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*To*: lojban@cuvmb.cc.columbia.edu (Lojban List)*Subject*: TECH: man bites dog problem*Date*: Tue, 7 Nov 1995 16:50:02 -0500 (EST)

Much of the last year has been occupied with the question: does the sentence 1) Two men bite three dogs in its various Lojban equivalents, require that there are just three dogs, or might it be the case that there are anywhere from three to six dogs depending on how the men are paired up with the dogs? I think it is uncontroversial that 2) le re nanmu cu batci le ci gerku The two men bit the three dogs requires exactly two men and exactly three dogs, no more. (The question of "exactly " vs. "at least" is a settled question and not relevant to this topic: Lojban numbers are exact unless marked approximate.) What's more, Example 2 requires that each of the three men touch each of the three dogs, and the men and dogs are selected by the speaker's in-mind criteria. At the other end of the spectrum, it is equally uncontroversial that 3) re da poi nanmu vau ci de poi gerku zo'u da batci de or its equivalent 4) re da poi nanmu cu batci ci de poi gerku allow up to six dogs, and simply constrain each of the two men to bite exactly three of them, saying nothing about whether the two groups of three overlap completely (3 dogs), partially (4 or 5 dogs), or not at all (6 dogs). There remain the formulations 5) re lo nanmu cu batci ci lo gerku and 6) re nanmu cu batci ci gerku which have been traditionally (at least within Lojban) declared equivalent, but whose precise meaning has never been defined. (In Institute Loglan, there is no equivalent of "lo", although "lea" means "ro lo" more or less, and Example 6 has been taken to be equivalent to Examples 3-4.) As a compromise intended to produce an "equality of dissatisfaction", I now propose to abandon the traditional equivalence of Examples 5 and 6, and to restore the Loglan rule that Example 6 is equivalent to Examples 3-4. Example 5 will do something more akin to Example 1: it will compel the number of dogs referred to to be three. The two quantified expressions will have equal scope, and each man will be taken to bite each of the three dogs, although no in-mind selection will be needed. Unless there is strenuous objection backed up with counterexamples, I will start to incorporate this into my reference grammar. -- John Cowan cowan@ccil.org e'osai ko sarji la lojban.

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