Thursday, February 25, 2010

superstring theory and dimension naming conventions

A Two-Time Universe? Physicist Explores How Second Dimension of Time Could Unify Physics Laws

Bars thinks one of the missing pieces is a hidden dimension of time.
Bizarre is not a powerful enough word to describe this idea, but it is a powerful idea nevertheless. With two times, Bars believes, many of the mysteries of today’s laws of physics may disappear.
Of course, it’s not as simple as that. An extra dimension of time is not enough. You also need an additional dimension of space.
It sounds like a new episode of “The Twilight Zone,” but it’s a familiar idea to most physicists. In fact, extra dimensions of space have become a popular way of making gravity and quantum theory more compatible

Bars’ math suggests that the familiar world of four dimensions — three of space, one of time — is merely a shadow of a richer six-dimensional reality. In this view the ordinary world is like a two-dimensional wall displaying shadows of the objects in a three-dimensional room.

On a grander level, two-time physics may assist in the quest to merge quantum theory with Einstein’s relativity in a single unified theory. The most popular approach to that problem today, superstring theory, also invokes extra dimensions of space, but only a single dimension of time. Many believe that a variant on string theory, known as M theory, will be the ultimate winner in the quantum-relativity unification game, and M theory requires 10 dimensions of space and one of time.

D: so 3 space and 1 time dimension should not be considered givens.
For everyday use, of course, we don't use Einstein. We use Newton. And it works fine.
We'd stick to 3D plus time for common use.
But for extremes and theoretical accuracy, we might need more dimensions.

Decimese can plan for this. Right now, I have decimal-based number names based on consonants.
We have 12. I assumed the first for zero, and the last for ??? Infinity? Eternity/void, in time/space terms.
We can add an infix to denote time and space respectively.
So in theory, we could have 10 space and 10 time dimensions built into the decimal-based number naming convention.

I'd be embarrassed to design myself into a corner.

Look what happened to our electron. I grew up thinking the electron was the most basic of particles, with a charge of negative ONE.
Turns out we were wrong.

Types: 6 (up, down, charm, strange, top, and bottom)
Electric charge: +2⁄3 e, −1⁄3 e

It turns out we should have assigned an electron a charge of negative THREE.
That would make the um ? quarks have a charge of ONE.
My point is that a naming convention that more closely reflected nature would have been handy. And elegant.

If some nutty unified-theory candidate wishes to have 5 space and 3 time dimensions ( a total of 8), well, I suppose Decimese is up to the task. 1-5, dimension-related vowel, space indicator. 1-3, ditto time.

Take our words for the 3 spatial dimensions we use to navigate with, which are perhaps shorthand for some theoretical approach that is more complex.
Long, wide, deep. Short, narrow, ... narrow?
Having only the concept of long with the # concept and dimension concept 1-2-3 attached is neater.
It also anchors the physics (space time properties) more clearly to the math basis.
Nature does not deal in fractions, except as ratios of whole numbers.
Maybe imaginary numbers should be called absurd, even 'human numbers'.


Quarks combine to form composite particles called hadrons, the most stable of which are protons and neutrons,

D: Hmm. Atom-molecule relationship, but on a different scale. Scale, a theme that is endlessly repeated in decimese.
Sometimes I feel like I am dealing exclusively in fractals...


For that matter, the bewildering and very unhelpful names for quarks could use some cleaning up.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

hepcat speak. a look at subcultural speech


The words hep and hip are of uncertain origin, with numerous competing theories being proposed. In the early days of jazz, musicians were using the hep variant to describe anybody who was "in the know" about an emerging culture, mostly black, which revolved around jazz. They and their fans were known as hepcats. By the late 1930s, with the rise of Swing, hip rose in popularity among jazz musicians, to replace hep. Clarinetist Artie Shaw described singer Bing Crosby as "the first hip white person born in the United States."[1]
Subsequently, around 1940, the word hipster was coined to replace hepcat, and hipsters were more interested in bebop and hot jazz than they were in Swing, which by the late 40s was becoming old-fashioned and watered down by "squares" like Lawrence Welk and Guy Lombardo. In the 1940s white youth began to frequent African-American communities for their music and dance. These first youths diverged from the mainstream due to their new philosophies of racial diversity and their exploratory sexual nature and drug habits.

D: there is a surprising amount of transition between grammatical categories.
Word order and syntax presumably render this clear.

Barrelhouse (adj.): free and easy.
Beat up (adj.): sad, uncomplimentary, tired.
Bright (n.): day.

D: there is also quite a lot of componded nouns for more basic definitions. I meant ARE. F**king English agreement...

Musical instruments

Guitar: Git Box or Belly-Fiddle
Upright Bass: Doghouse
Drums: Suitcase, Hides, or Skins
Piano: Storehouse or Ivories
Saxophone: Plumbing or Reeds
Trombone: Tram or Slush-Pump
Clarinet: Licorice Stick or Gob Stick
Xylophone: Woodpile
Vibraphone: Ironworks
Violin: Squeak-Box
Accordion: Squeeze-Box or Groan-Box
Tuba: Foghorn
Electric Organ: Spark Jiver

di·a·lect (d-lkt)
a. A regional or social variety of a language distinguished by pronunciation, grammar, or vocabulary, especially a variety of speech differing from the standard literary language or speech pattern of the culture in which it exists: Cockney is a dialect of English.
b. A variety of language that with other varieties constitutes a single language of which no single variety is standard: the dialects of Ancient Greek.
2. The language peculiar to the members of a group, especially in an occupation; jargon: the dialect of science.

D: I always wondered where the boundary between a dialect and accent is.

ac·cent (ksnt)
1. The relative prominence of a particular syllable of a word by greater intensity or by variation or modulation of pitch or tone.
2. Vocal prominence or emphasis given to a particular syllable, word, or phrase.
3. A characteristic pronunciation, especially:
a. One determined by the regional or social background of the speaker.
b. One determined by the phonetic habits of the speaker's native language carried over to his or her use of another language.

D: I gather that an accent is supposed to be offputting but still comprehensible.
As somebody terrible at accents, I'll point out a thick accent can be as incomprehensible to a proper dialect to me.

For that matter, when does a dialect become a distinct language?

My Portugese friends say that can understand Spanish somewhat.


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Second language learners fare better with their own accent by speaker

"... found that this system (using the new language's accent) is not necessarily the best and certainly not the most expeditious.
The present study set out to reveal the level of phonological information that the adult learner requires in order to identify words in a second language that had been learned at a later age, and whether the level of phonological information that they require varies when the words are pronounced in different accents.


The findings show that there is no difference in the amount of phonological information that the native Hebrew speakers need in order to decipher the words, regardless of accent. With the Russian and Arabic speakers, on the other hand, less phonological information was needed in order to recognize the Hebrew word when it was pronounced in the accent of their native language than when they heard it in the accent of another language."
This touches upon a point I have made about Esperanto in the past.

The speaker of a language can reduce mental demands by speaking in the easiest fashion. That would be the fashion that most closely resembles their native language.
But this in turn increases the demands on the listener, if the listener comes from a different language background.
This would be true of allophonic phonemes, of word order and also of syllable stress.
The strains that Esperanto would cause on the speaker would be:
1) yes, the Espo speaker can select word order. However, if their native language has rigid word order, then it likely does NOT have -or require- mandatory grammatical element markers.
2) the number of possible acceptable allophones is fairly limited, given Espo's middling number of phonemes. This is more true of consonants, though less true of vowels.
3) Espo has a syllable stress system that may stress a different syllable than is 'natural' for the speaker.
Plus there is a rough dividing line between stress systems. One varies timing on the stressed syllable and the other does not.
An English speaker will use a longer time duration on a stressed syllable. A French speaker will not.
Put another way, a French Espo speaker will not think to add increased duration to a stressed Espo syllable. Whereas the English listener would be trying to detect the stressed syllable via increased duration.

We see that the only linguistic background happy with highly variable word in Espo would be:
1) heavily infixing and
2) variable word order.

I assume that even if the speaker in the above example uses Espo, they will
1) use the same word order of their natural language but
2) using Espo Latinate infixes.

A listener of said speaker of Espo may very well come from a language background that
1) does not use infixes heavily and
2) uses a different word order.
Resulting in demands on their listening skills that can include:
1) phoneme confusion
2) stress confusion
3) poor word boundary parsing - they may well hear 'babble'.
4) trying to use unfamiliar infixes and infixing to detect
5) unfamiliar word order.
The demands on the listener are considerable!

Moral of the story: off-loading work onto the listener may be easier for the speaker. But if the purpose of communication is not only to talk to oneself, then somebody still needs to do the work.

D: the article never really nails down what constitutes an 'accent' versus dialect.
I was thinking about how an aux-lang can go mainstream.
I was thinking in terms of terrorist/guerrilla (insurgent) movements.
In terms of whether they are foreign-supported (Contras) or have widespread domestic support (V.C.).
I won't worry too much about the terrorist/guerrilla distinction, since it so politicized.
Suffice to say that the purpose of a guerrilla movement is to train enough supporters to eventually return to conventional warfare. A terrorist movement can be accomplished with a very small group of supporters, but their tactics are severely limited. They cannot even engage in picking hit-and-run local battles with conventional forces, like guerrillas can.

Most aux-lang communities involve a handful of people. Terrorists (in the analogy) with no domestic support.
Toki Pona claims THREE fluent speakers - and this from a language designed with minimalism in mind!
Lojban did not even post a speaking community. I found reference to TWO fluent speakers.
At least Esperanto can claim TEN THOUSAND.
Definitely into 'guerrilla numbers' territory there.
But do they have the 'support of the local population'?
They exist only in a niche.
Almost nobody I speak with - even well educated ones, even polyglots- have ever heard of it.
So more Contra than VC.
There is no chance that the guerrilla movement, supported by the local people, can recruit and train more and more and eventually challenge conventional forces.
I.e.. a widely based support and recruitment from non-niche community.
I think this is closely linked to the niche appeal of their ideology of choice. I.e. internationalism.

My challenge remains to go through the stages of
1) small terrorist cell (in analogy!)
2) mid sized guerrilla movement.
But one with a stance with broad appeal! I.e. does not require constant artificial inputs to sustain it - the Contras.
Has support of community - Vietnam VC. VC had the hearts and mind of the people. The peasants versus US-backed landlords.
There is a winning formula!
Despite tossing huge materiel assistance at the US-backed Vietnam government, they toppled in no time once the USA pulled out. All the hardware in the world was no match for a broadly-based domestic insurgency.
I guess I'm saying I want my aux-lang to emulate the VC.
If it does so, with broad appeal and an increasing number of supports and recruits, then it could overcome any opposition!

