[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]
Re: farm wuzzies
>One of the logic fights I most regret losing in the formation of Lojban --
>in the transition from Loglan to, in this case -- is that one about
>keeping most qualitative adjectives as inherently comparative, rather than
>absolute or metrical. That device (firmly grounded in natural languages,
>by the way) would have spiked a lot of the nastier aspects of the fuzzy
>discussion -- as well as being generally more useful. It fell afoul of
>the Lojban users' initial lack of linguistic sophistication and
>controversy about the meaning of _lo'e broda_, the usual default value in
>the "than" place of the comparatives.
Hey. I resemble that remark! %^) Actually, as I recall the discussions,
it was the fact that we HAD acquired some linguistic sophistication.
The archetype that JCB always used in his comparatives was blanu, and you
will recall that he defined the superaltive (in Lojban terms) as na'e se
blanymau. Nora hated that, and found places where it made no sense (can't
remember which, but JCB took out the superlative formulation in rewriting L1,
so he apparently is also aware of the semantic flaw).
The other flaw was the category vs. comparative flaw. Something purple is
"bluer" than something red, but being ""bluer" does NOT make it "blue".
Ah, yes, now I remember the superlative flaw:
If you have 2 objects and one is blue by being more blue than the other, then
ONLY the superaltive NON-blue object can be said to NOT be blue. Otherwise,
virtually everything ends up as blue. Now when you include all of these
"blue" things, the "typical blue" makes rather little sense, so it cannot
be used as a standard either.
But let us say that lo'e blanu DID make sense and was indeed soething the
average person would call "blue". In that case, having lo'e blanu as the
comparative basis means that anything less blue than the average blue thing
is NOT blue. That leads to a never ending shrinkage of the set of blue
objects, untill fially even the superaltive blue must go, because when it is
the only blue object, it is by definition NOT bluer than the typical blue
object becuase it IS the typical blue object.
At which point, we generalized and said that, by definition, "lo'e blanu
could not be "blanu" by a comparative place structure, since it was not
bluer than itself.
A few weeks after Nora and raised these issues, we read linguistics books
that dealt with Sapir-Whorf. The modern incarnation of attempts to
test SWH in natlang commu8nities has dealt largely with of all things - colors
(see the work of Kay and Kempton, I think the names are, but it is summarized
in a JL issue a few years back). In which they basically proved that colors
are discerned psychologicall by comparison with an architype, and NOT by being
compared for "moreness". They are LESS DIFFERENT from the archetype than
some culturally/language-depndent boundary with adjacent colors in the semantic
This was confirmed by bilogical evidence that the pure colors are recognized
by being closest to the triggering frequencies of the detecting cones and rods
in our eyes.