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Re: logical language VS not-so-logical language (was RE: Loglan[g] VS Natlang)

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  • Mathieu Roy
    Hi Padraic, What do you mean you deleted a whole lot of [my] post ? Are you a moderator of the list? Because I only responded to what other people had
    Message 1 of 30 , Jan 19, 2013
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      Hi Padraic,

      What do you mean you deleted "a whole lot of [my] post"? Are you a moderator
      of the list? Because I only responded to what other people had written. In
      my opinion, if one want to ban a subject, it would be more reasonable to ban
      both side of the argument, and not just one. No offense.

      "If there were no natural languages, we wouldn't be able to create one,
      because we'd have no concept of language with which to create."
      Yes clearly; I was more asking the question from a though experiment point
      of view.

      Mathieu

      -----Message d'origine-----
      De : Constructed Languages List [mailto:CONLANG@...] De la
      part de Padraic Brown
      Envoyé : vendredi 18 janvier 2013 21:52
      À : CONLANG@...
      Objet : Re: logical language VS not-so-logical language (was RE: Loglan[g]
      VS Natlang)

      --- On Fri, 1/18/13, Mathieu Roy <mathieu.roy.37@...> wrote:

      > > Yep.  The loglangs I have seen look very bland and technical; natlangs
      > > and naturalistic artlangs are far richer than those. Speaking a
      > > loglang is live living in an apartment without wallpaper, lit by
      > > naked light bulbs, and with furniture made of unpolished and unpainted
      > > pieces of wood coarsely nailed together.  It works, but there is no
      > > *fun* to it.
      >
      > I'm not saying we should remove the paint and the wallpaper, I'm just
      > saying we should repair the plumbing and the holes in the wall.

      Perhaps there really isn't anything wrong with the plumbing after all...

      With all due respect, it's not my intention to get into a dreadful
      loglang v. natlang discussion. I said before I am no fan of loglangs or
      constructed auxlangs. I agree with the above: bland and technical.
      Asceptic even. Certainly no fun or mystery there! I think that no loglang
      does any better what a natlang can already do; and can't do some of what a
      natlang does by nature. So, I don't see much point in them.

      Perhaps at this point you might consider taking this to Auxlang or some
      sort of loglang analog? I deleted a whole lot of your post, which might be
      better off over that way, since it really is more about loglang supremacy
      at the worst or advocacy at the very least.

      > FINAL THOUGHT: If there were no natural languages, how would you create
      > one and why?

      If there were no natural languages, we wouldn't be able to create one,
      because we'd have no concept of language with which to create. We wouldn't
      even be talking about creating one, because we'd be simple, non-speaking
      languageless apes living in the forests of Africa somewhere.

      Final thought: I'm just going to reiterate my totally nonlogical assertion:
      no, it would not be a good thing for everyone to speak a loglang. It ain't
      broke, so why try to fix it? And leave the discussion at that.

      Padraic
    • Mathieu Roy
      Message 2 of 30 , Jan 19, 2013
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        <<But what I do not and will not go along with is someone who wants the
        whole world to speak a particular auxlang or a particular loglang and, as
        Padraic says, such advocacy is not appropriate on this list.>>

        Nor will I. I will quote myself "In the end everybody is (or at least should
        be IMO) free to speak the language they want (except maybe in court?). So if
        you think that a logical language is "better", then learn one, otherwise
        don't."

        At worst, I implied that I personally prefer more logical language. But I
        did not advocate for any specific language, nor did I say that everyone
        should learn a logical language. Please quote me if I did, but before that I
        think your reactions are inappropriate.

        If I can quote myself again from a previous email "Sorry for my badly
        phrased [question]. I agree that people should learn a language only if they
        want to [...] That's why I reformulated my though in a latter email asking
        for advantages of less logical languages because that's what I really wanted
        to know in the end. So I apologize."

        My long email was only about discussing of the advantages of logical
        languages and non-logical ones in a theoretical way. While it is true that I
        enumerated some points that I consider advantages of logical languages, I
        did not say anyone should learn one, so I did not advocate anything.

        I am creating a logical language, so isn't appropriate for me to ask your
        opinion about some aspects of logical languages?

        If someone is interested to talk about this off list, please write to me:
        mathieu.roy.37@....

        Mathieu

        -----Message d'origine-----
        De : Constructed Languages List [mailto:CONLANG@...] De la
        part de R A Brown
        Envoyé : samedi 19 janvier 2013 11:06
        À : CONLANG@...
        Objet : Re: logical language VS not-so-logical language (was RE: Loglan[g]
        VS Natlang)

        On 18/01/2013 20:51, Padraic Brown wrote:
        > --- On Fri, 1/18/13, Mathieu Roy wrote:
        >
        [snip]

        >> I'm not saying we should remove the paint and the
        >> wallpaper, I'm just saying we should repair the
        >> plumbing and the holes in the wall.
        >
        > Perhaps there really isn't anything wrong with the
        > plumbing after all...

        I don't find anything particularly wrong with it, either.

        > With all due respect, it's not my intention to get into
        > a dreadful loglang v. natlang discussion.

        Nor I.

        [snip]
        >
        > Perhaps at this point you might consider taking this to
        > Auxlang or some sort of loglang analog?

        Yes, _please_.

        > I deleted a whole lot of your post, which might be better
        > off over that way, since it really is more about loglang
        > supremacy at the worst or advocacy at the very least.

        Yep. If Mathieu wants to speak a loglang, then there's
        already Lojban and the original Loglan to choose from.

        Loglangs are an *interesting experiment* as a type of
        conlang. I have no quarrel whatever with those interested
        in the experiment or with those who want to learn them. The
        same goes for auxlangs.

        But what I do not and will not go along with is someone who
        wants the whole world to speak a particular auxlang or a
        particular loglang and, as Padraic says, such advocacy is
        not appropriate on this list.

        >> FINAL THOUGHT: If there were no natural languages, how
        >> would you create one and why?
        >
        > If there were no natural languages, we wouldn't be able
        > to create one, because we'd have no concept of language
        > with which to create.

        Quite - the question itself is illogical!

        [snip]
        >
        > Final thought: I'm just going to reiterate my totally
        > nonlogical assertion: no, it would not be a good thing
        > for everyone to speak a loglang.

        No indeed it wouldn't. The great varieties of natlangs and
        all their endearing idiosyncrasies is what got me interested
        in language some sixty or so years ago, and still keeps my
        interest. How boring if we all spoke a bland loglang!

        > It ain't broke, so why try to fix it? And leave the
        > discussion at that.

        AMEN!

        --
        Ray
        ==================================
        http://www.carolandray.plus.com
        ==================================
        "language … began with half-musical unanalysed expressions
        for individual beings and events."
        [Otto Jespersen, Progress in Language, 1895]
      • taliesin the storyteller
        ... This is an email-list, not a bulletin board. What has been sent cannot be unsent. Moderators cannot go in and edit a message after it is sent. What he
        Message 3 of 30 , Jan 19, 2013
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          On 01/19/2013 02:22 PM, Mathieu Roy wrote:
          > What do you mean you deleted "a whole lot of [my] post"?

          This is an email-list, not a bulletin board. What has been sent cannot
          be unsent. Moderators cannot go in and edit a message after it is sent.
          What he meant was that when he made a copy of your message, he removed a
          lot of what you wrote in order to highlight the remaining bits, those
          that he wanted to reply to. You see, you don't have to include
          everything, ever, in every single mail.

          Back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, bandwidth was expensive and and
          connections s-l-o-w, this was used to make replies shorter so that they
          could be received quicker. It also has the pleasant side effect of
          making individual messages resemble a conversation. Notice how first you
          say something, then I reply *below*? And what you said is clearly marked
          as being said by you.

