learner
as self-segregating morphology would be.
In Sai's case I suppose that self-segregating
morphology would be too great a constraint
on filling up the phonological space with
real words, perhaps?
My engelang's phase 1 has self-segregating
morphology, and probably the next phase or
two will as well, but later on I may go with
something less restrictive that's roughly
equivalent to And's Livagian rule.
- "This" (re inefficient redundancy) was only referring back to the top
of my reply, where I mentioned nonagreement.
Self-segregation isn't something I thought of when I wrote ODIL, but
I'd file it under noise resistance. Yes, again it balances against
PSC. Perhaps not necesarily, if of sufficiently clever design?
Only suggestion I have at the moment for how to had noise-reduction is
to have multiple forms of words - their 'long form' (probably the
default, and some way(s?) to regularly shorten them considerably -
either to strip of phonetic/morphological redundancy, or to strip of
perhaps even semantic redundancy - e.g. bits that would distinguish
jargon about some particular field from others', and turn it into a
more generic word that would be understood with context.
At base, this idea is the same as 'hashing' in CS; the constraint here
of course is what can be done easily during 'runtime' by human
- on 5/1/06 8:40 PM, Herman Miller at hmiller@... wrote:
> Antonielly Garcia Rodrigues wrote:Or if ya into kinky 3-somes... hehe...
>> I ate two Tuesdays. :P
> Tuesday isn't that common a name, but if dragons can talk (as often
> seems to be the case), it's possible you could hear one say this...
"Changing my body changed my mind." - http://www.bmezine.com/
"Sex times technology equals the future" - J. G. Ballard