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Re: semisummary: countability

>> In the case of words, it seems less clear that, given a quantifier greater
>> than or equal to one, and thus suggesting a count noun interpretation, that
>> there is any other obvious "unit" than individual words to count.  But I
> cannot
>> rule out such a possibility.
>Could {pa valsi} actually mean a sentence, or a text, then?

In the proper pragmatic situation I guess it could.
>> YOu mean where English speakers see them as "objects" rather than as mass
>> nouns?  %^)
>No, I mean where Lojban speakers see them as intrinsically bounded
>individuals rather than as masses. I supposed that the English
>keywords reflected the distinction.

It was my intent (whether this is practicable) that Lojban have no
metaphysical presumption for a given gismu place between mass and count.
In practice, people will probably follow their native language habits most
of the time.  I think for most people, putting a quantifier on the
front means that you take the smallest unit that is readily distinguishable
given the context.  Thus, if I ask the waitress for "two waters", I do not
expect her to tell me that I just inhaled a lot more than that in my last
breath.  But if I am bottled water company worker, and I tell someone that
X ordered  "2 waters", it is clear that X did not want 2 small glasses of

It is not all that clear how this works for words.  Though we do have cases of
Lojban misuse such as "*zo .uinai" where zo is required to pick off the
.ui.  I can imagine examples wher people might use valsi in Lojban to
refer to the compound words like ".uinai".  In some cases, such a compound
could be an enture sentence: "nago'i".

>> It will have to be seen whether something as subtle as this ever breaks
>> free of our English-dominated spawning of the language.
>But I'd like to find out what the current situation is, and what
>are the various ways it could develop. Then we could say: "O Look!
>Usage seems to have chosen Option C". Or: "O Look! Usage is an
>incoherent amalgam of Options A, B, C and D". Or whatever.

The problem is that with the bulk of active Lojbanistanis in theory watching
this discussion, the very act of debating the issue will skew the answer
to the issue.  Which is one reason whyt I want more usage and less debate.
Especially since history tells me that we cannot come close to forseeimg all
the directions it might take.  So why constrain those possibilities by
enumerating them.

lojbab                                                lojbab@access.digex.net
Bob LeChevalier, President, The Logical Language Group, Inc.
2904 Beau Lane, Fairfax VA 22031-1303 USA                        703-385-0273
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