          I know this is no longer fashionable but I do long back to those days,
          besides, brontosaurus steak is soo the yums.


          t., grumpy old fart
        • Njenfalgar
          2013/1/18 Mathieu Roy ... English has the words to express all these things. Maybe you won t get there with just *one* word, but if
          Message 4 of 30 , Jan 19, 2013
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            2013/1/18 Mathieu Roy <mathieu.roy.37@...>

            > [example] For example, if one love someone (else), but one don't know if
            > s/he wants a serious relationship with her/him, then it is good to have a
            > word to precisely show that s/he doesn't know exactly how much s/he loves
            > her/him; so it is ambiguous in the sense that his/her feelings too are
            > ambiguous. However, I think it would be good (by "good" I mean it would
            > help
            > people to clearly express there though if they want to) to have more
            > precise
            > word in order to differentiate different kind of love (in fact, there are
            > probably some natural languages that do have more words). It is true that
            > someone could just explain the kind of love s/he feels toward someone, but
            > I
            > think it would be better (ie. a lot shorter and simpler) to have other
            > words
            > for some concepts.
            >

            English has the words to express all these things. Maybe you won't get
            there with just *one* word, but if you use a full sentence (like: "I think
            I love you, but I don't know if I'm ready for a serious relationship.")
            there's nothing that a human being can feel and that cannot be expressed in
            living, natural language. When I was an adolescent I felt like you: the
            languages I spoke seemed to "lack" the words to describe my feelings, but
            growing up (and reading plenty of books) I realised that human
            communication does not really depend on words. If you don't find the exact
            word, there's always a gazillion other ways to express yourself clearly and
            understandably. And if you do find the exact word, chances are it will be
            so specialised a word that your audience won't understand this word, and
            you're only off worse. That's why I once invented the 'õSet'akh proverb:

            "a'õMèèjnta khi khapeson üsh chajipièè khinapìnkh, ichi nèèn üsh mang
            nimarhèè?"
            "No word can say all, for who would understand?"

            (Interlinear at http://njenfalgar.conlang.org/'oSet'akh.pdf, page 3.)

            Greets,
            David

            --
            Dos ony tãsnonnop, koták ony tãsnonnop.

            http://njenfalgar.conlang.org/
          • R A Brown
            _brief_ reply in this tedious thread. ... except maybe in court - a little worrying, methinks ... OK - but I have steeled myself and re-read your long email
            Message 5 of 30 , Jan 19, 2013
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              _brief_ reply in this tedious thread.

              On 19/01/2013 13:42, Mathieu Roy wrote:
              > <<But what I do not and will not go along with is someone
              > who wants the whole world to speak a particular auxlang
              > or a particular loglang and, as Padraic says, such
              > advocacy is not appropriate on this list.>>
              >
              > Nor will I. I will quote myself "In the end everybody is
              > (or at least should be IMO) free to speak the language
              > they want (except maybe in court?).

              "except maybe in court" - a little worrying, methinks

              > So if you think that a logical language is "better",
              > then learn one, otherwise don't."

              OK - but I have steeled myself and re-read your long email
              of the 18th January. It reads to me a whole lot like
              advocating the use of loglangs.

              > At worst, I implied that I personally prefer more logical
              > language. But I did not advocate for any specific
              > language,

              Indeed not. So then you advocate different people learning
              different loglangs?

              > nor did I say that everyone should learn a logical
              > language.

              It was the overall impression I got from your very long
              email which, I must confess, I found (and still find)
              difficult to follow in full.

              [snip]

              > I am creating a logical language, so isn't appropriate
              > for me to ask your opinion about some aspects of logical
              > languages?

              That would be fine, if you confined your questions to
              loglang design. But all the clap-trap about the advantages
              of a loglang is IMO advocacy.

              BTW I don't really understand what the subject means. Is a
              "not-so-logical language" something like Voksigid? Or what?

              --
              Ray
              ==================================
              http://www.carolandray.plus.com
              ==================================
              "language … began with half-musical unanalysed expressions
              for individual beings and events."
              [Otto Jespersen, Progress in Language, 1895]
            • Leonardo Castro
              ... Sometimes people take advantage of word gender in animismic stories to associate real sex to things. For some reason, I always had little influence of word
              Message 6 of 30 , Jan 19, 2013
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                2013/1/18 Mathieu Roy <mathieu.roy.37@...>:
                >
                > that doesn't assigning a gender to things that don't have one. Even people
                > that speak such a language as their mother tongue make mistakes. And how
                > does assigning a gender to things is "more human", "easier to learn for
                > babies", or even "more poetic"?

                Sometimes people take advantage of word gender in animismic stories to
                associate real sex to things. For some reason, I always had little
                influence of word gender in this type of association: as a child, I
                used to see the Sun as a woman and the Moon as a man, although the
                genders of these words in Portuguese suggest the opposite; I think I
                was more influenced by the appearance of them...

                [...]

                > <<If so, no. No one really has any need for such a thing. Daily existence
                > and daily needs are rarely so wanting of logical expression or precision
                > that a loglang would foist upon it.>>
                > I disagree. I think it would be helpful for communication to have less
                > ambiguity. In addition to previous examples, I will add that having two
                > times 12 hours in a day sometimes leads to misunderstanding and someone can
                > end up somewhere at the wrong time. While it is true that we can precise if
                > we mean in the afternoon or morning, etc., we can forget. But in a 24 hours
                > base system (which some natural languages do use) one cannot forget to
                > precise it. (and personally, I think 24 hours is still not ideal; something
                > like 10 would be more useful IMO:
                > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decimal_time).

                OTOH, IMO it would be better to change eveything else to duodecimal
                (as we are not talking about the viability of the change).

                > << If the costs of switching languages were zero, and the only difference
                > between natlangs and loglangs were the regularity of the grammar and the
                > polysemy of the words in the lexicon, then there might be very little
                > advantage in sticking with messy, irregular natlangs. Some other posters on
                > the thread have mentioned poetry; it's possible to write poetry (and do
                > other forms of wordplay) in an unnaturally regular and monosemous conlang
                > (the many volumes of poetry published in Esperanto[*] are proof of that),
                > but I'll concede for the sake of argument that it's somehwat more difficult
                > than in the the typical natlang. >>
                > I agree.

                A well-know problem with poetry in Esperanto is that you can only
                rhyme words of the same class. But there are natlangs that only have
                three vowels, so they also have to find other ways to create poetry
                that are not very dull.

                > And I don't think it would be difficult for a
                > native speaker of a logical language to make the difference between the two
                > "or" for example.

                In my conlang (that I want to be logic), I have a generic "and/or/xor"
                word whose sense can be completed with particles that mean
                "additionaly, too", "alternatively", "exclusively".
              • Mathieu Roy
                I agree. But for me it seems more complicated to express my thoughts in the natural
                Message 7 of 30 , Jan 19, 2013
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                  <<Njenfalgar: English has the words to express all these things. >>
                  I agree. But for me it seems more complicated to express my thoughts in the
                  natural languages I know. (I'm not saying this is good or bad, and I'm not
                  saying that this is true for everybody.)

                  What do you think is (approximately) the minimum number of words necessary
                  to express "all" human thoughts? For example, do you think that human can
                  express all there thoughts in Toki Pona? In fact, maybe someone on the list
                  speak Toki Pona and could say if s/he can express everything s/he wants to
                  communicate clearly. I would like to know.

                  <<Njenfalgar: And if you do find the exact word, chances are it will be so
                  specialised a word that your audience won't understand this word, and you're
                  only off worse.>>
                  I agree. I think a conversation can difficulty be more "intelligent" than
                  the "less intelligent" agent in the communication. (and by "intelligent", I
                  mean what you said, meaning if one agent don't know a word, than the other
                  cannot really use it).

