Saturday, February 28, 2009

asia rising, con-lang English of e-prime

Earlier this month Hillary Clinton also broke with tradition when she chose to make her first foreign trip as secretary of state to Asia.

Lord Malloch-Brown said there needed to be a "rebalancing of the global economy and rebalancing of the power in it".

Japan, China and South Korea have announced packages worth hundreds of billions of dollars to fund the IMF and support Asian currencies – taking on a traditional American role.
D: America exhausted itself with poor controls on its banking system, and with massive good-times deficit spending to give tax cuts to the rich (Bush...).

My anticipation of the rise of Chinese power looks downright conservative now.
Of course, it will be decades before the Chinese GDP exceeds USA, and a coupla more before it exceeds the collective English-speaking world.

I was having a discussion with Ryan in his car last night. My argument was as follows, that history is repeating itself.
1) Esperanto was decently designed (for the time)
2) it catered to idealists with an internationalist bent (also the source of its resurgence in our lifetime)
3) at the time French was, well, the lingua france of diplomacy
4) nobody could forsee the day when this would no longer be true
5) the League of Nations, being THE international organisation, attempted to adopt Espo
6) the French, seeing this as a threat to their pre-eminence, blocked it.
And where is French now? Just another European colonial language.
The French *could have* looked towards the future. They could have seen trends that would favour the English. Now, nobody learns French first. Heck, I'm Canadian and have almost no motive involving practical everyday utility for learning French. If not for government legislation, I could live my entire life without the motive to speak one word of those nasal vowels.
The French screwed themselves.

Fast forward to 2008, with 2045 around the corner.
1) (some IAL, ? maybe mine ? ) is nearly optimally designed
2) some IAL gains adherents due to idealist motivations
3) English is still dominant for now
4) most of us don't see that this state won't last
5) the UN on its centennial may develop the internationalist motivation to adopt
an international language
6) I wonder if the English will make the same mistake as the French.

D: The choice is not to be speaking either English or an IAL.
It will be learning an IAL. Or you can learn Mandarin.
Good luck with that. It is a bugger for an adult English-speaker to learn.
Here in Waterloo, almost HALF the workforce lacks functional literacy.
How do you suppose we will tuck in a difficult second language.

THOSE are the choices.
Did we learn anything from history?


D: English lacking the verb 'to be' in most of its incarnations.
Intriguing as a thought process.

'I am depressed', implies that

I always feel sad,
will always feel sad, and
I can do nothing about it,
'Is' and 'are', like all present tense verbs, imply no time, no space and absolute truth. 'I am depressed' abbreviates what has happened in the past. So perhaps it means

I felt sad on many occasions in the past, and I feel sad now.

D: we generally agree that the sky IS blue.
However, take the statement Bush is a moron.
While I would agree with this, it lacks the wide consensus of the former statement.
E-prime takes note of this.
I would hafta rephrase that.
I concluded that Bush IMHO behaves in a moronic fashion.
Wordy. <:

Friday, February 27, 2009

rate of evolution of words, squint free font, IALs before Volapuk

"We think some of these words are as ancient as 40,000 years old. The sound used to make those words would have been used by all speakers of the Indo-European languages throughout history," Professor Pagel said.

Meanwhile, the fastest-changing words are projected to die out and be replaced by other words much sooner.

For example, "dirty" is a rapidly changing word; currently there are 46 different ways of saying it in the Indo-European languages, all words that are unrelated to each other.

Reading University researchers claim "I", "we", "two" and "three" are among the most ancient, dating back tens of thousands of years.

Typeface choice

If you’ve struggled to read a drug disclosure, you know that a light, condensed face for small type is bad news. What you really want is a face with a wide set width, that is, one whose characters are relatively wide. In addition, you’ll want a face with a generous x-height: one whose lowercase letters are rather tall.

Likewise, faces with a heavier stroke weight and less contrast between the thick and thin parts of their characters are more legible in small sizes.

Helvetica itself is ... because it scores high(-ly?) on all the previous criteria: big x-height, good color, and a wide stance. In fact, many sans serifs fare well in small sizes for the same reasons. In general, humanist sans serifs such as Gill Sans work better than a geometric sans, such as Futura or Avant Garde, because the shapes and proportions of their letters share more of a seriffed face’s visual cues to easy character recognition. Antique Olive is a face that was specifically designed for legibility (by Roger Excoffon, in the 1960s), but it’s sadly neglected today.