Now how to do so....

Monday, February 15, 2010

genes as language. language as genes.

I read in Dawkins (c. 1984) that he did not think language was much like genes.
Since languages heavily cross-contaminate.
Whereas species clearly nestle discretely with no co-convergence between lineages.
At least only by phenotype, never by genotype.
Well, we learned something new in the past year.
The analogy holds up well. Not since language is more like genetic lineages.
But because genetic lineages are more like languages.

Estimates range from 3 – 8 % of the human genome as being comprised of sections of viral DNA. These and other parasitic, self-replicating pieces of nucleic acids have evolved with us over millions of years after being inserted into our DNA by the viruses that infected our ancestors.

So our DNA is heavily compromised.
In fact, without special particles to negate expression of these viral sections, the expression of those viral segments will quickly kill us.

20 Amino acids, their single-letter data-base codes (SLC), and their corresponding DNA codons

Amino Acid

DNA codons





Stop codons Stop TAA, TAG, TGA
In this table, the twenty amino acids found in proteins are listed, along with the single-letter code used to represent these amino acids in protein data bases. The DNA codons representing each amino acid are also listed. All 64 possible 3-letter combinations of the DNA coding units T, C, A and G are used either to encode one of these amino acids or as one of the three stop codons that signals the end of a sequence. While DNA can be decoded unambiguously, it is not possible to predict a DNA sequence from its protein sequence. Because most amino acids have multiple codons, a number of possible DNA sequences might represent the same protein sequence.
D: so we have 3 letter symbols to represent chemicals.
3 letters in a row comprise an amino acid.
The amino acids, in turn, are strung together to form peptides and then polypeptides.

Phonemes, syllables, words, sentences!

Up to six homophones (words).

Saturday, February 13, 2010

tolkien tengwar writing system. korean.

These principal letters are divided into four series ("témar") that correspond to the main places of articulation and into six rows ("tyeller") that correspond to the main manners of articulation. Both vary among modes.
Each series is headed by the basic signs composed of a vertical stem descending below the line, and a single bow. These basic signs represent the voiceless stop consonants for that series. For the classical Quenya mode, they are /t/, /p/, /k/ and /kʷ/, and the series are named tincotéma, parmatéma, calmatéma, and quessetéma, respectively; téma means "series" in Quenya.
In rows of the general use, there are the following correspondences between letter shapes and manners of articulation:
Doubling the bow turns the voiceless consonant into a voiced one.

D: compare to Korean.

The Korean alphabet was invented in 1444 and promulgated it in 1446 during the reign of King Sejong (r.1418-1450), the fourth king of the Joseon Dynasty.

D: the opportunity for a fresh start, in the form of a strong and visionary ruler, shows signs of reform.

The shapes of the the consonants g/k, n, s, m and ng are graphical representations of the speech organs used to pronounce them. Other consonsants were created by adding extra lines to the basic shapes.
The shapes of the the vowels are based on three elements: man (a vertical line), earth (a horizontal line) and heaven (a dot). In modern Hangeul the heavenly dot has mutated into a short line.
Spaces are placed between words, which can be made up of one or more syllables.
The sounds of some consonants change depending on whether they appear at the beginning, in the middle, or at the end of a syllable.

D: I suppose this is the logical next step after the Urdu alphabet system of ordering letters by type of sound.

The whole initial-mid-final nuance can make much sense.
Take English, with its aspirated, non-aspirated and voiced versions -allophones of the same voiceless consonant.

Raising the stem above the line turns it into the corresponding fricative.
Shortening it (so it is only the height of the bow) creates the corresponding nasal. It must be noted though that in most modes, the signs with shortened stem and single bow don't correspond to the voiceless nasals, but to the approximants.

D: very visually clear. Derived from Korean.

D: Tolkien did a poor job of portraying a credible 'natural' writing system.
He used a reformed one.
Since the elves lacked a 'Korean king moment', there is little reason to believe their writing system would be so coherent.

Korean is a 1/10 version of HIOXian.
Making the case for the other 9/10 - the difference from writng system reform and REVOLT!!!


D; a friend of mine up in Nunavut has need of these nuances. <:

umiaq boat
umiarjuaq big boat, ship
umiarjuaraaluk big ship

D: Hmm. Resembles the conventions of Esperanto. VERY big is not treated as mere modifier. It is treated as a new category.

Large banana.
Granda banano.
More. Most.
Very VERY.
D: why not on the adjective? Not noun?
E.g. granda-eg*-o banano?

I suspect that 'big man' and 'giant' get treated differently in most languages.

But a 3 or 5 base system lacks the nuance of a 7-base system.
That changes things.

E.g. 3 base
- more less, same

5 base
- more most same less least

7 base -add VERY.
evaluative: too, not enough.
way too, not nearly.

D: language is intended to communicate. It should be able to clearly and robustly express what is actually talked about.

VERY. Granda banan-eg*-o.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Chomsky. Propaganda. E-Prime. Newsspeak. Goodthinks.

I'm 38. Go back to age 18 and I was excitedly waiting to attend university.
When I took sociology at U o' Windsor, I used Chomsky's propaganda model regularly.
So too in poli-sci at U o' Waterloo.
In high school, I read Orwell's 1984. That is the scariest thing I ever read.
I became a civil liberatarian.

Anyway, fast forward 20 years.
Here I am, a aspiring (and hopefully budding) language designer, literacy tutor, and maybe tech writer one day.

I am re-reading his classic "Manufacturing Consent". It is amazingly topical. It speaks of Afghanistan, or Vietnam, of those Sandanistas in Nicaragua. It remains amazingly topical. There has been a game of musical chairs about what empire is where.
But the more things change, the more they stay the same.

It got me thinking. Recall E-prime's attempt to not allow 'to be' statements without backing up the facts.

E-Prime (short for English-Prime) is a modified form of the English language which lacks the concepts and forms of the verb to be: "be", "is", "am", "are", "was", "were", "been" and "being" (and their equivalent contractions "'m", "'s", and "'re"). Statements in E-Prime thus seldom contain the passive voice, which in turn may impel writers or speakers to envisage things differently than they might otherwise (compare the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis). By eliminating most uses of the passive voice, E-Prime encourages writers and speakers to make explicit the agent of a statement,[1] possibly making the written text easier to read and understand.

D: The movie was good. OR: I liked the movie.
Everybody else liked the 2 Transformers movies. I thought the plot was so weak, the characters so trite, that no amount of CGI could save it.
I considered the plot. I did not like the characters.
You see?

Roses are red.
Roses... LOOK red.
Roses ... seem red?

Nice touch - incorporating the sensory aspect.
I was trying to invert this with Decimese. "I heard about..."
No. If I read it, I saw a written passage about. I HEARD nothing.
I wanted a cerebral logical level of communication. I (was communicated to me - in written lingual form - so saw that)...

Anyway, back to Chomsky on agitprop.

In addition, words with opposite meanings were removed as redundant, so "bad" became "ungood". Words with comparative and superlative meanings were also simplified, so "better" became "gooder", and "best" likewise became "goodest". Intensifiers could be added, so "great" became "plusgood", and "excellent" and "splendid" likewise became "doubleplusgood". Adjectives were formed by adding the suffix "-ful" to a root word (e.g., "goodthinkful", orthodox in thought), and adverbs by adding "-wise" ("goodthinkwise", in an orthodox manner). In this manner, as many words as possible were removed from the language. The ultimate aim of Newspeak was to reduce even the dichotomies to a single word that was a "yes" of some sort: an obedient word with which everyone answered affirmatively to what was asked of them.
Some of the constructions in Newspeak, such as "ungood", are in fact characteristic of agglutinative languages, although foreign to English. It is possible that Orwell modeled aspects of Newspeak on Esperanto; for example "ungood" is constructed similarly to the Esperanto word malbona.

D: English lacks many of these features. I'd say the order of events requisite for media propaganda is as follows:
1) a private economic sector
2) large amounts of capital
3) immortalized in huge undying corporations
4) that become multinational in scope and operation.
1) advertising in media. For example, in newspaper.
2) papers and columns that do not curry favour with the private sector lose revenue
3) for example, union trade newsletters shut down - exactly what happened in UK.
4) the with-held advertising revenue, combined with the legal and PR stink that private money and companies can put up
5) shapes what can be discussed.
The key? Advertising. Recall when cable TV came along. No ads! Sweet. You paid for it, though. And then they introduced ads.
So long as a medium (newspaper/magazine/journal, television, radio et al) has no advertising then you, the reader are the consumer - the target market -for the product (the medium and content).
BUT. Once there is advertising -revenue to the medium business from rich corporations - you cease to be the consumer.
You become the consumed. The medium is sold to the advertising company - YOU are the product.
But you are left thinking that you are the consumer - not the consumEE. Creepy.

So where am I going with this?
Decimese - how could a language be constructed to resist agitprop?
Agitprop (IPA: /ˈædʒ.ɪtˌpɹɒp/; from Russian агитпроп, pronounced [əgɪtˈprop]) is a portmanteau of agitation and propaganda.[1]

The key seems to be a combination of E-Prime's idea and what follows.
1) remove the presence of umbrella very broad abstract idea nouns.
Democracy. Who is NOT for that, except fascists!
Freedom. Woot. But free... as in beer? As in free market? As in free to vote (but how and for whom to what effect). And so on.

Chomsky makes the point that the term democracy is never defined meaningfully in mass media. If it is, then the facts of a nation's elections are never discussed. If they are discussed, the truth will be completely inverted.