                  <<Me: "In the end everybody is (or at least should be IMO) free to speak the
                  language they want (except maybe in court?).
                  Ray: "except maybe in court" - a little worrying, methinks>>
                  [off topic] IINM, in Canada, immigrants are obliged to learn one of the
                  official language; that's mainly why I wrote "except maybe in court". What
                  do you think about that law? (If this enter in the category "advocation for
                  language"; please ignore my question).

                  <<Me "So if you think that a logical language is "better", then learn one,
                  otherwise don't."
                  Ray: OK - but I have steeled myself and re-read your long email of the 18th
                  January. It reads to me a whole lot like advocating the use of loglangs.>>
                  Ok, I reread too, and I agree there were some points that could have looked
                  like this, and I will be more careful in the future on how I formulate my
                  sentences. I think that since I interpreted some people comments as
                  advocating for natlang, I answered by saying the points I liked/preferred
                  about loglang, hence the confusion. I think it's just fine to not allow that
                  people advocate for loglang in this list, but I think this should also apply
                  to advocating natlang.

                  <<Me: At worst, I implied that I personally prefer more logical language.
                  But I did not advocate for any specific language.
                  Ray: Indeed not. So then you advocate different people learning different
                  loglangs?>>
                  Honestly, I might have difficulty to interpret some connotations of the word
                  "advocate" (English isn't my first language). But I don't think anybody
                  should be imposed to speak any constructed languages (obviously), nor
                  natural languages (except *maybe* an official language of their country -
                  see my point above - but IDK, and I am not pronouncing myself on this
                  subject since I don't want to advocate any languages).


                  <<It was the overall impression I got from your very long email which, I
                  must confess, I found (and still find) difficult to follow in full.>>
                  Well, thanks for trying at least. I tried to make it my points clear, but
                  maybe I didn't after all.

                  <<Ray: That would be fine, if you confined your questions to loglang design.
                  But all the clap-trap about the advantages of a loglang is IMO advocacy.>>
                  Ok. In the future, I will try to avoid using the words "advantage" and
                  "disadvantage". I will be more specific. For example, I could ask: "How can
                  we make grammar with fewer rules?" but I will try to not pronounce myself on
                  whether this is "good" or "bad" IMO to have fewer rules.

                  <<Ray: BTW I don't really understand what the subject means. Is a
                  "not-so-logical language" something like Voksigid? Or what?>>
                  Well, at first I wanted to call it "stupid language", but then I thought
                  that was NOT the right way to express what I wanted to say because what I
                  really mean by "not-so-logical language" is simply a language that is not
                  loglang. And also, by a logical language, I did not meant a language without
                  metaphor and stuff like that, I meant with less ambiguity (for example, a
                  word that announce that one is going to do a metaphor) and with more regular
                  in grammar for example. I think that to classify languages in the binary
                  form: logical or not, is a lot simplified. I think there's a spectrum of
                  logic that a language can have, and I think that by "logic" I meant less
                  logic that what has been interpreted.


                  <<Leonardo: Sometimes people take advantage of word gender in animismic
                  stories to associate real sex to things. For some reason, I always had
                  little influence of word gender in this type of association: as a child, I
                  used to see the Sun as a woman and the Moon as a man, although the genders
                  of these words in Portuguese suggest the opposite; I think I was more
                  influenced by the appearance of them... >>
                  Thanks for your opinion.

                  <<Leonardo: OTOH, IMO it would be better to change eveything else to
                  duodecimal (as we are not talking about the viability of the change).>>
                  Could you explain me why?

                  <<Leonardo: A well-know problem with poetry in Esperanto is that you can
                  only rhyme words of the same class. But there are natlangs that only have
                  three vowels, so they also have to find other ways to create poetry that are
                  not very dull.>>
                  Thanks for your opinion. I agree.

                  <<In my conlang (that I want to be logic), I have a generic "and/or/xor"
                  word whose sense can be completed with particles that mean "additionaly,
                  too", "alternatively", "exclusively".>>
                  Interesting. So does all combinations are possible: and/or/xor with
                  additionaly, too/alternatively/exclusively? And do all 9 have different
                  meaning?

                  Mathieu
                • Mathieu Roy
                  Are these phenomenon present in a lot of languages? If so, in what way? Mathieu ... De : Constructed Languages List [mailto:CONLANG@LISTSERV.BROWN.EDU] De la
                  Message 8 of 30 , Jan 19, 2013
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                    Are these phenomenon present in a lot of languages? If so, in what way?

                    Mathieu

                    -----Message d'origine-----
                    De : Constructed Languages List [mailto:CONLANG@...] De la
                    part de R A Brown
                    Envoyé : samedi 19 janvier 2013 10:22
                    À : CONLANG@...
                    Objet : French spelling (was: logical language VS not-so-logical language)

                    On 18/01/2013 19:28, BPJ wrote:
                    > On 2013-01-18 19:57, Mathieu Roy wrote:
                    >> I don't know if the following is true, but my French
                    >> teacher told me that monks in the past were paid by
                    >> letters and therefore were adding letters to some
                    >> words.

                    A bit of a myth, methinks. Monks weren't paid.

                    >> That would explain why a lot of words have for example
                    >> the letters "eau" pronounces as "o" (bateau, eau, beau,
                    >> chateau, etc.) or simply "au" pronounces as "o" (faux,
                    >> taux, etc.) or silent letter at the end (faux, taux,
                    >> etc.) or double letters that are indistinguishable from
                    >> one letter (balle, sale, association, etc.)

                    No, it does not explain any one of those things.

                    > It *is* true that they added letters here and there,

                    Yes, especially by early printers to justify lines (monks
                    could justify them more easily by slightly modifying width
                    of letters and spaces).

                    > but for the most part 'illogical' spellings in French
                    > reflect how the words were actually pronounced in the
                    > thirteent century.

                    Exactly! Yes, for the most part modern French spelling
                    reflects how the language was pronounced in the 13th
                    century. The reason for _eau_ and _au_ now pronounced as
                    /o/, is that the spellings represent the pronunciation of
                    the 13th century, the modern pronunciation is the result of
                    sound changes that have taken place since.

                    The reason silent letters occur at the end of words is that
                    they were not silent in the 13th century, but have become so
                    since. The only oddity here is the final -x of some plurals
                    where _x_ was mistaken for a common handwritten abbreviation
                    of -us.

                    > Some were meant to approximate the spelling to their
                    > Latin counterpart, sometimes mistakenly.

                    That accounts for geminate consonants.

                    Others were stuck in by learned or semi-learned people after
                    the renaissance; the same thing happened in English. Some,
                    as BPJ says, were mistaken, e.g. _sçavoir_ (<-- sapere) with
                    the mistaken idea it had something to with Latin _scire_,
                    and _dipner_ (<-- VL. *disjunáre) with mistaken idea that
                    somehow it was related to Greek _deipnein_! Fortunately,
                    the French were, for the most part, more sensible than their
                    English counterparts, and dropped nearly all these
                    absurdities, e.g. they now write: savoir, dîner. The only
                    common survival that comes to mind is the _p_ in _sept_.

                    --
                    Ray
                    ==================================
                    http://www.carolandray.plus.com
                    ==================================
                    "language … began with half-musical unanalysed expressions
                    for individual beings and events."
                    [Otto Jespersen, Progress in Language, 1895]
                  • Leonardo Castro
                    ... Because 12 is divisible by 1, 2, 3, 4 & 6 while 10 is divisible by 1, 2 & 5. ... No. I have a single word tiu that means and/or/xor (any one of them,
                    Message 9 of 30 , Jan 19, 2013
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                      2013/1/19 Mathieu Roy <mathieu.roy.37@...>:
                      >
                      > <<Leonardo: OTOH, IMO it would be better to change eveything else to
                      > duodecimal (as we are not talking about the viability of the change).>>
                      > Could you explain me why?

                      Because 12 is divisible by 1, 2, 3, 4 & 6
                      while 10 is divisible by 1, 2 & 5.

