Saturday, September 18, 2010

how many root words is enough?

From the base of 15,000 to 20,000 root words - once can combine roots and suffixes to form over 150,000 words in Esperanto.

There is an extensive set of suffixes that can be added to word roots to allow various shades of meaning or newly derived forms; compound words are also used. (Source: "Esperanto,"

Lojban's 1300 root words can be easily combined to form a vocabulary of millions of words.

Finally, a look at an 'extreme language' - Toki Pona, with very few roots.
I suspect 'simple' translates to 'extremely limited', 'ambiguous' or 'extremely wordy for clarification'. But to capture Tao thought, that's fine.

The entire language has only 123 words

OK - regarding Esperanto, in what world is 'only 15,000 roots to make 150,000 words' a boast?
Honestly, I sometimes wonder what Esperantists are smoking.
I oversimplify, since a compound word will contain multiple roots/stems/words, but that means that a root is used on average to make only 10 words.
I suppose one can claim that this results in precision - the disambiguation claim of Lojban, ironically enough, though Lobjan has only 1/10 the the roots to work with.

Esperanto- suffixes to allow various shades of meaning.

D: ok, why suffixes? Let's look at English as the de facto world standard. The power on the throne. The folks you need to suck up to...

Well English uses both prefixes and suffixes. Given that suffixes have a certain ordering, one can argue infixes in the middle also.
In English, the prefixes vary the word meaning in nuance, but do not change the grammatical category. For example, view, review, preview.
Whereas suffixes often change the part of grammar. For example, heavy, heaviness.
So the unexamined assumption by Espo that suffixes are the only way to go is mistaken.

For compounded nouns and whatnot, I figure a middle infix is the way to go. Something derived from a simple preposition system.
Again, my example: spaceman.
Do we mean an astronaut? (Literally, a sailor of the stars, or thereabouts.)
Or... do we man an alien extraterrestial.
A man to space. From space?
Here we see the rich potential for using middle-position infixes for compounded lexical items.
How about a human being designed to be suited to orbital existence? A man FOR space.

"Thus the acquirement of this rich, mellifluous, universally-comprehensible language, is not a matter of years of laborious study, but the mere light amusement of a few days. " (Zamenhof)

D; Oh, the bitter tears as I laugh at that! I grind to a halt mid-intro-book after months of study. Like I said, a language by a linguist, for linguists.
That is a variant of a joke about the RPG Rolemaster - a game by an accountant, for accountants...

So far, Espo requires:
1) a linguistic background that does not have a rigid word order and
2) is heavily infixing - but particularly with suffixes.
So we are talking about a narrow margin of language speakers.
Leaving... polyglot linguists as the only likely consumers of this language.
Exactly what we see in the comment section.
This is a language doomed to be stillborn.

BTW, Barker, talking about a 'thriving online community' is a polite way of saying an Esperantist is unlikely to find any other speakers in their physical region.
That is NOT a pitch for Espo being widely adopted.
It is a condemnation for the poor early adopters.
But they've had the problem of being early adopters for... a frickin' CENTURY.

D: back to the (low-balled) ONLY 15,000 root word boast - boast? That's a boast?!

I'll reread the most common 1000 English words. And I'll point out which concepts are re-used constantly. THESE are the words that should be emphasized in any initial small group of root words to learn.
This initial step would have addressed some issues of Z's for Espo.

I reiterate my test. The same # of basic-literacy speakers as Espo in 20 years, or bust.
How? 1/10th the interested parties. But 10x easier to learn.

The year is 2010. In 20 years, it'll be 2030. Growing up with an aux-lang for kids to be native speakers means the children will be around 15 for 2045.
The UN's 100th anniversary.
So I have ten years to nail down the basic design with beta tests and open source help.
And then 10 years to recruit learners for the finished product.
NOT beta-testers.
NOT the Espo approach of treating the entire first generation of early adopters as beta-testers!

D: update. Still chipping away at SPE by Chomsky. Gawd so hard...
I should have found a Cole's notes version.
My head hurts.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

better than metric. planck measuring system

The nature of reality at the Planck scale is the subject of much debate in the world of physics, as it relates to a surprisingly broad range of topics. It may, in fact, be a fundamental aspect of the universe. In terms of size, the Planck scale is unimaginably small (many orders of magnitude smaller than a proton). In terms of energy, it is unimaginably 'hot' and energetic. The wavelength of a photon (and therefore its size) decreases as its frequency or energy increases. The fundamental limit for a photon's energy is the Planck energy, for the reasons cited above


D: I speak facetiously, but this'd be our best bet for a unit system compatible with advanced aliens.