What I am talking about is abstract-concept metonyms.
The equivalent of 'thing' or 'action' or 'person'.
What if we did away with democracy. (The word.)
Well, we might need to nail down if we mean 'popular representation' by that.
This might lead to a discussion of whether credible elections were indeed held.
Such a language would be heavily compounding.
Alternatively, there could be general taxonomic categories - but only for vocabulary generation.
I.e. what is presently treated as a free morpheme in English would become a bound morpheme. We would need an additional preceding noun or adjectival concept prior to a high-level absract noun to compound it.
I.e. the high level broad term can ONLY be used as part of a more precise subset.
At the very least, a listener would be aware that a speaker is not using proper precision, opting instead to use a misleadingly vague catch-all term.
Unfortunately, this approach would not have BREVITY. The best i can suggest is this:
1) topicalize, but by each noun or verb.
2) then pronoun-ize it essentially.
A portmanteau - a truncation for the remainder of the discussion - could work.
Although this could happen prior to discussion. The definition of a word would, in effect, be the complete word itself. The short form would be the word used in discussion.
E.g. smoke plus fog. Definition of smoke and fog. SMoke. fOG. SM-OG. SMOG. In a Decimese format, closer to a word like ...
SOGAN. Or, if we mandate each root itself be a bound morpheme, 2x2 syllables so 4 syllables. Like I said, not short.
Possibly we can drop the first compounded noun -N ending. However, if so, then we must have a way to denote when we are using the uppacked and lengthy full definition of a word. For example, how is SOKEFAGU-N discrete versus SOKE-FAGU-N?
We can add a preposition mid-word that would incorporate the special HLRWY consonant syllable set.
SOKE-RO-FAGU-N. Like I said, not brief.
Once we introduce this word into conversation, a way to abbreviate it, essentially pronounize it is highly desirable.
First concept in discussion introduced. Smoke-fog = smog. Well, SO-FA-N. SOFAN. However, this is not discrete from a single-morpheme 2 syllable base. How is SO + FA-N discrete from SOFA-N?
If we add that prepositional 'relater' back in, it becomes clear but also more wordy.
SO-RO-FAN. Keep in mind that our rules to combine the _RO_ preceding word particle (pre-positional) into the body of the main word is strictly optional for intermediate-level speakers. It must remain so, since consonant clusters and vowel diphthongs are difficult for many speakers. I.e. Either SROo(gemination?)-FAN or SO-FRAON.
Note: I need to nail down diphthongs!
And how are sroofan and sofraon different? LOL I am not sure yet.
Endings would include sorofaNG (verb - 'to smog' - to become, make, be, go?).
Also sorofaM (adjective - smoggy and adverb- smoggily).

I have designed a single-character syllabary system that is based on options available on the most basic of text editors.
A related project is to reserve the qwerty keyboard #s (1,2,3...) to function somewhat as grammatical punctuation in writing.
I can do so since the syllabary system also incorporates numbers via the letter-based syllabary system.
Much like silent punctuation, the presence of #s in a written passage can then provide silent cues for semantic meaning without any necessary spoken phonetic or phonemic component.
I was thinking the #s zero to nine could express generative grammar grammatical aspects.
Is that subject passive, animated or animated and human with motivation? Zero to two.
Verbs, adjectives (stative?). And so on.

The alternative convention *could* just use the # related to express the consonant-vowel aspect of words.
I.e. If the consonant order HWLRY plus A is the # names for 0-4, then...
LA is 3. Put another way, if you see 3 you say LA.
OK I cannot get bold or italics or underline to work.

Inverted, small L - l - can be treated as LA.
Capital L - L - as LE.
Italic L as LI.
Bold L as LO.
And underlined L as LU.
Ergo, the word LAM could be written clearly as lm.
Or could be if English small/capital letters and numbers did not all resemble each other.
Worse, c and C, z and Z et al are the same character in a differnt font, essentially.
What an unplanned POS mess.
Obviously, we would need to expand this convention to include M, N, NG as well as AEIOU.
The English alphabet does not match up perfectly with the phonemes Decimese will use.
C, X and Q are all surplus. However, I expect to keep the consonant + H convention. It is no slower and is more clear to understand than recruiting these 3 letters.
CH - as in CHurch - *can* be C. Or CH.
SH. ZH (pleaSUre) and so on.

One of the reasons I wish to use HIOXian letter system is that the English Roman Alphabet is such an unholy mess.

Back to propaganda and Decimese word forms.

What would this look like, in our example?
1) no word (other than a category head) for democracy
2) 2 separate words for popular and representation respectively.
3) topicalize- introduction of the full term 'popular representation. My god- 8 vs 4 syllables!!!
4) once introduced, we truncate, perhaps even using a variant pronoun approach.
Henry, he... The white car, it...
Popular representation, ... pop-rep???
I had considered this early on for Decimese. I knew it would be wordy.
I had considered that a precise definition in a taxonomic approach would be incredibly long.
E.g. syllables 1 2 3 4 5 ... (nasal ending).
We could agree to use 2-5(end) only, once introduced.
Or even, abiding by Kipf's Law, have the language community use many terms in this fashion.
If 2-5 could cause confusion with another term being used the syllables 3-5 could be used instead.
If there are 2 comparable terms, once could be inverted to 5-3.

I had initially considered this for the term 'human'.
Science... biology .... taxonomy ... animal ... mammal... ape... home sapiens.
So biology-homo.
If we speak of chimps also, then biology-ape would cause a homophone.
So human: biology - homo. Chimp - biology -ape. Topicalize - DEFINE really - then truncate ('pronoun or portmanteau').
This was back when I had considered a purely Ro-like taxonmic approach.
Prohibitively wordy with a limited phonology and restricted syllable rules.

An elegant solution might be to make humanocentric concepts so central to Decimese that they are implicit.
English: perSON. huMAN. The male aspect is denoted in a way.
Esperanto: vir-IN-o. Viro is the default- to male. Feminine must be explicitly added to denote woman.

Decimese is based on the acronym MELTS. Well, ethics only exist in humans. One of the five vowels as well as its HV form are reserved for this default. That could denote human.
How about this - implied by default.
Pronouns. He/she/it. How about 'it' is human by default. If IT is not human, that must be indicated.
Generative grammar deep structure could express that as follows.
1) it- aspect/subject = human -possesses motivations, can precede verbs that require motivation.
2) it- add a part to denote not-human but animated. Can precede verbs that require an animated subject.
3) it - not human or animated? Explicitly indicate this.

Of all the uses for forced agreement between grammatical parts, THIS generative grammar is at least of use to the speaker!
English: I am, you are. NOT I are. NOT you am.
Subject: Grand- vir (big man sans grammatical ending).
Subject 'big man' - granda viro.
Big MEN? Big-ez man-ez. I.e. granday viroy.
You would never see that in any pidgin, making me think it is a bad idea in an aux-lang too.
Object (we'll call it suffix -ob in the English example) Big man. Big-ob man-ob. GrandaN viroN.
Object: big men. Big-ez-ob man-ez-ob. GrandaYN viroYN. Wowsers.
(Five minutes pass. D fetches tylenol from the bathroom.)
Sorry, back now. Splitting headache. <:

As I was saying, if a language feels some irrational pressing need to possess forced agreement between grammatical parts, perhaps deep structure is a more appropriate focus.
I.e. SVO - subject verb object.
Big man. big -stative adjective (a 'verbal'). Man - animated plus human subject.
Of course, as the object of a sentence, the object of man does not need to agree in same way.
Of course, an abstract noun object may not be an appropriate recipient of 'action verbs'.
The man used the gun to shoot the dog. The man shot the dog. The man shot... the liberty. Huh?
For that matter, the gun shot the dog. But clearly, since the gun is not animated, it was merely the means to shoot.
The man shot the dog. Obviously the man, not being the transformer called Megatron, did not turn into a large cannon. <:
Explicitly denoting generative grammar could be either mandatory or optional in an aux-lang.
Once verbs clearly indicate whether they are transitive, a new speaker is no longer constantly guessing how to use them, or forced to memorize each verb on a case-for-case basis without any hints to guide them.

Valency categories are a feature of classical European grammar so basic they're taken for granted; they regulate the number of noun phrases that can be associated as arguments with a given verb (or other wordclass, but never mind that for now).

One argument: "It¹ exists"
Two arguments: "I¹ seek the Holy Grail²!"
Three arguments: "Sam¹ lends people² money³"

Compared to the European standard model, English has notably relaxed valency rules, allowing many verbs to occur with any number of arguments ("give": "please give generously; I gave earlier; cows give milk; she gave me this"). The grammars warn that no such "illogical" behaviour is tolerated from Esperanto verbs - any valency change, no matter how obvious from the accompanying noun cases, must also be signalled with the suffixes (E1), like this:

"give birth to" - what mothers do to babies (marked in the dictionary as an inherently transitive verb)

the causative form - but rather than meaning "cause to give birth" (a midwife's job), this is used to mean "beget"; that is, what the father did nine months earlier (solo?)

lexicons translate this not as "give birth" (plain intransitive) but as "be born" - what babies do.
What was that about logic? Meanwhile, reflexives such as "he disguised himself" get no such valency-modifying suffix, being handled instead as normal transitives with a special pronoun.

D: OK I was wrong. Esperanto just is not consistent.

Esperanto shouldn't need the construction at all when it's (potentially) got:

Topicalising reshuffles -
Special vague pronouns -
Unspecific subjects -
Zero subjects - <(...) legis la libron>
Resultatives -

D: passive construction. Too many ways to skin a cat. One will suffice!

D: back to propaganda.

I have mocked the terms 'virtual reality' and 'cyber(netic) sex' in the past. I joke that they mean NOT.
But perhaps there are many more instances where a permutation would not be better replaced with a negation.

The other trick I find - and this has been twisted to mean declarations of war (Noriega, Panama) or threats to export global revolution (Nicaragua, not-contras) is as follows:
1) don't use 30 seconds of discussion for context
2) don't use a paragraph of quotations for context.
Who among us could survive with our meaning intact, taken out of context?
Often, purposefully so.

Do you read alternative media? From other nations, other regions? It is all online.
Surely you are not too slow to understand the news. Surely you are not so foolish as to trust only one source.
I want to be a Chomsky, not a Chimpsky or Chumpsky! <:
Perhaps Decimese, by avoiding high-level abstract nouns, can resist the worst excesses of media propaganda.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

animals, humans treat vowels and consonants as different

Interestingly, living organisms like non-human primates who do not have language, seem to behave in the opposite way: "Other researchers showed that primates can compute statistics on vowels but not on consonants. We think that this behavior, which is the opposite to what our human participants did, can be explained because animals consider vowels as simple sounds without any grammatical value, and hence they are free to compute statistical relations among them", Bonatti says. "Instead, they ignore consonants completely because they cannot consider them as having linguistic import, treat them as simple noise, and hence disregard them entirely."
D: try it with your pet cat or dog.
Rover might respond to o'r. Try it.

People approach vowels and consonants differently too.

Through a study carried out at the Universities of La Laguna and Valencia, it has been verified that the brain distinguishes between vowels and consonants differently. Neuronal mechanisms change when they are processed and, when it comes to lexical access; both have a different status in our mind, thus contributing differently to this basic process of visual word recognition.