                      > <<In my conlang (that I want to be logic), I have a generic "and/or/xor"
                      > word whose sense can be completed with particles that mean "additionaly,
                      > too", "alternatively", "exclusively".>>
                      > Interesting. So does all combinations are possible: and/or/xor with
                      > additionaly, too/alternatively/exclusively? And do all 9 have different
                      > meaning?

                      No. I have a single word "tiu" that means "and/or/xor" (any one of
                      them, generic). For instance,

                      "Liai liefe pasuoki tiu mapanti tiu matuomi."

                      means

                      "He/she likes chocolate, banana, tomato..."

                      The word "tei" adds the meaning of "too" to the preceding word, so
                      "tiu-tei" means specifically "and":

                      "Liai liefe pasuoki tiu-tei mapanti tiu-tei matuomi."

                      = "He/she likes chocolate and banana and tomato."

                      The word "lou" adds the meaning of "alternatively", so

                      "Liai liefe pasuoki tiu-lou mapanti tiu-lou matuomi."

                      = "He/she likes chocolate or banana or tomato."

                      Using the particle for "exclusively, only", I get the "xor" in the
                      same way. I haven't chosen its exact form yet, since I'm more
                      concerned with grammar details first... Maybe "sou"...
                    • Garth Wallace
                      ... Obviously, all court proceedings should be conducted in Maggel. It would cut down on the number of lawsuits considerably.
                      Message 10 of 30 , Jan 19, 2013
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                        On Sat, Jan 19, 2013 at 6:21 AM, R A Brown <ray@...> wrote:
                        > _brief_ reply in this tedious thread.
                        >
                        >
                        > On 19/01/2013 13:42, Mathieu Roy wrote:
                        >>
                        >> <<But what I do not and will not go along with is someone
                        >> who wants the whole world to speak a particular auxlang
                        >> or a particular loglang and, as Padraic says, such
                        >> advocacy is not appropriate on this list.>>
                        >>
                        >> Nor will I. I will quote myself "In the end everybody is
                        >> (or at least should be IMO) free to speak the language
                        >> they want (except maybe in court?).
                        >
                        >
                        > "except maybe in court" - a little worrying, methinks

                        Obviously, all court proceedings should be conducted in Maggel. It
                        would cut down on the number of lawsuits considerably.
                      • Nikolay Ivankov
                        ... Let me bring my two lepta to the pool of not-so-logical languages. I m not going to advocate them, I m just going to explain why I like them. So, You ask
                        Message 11 of 30 , Jan 19, 2013
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                          On Fri, Jan 18, 2013 at 7:57 PM, Mathieu Roy <mathieu.roy.37@...>wrote:

                          >
                          > FINAL THOUGH: If there were no natural languages, how would you create one
                          > and why? Do you think it would look like our natural languages and why?
                          >

                          Let me bring my two lepta to the pool of not-so-logical languages. I'm not
                          going to advocate them, I'm just going to explain why I like them.

                          So, You ask what a language could be, were there no natlangs. I'd say, if
                          there were natlangs, there won't be organic life. For our genes
                          are essentially a language, with words, clauses sentences etc. We "learn"
                          our genes from our parents, we may even "learn" genes from other
                          "languages" - a parallel gene transport due to viral infections, which is
                          now used to explain apperance of some similar features in different though
                          relevant fila of animals. But now, if I'm going to model a language on DNA,
                          I'll have a language with such a great irregularity, that is impossible for
                          any spoken languages.

                          And yet it works. And fascinates.

                          We may say - well, life is indeed quite irregular and not that good
                          engineered. We can replace it with something more durable, functional and
                          efficient. True - and I won't say any word about human/machine ethics, not
                          at least because it's a list for linguistics. What I'd say, that You most
                          probably won't be able to _create_ this more efficient life from scratch.
                          You will _invent_ things.

                          You will make experiments. You'll come to some intermediate solutions for
                          partial problems, and to dead ends. Most probably for several times you
                          will start from older points, influenced by the ideas you've got while
                          constructing dead ends.

                          You may end up with some perfect creation, for which noone would be able to
                          say, how You have came to this design. Yet, there would always be people
                          that would be interested not only in _what_ you have create, but also in
                          the _process_ of invention itself, in its origins and development. That is,
                          there would be people like me.

                          I love to see things in development. The natural languages are
                          not-so-logical not because they were poorly designed like that at once. All
                          the irregularities you see are products of some everlasting process. And
                          exactly these irregularities let you guess, what was the state of things
                          before, and before that "before", and so on. It's like opening a window to
                          other, temporal dimension of a language, and I love this feeling. As when
                          you start seeing the invisible, and reviving something that is long ceased
                          to be. And we may do this, because though the languages seem not to be
                          logical, the _principles of their development_ are.

                          OK - one may say - so far for natlangs and their history, but why creating
                          irregular conlangs? Well, remember when Forrest Gump says that you can tell
                          many about people by looking at their shoes. And after a while we see how
                          much do his shoes tell about himself. BUT! Forrest Gump is a fictional
                          character, and his shoes never existed. Yet these are precisely them, among
                          other things, that give this character his deepness and attract sympathy.

                          Now, I think of my conlangs as attributes of concultures, and concultures
                          as protagonists of fiction. And I want my fiction to be a good fiction,
                          with deep characters, not just dei ex machinae. So I care what languages
                          could the "wear", and if they "wear" such a language, what made them do it.
                          And the irregularities - just like the expensive but worn to the final
                          point running boots on a well-dressed man like Forrest Gump - will serve as
                          nice hints for others and even for me myself. So that, having another one
                          glance on a thing that seemed not completely in order for the first time,
                          we'll be able to say: "A-ha, though it looks weird, its _developmemt_ is
                          completely _logical_."
                        • Nikolay Ivankov
                          As to why, it is a tradition. Sometimes even superficially established. I don t speak French myself, but I know that in the French word _doigt_ there was
                          Message 12 of 30 , Jan 19, 2013
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                            As to why, it is a tradition. Sometimes even superficially established. I
                            don't speak French myself, but I know that in the French word _doigt_ there
                            was nothing like [g] since at least 7th century AD. But /g/ was in the
                            Latin word _digitum_ that finally gave rise to _doigt_. So the grammarians
                            included /g/ to keep track of the language's history, although at no point
                            of the history of French language people seemed to pronounce _doigt_ like
                            [doigt] (though [dojt] seem to have taken place).

                            As for other languages, it is more then common. English and AFAIK Danish
                            may be named as the ones that preserve most oddities, and Russian was like
                            that before the orthography reforms of early XX century. Virtually every
                            language, in which the pronunciation of /c/ depends of the next sound are
                            applying the old norms of Latin, where /c/ was pronounced as /k/ in all
                            positions.

                            In fact, as the languages develop, it is inevitable that orthographic norms
                            start reflecting not an actual pronunciation, but some older version of
                            language. In a way, all languages do this, the question is, how much.

