Tuesday, April 14, 2009

number of Decimese syllables pinned down. step 2. esperanto UN 1954 declaration

D: Simply applying multiplication to letter combos to find the number of syllables does not work well. Certain consonant clusters are avoided to appease English speakers.
Plus I cannot use CC- and -VV- for more basic vocabulary. The presence of two consonants or vowels in a row necessarily implies certain variations on the basic root's meaning.

Nonetheless, let us look at these back-of-the-envelope calculations.
Basic syllable : CVc. 6x6x3.
PB TD KG SZ FV CHSH (or TH for lipreading in lieu of SZ).
That's about 200 primitive syllables.
This is misleading, since the nasal consonant word endings denote grammatical elements.
Arguably, we can claim there are really only 36 basic syllables.
That is NOT very many.
The end result will likely be a hybrid of taxonomic and more natural vocabulary. Natural vocabulary will be formed by compounding.
A hound for foxes. Fox-hound. Hound-for-fox.
With more nuance.
Space man. Man from space? Man for/in/to space? Alien or astronaut.

Nominally, expanding our single syllable to include consonant clusters with -LRWY and vowel combos results in the following. (times) so about 1500 possible single syllable words.
That does not include anything using H or beginning in LRW or Y, all of which denote function words or core vocabulary.
(Recall that prior to function words, we generate space/time/ethics/logic/math [acronym SMELT] vocabulary to in turn build closed class words.) Unusual.
A simple two syllable word lacking consonant or vowel clusters amounts to c. 10,000 permutations.

I suspect compound nouns and such will be formed via CV-H plus vowel - CV(nasal ending).
Much like Espo optionally allows dropping the noun -o ending in a compound word.
E.g. mang-chambro versus mango-chambro.
The mid-word H serves the function of nuance for compound words.
Compound nouns are fairly opaque, at least only translucent, certainly not transparent.
Again, consider spaceman and foxhound.
A hound that looks like a fox?

English words go through a fairly predictable evolution in this regard.
A hound for foxes. Fox hound. Fox-hound. Foxhound.
Of course, tacking two syllables adjacent to each other leads to problems.
English tries to have almost twice the phonemes as it has letters.
Placing ending T beside starting H causes confusion.
Is that T-H or TH?
Essentially the word agglutinates due to spelling conventions, and some fuzing occurs.

Decimese has no such problems.
Nor adjacent identical consonants or vowels, like Espo.
Espo almost amounts to dual vowel AND consonant gemination, like Finnish.
Vowel gemination in Japanese, BTW, is often not even noticed by foreigners!

di' -god ("diino" = goddess)

Of course, their advice is just pronounce it slowly and carefully.
In other words, never use clipped, rapid colloquial natural speech.
Great solution. Really.

Most languages require fairly advanced speech features.
For example, arbitrary combinations of voiced and voiceless consonants through a word.
That is why I just plan to use one kind at the start of a word and the other mid-word.
Keep in mind all verbs, nouns, adjectives and adverbs end in either N, M, or NG.

It's a tradeoff. I wanted very clear, robust and redundant word boundaries.
Until one can parse vocabulary, one merely hears a steady stream of gibberish.
Placing related features adjacent is very important.
For example, French's negation ne...pas can be quite far apart when some verb tenses are considered.
I read a study that said some people will NEVER notice the relation of distant grammatical elements. I suspect this is a function of working memory limits.

So I took the hit, and paid the price. I lost a whole lotta basic possible syllables by not allowing P and B, for example, to operate independently.
This, in turn, forced me to be very economical with basic vocabulary.
It was this design pressure to maximize brevity that resulted in a core vocabulary to precede the closed class words.

I borrowed from Espo for variations on basic word concepts.
Viro- man. Virino-woman (ini).
Sata - full. Malsata- hungry (mal).
But I began with a neutral default.
Tie-there. Chi Tie- there/close (near).
Versus (location) - then the binary state via say an L/R consonant cluster pair to denote near/far. Or trinary, even 4 ways with LRWY.
We can also assume a very common default without LRWY if need be.

Decimese methodically uses consonant clusters and vowel diphthongs to do so.
In other words, instead of Espo's Romance-like syllable-based lexeme, we use single phonemes.
In this respect, Decimese resembles Ro, though only in passing.
English can use 1 or 2 syllables and occasionally just a single phoneme to change meaning in this fashion. E.g. pseudo-, re-, pre-.
I similarly reduced Espo's grammatical ending to a final nasal consonant for brevity.
Espo: noun -o, verb (infinitive) -as, adjective -a, adverb -e...
Note that Decimese, by virtue of rigid word order, can re-use the same ending for both adverbs and adjectives without any confusion.
This approach should be much less taxing on memory and multitasking.
In theory, the noun-verb-noun format of Decimese would allow just 2 endings.
E.g. SVO, subject verb object.
adjective-noun, adverb-verb...
-m -n, -m -n...
With a possible binary state grammatical particle to denote noun or verb as required.

D: see why my HIOXian letter system should portray both voice and aspiration within the letter itself, without reducing to an optional diacritic to do so:

b Bat (unvoiced) Labial unaspirated stop
p Pat (stronger aspiration) Labial aspirated stop

I only intended to use diacritics on vowels to portray octave-like pitch information for the VERSE English variant for my sci-fi novella.

Hmm, Mandarin allow M and N to be word-start syllables.
I fear this would result in the very feature of Espo I earlier criticized.
I.e. 2 words in a row formed CVCV...M and M...
I suppose it IS possible, with rigid word order, to carefully avoid this happening with the same nasal consonant.
This strategy MAY be viable with non-standard-vocabulary items that contain distinctive cues to avoid confusion.
I'll hafta play with that idea some more, and get back to you...

More on Esperanto.

OK I like the fact that we don't need to tack on go and did and other auxiliary verbs.
I like food. I do not like work.
I never really thought about the fact that I add "do" to the negative form.

I checked the basic Espo vocabulary. Not only does biblioteko get used for library instead of the more root-derived libro for book, but it exists in isolation.
Neither biblio nor teko are used in any other words.
Despite initial French resistance (France wanted the French language to continue to be the official diplomatic language), in 1924 the League of Nations put its stamp of approval on Esperanto by recommending that member states implement it as an auxiliary language. In 1954, Esperanto gained additional success as the United Nations Educations, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) recognized Esperanto as a viable possibility for an axillary language so established official relations with the Universala Esperanto-Asocio (UEA).

1 comment:

Brian Barker said...

It is unfortunate that most people are unaware that Esperanto is a living language

During a short period of 121 years Esperanto is now placed within the top 100 languages, out of 6,000 worldwide, according to the CIA factbook. It is the 17th most used language in Wikipedia, and in use by Skype, Firefox and Facebook.

Native Esperanto speakers, include George Soros, Nobel Laureate Daniel Bovet, Ulrich Brandenberg, the new German Ambassador to NATO, and World Champion Chess Player, Susan Polger.

Further arguments can be seen at http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-8837438938991452670 and a glimpse of the language can be seen at http://www.lernu.net