For Carreiras and his team, there is "an alternative vision regarding the differences observed between consonants and vowels", which is related to frequency. "Vowels tend to be more frequent than consonants". In most languages there are more consonants, but vowels are more frequent, which opens the door to the debate of whether consonant-vowel status is more important than the frequency of the letter in question.

D: I've already noted that the brain tends to look to consonants for vocabulary and vowels for grammar.

I wonder if this could be finessed to treat semi-vowels as, well, semi-vowels. Somewhat grammatical?

This does support the approach of Esperanto and Ygyde.

I'm done with the blog for a while. I totally have writer's block right now. Hit the wall.

Gonna read some fiction. Then hit the linguistic classics. Generative grammar, phonology, body gestures, et al.

cantonese grammar. thoughts. Richard Dawkins.

Cantonese is an analytic language where, in a sentence, the arrangement of words is important to its meaning. A basic sentence is in form of SVO, i.e. a subject is followed by a verb then by an object, though this order is often violated because Cantonese is a Topic-prominent language. Unlike synthetic languages, seldom do words indicate time, gender and plural by inflection. Instead, these concepts are expressed through adverbs, aspect markers, and particles, or are deduced from the context. Different particles are added to a sentence to further specify its status or intonation.

D: topic-prominent...
A topic-prominent language is a language that organizes its syntax to emphasize the topic–comment structure of the sentence. The term is best known in American linguistics from Li (1976), who distinguished topic-prominent languages, like Japanese, from subject-prominent languages, like English.

D: so we do have a clash between East and West in this respect. Sticking to SVO word seems prudent.
We can incorporate a means of emphasis. Alternatively, allow reiteration.
For example,

Mandarin Chinese
張三 我 已經 見過 了。 -> Original order: 我 已經 見過 了 張三。
Transcription: Zhāng Sān wǒ yǐjing jiàn-guò le. Transcription: wǒ yǐjing jiàn-guò le Zhāng Sān.
Gloss: Zhang San I already see-EXP RES Gloss: I already see-EXP RES Zhang San.
Translation: (As for) Zhang San, I've seen (him) already. Translation: I've already seen Zhang San.

D: Strange that ASL sign, derived from an English, would invert the subject-topic prominent aspect.

D: A topic(object)-prominent arrangement would mean that use of a pronoun later would necessarily be of the topic and not subject.
Bill, Ted has seen him.
HIM being Bill.
A nuanced pronoun system like Lojban's can help.
Bill (he1), Ted (he2) has seen him(1) or (2).
Verbal Aspect

In contrast to many European languages, Cantonese verbs are marked for aspect rather than tense - that is, whether an action has begun, is ongoing, or has been completed. Tense - where an action occurs within time, ie past, present, future - is specified through the use of time adverbs. In addition, verbal complements may convey aspectual distinctions, indicating whether an action is just beginning, is continuing, or at completion, and also the effect of the verb on its object(s).
Aspect particles are treated as suffixes bound to the verb.

D: so Chinese is essentially verb-suffixing.
Again, we have a source of clash with English.
English: will have been XYZ-ing. Or -ed.


Cantonese uses the following pronouns, which like in many other Sinitic languages, function as both subjective (English: I, he, we) and objective (me, him, us):

D: our English subject/object pronoun distinction is a BAD idea in an interlang.
Word order takes care of this.
One day, I don't mind some subject/object word particle to differentiate.
Right now, KISS. Keep It Simple, Stupid!

I like me (I). He saw her (she). And so on.

Copula ("to be")

States and qualities are generally expressed using stative verbs that do not require the verb "to be". For example, to say "I am hungry", one would say 我肚餓 (ngoh5 tou3 ngoh4)(literally: I hungry).

D: English sentences get cluttered enough with 'be' as it is. The English mind does not see 'be' as inherent in stative (verbal) adjectives.

A stative verb is one which asserts that one of its arguments has a particular property (possibly in relation to its other arguments). Statives differ from other aspectual classes of verbs in that they are static; they have no duration and no distinguished endpoint. Verbs which are not stative are often called dynamic verbs.
D: so stative verbs do not interact with TIME.

D; a stative verb can be recognized in English. It cannot form part of an imperative command.
John is tall.
You there - be tall! (Huh?!).


Examples of sentences with stative verbs:
I am tired.
I have two children.
I like the color blue.

Static versus dynamic

The same verb may act as stative or dynamic. An English phrase like "he plays the piano" may be either stative or dynamic, according to context.
Some languages use the same verbs for dynamic and stative situations, while other use different (if often etymologically related) verbs with some kind of qualifiers to distinguish between the usages. A stative verb is often intransitive, while a corresponding one would be transitive. Compare, for example, modern English with modern Danish.

D: these sort of implicit qualities kick the butt of ESL speakers, particularly those from linguistic background that use a clear system. In this respect, I do not believe that a pidgin-like omission of this detail is desirable. The sheer ambiguity created is staggering.

Dowty's analysis
Dowty gives some tests to decide whether an English verb is stative. They are as follows:
Statives do not occur in the progressive (the * before a sentence means that it is ungrammatical or absurd to most native English speakers):
John is running. (non-stative)
*John is knowing the answer.
They cannot be complements of "force":
I forced John to run.
*I forced John to know the answer.
They do not occur as imperatives.
*Know the answer!

D: I made John be taller! ....?!


Many negation words start with the sound m- in Cantonese; for example, 唔 m4 (not), 冇 mou5 (not have), 未 mei6 (not yet). Verbs are negated by adding the character 唔 m4 in front of it.
D: this is a verb PREFIX of sorts.

D: Decimese reserves -M in the word-final consonant position. An objection might initially seem that the -M ending of adjectives/adverbs could become confused with such a word-initial negation. The syllable format of various grammatical elements as well as word order ensure this is not the case.
Hmm. I had not planned to use M in a word-initial position for word particles. If I were to do so, I would need to ensure that word boundaries are perfectly clear. I wish to avoid -in rapid speaking - 1 identical phonetic tract that has 2 possible phonemic and thus semantic structures.
OK, and then we have English using N + V (+C?) format for negation.
OK... if M or N + V word particle can only occur in sequence with a HYLR + V, word particle, we could ensure that a sequence of sounds is not ambiguous. A logical construction for Decimese at the advanced optional diphthong stage could be:
1) default to generic M + V
2) MOU - not have - possibly (recall that H can disappear entirely, bequeathing it's following vowel to another word's vowel diphthong) MO_HU.
3) MEI- not yet. ME_HI.
Using rigid word order, let us say that we have noun (subject)
Possible alternative sentence format.

D: I have noted before that we can redesign Decimese to function with only 2 nasal consonant word-finals. For Mandarin, that would omit M, leaving only N and NG.
Well, if it becomes an issue, we *could* reserve all 3 nasal consonants as word-final BUT
1) use -N for subject
2) use- M for object.
This would serve to make topic and subject-prominent layout crystal clear.
It has 2 drawbacks:
1) we lose use of -M word-final consonant to indicate adjective/adverb.
Well, stative verbs almost deserve -NG for verb instead. Of course, we would need a 'to be' substitute to clarify.
Is that a verb or adjective? Keep in mind that word order would place a subject's adjective behind a verb.
I do NOT wish for the whole sentence to be read first, and then the meaning disentangled.
That would serve to place great demands on working memory. It makes complex sentences a bad idea.
It overwhelms new speakers that are still struggling to just find word boundaries and recall vocabulary meaning.
The second drawback of -M for object is:
2) the newly variable word order will become confusing to speakers with linguistic backgrounds that have invariate order.
If (and I say IF) we were to use -M word final consonant to denote object, then pronouns potentially could acquire the matching format to show object status.
He does. To him. (-M!).
Since decimese defaults to gender-neuter, we get:
It does. To it. .... To -it-M?
It will likely require the animated/subset human (for possible motivations) indicators for nuance. At least if context does not already provide it.

I am seriously considering making the entire language extremely humanocentric. Literally even the math and sense of scale is pegged to the human condition.
We are meso-space and meso-time -scale creatures. Atomic scale interactions confuse us as much as the vast scale of black holes. Planck-time events seem impossibly fleeting. The age of the universe- 13.7 BILLION - and geologic time scales (say, 1.37 billion) are not what our brains were made to grasp.
We are the middle. The middle size. The middle perception of time.
The middle. And to our own inflated sense of self-importance, the CENTRE.
Decimese, after all, is made for humans to commincate about human concerns. Humans.
I do wish for our speaking and thinking to be aligned with the nature of the universe, though. Joseph Campbell- my spiritual guru- said one of the purposes of religion is to align humanity with the world he lives in.

Back to Cantonese grammar now.

In contrast to the examples of sentential negation above where the entire sentence is negated, 唔 can also be used lexically to negate a single word. The negated word often differs slightly in meaning from the original word; that is, this lexcial negation is a kind of derivation. Evidence for this is that they can be used with the perfective aspect particle 咗 jo2, which is not possible with sententially negated verbs.

D: Pidgins can accomplish this by simply placing a simple negation such as 'ne' adjacent with the part to be negated.

D: I have considered a similar approach to interrogative. With rigid word order, we an tack a query particle ("chu"?) adjacent to the word in question.

Using the same approach for both is powerful and succint.
And regular!

N.B.: 啲 is a very versatile word in Cantonese, besides pluralizing certain phrases, it can also mean "a little/few", e.g. 一啲 jat1 di1 (a little), or 早啲 earlier (literally: early + (intensifier)).
D: Plural-few-early. ! This would confuse the heck out of English speakers.
However, a carefully planned system could allow something like this to be optionally denoted via a diphthong, perhaps.
D: this could align with my number system. Whole number (invert) - fraction. 2/1. 1/2.
Add a space and time indicator and we arrive at:
1) plural: say 2 or 3. Why? 1-2-3. Single-dual-plural.
2) invert. 1/1 - not sure what that means inverted! 1/2 1/3 .
3) add time... Don't ask me what time 1-2-3 means LOL. We express time as a line.
It could mean farther down the line. Just happened:1. Happened: 2. Happened long ago: 3.
A +/- system, like the whole #/fraction system (possibly one is derived from the other) could express the additional time nuance of earlier/later. Past, future.
So we arrive at 1-2-3 and +/1, with #s/time/space indicators.

Well I'd say that is enough speculation during my first morning coffee!

