Thursday, August 19, 2010

G&M fail. A tove honey loves - return to Jabberwocky

D: its not it's! Bloody hell....
S'ok - HIOXian punctuation can overtly denote which subset a punctuation is expressing. Should be clear.
Still nailing down which figure-shape denotes what aspect of language. Syllable stress and pitch are getting tacked on the left/right half of the HIOX figure presently. Likely. Paired punctuation like brackets and Spanish-style sentence-initial cues imply I should reserve the left/right HIOX for those punctuation symbols. That would leave the 3 tiers (top, mid, low) for stress/pitch.



To review:

`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

That poem is now famously known as “Jabberwocky.” It is often hailed the most important nonsense poem in the English language. But if a reader looks closely, there is a method to the speaker’s madness in this poem. As Humpty Dumpty explains the poem to Alice, he demonstrates that the poet actually created an important, intelligent poem that is not entirely nonsense.
D: English has grammatical indicators. They are a closed class of function words. The list hardly ever changes historically. I think the last addition was from old English, "will".
These function words, infixes and word order all effectively create distinct meaning in English.

Infix cues in English include:
1) plural - s
2) possessive - 's
3) 3rd person singular - s
4) past tense - typically -ed
5) present participle -ing
6) past participle - (have plus) -ed typically
7) comparative and superlative -er and -est.

Word order is SVO - subject verb object. Noun verb noun.
With some details, like Subject: Article, adjective, noun...
Subject and object pronouns provide additional detail.
Subject: I. BUT object: me.
Twas -, and the -y -s
Did - and - in the -:
All -y were the -s,
And the - -s out-.

D: If we used existing standard vocabulary, the first line could easily be as follows.

'Twas pithy, and the funny puns

But even without these known words, the nonsense verse somehow FEELS sensible as our grammar brain organ parses it according to cues.


"A tove honey loves."

By using Yoda style SVO reordering, we have completely spoofed the grammatical cues to denote sentence structure.

Slithy toves - adjective noun(plural).

Honey loves - noun verb.

Both -y -es.

i can only imagine how difficult such variations must be to ESL students.

I keep reading newspaper articles saying immigrants are not being taught enough English.
Well, how about inverting that to English is too hard for most immigrants?
Then the logical conclusion becomes we need a simple interlang for typical adult second-languagers.
An aux-lang - auxiliary language. An artificial designed human language.
Lacking the complex stress contours of English.
(Making headway on Chomsky's SPE. NOT an easy read at all. Finishing up chapter on phonology so I can complete HIOXian. I get the PC that can handle the font design software this afternoon.)

D: Other English quirks - the illusion of apparent syllable/word abundance with generous syllable design rules.

Take, for example, the apparent simple indefinite article / singular plus adder.
An adder.
Well, it was originally a ... NADDER!
Examples of the reverse can also be found.

The word “nickname” was originally rendered as an “ekename,” because “eke” is an obsolete word that means “additional.” Similarly, the original word for a “newt” was “ewte,” and one can easily see how “an ewte” became “a newt.” The process often worked in reverse with words that started with “n”: “An adder” was “a nadder,” “an apron” “a napron” and an auger” “a nauger.” Also, “an umpire” was at first a “noumpere,” a word that derived from the Old French nonper, “not equal” and thus qualified to settle disputes.

D: we get no farther ahead if we try removing that particular indefinite article.
Some or any other word preceding it poses the same problem.
Nouns and other grammatical elements lack a distinguishing and unique syllable structure, or choice of phonemes.
Decimese will solve this. <:


Many words came into English by this route: Pease was once a mass noun but was reinterpreted as a plural, leading to the back-formation pea. The noun statistic was likewise a back-formation from the field of study statistics. In Britain the verb burgle came into use in the 19th century as a back-formation from burglar (which can be compared to the North America verb burglarize formed by suffixation).
Other examples are:
adj. "couth" from "uncouth"
Verb "edit" from "editor"
Singular "syrinx", plural "syringes" (from Greek): new singular "syringe" formed
Singular "sastruga", plural "sastrugi" (from Russian): new Latin-type singular "sastrugus" has been used sometimes
"euthanase" or "euthanize" (verb) from the noun "euthanasia".

D: Examples of other 'make-work' English vocabulary items abound.
Notice that the very cues we needed to make sense of Jabberwocky have become the enemy when word boundaries and lexical parsing is considered.
... we've painted ourselves into a corner! Natural languages are like that.
Only a designed language is not.

Note: I'm porting HIOXian and Decimese to LiveJournal blogs. This blog will focus solely on new language news and research. D.


Brian Barker said...

I think the choice of a future global language must be between English and Esperanto, rather than an untried project.

It's unfortunate however that only a few people know that Esperanto has become a living language.

After a short period of 122 years Esperanto is now in the top 100 languages, out of 6,800 worldwide, according to the World CIA factbook. It is the 22nd most used language in Wikipedia, and is a language choice of Google, Skype, Firefox and Facebook.

Native Esperanto speakers,(people who have used the language from birth), include George Soros, World Chess Champion Susan Polger, Ulrich Brandenberg the new German Ambassador to NATO and Nobel Laureate Daniel Bovet.

Your readers may be interested in seeing . Professor Piron was a translator with the United Nations in Geneva.

A glimpse of this planned language can be seen at

Dino Snider said...

Gotta agree to disagree on that, Brian.
I think the LangX/Lang53 is on to a good thing in that respect. Start simple -more simple than Espo - then have plans to gradually upgrade to a more complex somewhat natural-language format as an aux-lang becomes more widely accepted.
I'll be exploring that with VERSE - offloading function words onto an elaborate pitch system - in my sea nomad sci-fi writing.
I imagine the Volapuk crew in their day of pre-eminence described Espo as an 'untried project'.
I'm sure Mr. Z touted the untried E project using new-and-better arguments.
And here you are today, B, using the old-established reasoning. Temporal provincialism. That's all.
We must agree to disagree.
I intend to be the 'next Espo', so to speak... Which leaves Espo... as Volapuk. Eventually, in the dustbin of history. Sorry. And yes, I know I have my work cut out for me. To put it mildly. It will be the labour of an entire lifetime, and has only a tiny chance of success. That's OK. I am a dreamer.

dino snider said...

After a short period of 121 years Esperanto is now in the top 100 languages, out of 6800 worldwide, ...

D- given that many languages, so to speak, are in fact dialects spoken by one or few tribes, this is no feat. And in a 'short period' of 121 years?! Are you STONED?!
Give me 21. If I'm not in the top 100, I'll throw in the towel.
Sheesh. (That is the year 2041.)
The gauntlet has been tossed down, the battle joined.