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xe'u, PA, NU

These proposals about {xe'u} (and {me}) have reached me at last,
& sound good. Jorge (& me a bit) was debating this a while back,
but without this degree of perspicuity.

(1) I guess the proposals should extend to {lii}.
(2) I see why {xeu} is in PA - because wherever {xeu} is okay, any PA
    is okay. But it is only because total garbage is deemed grammatical
    that it can be claimed that wherever a PA is okay, so is {xeu}.
(3) Similarly, the case for selmao NU is pretty weak.

> Quine also says that propositions are 0-adic intensions, but in Lojban
> we use a different abstractor:  "du'u". This allows the default
> assumption to be that "ka" denotes a monadic intension even without
> "xe'u da" explicitly appearing anywhere (it would tend to be assumed in
> the x1 place), leaving "du'u" for the 0-adic case. Further, "du'u"
> provides an x2 place (of the abstraction, not the abstract bridi) which
> is a textual representation: it relates propositions to sentences.

(4) Could you explain why propositions are 0-adic intensions?
(5) Is it possible for a {ka} phrase to denote a 0-adic intension?
- I suppose it is, but only by explicitly filling every sumti (with
non-xeu-begadried sumti).
(6) Does a sumti-tail express a monadic intension?

[NB I'm not au fait with the terminology.]

> >If you turned a grammarian loose on Lojban they'd come up with a
> >different grammar from the official one, because Lojban has fiddled
> >the initial data. The current official grammar overgenerates.
> And natlang "official grammars" undergenerate if they follow Jacques
> Guy's principle and exclude center-embedding, or overgenerate if they
> follow Chomsky's and include fully-recursive center-embedding.

The status of centre-embedding is a rare, atypical, and theoretically
contentious issue. It is (in practise, at least) of rather marginal
relevance to how grammaticality is delimited.

> Lojban's grammar is no more overgenerating than any Chomskyan grammar
> that doesn't explicitly rule out center-embeddings that no one finds
> understandable.

Yes it is. As you know, Chomsky's position was that centre embeddings
are grammatical, and can make sense, but can't be processed naturally
- the last two points are more clearly empirical and appear to be
correct. He thus has an explanation for their unacceptability.
Lojban grammar, by contrast, yields large quantities of total meaningless

> Yet, some people consider that Jabberwocky is fully grammatical, even
> though it is nonsense, so that a natlang grammar may not exist that
> isn't in some way undergenerating.

Jabberwocky is nonsense only in a mild sense. It is a challenge for
grammars only in the most trivial sense that Jab. contains novel
lexical items.

> There ARE strings of PA that are ungramamtical,

Are there? How does the grammar rule them out? Isn't one PA the same as
another, as far as the grammar's concerned?

> Mathematics allows all sorts of weirdness in the name of precision and
> unambiguity.

I'm willing to believe that PA yields less gobbledygook than I might
naively have expected, but there remains plenty of g.gook. Jorge once
posted a list of examples, and proposed the rule of interpretation such
that if the presence of word X yields g.gook, the sentence be interpreted
as if X were not there. This rule works, but not like real natlangs do.

> WhatIS the case is that there exists grammatical Lojban text using PA
> that has no defined and agreed-upon semantics - that does NOT mean that
> it is utter gobbledygook

This is false by any standards other than lojbo ones. This is exactly
my objection. In natural languages, any construction with no defined
and agreed-on semantics is ungrammatical.

> I think there are three useful NUs: du'u, nu and ka. I adhere to the
> idea that the rest be forgotten. (I don't understand how du'u is a
> subtype of ka either.)

Because it is like a ka with 0 rather than 1 or more variables?

My objection to {duu} is that it is always singleton in extension,
so should have sumti rather than selbri status.
My objection to {nu} is that really the event is an argument of the
bridi, so {jai fau broda} is truer to the meaning.
My objection to {ka} was that it should be a sumti tail, not a selbri,
but now that I get an inkling of its relationship to {duu} I guess it
should be a sumti.

So my objections are not only that most members of NU are not useful,
but also that only {sio} really warrants the syntax of NU (i.e. selbri
containing bridi).

> {nu} is the most used, and it is the physical realization of the
> relationship. For instance {mi viska le nu do klama le zarci}. What I
> see is not the relationship {du'u} but its embodiment {nu}.

Right. A major property is temporality - nu are associated with times
and duu arent.

> I am tempted to say that {le nu broda} is {la'e le du'u broda}.

I hope you won't succumb, else I won't know what you mean. What do you

> {ka} is very different from those two and requires a blank argument place,
> because it really gives a function. I missed John's latest proposal for
> the lambda variable, so I can't really comment, but a PA in that role doesn't
> make much sense to me. What is needed is a KOhA to keep an argument place
> open. I will comment further when I have a chance to read the actual
> proposal.

It seems pretty close to your suggestions, except that there's no mention
of that mind-bending stuff you were trying to do with {kau} at the same

> (As an aside, I don't think that something like {mi nelci le ka do melbi}
> makes any sense. It should be {mi nelci le nu do melbi}.

I agree.

> {za'i}, {zu'a}, {mu'e} and {pu'u} are all kinds of {nu}. I don't think
> I've seen any example where using any of them makes anything clearer than
> simply using {nu}. ({za'i} is the most popular, perhaps because the
> word "event" makes people think that {nu} has to be something dynamic,
> but this is not really the case. {nu} is perfectly fine for even the
> most static of states.)

I agree. Someone had been reading linguistics textbooks when these were
added, and gave them too much weight.

> {jei}, {su'u} and {ni} are generally used as indirect questions.

Does {suu} actually get used?

> {jei} has two meanings: by official definition it is a truth value. By
> usage it is the yes/no indirect question "whether", equivalent to
> {du'u xukau}.

If every truth-value is unique to the proposition it is truth value of,
then {jei} works as "whether". But I don't know anyone who thinks that
truth-values are thus unique.

> I find the definition as a truth value totally out of place among
> the NUs. There should be a lujvo that means "x1 is the truth value
> of x2". The usage definition is ok, but redundant to {du'u xukau}
> and not so frequent that it is worth the trouble to have a short form.

Agreed. I think we've had this discussion before. (But since I agree,
by all means say it again and again.)

> I don't agree that {du'u xukau} in any way suggests that there are
> only two possible answers corresponding to truth values 1 and 0.
> The question {xu ko'a melbi} can perfectly well be answered with
> "sort of", in which case {mi djuno le du'u xukau ko'a melbi}, "I know
> whether koha is beautiful" means that I know that koha is sort of
> beautiful. I don't see why {xu} should in any way suggest that there
> are only two possible truth values.

I agree, but NA has only 2 members at present. But we discuss this in
a separate message.

> {su'u} has seen little to no use. The two or three times I met it
> it was used for the indirect question of manner "how", as in "look
> how they run". I would say that can be taken care of by {tai makau}
> or {ta'i makau}.

Well "unspecified abstraction" is a pretty useless meaning. It could
mean "a person who has asserted that p", or anything.

> Finally, {li'i} and {si'o} are the subjective abstractions. Again,
> there is little to no usage of those, and I'm not convinced that they
> add anything significant to using {du'u} or {nu} or {ka}. The
> subjectiveness seems more to depend on the predicate being used rather
> than on the abstraction itself.

No, {sio} is good. It's a relationship between a proposition and a mind.
Very useful. True, it is not used much, but then current NU usage is a

As for {lii}, I think the test is supposed to be whether there is some
alternative way to say "the experience of [the experiencer's] having a
leg", bearing in mind that one can have the experience without having
the leg. if anyone has the ingenuity to do this without {lii}, it is