With its lowercase letters that are almost as big as its caps, it stands up very well in small sizes.

D: again, HIOXian aspires to high visual clarity, including for the diacritic.
No element is smaller than a bar segment, much like - .

D: I already touched early on upon Solresol.

We'll briefly look at the 'reformed French spelling' of Communicationssprache, then delve into Universalglot.

* No articles.
* Invariable adjectives.
* Comparatives in -ior and -iost.
* Adverbs formed by adding -ly to adjectives.
* Possessive pronouns in -a.
* Infinitives in -er.
* Nouns were declined.
* Capitalization of nouns, as in German.

D: it looks a bit like Ogden's Basic English in its grammar rules and syntax.
Hmm, not in English. That's not handy.

THE LANDOWNER OF SCHIPFER On 23 January 1801 cure-Main-hisses treasurers and Obristwachtmeister the Honor Karl von Hornstein sold its yard to Grüningen in Niederwalluf. The age-old aristocracy yard by the marriage with Sidonia Freiin Köth of Wanscheid at Honor Karl von Hornstein had come. Into the Haselnußgasse (Schliefs yard) manor present meal mill (in hereditary existence) consisted, beer brewery justice, 102 mornings of fields and meadows (tenth requiring), 8 2/4 morning of vineyards and tenth downward gradients to Gerstrothen of herrschaftlichem house, auxiliary buildings, (Görsroth?), from Beholzungs grace a right on the so-called Gräfenhöhe (14 Klafter firewood and 800 waves) and Beholzungsrecht in the Hinterwalde with feasting course, Mastung, hunt and fishery right.

D: OK, that is just not legible.

Predating Volapük by a decade and Esperanto by nearly 20 years, Universalglot has been called the first "complete auxiliary-language system based on the common elements in national languages".[1] In his book describing his own language project Novial, Otto Jespersen praised the language, writing, "one to which I constantly recur with the greatest admiration, because it embodies principles which were not recognized till much later".[2]

At 7000 words, this was NOT easy to learn!
But then, isn't Esperanto with its expanded vocabulary up to this level anyway?
And at least UG only uses 26 letters with very few odd characters.

# a "Σ/σ" is used instead of "sh".
# a "Ü/ü" is used for German "Ü/ü" (or French "U/u")

Substantives and adjectives never change except for the feminine form for substantives. The feminine is in "in". Ex1 (singular): El old man, el old manin. Ex.2 (plural): Li old man, Li old manin.
D: resembles -in- feminine affix of Espo.


Only articles and pronouns indicate the singular or plural like this:

Singular: el (de el, ex el / ad el / el), un

Plural: li (de li, ex li / ad li / li)

D: less agreement. Thank God.
No -oy-n "oyn" endings!

The verbs have easy conjugation:
D: I think I see some French there. Sign of the times, I suppose.

11=undec, 12=dudec, 13=tridec etc.
20=duta, 30=trita, etc.
21=dutaun, 22=dutadu, 23=dutatri etc.
D: sensible number naming convention. Just couldn't get away from the PIE/Euro-number naming convention though.
See my blog entry on Asian number names.

Leter de grat (thank letter)

Men senior,
I grate vos pro el servnes ke vos habe donated ad me. Kred, men senior, ke in un simli fal vos pote konten up me.
Adcept el adsekurantnes de men kordli amiknes.

D: other than the usual Euroclone problem of keeping all things Euro hook, line & sinker, it's decent. Maybe the hook part is good, the line is dubious and some sinker aspects sink the idea...

D: interestingly, despite being roughly comparable to Espo, this never took off.
Wrong time, wrong place? I think it didn't carve out a constituency.
A language needs patrons (and matrons <:).
Perhaps internationalist sentiment had not matured.
Or this didn't cater to that group or any other.
A Euro-clone Euro interlang has never been successfully marketted as such.
D: Market -ed. I prefer double consonants for soft vowels. English...
Of course, admitting that a language purported to be a global interlang is ill-suited to that task would be refreshingly honest.
Instead I get comments like " it (barely) works". And "there is a community of speakers". Or at least a very few that can carry on a conversation.
Courtesy of the internet, undoubtedly all the two-headed snakes and other circus oddities can claim to have a community also.
After all, a billion people have internet access.