Aside. Book /author review. Richard Dawkins.

D: deep and profound is my respect for this man.

I read his work from 20 years before that, "The Blind Watchmaker", at work this week.
Since creationism is one of my bugbears, of course I loved it! I learned so much despite the book being so old, and despite having read many books on the subject already. It inspired me to write no less than 3 short stories.

However, I did notice what I consider a gap in his thinking when I compared these 2 books.

His recent position on atheism relies heavily on the behavior of probability at the extreme to function like proof.
He essentially argues that a 'vanishingly small' chance for a deity is comparable functionally to no chance.
This sleight of hand then allows him to swap the concepts of probability and proof.
Otherwise one ends up with a nominally agnostic but not *quite* atheist position.
The "Blind Watchmaker" has a similar fudging of details.
In it, he takes umbrage at both the caricature of the steady-speed gradualist evolutionist, as well as the Gould-ian punctuated evolutionist. This is where he trips up. He mocks that a tiny growth in a horse-ancestor's leg each generation, or that a slight increase in proto-human's brain capacity each generation could matter. He uses the word 'significant' to hedge his bets.
However, earlier in the book he emphasizes how evolution operates on just such vanishingly small- but present- variations for selection to occur. I confess this seems like a case of debating 'silly bugger' to me.

However, I believe that reading his book in high school would have single-handedly swayed me from taking a liberal arts education. I would have chosen biology instead. (My decision was close.)

His distinction between archaelogy/historical time and geology/evolutionary time was illuminating.
His ambiguous use of what constitutes an 'infinitesimal but significant' versus an 'infinitesimal but INsignificant' (???) distinction got me thinking. About infinity. I was planning Decimese #-base naming conventions and concepts.
Geometry: 360 degrees. 60 arc-minutes and 60 arc-seconds.
Time(day): 24 hours. 60 minutes. 60 seconds.
I read a primer on economic indicators this week at work too. ( Heh. Love my job sometimes! <:)
Economists use percent-of-percent. Unit: 1. 100 percent. each percent then contains 100 'number points', resulting in 10,000 number points derived from 1 whole number.
60-60. 100-100. 360-36x10. I found these 2 systems interact.
Anyway, I started applying these subconscious ideas to historical versus geological thought. And 'impossibilities'.
Impossible- in a human lifetime. Or highly improbable, a vanishingly small 'insignificant' chance. But on a geologic scale?
The economic system of 'number points' was useful as mental shorthand. 100x100 is 10,000.
The universe, shall we say, is c. 10 BILLION years old.
(New Earthers would disagree. But relatively speaking, then by their own admission, they were pretty much 'born yesterday'. I tend to agree, pretty much. )
I initially used multiples of 1000 to try to chunk time scales. 10B. 10M. 10,000. 10 years.
10,000 worked well too (economic # points). 10B. 1M. 10 years.
If we need very large #s, then recycling the 1-2-3 dimension system can work. Take the base 10.
A line. 1D. 10 units long. Square -2D- area. 10x10=100. 3D-volume-cube-10x10x10=1000. Hypercube.... 10,000. # points.
This is only for a naming convention. But it allows us to rapidly adjust scale to discuss a concept appropriately.

I have always been intrigued by Eastern philosphical thoughts on infinity.
Is infinity all time, or beyond time? Ditto space and the concept of void.
It touches on math infinity and zero. Fractioned, infinitesimals and the Planck limit.
Discussing probability on scales beyond the age of the universe looks like infinity. At least if we simply consider it 'more than all time'. Which suddenly doesn't seem so long in this light.
I read that the odds of quantum effects allowing a glass of water to fall through the counter it rests on can be calculated.
But the chance of this happening during the age of the entire universe is highly improbable. Perhaps vanishingly small. Maybe even insignificantly so.
The concepts of human and geologic time can be linked to scales linked to the various MELTS acronym principles.
Before the Big Bang, we don't think we had spacetime yet. Math? Then bang. Things happen fast! Time. Things expand. Space.
Things cool off. We get subatomic particles derived from tinier particles. Science: physics. Atoms and molecules form: chemistry. Life emerges: biology. Complex life leads to self-awareness. Logic. Moral considerations. Ethics. Each step is an emergent property of the last.
Time scales. Physics - 10 billion years. Life- more like billions. Millions... thousands - historical time. A 100 - human.
Things that seem 'impossible' or requiring near-infinities to happen, even by our physics? Math.

D: there seems to be natural math and then human math. The universe deals in whole numbers.
Hydrogen: 1. Oxygen: 1. H2. O2. H2O1. Water. Sure we have a 2:1 ratio. 2/3 is a messy .666 repeat.
But that is human math. The universe only deals in whole numbers.
Evolution. DNA is binary- on/off. 4-base. A snake doesn't evolve 1/1000th of an extra vertebra over each of 1000 generations.
About 1 in 1000, it gets another complete vertebra segment. Or maybe 3 or 4 once in 3 or 4000 years. Or 40,000.
This seems like a trivial mental exercise, but it was considered deadly serious by humans in the past.

With the Pythagoreans; mathematics, numerology, and religion, seem to blend in a way difficult for us to understand today. Key to Pythagorean idealism is the idea that number lies at the essence of all things -- abstract as well as concrete. Their study of mathematics was extensive, and the applications to music and astronomy were especially impressive. They believed strongly that all numbers were commensurable; that is to say, that any two numbers could be expressed as integral units of a smaller number. This amounts to a belief that all numbers were rational in modern mathematical terminology. In these ideas alone we see something of Plato's idealism, as well as the ancient notion of the atom.

It is ironic that this discovery lead the Pythagoreans directly into a major crisis: an immediate consequence of the Pythagorean Theorem is that the diagonal of a unit square is Ö2 -- a number which is not commensurable with one (i.e., is irrational). Legend states that this discovery was found by Hippasus, who was drowned at sea for heresy as a consequence. Whether or not the legend is true we can be certain that the existence of irrational numbers was another (and reluctant) contribution to Western knowledge made by the Pythagoreans.
D: unable to tease apart the math of the universe versus the math of man, we see this amounted to a religious crisis.

Joseph Campbell might have suggested that they did not have a belief system that aligned them to be in harmony with the universe they lived in.
Maybe a language can contribute to such harmony. Just a little bit.

POS spell checker still is not working.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

a look at the inuit languge. on courting patrons

AUI (the 'language from space') has nothing on Inuktitut. This is such an extreme of human language that it resembles nothing else.

D: a syllabary works very well with its simple syllable structure.

The origin of the syllabary used is an interesting story.
Cree syllabary (ᓀᐦᐃᔭᐍᐏᐣ)
James Evans, a Wesleyan missionary working at Norway House in Hudson's Bay, invented a syllabary for the Ojibwe language in about 1840. He had tried to produce a Latin-based orthography for Ojibwe, but eventually gave up and came up with a syllabary, based partly on shorthand.

Evans' syllabary for Ojibwe consisted of just nine symbols, each of which could be written in four different orientations to indicate different vowels. This was sufficient to write Ojibwe, but Evans' superiors were not keen on his invention and would not allow him to use it.

About 20 years later, Evans learnt to speak Cree and set about the task of devising a way of writing that language. After encountering difficulties with using the Latin alphabet, he dug out his Ojibwe syllabary and adapted it to the Cree language.

Thanks to its simplicity and the ease with which it could be learnt, the Cree syllabary was hugely successful with the Cree people. Within and short space of time, virtually the whole community were literate in the syllabary and James Evans became known as "the man who made birchbark talk."
D: I hope HIOXian goes over that well!

Because the Inuit language is a continuum of only partially intercomprehensible dialects, the language varies a great deal across the Arctic. Split up into different political divisions and different churches reflecting the arrival of various missionary groups, Inuktitut writing systems can vary a great deal.

IPA Inuujingajut Notes
Short open front unrounded /a/ a
Long open front unrounded /aː/ aa
Short closed front unrounded /i/ i Short i is sometimes realised as [e] or [ɛ]
Long closed front unrounded /iː/ ii
Short closed back rounded /u/ u Short u is sometimes realised as [o] or [ɔ]
Long closed back rounded /uː/ uu

D: the alternative realizations somewhat resembled the Long Ygyde form.

A high pitch on the first syllable followed by a falling pitch on the second syllable means "What did you say?". A middle pitch on the first syllable followed by a rising pitch on the second means "What did he do?"

D: but it does not otherwise use pitch much, except to denote interrogative.

D: but the polysynthetic nature of the language is most interesting.

It is related to the Aleut language, and together they form the Eskimo-Aleut family; while this has no proven wider affinities, some postulation has taken place as to the relation of Inuktitut to the Indo-European languages and to the Nostratic superphylum.

Inuktitut, like other Eskimo-Aleut languages, represents a particular type of agglutinative language called a polysynthetic language: it "synthesizes" a root and various grammatical affixes to create long words with sentence-like meanings.

An interesting thing is naming of individuals. Some names include 'Ujaraq' (rock), 'Nuvuk' (headland), 'Nasak' (hat, or hood), 'Tupiq' (tent), 'Qajaq' ( kayak), etc. There is also names that share names in the animal world: 'Nanuq' (polar-bear), 'Uqalik' (Arctic hare), 'Tiriaq' (ermine), etc. A third class are individual with anatomic reference but are not descriptive of the person named, obviously, in that the names are derived from a long succession of people bearing that same soul. Examples include 'Usuiituk' (has no penis), with the ituk ending indicating 'has no'.

Polysynthetic languages are highly synthetic languages, i.e., languages in which words are composed of many morphemes.
Not all languages can be easily classified as being completely polysynthetic

Eskimo-Aleut is a language family native to Alaska, the Canadian Arctic, Nunavik, Nunatsiavut, Greenland, and the Chukchi Peninsula on the eastern tip of Siberia. It is also known as Eskaleut, Eskaleutian, Eskaleutic, Eskimish, Eskimoan, and Macro-Eskimo.

D: I think Eskimo translates into 'eater of raw flesh'. I was told to use Inuit instead. I think Eskimo is no longre considered respectful.


In English, and in most other European languages, a sentence is a string of beads. Each bead is a tiny little word, and the beads are strung together to make meaning.

I am happy to be here.
Je suis content d'être ici.
Yo estoy contento de estar aquí.

But in Inuktitut the words are like Lego™ blocks, intricate pieces locked together to produce a nugget of meaning.

quviasuktunga tamaaniinnama
(happy + I here + in + be + because I)

D: I think it is exclusively suffixing.