                            On Sat, Jan 19, 2013 at 5:48 PM, Mathieu Roy <mathieu.roy.37@...>wrote:

                            > Are these phenomenon present in a lot of languages? If so, in what way?
                            >
                            > Mathieu
                            >
                            > -----Message d'origine-----
                            > De : Constructed Languages List [mailto:CONLANG@...] De la
                            > part de R A Brown
                            > Envoyé : samedi 19 janvier 2013 10:22
                            > À : CONLANG@...
                            > Objet : French spelling (was: logical language VS not-so-logical language)
                            >
                            > On 18/01/2013 19:28, BPJ wrote:
                            > > On 2013-01-18 19:57, Mathieu Roy wrote:
                            > >> I don't know if the following is true, but my French
                            > >> teacher told me that monks in the past were paid by
                            > >> letters and therefore were adding letters to some
                            > >> words.
                            >
                            > A bit of a myth, methinks. Monks weren't paid.
                            >
                            > >> That would explain why a lot of words have for example
                            > >> the letters "eau" pronounces as "o" (bateau, eau, beau,
                            > >> chateau, etc.) or simply "au" pronounces as "o" (faux,
                            > >> taux, etc.) or silent letter at the end (faux, taux,
                            > >> etc.) or double letters that are indistinguishable from
                            > >> one letter (balle, sale, association, etc.)
                            >
                            > No, it does not explain any one of those things.
                            >
                            > > It *is* true that they added letters here and there,
                            >
                            > Yes, especially by early printers to justify lines (monks
                            > could justify them more easily by slightly modifying width
                            > of letters and spaces).
                            >
                            > > but for the most part 'illogical' spellings in French
                            > > reflect how the words were actually pronounced in the
                            > > thirteent century.
                            >
                            > Exactly! Yes, for the most part modern French spelling
                            > reflects how the language was pronounced in the 13th
                            > century. The reason for _eau_ and _au_ now pronounced as
                            > /o/, is that the spellings represent the pronunciation of
                            > the 13th century, the modern pronunciation is the result of
                            > sound changes that have taken place since.
                            >
                            > The reason silent letters occur at the end of words is that
                            > they were not silent in the 13th century, but have become so
                            > since. The only oddity here is the final -x of some plurals
                            > where _x_ was mistaken for a common handwritten abbreviation
                            > of -us.
                            >
                            > > Some were meant to approximate the spelling to their
                            > > Latin counterpart, sometimes mistakenly.
                            >
                            > That accounts for geminate consonants.
                            >
                            > Others were stuck in by learned or semi-learned people after
                            > the renaissance; the same thing happened in English. Some,
                            > as BPJ says, were mistaken, e.g. _sçavoir_ (<-- sapere) with
                            > the mistaken idea it had something to with Latin _scire_,
                            > and _dipner_ (<-- VL. *disjunáre) with mistaken idea that
                            > somehow it was related to Greek _deipnein_! Fortunately,
                            > the French were, for the most part, more sensible than their
                            > English counterparts, and dropped nearly all these
                            > absurdities, e.g. they now write: savoir, dîner. The only
                            > common survival that comes to mind is the _p_ in _sept_.
                            >
                            > --
                            > Ray
                            > ==================================
                            > http://www.carolandray.plus.com
                            > ==================================
                            > "language … began with half-musical unanalysed expressions
                            > for individual beings and events."
                            > [Otto Jespersen, Progress in Language, 1895]
                            >
                          • Nikolay Ivankov
                            ... Small correction: every language that is written with some sort of abajad or alphabet. But even only semi-abjad Japanese uses the hiragana-symbol ha to
                            Message 13 of 30 , Jan 19, 2013
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                              On Sun, Jan 20, 2013 at 12:04 AM, Nikolay Ivankov <lukevilent@...>wrote:

                              > As to why, it is a tradition. Sometimes even superficially established. I
                              > don't speak French myself, but I know that in the French word _doigt_ there
                              > was nothing like [g] since at least 7th century AD. But /g/ was in the
                              > Latin word _digitum_ that finally gave rise to _doigt_. So the grammarians
                              > included /g/ to keep track of the language's history, although at no point
                              > of the history of French language people seemed to pronounce _doigt_ like
                              > [doigt] (though [dojt] seem to have taken place).
                              >
                              > As for other languages, it is more then common. English and AFAIK Danish
                              > may be named as the ones that preserve most oddities, and Russian was like
                              > that before the orthography reforms of early XX century. Virtually every
                              > language, in which the pronunciation of /c/ depends of the next sound are
                              > applying the old norms of Latin, where /c/ was pronounced as /k/ in all
                              > positions.
                              >
                              > In fact, as the languages develop, it is inevitable that orthographic
                              > norms start reflecting not an actual pronunciation, but some older version
                              > of language. In a way, all languages do this, the question is, how much.
                              >

                              Small correction: every language that is written with some sort of abajad
                              or alphabet. But even only semi-abjad Japanese uses the hiragana-symbol
                              "ha" to write [wa] of the nominative case, which, AFAIR, reflects its old
                              pronunciation as [pa].


                              > On Sat, Jan 19, 2013 at 5:48 PM, Mathieu Roy <mathieu.roy.37@...>wrote:
                              >
                              >> Are these phenomenon present in a lot of languages? If so, in what way?
                              >>
                              >> Mathieu
                              >>
                              >> -----Message d'origine-----
                              >> De : Constructed Languages List [mailto:CONLANG@...] De la
                              >> part de R A Brown
                              >> Envoyé : samedi 19 janvier 2013 10:22
                              >> À : CONLANG@...
                              >> Objet : French spelling (was: logical language VS not-so-logical language)
                              >>
                              >> On 18/01/2013 19:28, BPJ wrote:
                              >> > On 2013-01-18 19:57, Mathieu Roy wrote:
                              >> >> I don't know if the following is true, but my French
                              >> >> teacher told me that monks in the past were paid by
                              >> >> letters and therefore were adding letters to some
                              >> >> words.
                              >>
                              >> A bit of a myth, methinks. Monks weren't paid.
                              >>
                              >> >> That would explain why a lot of words have for example
                              >> >> the letters "eau" pronounces as "o" (bateau, eau, beau,
                              >> >> chateau, etc.) or simply "au" pronounces as "o" (faux,
                              >> >> taux, etc.) or silent letter at the end (faux, taux,
                              >> >> etc.) or double letters that are indistinguishable from
                              >> >> one letter (balle, sale, association, etc.)
                              >>
                              >> No, it does not explain any one of those things.
                              >>
                              >> > It *is* true that they added letters here and there,
                              >>
                              >> Yes, especially by early printers to justify lines (monks
                              >> could justify them more easily by slightly modifying width
                              >> of letters and spaces).
                              >>
                              >> > but for the most part 'illogical' spellings in French
                              >> > reflect how the words were actually pronounced in the
                              >> > thirteent century.
                              >>
                              >> Exactly! Yes, for the most part modern French spelling
                              >> reflects how the language was pronounced in the 13th
                              >> century. The reason for _eau_ and _au_ now pronounced as
                              >> /o/, is that the spellings represent the pronunciation of
                              >> the 13th century, the modern pronunciation is the result of
                              >> sound changes that have taken place since.
                              >>
                              >> The reason silent letters occur at the end of words is that
                              >> they were not silent in the 13th century, but have become so
                              >> since. The only oddity here is the final -x of some plurals
                              >> where _x_ was mistaken for a common handwritten abbreviation
                              >> of -us.
                              >>
                              >> > Some were meant to approximate the spelling to their
                              >> > Latin counterpart, sometimes mistakenly.
                              >>
                              >> That accounts for geminate consonants.
                              >>
                              >> Others were stuck in by learned or semi-learned people after
                              >> the renaissance; the same thing happened in English. Some,
                              >> as BPJ says, were mistaken, e.g. _sçavoir_ (<-- sapere) with
                              >> the mistaken idea it had something to with Latin _scire_,
                              >> and _dipner_ (<-- VL. *disjunáre) with mistaken idea that
                              >> somehow it was related to Greek _deipnein_! Fortunately,
                              >> the French were, for the most part, more sensible than their
                              >> English counterparts, and dropped nearly all these
                              >> absurdities, e.g. they now write: savoir, dîner. The only
                              >> common survival that comes to mind is the _p_ in _sept_.
                              >>
                              >> --
                              >> Ray
                              >> ==================================
                              >> http://www.carolandray.plus.com
                              >> ==================================
                              >> "language … began with half-musical unanalysed expressions
                              >> for individual beings and events."
                              >> [Otto Jespersen, Progress in Language, 1895]
                              >>
                              >
                              >
                            • Jim Henry
                              On Sat, Jan 19, 2013 at 11:02 AM, Leonardo Castro ... This is not quite true: you can rhyme nouns with an elided final -o with pronouns and other closed-class
                              Message 14 of 30 , Jan 19, 2013
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                                On Sat, Jan 19, 2013 at 11:02 AM, Leonardo Castro
                                <leolucas1980@...> wrote:
                                > A well-know problem with poetry in Esperanto is that you can only
                                > rhyme words of the same class. But there are natlangs that only have

                                This is not quite true: you can rhyme nouns with an elided final -o
                                with pronouns and other closed-class words. E.g.,

                                Kion fari? En malgaj'
                                mi ekfoliumis
                                vian poemaron, kaj...
                                poste viv' re-lumis.