I'm curious. Let's say I finish Decimese. ( All that is left is core vocabulary.)
If I begat children and taught them Decimese as their first language, then had a Decimese chat site for the three fluent speakers (the rest can use dictionaries), and finally held conventions of anemic attendance, can I too claim to have a vibrant, thriving community of speakers? <:

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

esperanto congresses, nifty etymology online dictionary, simple English in Wiki entries, comparison of chinese and english newspaper vocabulary, IALs

Year City Country Number of
2010 Havana Cuba
2009 Białystok Poland

These congresses take place every year and gather on average about 2000 participants (since World War II it has varied from 800 to 6000 depending on the venue). The average number of countries represented is about 60.

D: the speakers seem to clump in certain countries.
Or maybe just speakers from that region will attend.

May 2009

22-a ĝis 25-a de majo
Landa Kongreso de Esperanto-USA
The 57th National Congress of Esperanto-USA
Sankta-Luiso, MO, Usono

The Canadian Esperanto Association (Kanada Esperanto-Asocio in Esperanto or KEA) is a registered educational charity whose objective is to advance the education of the Canadian public in the international language Esperanto.

KEA administers a large Esperanto-language book service, located in Montreal, Quebec, and publishes a semi-annual magazine edited in Esperanto, Lumo. It also occasionally publishes books in Esperanto. The organization's leadership consists of a president, vice-president, secretary, treasurer, and up to seven (currently, five) directors. Membership is about 120.

D: wow, 120. That sure is a thriving membership in a nation of about, what, over 25 million?

Dum la longa 'Viktoria Tago' feria semajnfino, 16-18 Majo 2009, la 6a MezKanada Renkontiĝo (MeKaRo) okazos en Toronto. Ekde 2ptm sabate la 16a, Esperantistoj estos bonvenaj ĉe 77 Carlton Street , kiu estos nia centra kunvenloko dum ĉi tiu Esperanto-turisma evento.

D: Babelfish won't translate Esperanto.

During the Victoria Day long weekend, 16-18 May 2009, the 6th Central Canada Esperanto Meeting (MeKaRo) will be hosted by the Toronto Esperanto Circle. At or after 2pm Saturday 16th, Esperantists are welcome at 77 Carlton Street , which will be home base during this tourism oriented event.
Contact mekaro6[at] to get further information, as it becomes available, if you may take part.
Nifty site.

Etymology of the English word father
the English word father
using the English suffix -er
derived from the Proto-Germanic root *-arjaz
using the Latin suffix -arius (-ar)
derived from the English word fade
derived from the Old French word fader
derived from the Old French word fade
derived from the Vulgar Latin word fatidus
derived from the Latin word fatuus (fool; foolish, silly; idiotic)
using the Proto-Indo-European prefix pəter- (father)
derived from the Proto-Germanic root *fader
Derivations in English
fatherland, unfathered, grandfather, fatherless, fatherly, forefather, stepfather, fathered, fathering
Catalan pare, Dutch vader, French père, German Vater, Icelandic fadir, Italian padre, Spanish padre, Swedish fader

D: Darth Vader -Dark Father. I suspect Germans were not nearly as surprised by that as English speakers, LOL!
D: The encyclopedia is supposed to be used by children, who might not understand the complicated articles in the English Wikipedia, and other people who are still learning English. Many articles are shorter than the same articles in the English Wikipedia...
Simple English

Simple English is similar to English, but it only uses basic words.

We suggest that articles should use only the 1000 most common and basic words in English. They should also use only simple grammar, and shorter sentences. Writers can also use a special system, for example Basic English. Of course, people can write original articles; these could be put in both this and the main Wikipedia (with a normal level of English). Usually, only about 2,000 words are enough to write a normal article.

Since some articles need more than 2000 different words, some complex articles use more words. But even very basic concepts (zero, one, two) are too difficult to explain with a small number of words.

