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CONLANG  January 2011, Week 3

CONLANG January 2011, Week 3

Subject:

Re: Sketch of a new nonlinear writing system

From:

Sai <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Constructed Languages List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sat, 15 Jan 2011 15:09:44 -0600

Content-Type:

text/plain

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On Sat, Jan 15, 2011 at 2:26 PM, And Rosta <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> The story must extend through time, but the telling needn't.

I don't think either needs to. Though I grant that nontemporal stories
are odd. ;-)

> If you want to argue that stories needn't be temporal, then I will weigh in
> with a raft of reasons why temporality is criterial to storyhood.

Feel free. Though I think it'd be more productive to instead do
something like say what properties you think a nontemporal story would
be obliged to have.

>> Ah. Recording-and-playback I think is the native form of a natively
>> temporal conversational process. (As in, of ones that are—not as in a
>> claim that all conversations are.)
>
> So UNLWS would have no counterpart of spoken languages' written
> representations of dialogue (dramatic text notation; musical stave
> notation)?

Incorrect. We already have such, after all. But it's not (IMO) a
*native* form; it's meant for depicting linear dialogue, not NL-native
conversations.

>> TTBOMK (Alex?) we have no plan for a flattening of that, though as I
>> said, it would be possible to indicate this through e.g. the color
>> channel, which we don't currently use. (We do use saturation, e.g. for
>> cartouches.)
>
> Colour gets you the speaker identification, but not the sequence of turns.

That could be done with e.g. saturation.

But like I said, I just find this not a very compelling desideratum to
have. TBD I guess on when we start actually using it to converse. ;-)

>> I would prefer to start by presuming as little as possible about meta
>> things like discourse protocols, to leave the field open to
>> alternates. That's kinda the point of this whole exercise in a way,
>> after all—to explore the potentials for radically different language.
>
> Language is a tool, so designed for particular purposes. While it's true
> that you can invent something haphazardly and then see what uses it's suited
> to, my engelangerism prefers to define the purposes first and then seek the
> best tool for the purposes, in which case you'd want to decide in advance if
> the language was to be usable for back-and-forth dialogue. But even if you
> agree with this, you could declare that usability for back-and-forth
> dialogue is not a requirement.

I agree that it should be usable for *dialogue* in the broadest
possible sense, i.e. some sort of collaborative discussion.

I'm not willing to agree *a priori* that that dialogue must needs be
temporalized. I might be convinced that it's obligatory to doing
anything, but that's contingent.

> The whole of language -- or at least the whole of the syntacticosemantic
> side of language is devoted to expression of semantic relationships. So you
> must mean something more by 'direct expression'. Iconic expression?

Ish?

I suspect Alex could enunciate this one better.

>>> I don't yet see how the grid-based system acts a constraint.
>>
>> * it wastes space by reserving it a priori for (ishly) semantic role slots
>
> hardly a waste, since this is the very core of language...

I use 'waste' here in the sense of compression. It's not wasteful to
*express* semantic roles, surely.

It's wasteful to reserve space constantly for something that's mostly
not getting used, because that space is taken away from something else
that might have used it. I.e. if you didn't do this, you'd achieve
higher entropy.

>> * it constrains syntax by forcing directionality—as I think Sky
>> discussed, syntax is going to be severely stressed as is just from
>> problems like graph relaxation and crossing avoidance, so making that
>> worse is bad
>
> (Did something get garbled: "as is just from"?)

"stressed—as it is…"

> A rectilinear grid forces
> directionality but does without the need for lines of linkage. If lines of
> linkage are used instead of the grid, directionality isn't necessary.

Perhaps. But I think that you more quickly will get into syntactic problems.

*shrug* In any case, it's an entirely different paradigm AFAICT. Your
kink is OK, it's just not mine. :-P

>> * there are (in the naïve case) only 8 (compass-oidal) syntactic roles
>> something can fill; I imagine one might need far more
>
> I don't understand this point.

I think Alex does, and sees your side better, so I defer to him on
elaboration of this (if useful).

>> Sparklines could not easily be compressed into static glyphs. They're
>> one of the stronger examples of what I mean by fungible symbols above;
>> their form *is* data.
>
> Instead of, say, a glyph "weigh1" with one binding point for the thing that
> has weight, and a sparkline for "a lot", you could have "weigh2" with an
> additional binding point for the amount of weight and a further
> 1-binding-point glyph for "a lot" (which is how it is in Livagian).

The sparkline isn't a single value, though. It's value over time.

I suspect you may need to read Tufte's description (viz. _Visual
display of quantitative information_, an excellent book I'd highly
recommend you read anyway, and one that's very strongly concordant
with my aesthetic here) to get this better, as I think mine fails.

> 2D-Livagian, as redesigned since yesterday, now consists of 'arthrograms'
> (or 'arthremes'?) as the basic unit, corresponding to binding
> points/argument places. Arthrograms belonging to the same predicate are
> linked by an unbroken line. Arthrograms with the same value/binder are
> linked by a broken line.One-place predicates consist of a single arthrogram,
> and the inventory of these comprise the arthrogram inventory. I'll spare you
> further graphical details.

I'd rather you gave us more. Like with a picture upload. ;-)

Makes it a lot easier to understand, I think.

>> It's true, though, that we aim for purity of form; it's effectively
>> entailed by fidelity to and maximally native exploitation of the
>> channel's capability.
>
> I was looking at things from a slightly different perspective: the structure
> of pure semanticosyntax has a platonic form, and the question is what is the
> purest way of translating the platonic form of semanticosyntax into a
> perceptible form.

I kinda wonder whether there is such a form. It might be entailed by
my notion of fidelity.

But intuitively I feel like there isn't; I presume there are multiple maxima.

On Sat, Jan 15, 2011 at 2:47 PM, And Rosta <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Yes! How I envy Sai having you for a conlanging partner! (In both the N+N &
> Adj+N senses of "conlanging partner".)

Yeah. *swoonwriggle*

I think it's fair to say that Alex knows a lot more about conlangs
than I, or even than most people I know. Like, he will spontaneously
generate sentences in arbitrary conlangs.

It's also just plain squee to have a partner with whom I can
collaborate on projects like this. Alex is absurdly rare. <3.

- Sai

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