                                (from "Letero al Aleksandro Logvin", by William Auld)

                                Another aspect of poetry in Esperanto is that it's considered bad form
                                to rhyme just on grammatical endings and suffixes; it's called
                                "adasismo".

                                There's been a lot of good rhymed, metrical poetry written in
                                Esperanto, especially from the 1920s through the 1950s. Poetry is
                                still being written in Esperanto, of course, but my impression is that
                                around the 1960s free verse became fashionable in Esperanto, as it had
                                in English a few decades earlier.

                                --
                                Jim Henry
                                http://www.pobox.com/~jimhenry/
                                http://www.jimhenrymedicaltrust.org
                              • Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets
                                ... That, and the fact (well, mostly a rumour, actually) that a common sentence in Maggel lawsuits is for the loser to be eaten by the winner. Some very bad
                                Message 15 of 30 , Jan 19, 2013
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                                  On 19 January 2013 23:04, Garth Wallace <gwalla@...> wrote:

                                  >
                                  > Obviously, all court proceedings should be conducted in Maggel. It
                                  > would cut down on the number of lawsuits considerably.
                                  >

                                  That, and the fact (well, mostly a rumour, actually) that a common sentence
                                  in Maggel lawsuits is for the loser to be eaten by the winner. Some very
                                  bad people even say sometimes the sentence is to be eaten alive! That is of
                                  course pure libel (which is one of the crimes that seem to allow for such a
                                  sentence by the way): Maggel speakers don't like steak tartare :P .
                                  --
                                  Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets.

                                  http://christophoronomicon.blogspot.com/
                                  http://www.christophoronomicon.nl/
                                • Padraic Brown
                                  ... I should think it was obvious from the reply you re responding to! I did actually read your whole, long, and terribly formatted post. I even responded to
                                  Message 16 of 30 , Jan 19, 2013
                                  • 0 Attachment
                                    --- On Sat, 1/19/13, Mathieu Roy <mathieu.roy.37@...> wrote:

                                    > What do you mean you deleted "a whole lot of [my] post"?

                                    I should think it was obvious from the reply you're responding to! I did
                                    actually read your whole, long, and terribly formatted post. I even
                                    responded to about 80% of it, then came to my senses, deleted 90% of that,
                                    and the result is what you got in your mailbox!

                                    > Are you a moderator of the list?

                                    My powers are many and varied, but they have no jurisdiction in this
                                    subreality called Conlang.

                                    > Because I only responded to what other people had written. In
                                    > my opinion, if one want to ban a subject, it would be more
                                    > reasonable to ban both side of the argument, and not just one. No
                                    > offense.

                                    Who said anything about banning anything? I still think your post, with
                                    all its loglang advocacy, would be better suited to a different list.

                                    This is largely why I deleted so much of your post to begin with.

                                    If you are creating a loglang and wish to discuss mechanics and poetics
                                    and things like that here, that would be fine.

                                    > "If there were no natural languages, we wouldn't be able to create one,
                                    > because we'd have no concept of language with which to create."
                                    >
                                    > Yes clearly; I was more asking the question from a though
                                    > experiment point of view.

                                    Maybe there's a misunderstanding? Without natural language, we would not
                                    even be able to experiment with language! There would be no more concept
                                    of "experimental language" in our heads than there is in the heads of mice.

                                    > Mathieu

                                    Padraic
                                  • Padraic Brown
                                    ... Hm. I think Walpole s Maxim need be invoked here. Just a reminder, for those who slept through their fourth year legal seminar on legal complexities, it
                                    Message 17 of 30 , Jan 19, 2013
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                                      --- On Sat, 1/19/13, Garth Wallace <gwalla@...> wrote:

                                      > From: Garth Wallace <gwalla@...>
                                      > Subject: Re: [CONLANG] logical language VS not-so-logical language (was RE: Loglan[g] VS Natlang)
                                      > To: CONLANG@...
                                      > Date: Saturday, January 19, 2013, 5:04 PM
                                      > On Sat, Jan 19, 2013 at 6:21 AM, R A
                                      > Brown <ray@...>
                                      > wrote:
                                      > > _brief_ reply in this tedious thread.
                                      > >
                                      > >
                                      > > On 19/01/2013 13:42, Mathieu Roy wrote:
                                      > >>
                                      > >> <<But what I do not and will not go along
                                      > with is someone
                                      > >> who wants the whole world to speak a particular
                                      > auxlang
                                      > >> or a particular loglang and, as Padraic says, such
                                      > >> advocacy is not appropriate on this list.>>
                                      > >>
                                      > >> Nor will I. I will quote myself "In the end
                                      > everybody is
                                      > >>  (or at least should be IMO) free to speak the
                                      > language
                                      > >> they want (except maybe in court?).
                                      > >
                                      > >
                                      > > "except maybe in court" - a little worrying, methinks
                                      >
                                      > Obviously, all court proceedings should be conducted in
                                      > Maggel. It would cut down on the number of lawsuits considerably.

                                      Hm. I think Walpole's Maxim need be invoked here. Just a reminder, for
                                      those who slept through their fourth year legal seminar on legal
                                      complexities, it states that there is a directly proportionate
                                      relationship between the increasing complexity of legal language and the
                                      number of lawsuits brought. I would suspect that if Maggel were made the
                                      language of the US court system, we'd see an immediate jump in the number
                                      of lawsuits brought to trial by Americans from the current 3 per person
                                      per year to 142. Clearly, M Grandsire did his job well! (I should note
                                      that it is partially out of fear of the pro-Maggel faction in Washington
                                      that certain members of Congress have proposed various bills making
                                      English, a far easier and simpler language than Maggel!, the official
                                      language of the court system.)

                                      Padraic
                                    • Eugene Oh
                                      Sent from my iPhone ... Not necessarily. Same or similar sounding words in Classical Chinese have diverged in pronunciation despite bein written with the same
                                      Message 18 of 30 , Jan 19, 2013
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                                        Sent from my iPhone

                                        On 19 Jan 2013, at 23:12, Nikolay Ivankov <lukevilent@...> wrote:

                                        > On Sun, Jan 20, 2013 at 12:04 AM, Nikolay Ivankov <lukevilent@...>wrote:
                                        >
                                        >> As to why, it is a tradition. Sometimes even superficially established. I
                                        >> don't speak French myself, but I know that in the French word _doigt_ there
                                        >> was nothing like [g] since at least 7th century AD. But /g/ was in the
                                        >> Latin word _digitum_ that finally gave rise to _doigt_. So the grammarians
                                        >> included /g/ to keep track of the language's history, although at no point
                                        >> of the history of French language people seemed to pronounce _doigt_ like
                                        >> [doigt] (though [dojt] seem to have taken place).
                                        >>
                                        >> As for other languages, it is more then common. English and AFAIK Danish
                                        >> may be named as the ones that preserve most oddities, and Russian was like
                                        >> that before the orthography reforms of early XX century. Virtually every
                                        >> language, in which the pronunciation of /c/ depends of the next sound are
                                        >> applying the old norms of Latin, where /c/ was pronounced as /k/ in all
                                        >> positions.
                                        >>
                                        >> In fact, as the languages develop, it is inevitable that orthographic
                                        >> norms start reflecting not an actual pronunciation, but some older version
                                        >> of language. In a way, all languages do this, the question is, how much.
                                        >
                                        > Small correction: every language that is written with some sort of abajad
                                        > or alphabet. But even only semi-abjad Japanese uses the hiragana-symbol
                                        > "ha" to write [wa] of the nominative case, which, AFAIR, reflects its old
                                        > pronunciation as [pa].
                                        >

                                        Not necessarily. Same or similar sounding words in Classical Chinese have diverged in pronunciation despite bein written with the same radical(s). That could be interpreted as a parallel phenomenon.