For detailed writing about science, politics, or religion, articles sometimes need more words, but the English must be simple. Sometimes, an article uses more than 2000 words, or, at the most, 3000, but it explains all the hard words. Articles need some complex words because of the article names in the ordinary English Wikipedia, and to use normal words would make the article too simple. Articles on scientific topics (Earth, etc.) usually need this.

There are no rules about vocabulary, tense or suffixes. Some articles use only Basic English (850 words), but this wiki has no strong rules about which words can be used, as E Prime does.

If a word is not simple or not used often here, explain it on a new page.
D: So it seems safe to say
1) 1000 words to write a basic English article
2) 2000 for typical English
3) possibly 3000 for highly technical subject matter.

Compare to Chinese.

There are roughly 50 000 existing chinese characters in use today. A native chinese speaker only knows 5 000 to 10 000 characters.
...only the 1,500 most usual characters, are provided. These characters are normally enough to be able to read a Chinese newspaper and understand most of its contents.

D: which pretty much coincides the English words required to make the same claim.

IAL: the only way to reduce the learning required would be to go to fewer root/stems and apply derivation rules broadly to them.

This glossary contains the 552 most frequent Esperanto words and morphemes (Groups 1 to 4 of the Baza Radikaro Oficiala, Aktoj de la Akademio II, 1968-1974). It also contains all words used in the Free Esperanto Course. It is estimated from word frequency studies that this corresponds to approximately 2000 words in other languages and covers 80 % of the words encountered.

D: impressive! 500 word components to duplicate about 2000 words of English.
As a second language, this is very helpful. Again I mention my Lang 13 versus Lang 26 or 39 caveat. Phoneme choice (number), syllable construction rules and amount of infixing limits how accessible this is to significant portions of the world.
At least it falls shy of Loglan's "a language designed by linguists for linguists".

D: a detailed list of IALs in chronlogical order. Most of these are now defunct.

Language name ISO Year of first
publication Creator Comments
Solresol 1827 François Sudre The famous "musical language"
Communicationssprache 1839 Joseph Schipfer Based on French vocabulary
Universalglot 1868 Jean Pirro Arguably the first fully developed IAL
Volapük vo, vol 1879–1880 Johann Martin Schleyer First to acquire a sizable international speaker community
Esperanto eo, epo 1887 L. L. Zamenhof By far the most popular constructed language.
Spokil 1887 or 1890 Adolph Nicolas An a priori language by a former Volapük advocate
Mundolinco 1888 J. Braakman The first esperantido
Idiom Neutral 1902 Waldemar Rosenberger A naturalistic IAL by a former advocate of Volapük
Latino sine Flexione 1903 Giuseppe Peano "Latin without inflections," it replaced Idiom Neutral in 1908
Ido io, ido 1907 Delegation for the Adoption of an International Auxiliary Language The most successful offspring of Esperanto
Adjuvilo 1908 Claudius Colas An esperantido created to cause dissent among Idoists

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

the remarkable and pervasive sexism behind english word derivation


From: The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology | Date: 1996 | Author: | Copyright information

patriot †compatriot XVI; (orig., as in F., with commendatory adj.) one whose ruling passion is the love of his country XVII. — F. >patriote — late L. >patriōta — Gr. >patriṓtēs, f. >pátrios of one's fathers, >patris fatherland, sb. use of adj. ‘ancestral’, f. patḗr, >patr- FATHER; see -OT.
So patriotic XVII. — late L. — Gr. >patriōtikós. patriotism XVIII.

D: I was reciting the Canadian national anthem with little River, age 6.

I said "patriot" was a reference to men.

That is a hell of a thing to say to a little girl!

Literally, I was correct. Let us examine where patr- comes from, and its various bewildering word forms.


pa·tron (ptrn)

1. One that supports, protects, or champions someone or something, such as an institution, event, or cause; a sponsor or benefactor: a patron of the arts.
2. A customer, especially a regular customer.
3. also (pä-trn) The owner or manager of an establishment, especially a restaurant or an inn of France or Spain.
a. A noble or wealthy person in ancient Rome who granted favor and protection to someone in exchange for certain services.
b. A slave owner in ancient Rome who freed a slave without relinquishing all legal claim to him.
5. One who possesses the right to grant an ecclesiastical benefice to a member of the clergy.
6. A patron saint.