Some dialects in this family have upwards of 600 suffixes!
Keep in mind somebody learning English would need to learn 1000 words just to get by, so maybe this is not such an obstacle.
The infixing nature of it would be difficult for a speaker whose language uses word particles instead.

In Inuktitut, there are several hundred basic verb endings, as well as variations depending on the sound system. Take, for example, the verb root malik - "follow."

Considerations for Official Language Use.

A second complication is that for years to come, certain specialized positions will need to be filled by skilled southerners until such skills are acquired by residents of Nunavut. If Inuktitut is to be the working language, then there must be Inuktitut instruction for non-Inuit.

D: my reaction is this. If you live up north in Canada, or plan to, find a family friend or babysitter or nanny that speaks this. Expose your kids to it from the earliest age. Encourage them to use it to communicate.
Plan for the next generation.

D: amazing online resource!

I'd be curious how few root and suffixes can be used to just get by.


Hmm. I know Decimese is easier to Cantonese speakes than Mandarin ones.
Cantonese uses the -NG ending.
They might like the idea of an IAL (international auxiliary language) so well suited to them.

My proposal- challenge even - to the aux-lang community was to create a large group of speakers.
Again, there are about 10,000 fluent Esperanto speakers in the entire world.
China has a lot of people!
A language that wishes to have a large speaking base must be appropriate to China and India.

Perhaps the mutually incomprehensible Chinese dialects would benefit from a spoken compromise-candidate interlang.

However, due to the linguistic history of Hong Kong and Macau, as well as the use of Cantonese in many overseas Chinese communities, international usage of Cantonese has spread far out of proportion to its relatively small number of speakers in China, even though the majority of Cantonese speakers still live in mainland China.[citation needed]
Cantonese is the predominant dialect of Chinese spoken in Hong Kong and Macau.

Speakers Anywhere from 60 to 100 million according to most estimates. Cantonese is among the top 20 most spoken languages in the world.

D: OK, let us assume that 100 million speakers is accurate.
How many would need to learn Decimese to reach my self-imposed 10x-esperanto goal?
Fluent Espo-ists: 10,000.
Assuming a 10% versus 1% rate of reaching fluency from beginning to learn basic fluency...
To reach 10x the Espo # would be 100,000.
At a 10% rate of completion of language acquisition.... x10... only (ONLY haha) a MILLION would need to try it.
That is ONE PERCENT of Cantonese speakers. They could, if they so choose, be the king-maker.
The power behind the throne- though never on it.
They might derive satisfaction from preventing Mandarin from attempting to become the de facto standard.

Again, Decimese has great potential as an Asian regional or even sub-regional interlang.

Assuming I ever finish it, LOL.
Aside: I read over the last decade of language log entries at work last night.
It was illuminating to follow the very moments in my thinking that led to various language projects gettng split up how they are today. I saw the very moment - in proto-VERSE not Decimese (which was still Language-13 to me) where I came up with my nasal-consonant grammatical-final concept.
I was playing with breaking up English consonant clusters for a pidgin.
STRONG became S-uh-T -uh -O- NG. Then I wrote man and (to) ram.
-NG -adjective. -N - noun. -M- verb. And there it was.

I even found some doodling that gave me new ideas for Decimese, though they were not intended as such.

English does something similar. THAT can be used as support for a noun. That dog.
Oddly, it is used as filler too. The dog THAT (which)...
Can you lift THAT?
Essentially, Decimese can string together some modifiers for a noun and fill in for it.
They would function much like a pronoun.
If we end up with a fairly wordy taxonomic defition, or even any compound noun, then brevity is at risk.
If we are talking about article:definite (the) and location/distant (there) ... we mean THAT. Plural: THOSE.
Essentially, a word like LOHAN that lacks any standard vocabulary consonants stands in for such a word.
We end up with a word that literally could mean (E.g. Loyhan (L-O-ee-H-ah-N):
1) definite
2) far
3) dipthong: plural.
Ergo: something like LOYHAN.

This is superior to defaulting to a generic pronoun.
How many times in English does 'it' or 'they' not really clarify?
Lojban numbers its pronouns, I think. He1, he2...
ASL sign does something similar. One gestures to a certain space to assign a person to it.
Like talking to ghosts, or holograms sometimes...

The 'clockwork morphology' of core Decimese word generation leads to some confusing and absurd concepts.
Space dimensions 0,1,2,3. OK. Point, line, area, volume. Linked to related numerical concepts, line-triangle-tetrahedron.
We know what time means. We think of it as a line - so one dimensional. We can accept that a one-off verb or a continuous verb maps reasonably well onto 0 and 1D time concepts. He jumped. He has been jumping.
We can even see that 'compound verb' categories can exist in parallel to nuanced space dimensional terms.
E.g. paper- exists in 3D but wide and long with no depth. (or not much).
E.g. time - In the past, an event has happened repeatedly. It is happening now but then will stop.
I might recruit the standard voiceless consonant singlets for this.
2nd and 3rd dimension. Assign to 1-2-3D the values The KFSPT consonants could mean 2 and 3 -not 1. Or 1 and 1- not 2.
What is calculus-acceleration - rate of change - but 1D time (line, continuous) and (if a line) 2D space? If volume, say of a sphere of light expanding, 1D time and 3D space.

Fotini Markopoulou-Kalamara. Fotini is a researcher at Waterloo's Perimeter Institute.
(Stephen Hawking is coming this summer!!!)
I had all these questions for this brilliant physics researcher. I need help on the math/science part of Decimese.
We were supposed to do lunch, but I haven't heard back from her.
Anyone else interested in tackling the terminology?

But what the heck would 'volume of time' mean? Intriguing. Perhaps even mind expanding.
I will likely use very metaphorical concepts. Area/time - what is possible. Volume/time. What is not.
I have had similar moments with the varous MELTS-acronym concepts.
What the heck are 'dimensions of logic'?!
I'll get back to you...

D: spell checker did not work today. Sorry for errors.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

attempts -and success stories- in natural language reform

We bandy about the term 'spelling reform'. I'll add:
1) spelling REVOLT
2) speaking reform
3) speaking REVOLT.
D: only minor reforms are possible from within a culturally conservative group.
REVOLT - dramatic reforms - have only ever been possible when imposed from outside by a stronger force.
However, the syllabaries were not completely codified and alternate letterforms, or hentaigana, existed for many sounds until standardization in 1900. In addition, due to linguistic drift the pronunciation of many Japanese words changed, mostly in a systematic way, from the classical Japanese language as spoken when the kana syllabaries were invented. Despite this, words continued to be spelled in kana as they were in classical Japanese, reflecting the classic rather than the modern pronunciation, until a Cabinet order in 1946 officially adopted spelling reform, making the spelling of words purely phonetic (with only 3 sets of exceptions) and dropping characters that represented sounds no longer used in the language.

D: only possible with the USA imposing strong reform.
I wonder if an occupying power could effectively completely supplant a writing system.

Spanish orthography is such that every speaker can figure out the pronunciation of a word from its written form. These rules are similar to, but not the same as, those of other peninsular languages, such as Portuguese, Catalan and Galician.
A number of the writing system's rules lead to potential homophony. These include the silent ‹h›, the lack of distinction between ‹b› and ‹v›, or ‹c› and ‹z› before ‹e i›, as well as some dialectal mergers such as that between ‹y› and ‹ll›, and between ‹c z› and ‹s›. In this way, a number of spellings could represent the same pronunciation. Nevertheless, the orthography is far more transparent than, for example, English orthography.

D: natural languages will have homophones. A good aux-lang will not.
But many poor ones still have them.
E.g. Esperanto. Di- god. Di-o - god/thing. -et- infix- tiny. Diet - diet. Dieto. Diet-thing? Or demigod/godling? Who knows.

Finnish is written with the Swedish variant of the Latin alphabet that includes the distinct characters Ä and Ö, and also several characters not used in Finnish (including for example C, Q, Å). The Finnish orthography built upon the phoneme principle: each phoneme (meaningful sound) of the language is represented by exactly one grapheme (independent letter), and each grapheme represents almost exactly one phoneme. This makes the language easy for its speakers to spell, and facilitates learning to read and write. The rule of thumb for Finnish orthography is: write as you read, read as you write.

However, morphemes retain their spelling despite sandhi.

D: as good as it gets. At least for a natural language.
Again, a well-designed aux-lang can surpass even this.


On December 6th 1990 an unprecedented event took place in French spelling history: the government published, in an official document [1], a series of recommendations aimed at rationalizing certain aspects of the written language and giving guidelines for the spelling of neologisms.

These were:

1. use of the hyphen.
2. plurals of compound words.
3. the circumflex accent.
4. past participle agreement of pronominal verbs.
5. various "anomalies".

Many languages have undergone spelling reform, where a deliberate, often officially sanctioned or mandated, change to spelling takes place. Proposals for such reform are also common.
There are a number of reasons driving such reforms: easing the task of children or immigrants becoming literate, making the language more useful for international communications or aesthetic or political reasons.
Opposition to reforms is often based upon concern that old literature will become inaccessible, the presumed suppression of regional accents, or simple conservatism based upon concern over unforeseen consequences

Spoken reform. Controlled natural languages.

Though ACE appears perfectly natural – it can be read and understood by anybody – it is in fact a formal language.

Here are some simple examples:
(1) * Women are human.
(2) Every woman is a human.
(3) A man is a human.
(4) A man tries-on a new tie. If the tie pleases his wife then the man buys it.
ACE construction rules require that each noun be introduced by a determiner (a, every, no, some, at least 5, ...). This excludes (1) as indicated by the * preceding the sentenc

D: this is the more theoretical foundation behind this Loglan-esque reformed English.

Discourse representation theory (DRT) is a framework offering a representation language for the examination of contextually dependent meaning in discourse.

In one sense, DRT offers a variation of first-order predicate calculus -- its forms are pairs of first-order formulae and the free variables that occur in them.
Attempto Controlled English (ACE) is a controlled natural language, i.e. a subset of standard English with a restricted syntax and a restricted semantics described by a small set of construction and interpretation rules [1].

D: To my way of thinking, all this fuss just indicates how poorly designed natural languages are. They are not well suited to precision and are often quite ambiguous. An English sentence can have 2 identical deep structure semantic meanings, with no way to tell which was intended.
A decent aux-lang will address this during the design phase.
Do keep in mind that much human communication does not require disambiguation.
In fact, sometimes being vague is desirable or intended.