Planck units are often semi-humorously referred to by physicists as God's units. They eliminate anthropocentric arbitrariness from the system of units: some physicists argue that communication with extraterrestrial intelligence would have to use such a system of units to make common reference to scale. Unlike the meter and second, which exist as fundamental units in the SI system for historical reasons (in human history), the Planck length and Planck time are conceptually linked at a fundamental physical level.

Planck length Length (L) l_\text{P} = \sqrt{\frac{\hbar G}{c^3}} 1.616 252(81) × 10−35 m
Planck mass Mass (M) m_\text{P} = \sqrt{\frac{\hbar c}{G}} 2.176 44(11) × 10−8 kg
Planck time Time (T) t_\text{P} = \frac{l_\text{P}}{c} = \frac{\hbar}{m_\text{P}c^2} = \sqrt{\frac{\hbar G}{c^5}} 5.391 24(27) × 10−44 s
Planck charge Electric charge (Q) q_\text{P} = \sqrt{4 \pi \varepsilon_0 \hbar c} 1.875 545 870(47) × 10−18 C
Planck temperature Temperature (Θ) T_\text{P} = \frac{m_\text{P} c^2}{k_B} = \sqrt{\frac{\hbar c^5}{G k_B^2}} 1.416 785(71) × 1032 K


This would be as provocative as switching to a decimal-based time system from our present sexagesimal one.

Decimal time was introduced as part of the French Republican Calendar, which, in addition to decimally dividing the day, divided the month into three décades of 10 days each; this calendar was abolished at the end of 1805. The start of each year was determined according to which day the autumnal equinox occurred, in relation to true or apparent solar time at the Paris Observatory. Decimal time would also have been reckoned according to apparent solar time, depending on the location it was observed, as was already the practice generally for the setting of clocks.

The French made another attempt at the decimalization of time in 1897, when the Commission de décimalisation du temps was created by the Bureau des Longitudes, with the mathematician Henri Poincaré as secretary. The commission proposed a compromise of retaining the 24-hour day, but dividing each hour into 100 decimal minutes, and each minute into 100 seconds. The plan did not gain acceptance and was abandoned in 1900.

D: it failed for the simple reason that folks got one day of rest per 10 not 7 days!

However, switching to a perpetual 3 day weekend today would mitigate this.


There are exactly 86,400 standard seconds (see SI for the current definition of the standard second) in a standard day, but in the French decimal time system there are 100,000 decimal seconds in the day, so the decimal second is shorter than its counterpart.
Decimal unit Seconds Minutes Hours h:mm:ss
Decimal second 0.864 0.0144 0.00024 0:00:00.9
Decimal minute 86.4 1.44 0.024 0:01:26.4
Decimal hour 8,640 144 2.4 2:24:00.0

D: Joseph Campbell, my spiritual guru, pointed out the mystical significance of the old time system #s.

In Joseph Campbell's, The Inner Reaches Of Outer Space, he writes about the similarity between the Babylonian and Genesis flood stories. In the Babylonian or Sumerian story, there were ten kings who lived very long lives from creation to the time of the flood. This is given as a total of 432,000 years.

In the Biblical account, there were ten patriarchs between Adam and Noah, who also lived long lives. Noah was 600 years old at the time of the landing of the Ark on the mountains of Ararat (in present day Turkey). The total years add up to 1,656.

In 1,656 years, there are 86,400 weeks, and half that number is 43,200. There are myths about cycles in time, and out of time, so this doubling/halving is not uncommon. He believed that someone carefully gave the age of Noah to secretly hide the time cycle number.

He points out a number of other strange things about the numbers. Viking eddas were found in Iceland that told the story of the Day of Ragnorook, the Doomsday of the Gods. At that time, 800 Divine Warriors will come out of each of the 540 Doors of Valhalla (800 x 540 = 432,000).

The number can be found in an internal clock in the body, as well as in the Cosmos. A trained athlete's heart beats one time each second. In a 24 hour day, that is 86,400 beats.

The earth's axis wobble that causes the precession of the equinoxes is given as 25,920 years. Divided by the ancient number called "soss," 60, which was used in calculations, results in 432.

A manufacturer of golf balls once did a test to find the ideal number of dimples to put on golf balls. It turned out that balls with 432 dimples went farther than the rest.

D: neat!

D: about that heart rate thing... not really.
Lance Armstrong rests at 32 beats per minute.
Mine was so low after 2 cups of coffee that my partner in CPR class thought there was something wrong with me. 60-80 is normal and mine was 50 at that point!
I joke we need 'decimal seconds' to reflect our heart beats on our coffee.