                                        >
                                        >> On Sat, Jan 19, 2013 at 5:48 PM, Mathieu Roy <mathieu.roy.37@...>wrote:
                                        >>
                                        >>> Are these phenomenon present in a lot of languages? If so, in what way?
                                        >>>
                                        >>> Mathieu
                                        >>>
                                        >>> -----Message d'origine-----
                                        >>> De : Constructed Languages List [mailto:CONLANG@...] De la
                                        >>> part de R A Brown
                                        >>> Envoyé : samedi 19 janvier 2013 10:22
                                        >>> À : CONLANG@...
                                        >>> Objet : French spelling (was: logical language VS not-so-logical language)
                                        >>>
                                        >>> On 18/01/2013 19:28, BPJ wrote:
                                        >>>> On 2013-01-18 19:57, Mathieu Roy wrote:
                                        >>>>> I don't know if the following is true, but my French
                                        >>>>> teacher told me that monks in the past were paid by
                                        >>>>> letters and therefore were adding letters to some
                                        >>>>> words.
                                        >>>
                                        >>> A bit of a myth, methinks. Monks weren't paid.
                                        >>>
                                        >>>>> That would explain why a lot of words have for example
                                        >>>>> the letters "eau" pronounces as "o" (bateau, eau, beau,
                                        >>>>> chateau, etc.) or simply "au" pronounces as "o" (faux,
                                        >>>>> taux, etc.) or silent letter at the end (faux, taux,
                                        >>>>> etc.) or double letters that are indistinguishable from
                                        >>>>> one letter (balle, sale, association, etc.)
                                        >>>
                                        >>> No, it does not explain any one of those things.
                                        >>>
                                        >>>> It *is* true that they added letters here and there,
                                        >>>
                                        >>> Yes, especially by early printers to justify lines (monks
                                        >>> could justify them more easily by slightly modifying width
                                        >>> of letters and spaces).
                                        >>>
                                        >>>> but for the most part 'illogical' spellings in French
                                        >>>> reflect how the words were actually pronounced in the
                                        >>>> thirteent century.
                                        >>>
                                        >>> Exactly! Yes, for the most part modern French spelling
                                        >>> reflects how the language was pronounced in the 13th
                                        >>> century. The reason for _eau_ and _au_ now pronounced as
                                        >>> /o/, is that the spellings represent the pronunciation of
                                        >>> the 13th century, the modern pronunciation is the result of
                                        >>> sound changes that have taken place since.
                                        >>>
                                        >>> The reason silent letters occur at the end of words is that
                                        >>> they were not silent in the 13th century, but have become so
                                        >>> since. The only oddity here is the final -x of some plurals
                                        >>> where _x_ was mistaken for a common handwritten abbreviation
                                        >>> of -us.
                                        >>>
                                        >>>> Some were meant to approximate the spelling to their
                                        >>>> Latin counterpart, sometimes mistakenly.
                                        >>>
                                        >>> That accounts for geminate consonants.
                                        >>>
                                        >>> Others were stuck in by learned or semi-learned people after
                                        >>> the renaissance; the same thing happened in English. Some,
                                        >>> as BPJ says, were mistaken, e.g. _sçavoir_ (<-- sapere) with
                                        >>> the mistaken idea it had something to with Latin _scire_,
                                        >>> and _dipner_ (<-- VL. *disjunáre) with mistaken idea that
                                        >>> somehow it was related to Greek _deipnein_! Fortunately,
                                        >>> the French were, for the most part, more sensible than their
                                        >>> English counterparts, and dropped nearly all these
                                        >>> absurdities, e.g. they now write: savoir, dîner. The only
                                        >>> common survival that comes to mind is the _p_ in _sept_.
                                        >>>
                                        >>> --
                                        >>> Ray
                                        >>> ==================================
                                        >>> http://www.carolandray.plus.com
                                        >>> ==================================
                                        >>> "language … began with half-musical unanalysed expressions
                                        >>> for individual beings and events."
                                        >>> [Otto Jespersen, Progress in Language, 1895]
                                        >>
                                        >>
                                      • Mathieu Roy
                                        Also, my French teacher told me that past participles were matched with the direct object (complément d object direct) only if the latter was before the verb
                                        Message 19 of 30 , Jan 20, 2013
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                                          Also, my French teacher told me that past participles were matched with the direct object (complément d'object direct) only if the latter was before the verb as monks could not erase (to correct mistakes), and because it is more difficult to know how to match a past participate with a direct object that has not been written yet (ie. which is after it). Is that true?

                                          Mathieu
                                        • David McCann
                                          On Sun, 20 Jan 2013 16:21:27 +0100 ... No (like many things that we re told at school!) The natural tendency was to treat the compound verb, whether with être
                                          Message 20 of 30 , Jan 20, 2013
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                                            On Sun, 20 Jan 2013 16:21:27 +0100
                                            Mathieu Roy <mathieu.roy.37@...> wrote:

                                            > Also, my French teacher told me that past participles were matched
                                            > with the direct object (complément d'object direct) only if the
                                            > latter was before the verb as monks could not erase (to correct
                                            > mistakes), and because it is more difficult to know how to match a
                                            > past participate with a direct object that has not been written yet
                                            > (ie. which is after it). Is that true?

                                            No (like many things that we're told at school!) The natural tendency
                                            was to treat the compound verb, whether with être or avoir, as a
                                            verb and leave the participle uninflected. That became the norm by the
                                            13th century. Inflection was re-introduced under the influence of
                                            Latin, but that was of course in the script, since the -e and -s had
                                            become silent. The modern rule was proposed by Ramus in the 16th
                                            century but not established until the 18th.
                                          • Nikolay Ivankov
                                            ... Yes, I haven t taken this into consideration. Let s say, any writing system in which the at least some symbols may have a phonetic value. In effect, that s
                                            Message 21 of 30 , Jan 20, 2013
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                                              On Sun, Jan 20, 2013 at 1:40 AM, Eugene Oh <un.doing@...> wrote:

                                              > Sent from my iPhone
                                              >
                                              > On 19 Jan 2013, at 23:12, Nikolay Ivankov <lukevilent@...> wrote:
                                              >
                                              > > On Sun, Jan 20, 2013 at 12:04 AM, Nikolay Ivankov <lukevilent@...
                                              > >wrote:
                                              > >
                                              > >> As to why, it is a tradition. Sometimes even superficially established.
                                              > I
                                              > >> don't speak French myself, but I know that in the French word _doigt_
                                              > there
                                              > >> was nothing like [g] since at least 7th century AD. But /g/ was in the
                                              > >> Latin word _digitum_ that finally gave rise to _doigt_. So the
                                              > grammarians
                                              > >> included /g/ to keep track of the language's history, although at no
                                              > point
                                              > >> of the history of French language people seemed to pronounce _doigt_
                                              > like
                                              > >> [doigt] (though [dojt] seem to have taken place).
                                              > >>
                                              > >> As for other languages, it is more then common. English and AFAIK Danish
                                              > >> may be named as the ones that preserve most oddities, and Russian was
                                              > like
                                              > >> that before the orthography reforms of early XX century. Virtually every
                                              > >> language, in which the pronunciation of /c/ depends of the next sound
                                              > are
                                              > >> applying the old norms of Latin, where /c/ was pronounced as /k/ in all
                                              > >> positions.
                                              > >>
                                              > >> In fact, as the languages develop, it is inevitable that orthographic
                                              > >> norms start reflecting not an actual pronunciation, but some older
                                              > version
                                              > >> of language. In a way, all languages do this, the question is, how much.
                                              > >
                                              > > Small correction: every language that is written with some sort of abajad
                                              > > or alphabet. But even only semi-abjad Japanese uses the hiragana-symbol
                                              > > "ha" to write [wa] of the nominative case, which, AFAIR, reflects its old
                                              > > pronunciation as [pa].
                                              > >
                                              >
                                              > Not necessarily. Same or similar sounding words in Classical Chinese have
                                              > diverged in pronunciation despite bein written with the same radical(s).
                                              > That could be interpreted as a parallel phenomenon.
                                              >

                                              Yes, I haven't taken this into consideration. Let's say, any writing system
                                              in which the at least some symbols may have a phonetic value. In effect,
                                              that's almost all writing systems in the world - I don't know any that
                                              didn't.