[Middle English, from Old French, from Medieval Latin >patrnus, from Latin, from pater, patr-, father; see p>ter- in Indo-European roots.]

Contrast with MATRON:

ma·tron (mtrn)
1. A married woman or a widow, especially a mother of dignity, mature age, and established social position.
2. A woman who acts as a supervisor or monitor in a public institution, such as a school, hospital, or prison.

[Middle English >matrone, from Old French, from Latin mtr>na, from m>ter, mtr-, mother; see m>ter- in Indo-European roots.]

matron·al adj.
matron·li·ness n.
matron·ly adv. & adj.

pa·tron·ize (ptr-nz, ptr-)
tr.v. pa·tron·ized, pa·tron·iz·ing, pa·tron·iz·es
1. To act as a patron to; support or sponsor.
2. To go to as a customer, especially on a regular basis.
3. To treat in a condescending manner.

D: patron versus matron. Matronly, patronize.

All derived from PIE for mother/father.

Fatherland has a peculiar ring to it, in light of WWII and the Germans.
Motherland should, but does not.
Homeland would be a sensible substitute.

>Matriot, BTW, is not a word. Apparently those with a motherland still feel patriot love.
Go figure.

Gender assumptions are so deeply embedded in English that we would hafta edit out much vocabulary to excise it.

I'm not going into the pronoun game. The use of 'they', third person plural is a poor choice to address the gendered he/she quandary.

See the end for the 10,000 year old proto-indo european origin.

*ph₂tḗr father Lat. pater, >Oscan ���������� (ention-tr">patír)an>, >Umbrian �������������� (lass="mention-tr">iupater), Gk. πατήρ (patēr">)</span>, Toch. charian_A" title="pācar">pācar/pācer, Arm. >հայր (hayr), <i>Gaul.> ātir; Ateronius, Skr. पितृ (n class="mention-tr">pitṛ́), Gm. fater/Vater, Ir. athir/athair, Eng. fæder/father, Welsh gwaladr; edryd; edrydd; edryf, Kashmiri petū'r, Avest. ptā (dat. fədrōi), Pers. �������� (pitā) / پدر (pedar), Osset. фыд (fyd)/fidæ, ON faðir, Goth. ���������� (fadar)

Friday, February 20, 2009

endangered natural languages. relationship to aux-langs.

"Unesco director-general Koichiro Matsuura said: "The death of a language leads to the disappearance of many forms of intangible cultural heritage, especially the invaluable heritage of traditions and oral expressions of the community that spoke it - from poems and legends to proverbs and jokes."

The Manx language was thought to have died out in the mid-19th century but there are now believed to be about 600 active speakers.

... There are thought to be just 300 fluent speakers of Cornish left in the world and Jenefer Lowe, development manager of the Cornish Language Partnership, says reports of its extinction are premature."


D: I can just imagine telethon 'adopt-a-language' drives.

What is the relationship of auxlangs to natlangs?

Every new religion, every new ideology begins as marginal.

The plead for tolerance and wanting everyone to 'play nice in the sandbox together'.

Once in charge, often they'll engage in bloody pogroms against the old guard.

The Romans and Christianity come to mind.

Monotheism. The One True Way.

... A world language.... no room for others?

With languages, there are 4 tiers in this analogy.

1) learned in adulthood, second language

2) learned in childhood, second

3) learned in childhood, co-taught with first natural language

4) first language.

International linguistic hegemonies draw on beliefs and attitudes to linguistic hierarchies and interlock with the allocation of more resources to the dominant language.

The imaginative project in the inter-war period to devise a restricted form of English as an "international auxiliary language", BASIC English (BASIC = British American Scientific International Commercial), was promoted in the hope that lesser languages would be eliminated:

***"What the world needs is about 1000 more dead languages — and one more alive" ***

(Ogden, 1934, cited in Bailey, 1991, 210). Here "international understanding" was seen as unidirectional, with other languages to be abandoned in favour of the dominant language, English, this having been made more accessible through simplification.

Linguistic imperialism has invariably presupposed the superiority of the dominant language, in both the colonial and postcolonial worlds (Mühlhäusler 1996; Phillipson 1992). The British and Americans created a substantial academic infrastructure to serve the promotion of English worldwide.

D: note this is the opinion about a con-nat-lang (controlled natural language).