Syntactic Ambiguity: A syntactically ambiguous sentence has one surface structure and two deep structures. Below is a list of newspaper headlines. Using phrase structure trees, show how each illustrates syntactic ambiguity.
"Judge to rule on nude beach."
LOL! D: I know a great joke about kings and rulers. Er, never mind. <:

D: hmm, I wonder how few English reforms would be required to remove such ambiguity.

He liked exciting women.
Liked to excite. Women who are exciting?
The use of the same suffix in different grammatical roles does not help.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

political correctness. evolution of 'retard'. English oddities.

D: it is the talk of the town.

A Palin spokeswoman seemed to back away from earlier criticism of conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh. Yesterday, when asked for comment on Limbaugh's use of the "r" word in a recent broadcast, Palin spokeswoman told Greg Sargent of the Washington Post, "Governor Palin believes crude and demeaning name-calling at the expense of others is disrespectful."


In calling a strategy developed by liberal health-care activists "fucking retarded," Rahm Emanuel spoke stupidly. It isn't that "the r word" can never be used appropriately, or that the White House chief of staff revealed himself to be a bigot; it's just that the developmentally disabled are wronged when a word referring to their condition is invoked as an epithet, and hurtful language like that is best avoided in civil society. The man made an obvious mistake.
D: I will look at 2 aspects of this discussion.
1) epithets and stigma in a minority group or disadvantaged part of society
2) the evolution of P.C. terms for said phenomenon.

First of all, I think we rarely actually mean stupid when we say highly stupid.
We often mean our debating opponent is being foolish, or obstinate.

We all encounter dogmatic positions that we cannot understand. My pet peeves include creationism, feminism and right-wing economics (neo-cons). Notice I say feminism, not feminists.
Like the Bible says, "hate the sin but love the sinner". Lord knows I do. <:

Right now, I'll discuss creationists, since I am reading "The Blind Watchmaker".
I have to assume creationists don't ever read the opposing position.
I have always refused to argue with them.
I've read their books. Always read both sides of an argument before thinking your position is justifiable.
The only creationists who read any legitimate science are the authors of creationist books.
And then, they take it out of context in tiny lil' sound bites or from out-dated sources to defend positions that those
authors don't even agree with!
If somebody needs to lie, misquote and bake studies to defend their position, then I assume their position is not defensible.
Exactly my problem with feminism - every time I went back to source studies they quote, I'd find their conclusions to be a case
of 'silly bugger'.
OK, I stand corrected. There is one scenario in which I will argue with die-hards who obviously will never budge from their unjustified position no matter what.
That is for an audience. The funny thing about zealots is that they think the argument is about THEM.
Nope. It is not about me either. Usually, it is pretty clear from the start that the 2 positions of the debaters will NOT change.
My position, because I have already considered their position. Their position, because they don't have a mind to change...
Play to the audience. The important thing here is to realize that victory consists of making moderates who hear the debate more sympathetic to your position at the end than when the debate (or argument) began.
Interestingly, one does that by winning by a margin, but no destroying your opponent's position - even if I can.
Why? That creates sympathy for the one losing so badly. So you cede part-marks here or there.
All the better if they start name calling. Like, say, calling me a retard.

Anyway, creationists are generally folks of at least average intelligence. Their IQ suggests this. They are, however, typically of a particular brand of religion. What Joseph Campbell referred to as "Aristotle's logic but devoid of transcendental elements". The words are there, but they refuse to acknowledge the limits of words or read anything between the lines, or behind and beyond the words. Very Western.
So I am not debating with somebody stupid. I'm arguing with somebody foolish and obstinate. But NOT stupid.
Obviously, if they finished high school (and quite possibly even if they did not), calling them stupid is not accurate.
If they started high school (or could have) then they are also clearly not retarded.

So what does 'retarded' mean?

re·tard 1 (r-tärd)
v. re·tard·ed, re·tard·ing, re·tards
To cause to move or proceed slowly; delay or impede.
To be delayed.
1. A slowing down or hindering of progress; a delay.
2. Music A slackening of tempo.
[Middle English retarden, from Old French retarder, from Latin retardre : re-, re- + tardre, to delay (from tardus, slow).]
re·tarder n.

D: strictly speaking, ignoring social stigma and epithet aspects, this is etymologically highly accurate.

D: It's been called many things. Retarded. Slow. Mentally challenged. Mentally disabled. And so on.
I'm sure it will be called something else in a decade.
It doesn't matter. If the social stigma remains, then the latest politically correct term will gradually lose it's brand-new shine and become tarnished by this stigma. Soon, instead of polishing the term again -addressing the stigma- we will instead drop the word and find some new term. And then we'll repeat the process all over again.

Let's look at the various terms that have been used in lieu of 'retarded' at various points.
1) slow- same thing, but more ambiguous.
2) disabled? Um, this not very accurate. They learn slower, and in a more limited fashion. They are not unable to learn.
3) challenged? I imagine a standard school curriculum and normal life skills would be. Also accurate.

Politically correctness abuses the meaning of words. It leaves behind a trail of words exhausted by abuse and mis-use.
There are semantic trash-heaps full of old words and phrases that nobody wishes to use any more.
We treat language like some sort of infinite resource. How we used to view fish in the ocean, or trees on land.
Whatever happened to reduce, reuse and recycle?

With Decimese, we actually build in a system whereby one can turn any term into a stigma or epithet.
Logic- mind - less - slow. Mind-slow. Tricky to spin this as a good thing - "he's a very special little boy!".
Mind-slow-adjectival. Or Mind-slow-(one) - noun. Easy to modify into be/become/behave slow-of-mind. And so on.
Not worried about social niceties? Just plain old mind-slow.
Mad and wanna bash somebody? You stop using the nice 'mentally challenged' term. Or whatever it is now. I've been out of university for 1-2 decades. I'm sure I don't have the latest trendy, popular words for everything now. I'm obsolete. And have no interest in trying to keep up. Language should not need to be fashionable. Like good clothes, they are timeless and need not change.
So you wanna insult somebody. Add social etiquette/prestige modifier with the plus/minus option. Pick minus.
Mentally challenged becomes mind-slow-social:minus. You get retard.
Are right royally mad as heck? You get F**King retard. Social very minus. Possibly expressed in the math part as divide.
Emphasis. Voila.

D: Yup, I'm aware that there is an eerie resemblance to Orwell's 1984 here.

doubleplus- - A Prefix used to create the superlative form of an adjective or adverb. (i.e. - pluscold and doublepluscold meant, respectively, 'very cold' and 'superlatively cold'.

"If you want a stronger version of "good", what sense is there in having a whole string of vague useless words like "excellent" and "splendid" and all the rest of them? "Plusgood" covers the meaning, or "doubleplusgood" if you want something stronger still. "
D; for the record, News-speak was more inspired by Basic English. NOT Esperanto, contrary to popular opinion.
Nice very brief overview.

I actually LIKE that 'Big Z' (aka: the Z-ster, Z-Daddy) includes a system for epithets. I just wish he had added even more detail!

Then again there are the derogatory affixes, and <-ach>, demonstrated in "Teach Yourself Esperanto" just as feminists would predict: by forming sex-specific insults. is "dirty woman, slut"; is "crone, contemptible female".

Time for a few jokes. Is a casino a feminine case? Is a neutrino a female eunuch? And if a is an unmarried woman, is an unmarried man a ? Well, actually, yes; a merry jest from Dr Zamenhof. Ha ha ha...(sob).

D: Sorry, couldn't resist that last part. We see the limits of a natural-feeling word formation system without careful syllable construction rules. Natural feel. Natural... ambiguity. This is like re-inventing not the wheel - which works- but the flat tire!

D: but we use somewhat, fairly, quite, very, totally. Somewhat more nuanced, but not endlessly so.
D: Besides, we can switch to the more varied Decimese consonant voiceless part of each pair- there are 7.
0 - 1 - few-some-.... all. SEVEN. That was easy.
He's a bit slow? Variant of few - less.
Compared to others?
# - single, dual, plural. 1,2,3.
Nuanced a bit - 0-4. No/not/never single, dual, plural, all/every. And so on.
A handful of naming conventions all endlessly recycled with permutations.

Humans insult each other. They get made, the exaggerate the short-comings of their foes.
A language needs to accept this. A language is intended for commutation. Bigots saying reprehensible things are also communicating. Decimese needs to be equipped for bigots too. At least it overtly indicates this. No hiding.

A few odd English words.
Fame. Famous. Infamous. Here is where it gets interesting.
Infamous.... infamy. "A day that will live in infamy."
But ... not infame. Not famy.
Even worse, when you consider that fame means 'well known', without a necessarily positive spin.
Wouldn't infame mean ... state of not well known? Obscure? Wouldn't infamous mean not-well-known?

The apparent 'clockwork morphology' of English if just that- apparent.
Suffixes -ous, -ic-, -al? Which. Memorize them all on a case-for-case basis.
I particularly like electrical. Electr-ic. Electr-al? Nope. BUT electr-ic-al. Adjectived... twice?!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Ich bin ein aux-langer. nature of the language design community

We artificial human language designers are not community-minded.
The sheer chutzpah required to think one can make a new frickin' language is staggering.
These aux-langs rarely seem to be collaborative efforts.
We are lone wolfs.

I have been corresponding with one of the most talented aux-langers this week. He is known for being aggressive and confrontational about language. He even sought out language-specific forums to say as much.
While he seems to have moderated his views in recent years, he said something at the end of the last e-mail to me.
He pondered which aux-lang designer would 'win'. By implication, the rest would lose.

I once said:
"If I can contribute just a few insights into some
hypothetical eventual world language then I will be
Yes, I'd really like if mine was selected (pending

Funny. The rest of the world is either oblivious to our existence, or bewildered and apathetic if not.
And here we are, turning on each other and savaging each other.
Certainly, I have over-reacted defensively.

The question is whether we more closely resemble:
1) The Highlander movie. "There can be only one!" The villain is trying to kill all the other immortals in order to steal their power.
2) The Round Table and Camelot. Yes, there must be a king- whoever can pull the sword out of the stone. BUT the round table is a way to make all equal and prevent bickering about station. And they are united in cause.

At what point do we stop wasting energy trying to put down every other aux-lang design?
At what point do we all agree to unite behind a common banner?
What is the 'sword in the stone' in this contest?

Well first we look at the biggest success story to date, though it have plateaued and remained stagnant for a century.