                                              > >
                                              > >> On Sat, Jan 19, 2013 at 5:48 PM, Mathieu Roy <mathieu.roy.37@...
                                              > >wrote:
                                              > >>
                                              > >>> Are these phenomenon present in a lot of languages? If so, in what way?
                                              > >>>
                                              > >>> Mathieu
                                              > >>>
                                              > >>> -----Message d'origine-----
                                              > >>> De : Constructed Languages List [mailto:CONLANG@...]
                                              > De la
                                              > >>> part de R A Brown
                                              > >>> Envoyé : samedi 19 janvier 2013 10:22
                                              > >>> À : CONLANG@...
                                              > >>> Objet : French spelling (was: logical language VS not-so-logical
                                              > language)
                                              > >>>
                                              > >>> On 18/01/2013 19:28, BPJ wrote:
                                              > >>>> On 2013-01-18 19:57, Mathieu Roy wrote:
                                              > >>>>> I don't know if the following is true, but my French
                                              > >>>>> teacher told me that monks in the past were paid by
                                              > >>>>> letters and therefore were adding letters to some
                                              > >>>>> words.
                                              > >>>
                                              > >>> A bit of a myth, methinks. Monks weren't paid.
                                              > >>>
                                              > >>>>> That would explain why a lot of words have for example
                                              > >>>>> the letters "eau" pronounces as "o" (bateau, eau, beau,
                                              > >>>>> chateau, etc.) or simply "au" pronounces as "o" (faux,
                                              > >>>>> taux, etc.) or silent letter at the end (faux, taux,
                                              > >>>>> etc.) or double letters that are indistinguishable from
                                              > >>>>> one letter (balle, sale, association, etc.)
                                              > >>>
                                              > >>> No, it does not explain any one of those things.
                                              > >>>
                                              > >>>> It *is* true that they added letters here and there,
                                              > >>>
                                              > >>> Yes, especially by early printers to justify lines (monks
                                              > >>> could justify them more easily by slightly modifying width
                                              > >>> of letters and spaces).
                                              > >>>
                                              > >>>> but for the most part 'illogical' spellings in French
                                              > >>>> reflect how the words were actually pronounced in the
                                              > >>>> thirteent century.
                                              > >>>
                                              > >>> Exactly! Yes, for the most part modern French spelling
                                              > >>> reflects how the language was pronounced in the 13th
                                              > >>> century. The reason for _eau_ and _au_ now pronounced as
                                              > >>> /o/, is that the spellings represent the pronunciation of
                                              > >>> the 13th century, the modern pronunciation is the result of
                                              > >>> sound changes that have taken place since.
                                              > >>>
                                              > >>> The reason silent letters occur at the end of words is that
                                              > >>> they were not silent in the 13th century, but have become so
                                              > >>> since. The only oddity here is the final -x of some plurals
                                              > >>> where _x_ was mistaken for a common handwritten abbreviation
                                              > >>> of -us.
                                              > >>>
                                              > >>>> Some were meant to approximate the spelling to their
                                              > >>>> Latin counterpart, sometimes mistakenly.
                                              > >>>
                                              > >>> That accounts for geminate consonants.
                                              > >>>
                                              > >>> Others were stuck in by learned or semi-learned people after
                                              > >>> the renaissance; the same thing happened in English. Some,
                                              > >>> as BPJ says, were mistaken, e.g. _sçavoir_ (<-- sapere) with
                                              > >>> the mistaken idea it had something to with Latin _scire_,
                                              > >>> and _dipner_ (<-- VL. *disjunáre) with mistaken idea that
                                              > >>> somehow it was related to Greek _deipnein_! Fortunately,
                                              > >>> the French were, for the most part, more sensible than their
                                              > >>> English counterparts, and dropped nearly all these
                                              > >>> absurdities, e.g. they now write: savoir, dîner. The only
                                              > >>> common survival that comes to mind is the _p_ in _sept_.
                                              > >>>
                                              > >>> --
                                              > >>> Ray
                                              > >>> ==================================
                                              > >>> http://www.carolandray.plus.com
                                              > >>> ==================================
                                              > >>> "language … began with half-musical unanalysed expressions
                                              > >>> for individual beings and events."
                                              > >>> [Otto Jespersen, Progress in Language, 1895]
                                              > >>
                                              > >>
                                              >
                                            • Elena ``of Valhalla''
                                              ... Actually, monks could erase, up to a certain point, by scraping a bit of parchment; it is definitely more invasive than hitting the backspace key and
                                              Message 22 of 30 , Jan 20, 2013
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                                                On 2013-01-20 at 16:21:27 +0100, Mathieu Roy wrote:
                                                > Also, my French teacher told me that past participles were matched with the direct object (complément d'object direct) only if the latter was before the verb as monks could not erase (to correct mistakes), and because it is more difficult to know how to match a past participate with a direct object that has not been written yet (ie. which is after it). Is that true?

                                                Actually, monks could erase, up to a certain point, by scraping a bit
                                                of parchment; it is definitely more invasive than hitting the backspace
                                                key and leaves traces, but for small errors it could be done.

                                                What makes the explanation quite unrealistic, however, is the fact
                                                that the monks weren't writing new material on the expensive vellum:
                                                most of the time they were copying existing books, and even in the
                                                rare case when they weren't, the text would have been composed and
                                                written on something cheap and reusable like waxed tablets, and
                                                only later copied on a more durable support.

                                                Additionally, I don't know much about the history of French, but
                                                if what I remember about Italian applies, I suspect that the monks
                                                had little influence on its developement (as a written language),
                                                since they tended to live in (medieval) Latin language/culture islands.

                                                --
                                                Elena ``of Valhalla''
                                              • Padraic Brown
                                                ... Actually, up to a certain point can include whole pieces of parchment. Several ancient works have been discovered only because some ignorant monks
                                                Message 23 of 30 , Jan 20, 2013
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                                                  --- On Sun, 1/20/13, Elena ``of Valhalla'' <elena.valhalla@...> wrote:

                                                  > > monks could not erase (to correct mistakes),
                                                  >
                                                  > Actually, monks could erase, up to a certain point, by scraping a bit
                                                  > of parchment; it is definitely more invasive than hitting
                                                  > the backspace key and leaves traces, but for small errors it could be
                                                  > done.

                                                  Actually, "up to a certain point" can include whole pieces of parchment.
                                                  Several ancient works have been discovered only because some ignorant
                                                  monks scraped off the earlier work and wrote on top of that a bunch of
                                                  psalms. Now, I don't have any problem with psalms per se, but do have an
                                                  issue with erasing the irreplaceable literary treasures (no matter how
                                                  good or bad) of an earlier age. Get your own damn piece of parchment and
                                                  start out fresh! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palimpsest

                                                  > Elena ``of Valhalla''

                                                  Padraic
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