I hear the Germans were preparing a simplified German for the masses, to facilitate the 3rd Reich.

D: aux-langs have an advantage that nat-langs lack in the same degree.

They can be sufficiently simple to learn that there is plenty of time for a second childhood language. Some nat-langs possess such qualities in varying degrees.

I refer back to my first blog entry.

Finns are literate c. 2 years before English kids, with Russians in turn years behind English.

It matters a lot what qualities a language, spoken and written, possesses! The key is simplicity (to a degree), regularity, phoneticity. Turkish affixes are not simple, but they are simple in the sense of lacking irregulars and exceptions. In short, there are not many rules to learn. Compare to English with the THOUSANDS of rules that would be needed to encompass its quirks.

Conlangs are an attempt to minimize these aspects of natlangs. Naturalistic auxlangs, I suppose, resemble reformed con-langs quite closely.

  1. Plurals are formed with a trailing "S". The normal exceptions of standard English also apply, notably "ES" and "IES".
  2. There are four derivatives for the 300 nouns: -"ER" and -"ING", and two adjectives, -"ING" and -"ED".
  3. Adverbs use -"LY" from qualifiers.
  4. Degree is expressed with "MORE" and "MOST". Be prepared to find -"ER" and -"EST" in common usage.
  5. Negative adjectives are formed with "UN"-
  6. Questions are formed by inversion and by "DO".
  7. Operators and pronouns conjugate in full.
  8. Compound words may be combined from two nouns (milkman) or a noun and a directive (sundown).
  9. Measurement, numerals, currency, calendar, and international terms are in English form.
  10. Technical expressions required and customary for the immediate task are included in the locally used form.

D: English verbs seem unnecessarily complex.

Lang X aims to be the first childhood language of the world.




2726 AD



D: Finnish gives insight into how a dominant world language could play well with others.
Being easy enough to learn, picking up Swedish in childhood is common. Once Swedish is learned, its similarities to English allow that to be a third language, either in childhood or adulthood. The key is a conlang or auxlang sufficiently regular that the only complexity is for nuance of meaning, not mere quirkiness. A sufficiently reformed conlang would be be virtually indistinguishable from a naturalistic auxlang.

D: next I'll try to apply Ygyde's Long form to Decimese to allow for use of easily lip-read visemes from Deafese.



The Future

What makes a nation is a common language and experience. What will make men international will be a common language. The earth is getting smaller through the discoveries of Science, and Media is now putting Babel into the houses of all. One great step forward would be news every hour in a common language. Five minutes would be enough to give everyone the feeling that this little earth was pulling itself together. That language would quickly become a part of everyday experience. It would be possible for media to be produced in any country for every country.


Thursday, February 19, 2009

evolution of neologisms. examples in english. IALs

A peaknik, according to our inventive media, is a person who believes the “peak oil” theory (that supplies of oil are running out and prices will grow prohibitively high and civilization will change dramatically). The word is an example of how ironic and derogatory terms become so widespread that they lose their ironic connotations.

Peaknik is a play on peacenik, a derogatory term for an anti-war protester in the sixties, which was itself a play on beatnik, which was a play on Sputnik. The -nik ending in Russian corresponds to the -er ending in English, meaning someone who does something (buyer, watcher, traveller). The word beatnik was coined by Herb Caen, a columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle, in 1958, to refer humorously to the pretensions of the bohemians who called themselves “beat,” from beaten down, fatigued or downtrodden. (Contrary to popular belief, “beat” didn't refer to music.)

Sputnik I, the Soviet satellite, had been launched the year before, and it had caused great agitation in the United States, as it signalled the first Soviet victory in the space race at the height of the Cold War. Sputnik means, literally, co-traveller.

It will be pointed out that the -nik suffix had already entered American English in previous years from Yiddish – in such words as nudnik – but there can be no question that it was the Russian that inspired Caen's brilliantly condescending epithet. He meant to make the hipsters sound naively communistic.

The beat poets themselves loved to play on their chosen word: Jack Kerouac famously started associating it with the religious-sounding beatific, and spoke of the essence of their quasi-spiritual movement as beatitude, clever fellow.