Finnish linguist Jouko Lindstedt, an expert on native-born Esperanto speakers, presented the following scheme[45] to show the overall proportions of language capabilities within the Esperanto community:
1,000 have Esperanto as their native language.
10,000 speak it fluently.
100,000 can use it actively.
1,000,000 understand a large amount passively.
10,000,000 have studied it to some extent at some time.

D: who will break through this plateau? Who can geometrically increase its base of speakers into the mainstream?
We need not use a "League of Nations" - the UN -for this.
A regional or even national government would work. NGO's could work. To save on translation costs.
The private business community of MNC's have a motivation. To create an in-house interlang. Or to allow a single advertising message to reach more people. In essence, each natural language community is another niche market.
The initial success of each aux-lang to date has been essentially private, by the founder and a band of die-hards.

OK so who gets to be king? Each of us benefits from all efforts that have gone before. We stand like giants only because we stand on the shoulder of generations of aux-lang designers.
I'd argue that we should back the language - all of us SHOULD back -
1) suited to be an aux-lang. Easy and then powerful.
2) the first to get both widespread recognition and a large group of followers.
3) able to promoted by PR and sales successfully. Politically viable. This *may* mean culturally neutral. It may not.
This could even mean a heavily pidgined natural language- who knows?

Well, looking at the above Esperanto stats touches heavily on this list. If easy but powerful, an aux-lang.
"Studied at some time", compared to "speak fluently" is a litmus test. Initial publicity can easy allow brief exposure to a language. But does enthusiasm wane in the face of learning obstacles? Is it unfriendly to too many linguistic backgrounds, rendering it no easier than some nat-lang for them? Do the grammatical elements at the intermediate level stump English speakers?

1,000 have Esperanto as their native language.
10,000 speak it fluently.
100,000 can use it actively.
1,000,000 understand a large amount passively.
10,000,000 have studied it to some extent at some time.
D: if we divide this all by 1,000, we get the following.
1 native speaker
10 fluent speakers
100 actively use
1,000 passively understand
10,000 had contact with it.
Native speakers are only possible after an entire generation. Native speakers are also only possible with fluent parents.
So I focus on fluency.
"To some extent" is a trap, as is "passively understand".
That means someone looked at it and gave up promptly, or can only understand some and hardly speak it.
This level of competence in English means a job barrier to an immigrant, and exclusion from an English community.
Only 1 in 1000 Esp-o-ists who had contact with the language become fluent. Pretty damning.
Only 1 in 100 passes "passively understand" to fluency.
1 in 10 surpass "actively use" to fluency".
"Passively understand" suggests a language which has basic elements too difficult for many learners.

I would argue that we see here, in 2 aspects, a test for the future king's "sword in the stone".
1) a community of speakers of a certain size. Critical mass.
2) the ratio between "passively understand" and fluency. For esp-o, that ratio is 1 in 100.
ONE PERCENT of those which begin down the path to learn Esperanto are able to fully function in it.
That is NOT a great batting average. Not exactly Babe Ruth's hitting scores.

The best way to break through the plateau of speakers is to provide utility. Yes, that means a link to some ideology. In the case of Esp-o, that patron group would be internationalists.
These would be the critical "early adopters". They are necessary - though not sufficient.
But then what? Here is where ease of learning and powerfulness become the issue instead.
Those outside of the demographic niche without any particular interest in internationalism want utility.
A good portion of utility is energy and time spent to acquire it. If the learning requirements are too high, then the reward for learning the aux-lang is not likely to make learning it worth the while of the non-ideologically motivated learner.

Here is where the "cultural neutrality" can be of use. Incorporated properly, this principle ought to make the structure of the language easier to learn. Freed from the fetters of single linguistic tradition, pure form and function are emphasized, leading to a sleek and non-dogmatic phonology, grammar and syntax.
I'd argue that the counterpart, the 4th implicit consideration, is how marketable the language is to the powers that be.
Realpolitik. That means the USA. Eventually China, then India. In a general sense, anybody already with a UN Security Council veto vote. For France and Russia also.
France. I have a love-hate relationship with them. They obstructed the best effort at an IAL to date.
But if they had not done so, then I'd be wasting my breath now, and would not have even started down this path I've chosen.

Let's take a brief look at both French and Russian.


The velar nasal /ŋ/ is not a native phoneme of French, but occurs in loan words in final position such as parking or camping.[1] People who have difficulty with this sound replace it with a prenasalized [ŋɡ] sequence instead of a single consonant [ŋ].[citation needed] This sequence also appears almost systematically where there is a possible liaison with the initial vowel of a word pronounced just after it

D: Hmm. No getting around that for Decimese, not with a Mandarin layout for the words.
Sounds like they manage to cope.
inné [in(n)e] ('innate')
D: some consonant gemination.
D: also on an initial stressed syllable's vowel.
formidable [ffɔrmidabl] ('terrible')

D: their even-timing, even on most stressed syllable, is irrelevant to Decimese.
French is SVO , but it incorporates or cliticizes objective pronouns before the verb. ...

Mandarin is SVO but has many SOV characteristics.
D: so SVO is really about appeasing English speakers, who are least inclined to pick up a second language, let alone an aux-lang.
D: I see a lot of diphthongs. Often nasalized prior to a word-final nasal consonant.
I never could say onion- oignon - properly...


Russian diphthongs all end in a non-syllabic [i̯], which can be considered an allophone of /j/, the only semivowel in Russian. In all contexts other than after a vowel, /j/ is considered an approximant consonant. Phonological descriptions of /j/ may also classify it as a consonant even in the coda. In such descriptions, Russian has no diphthongs.
D: diphthongs are plain out!

They have lots consonants. Huh. I don't see NG. Gah. Well, no way to avoid it with a Mandarin basis.
It seems I will make some enemies along with friends...

They devoice word-final consonats. I don't have any. I wonder what they do to word-mid consonants?
Doesn't much matter. It's allophonic in Decimese, a mere convention for Anglos, really.

Consonant Clusters
Russian is notable for having fewer phonotactic restrictions than many other languages,[45] producing word-initial clusters that would be difficult for English speakers. Some, such as in встретить [ˈfstrʲetʲɪtʲ] ('to encounter'), can have as many as four segments.
D: Interesting. They can handle very complex consonant clusters -but ONLY on the FIRST syllable.
OK, I'll keep that in mind as I develop later, advanced optional rules for "chunking" word particles into the main related word.
E.g. If LA HO PIBUM, then PL- versus -BL- will be desirable.
Even more into the future, I am trying to plan for the option of new consonant clusters of triple form, as well as the possibility of the introduction of the TH pair. I use the English word STRENGTHS as a guide to the potential of this approach.
But that is another story.

Some languages are more complicated: Russian allows all possible combinations SVO, OVS, SOV, OSV, VSO, VOS.
D: they should manage to the SVO word order without too much difficulty.
D: in summary, not too bad, though with a few bumps along the way.

Decimese. Coupla thoughts.

D: I once theorized about an aux-lang that used consonants for vocabulary, but used vowels for grammar.
Essentially what English does in part in SING and RUN.
SING - verb. SONG - noun. Tenses - SANG, SUNG.
RUN - verb and noun. RAN- tense.
I think that is called ablaut.
Well, if we gut the vowels out of Decimese, and use the taxonomic vocabulary approach, we could explore this.
Essentially instead of Ygyde's V - C- V... format, we get a C (gap) C (gap) format for lexical meaning.
THEN we insert -V- -V- for grammar.
In English, prefixes tend to provide nuanced meaning (pseudo-, re-). Suffixes tend to be more grammatical (-ment, -ness).
If we resort to a 2-syllable base for most definitions, much like Lojban, then we'd have the format C*C*n. N for nasal.
It is fun to explore. Vowels, then diphthongs for nuance- subsets of meaning. Conversely, consonant clusters (STR-.BL-, -RN) for more lexical nuance.
D: I was beginning preliminary planning into standard vocabulary items. That means less focus on HLRWY syllables, and more on PB TD et al. I looked to the future, to a distant hypothetical future where the basic Decimese is widely used.
At that stage, and in certain linguistic backgrounds by competent speakers, consonant clusters become an option to improve brevity. A language which is superficially Mandarin sans tones simply cannot be that terse!
Anyway, the a look at the use of HLRWY in consonant clusters in English yielded a coupla results.
1) I knew H could not be used.
2) LRW can all be used by 3-4 of the basic 5 voiced/voiceless consonant pairs.
(Shameful admission here - I don't use the 2 Mandarinesque pairs since I am less comfortable with them as an Anglo...!!!)
3) Y cannot be used either. This suggests that Y within a word should likely denote diphthongs.
Back to 2) The consonant pairs that the THREE special consonants can form vary, and need to be planned for.
IF I plan enough at this stage for what L, R, and W (as well as H and Y) are to denote, then I can match those 3 with the appropriate pairs to allow likely, common, and sensible consonant cluster truncations.
For example, body parts, due to our bilateral symmetrical layout, often need to be expressed as pairs- a duality.
Arms. 2. Legs 2. Related items: pants (not pant-leg). Socks. Shoes. Sometimes we have 2 sets of 2. <:
That reminds me of those old sci-fi horror/action movies. Alien. Aliens! Aliens.... ez?
Then there are collective noun concepts to consider. Grains comes to mind.
Also, are we referring to stones as in rocks, or the unit stones?
Obviously, LRW must be consciously match to PTFSK et al during the design stage of Decimese.
There is no flying by the seat of my pants. I must understand the overview of the entire language before I select even one vocabulary item!
H and Y are special. H can be dropped to form a diphthong, or in theory a geminated vowel.
However, Y cannot. If Y as a diphthong is simply the I (ee- machine) sound, then it overlaps with I in forming diphthongs.
This suggests that Y in the form of word particle Y + vowel (YV) should be relegated to a certain particular class of modifier words.

My head hurts.

D: in retrospect, I have no idea if using the word-final nasal consonant for grammatical indication yields better results that the word-final Esperanto vowel, or the word-initial Ygyde vowel to denote grammar.
I do think it is appealing to Mandarin speakers. I also think that is allows very easy parsing of word boundaries.
Some indication was necessary to off-load the need for overt word particle grammatical indicators, eve with rigid word order.
Lord knows that tying up M, N, and NG for non-lexical functions severely reduces the number of syllables available for vocabulary!
In the end, this will be a good thing. I will be forced to make a very dense and concise system to generate vocabulary. But right now it is kicking my butt!