But beatnik rapidly lost its negative connotation, and became another fashion to be marketed. Hollywood made a bunch of silly films with the word beatnik in the title, with busty women on the posters, selling the titillation of a promiscuous and fashionable world rather than any ideas about poetry or Buddhism. It became almost desirable to be a beatnik: There were beatnik beauty contests and fashion tips in magazines.


D: a few years ago, I thought I had coined a new neologism, "hyperthesis". I wanted to show that evolutionary theory has a very strong hypothesis. I thought it was clever.

D: oops. It had been done before.

D: how does one form a new word?


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search

In etymology, back-formation refers to the process of creating a new lexeme (less precisely, a new "word") by removing actual or supposed affixes. The resulting neologism is called a back-formation, a term coined by James Murray[1] in 1897.[citation needed]

Back-formation is distinguished from clipping because they change the part of speech – clipping also creates shortened words from longer words, but does not change the part of speech.

Pease was once a mass noun but was reinterpreted as a plural, leading to the back-formation pea.

For example, the noun resurrection was borrowed from Latin, and the verb resurrect was then backformed hundreds of years later from it by removing the -ion suffix. This segmentation of resurrection into resurrect + ion was possible because English had many examples of Latinate words that had verb and verb+-ion pairs — in these pairs the -ion suffix is added to verb forms in order to create nouns (such as, insert/insertion, project/projection, etc.).

The use of word-formative means (suffixes, prefixes, composition). Among the most productive neologism-formative suffixes are ian, -ation:

Recomprehension of the existing words. It means that well-known words acquire new meanings.

Abbreviations and acronyms.

D: I particularly like the history of the word "laser".

1960, acronym for "light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation," on pattern of 1955 MASER. A verb, lase, was coined 1962.

D: plus truncating and mixing. Smoke and fog- smog. Facsimile. Facs. Fax.

D: peddle came from peddlar and so on. For an aux-langer, this process seems very sloppy.

For example, cherries came from the French cerise. The S at the end made us think that was the plural form. Ergo, we chopped off the S to form singular. Ceri-. Cherry. Plural is cherries.

D: an aux-langer such as myself would introduce some simple rules for this.

1) any noun ending in S must be plural.

2) ergo singular nouns cannot be designed with -S endings.

Regarding peddlar:

1) no name of a subject engaging in an action (reader, read) may overlap with the name of a person's trade (peddlar)

2) the vowel component of minimal pairs for -er (-ar, -or) may also not be used.

In short, an aux-langer would design the vocabulary generation rules methodically.

D: Esp-o ran into trouble with this. It was too naturalistic.

The suffix rules caused subtle problems.

My fave example, as always:


There are 2 words with totally different meanings .

1) Di (god) -o (noun)

-et- for tiny, ergo di-et-o.

2) Diet (diet) -0 (noun).

D: while this word, or the many others like it could be changed, this ignores the root problem.

Bad word design. Inserting affixes makes the problem very hard to control for.

Could we ban all words with second-syllable -et to avoid confusion with -et-?

Suddenly, our apparently vast possible number of syllables and words is no longer so vast.

I call this the 'pay now or pay later' scenario. Tight rules on syllable and word formation early on appear to restrict possible combinations for generating vocabulary. However, look above for the can of worms we avoid later!

Like other people I know, I often type the wrong homophone. There, their, they're. I imagine we all have our problems. I sound stuff out in my head and my fingers then type the appropriate word.

Natural languages also squander this apparent wealth of possible words.

English is particularly bad this way. It has borrowed so many words.

Sofa, couch, chesterfield. Stuff like this drives Spanish-first speakers crazy. Their language tends to have a single word for a single concept.

D: this site is too cool! It visually maps out how these words are related on a chart!

davenport, divan, lounge, settee, couch, squab

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

keyboard layouts, phonetic.

D: this group manually inputs pronunciation for dictionary words.
I am unsure why they don't just use a computerized version of the standard USA or UK speech guides, but meh...

"A Phonetic Alphabet for Keyboards

We needed a practical phonetic alphabet for use with a standard computer keyboard to annotate large numbers of words for our English pronouncing dictionary at howjsay. These phonetic annotations were needed as an aid during recording sessions.

Our need was for a phonetic transcription method that was fast, concise, and flexible so that it could be extended as needed where finer distinctions between sounds were required, but 'collapsed' where these finer distinctions were not required.

To increase typing speeds, upper case symbols were mostly avoided and the commonest items were assigned to easy-to-reach keys. New symbols are being added as the need arises, but so far (June 2007) this is what we have:"

D: Look at their suggested layout, heavily relying on punctuation keys and symbols:


Sound as in…

Vowel sounds
(defined as unstopped sounds)

sat, bat
sad, bad
hard, father
set, wealth
air, where
sit, faces
seat, receive
cot, watch
caught, ought
(numeral zero) coat, phone
cut, mother
put, foot
boot, food
German 'über', French 'tu'
about, problem
bird, her
French 'jeu', German 'schön'
her, Ohio
well (shorter than 'put')
yell (shorter than 'seat'
café [Eg kafe/]

D: The consonants are a much better match. English has sooo many vowel sounds compared to vowel letters. The Phoenician system no longer serves us well.

The ASCII Phonetic Alphabet

The International Phonetic Alphabet is very popular, but there is a big problem with this alphabet: the IPA symbols are difficult to type on computers. You can do it, but you need special fonts and special software. This is very inconvenient.

Therefore, when you want to write English sounds in computer documents, or in e-mail messages, or in SuperMemo collections, it is better to use a phonetic alphabet which doesn't use strange symbols like Z or @, but uses regular symbols like Z or @ instead.

We have created such an alphabet. We've named it the ASCII Phonetic Alphabet, because the letters and symbols displayed by computers are called ASCII characters. (By the way, "ASCII" is pronounced ['@s ki:].)

D: their system relies more heavily on the 'other' symbols on a keyboard. You know, the one most folks have no idea what to do with. Or what they are called. God knows I don't.

IPA ASCII examples listen
^ ^ cup, luck Amer
a: a: arm, father Amer / Brit
@ @ cat, black Amer
e e met, bed Amer
.. .. away, cinema Amer
e:(r) e:(r) turn, learn Amer / Brit
i i hit, sitting Amer
i: i: see, heat Amer
o o hot, rock Amer / Brit
o: o: call, four Amer / Brit
u u put, could Amer
u: u: blue, food Amer
ai ai five, eye Amer
au au now, out Amer
ou Ou go, home Amer
e..(r) e..(r) where, air Amer / Brit
ei ei say, eight Amer
i..(r) i..(r) near, here Amer / Brit
oi oi boy, join Amer
u..(r) u..(r) pure, tourist Amer / Brit

D: plus I found an IPA keyboard overlay. I considered retaining the layout for HIOXian.

The details about pitch and lip rounding I had planned to offload onto the diacritic.
D: apparently this one is uniquely well suited to typing Esperanto diacritics. The circumflex on consonants.

Aside: Antimoon's advice on learning English? Don't speak it - you might make a mistake.
I think they are right that unlearning an error is problematic.
But this terror of mistakes in nat-langs is one of the best pitches for an aux-lang.
Worse, a word that is literally correct may not be the right synonym to use.
I even read journalists that are unable to select just the right word for the turn of phrase they seek.

I pondered what early VERSE would look like as an English lesson.
1) teach the simple grammar rules
2) send home common irregulars and exceptions as homework assignments.
3) mention there are dozens, if not hundreds of exceptions in most categories.
D: their hopes are dashed. If only the rules of English were LAWS.
I feel sorry for ESL students. Just trying to parse word boundaries in English is difficult. Without parsing, there can be no vocabulary acquisition or learning rules of grammar.
Unpredictable stress, lax syllable construction rules, non-phonetic spelling. Colloquial deformation.
Once they can detect words (assuming our phonemes don't make them effectively half-deaf to English sounds) , then they encounter multiple homophones and the same word in different applications. Go and will are verbs. They are also auxiliaries in some forms.
Dead ends for rules. Invulnerable. Not able to... vulner?

Soon they wish English really did have laws and not rules. With some revisions, it can function with remarkably few laws.
And there you have it - VERSE - at first, a sort of con-lang. Later an aux-lang.

I think topicalizing is useful.
I noticed my writing often gets plural agreement wrong.
x and y (verb default to y as single).
Instead of
x and y, they (verb agrees with plural pronoun).
It is safe to say I have a hate-on for agreement.