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CONLANG  March 2013, Week 3

CONLANG March 2013, Week 3

Subject:

Re: Is there an inverse relationship between lexical richness and grammatical complexity?

From:

Gary Shannon <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Constructed Languages List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 21 Mar 2013 10:05:44 -0700

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

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text/plain (57 lines)

On Thu, Mar 21, 2013 at 5:02 AM, taliesin the storyteller
<[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> On 03/20/2013 09:14 PM, Gary Shannon wrote:
---

>
>> I'm speaking from the point of view of a software engineer. Uncle
>> Claude said that if the information is there it's encoded somehow,
>> otherwise it isn't really there.
>
>
> *That* Claude Shannon?

Yes, except he's not really an "uncle" I'm not familiar with
applicable consanguinity terms, but he's a cousin (or maybe second
cousin) to my dad, and they were born in the same town in Michigan
about four years apart. I never actually met him.

> The problem isn't the string of tokens, the problem is that the sender and
> recipient do not and cannot have the same hardware. An identical string
> *will* be treated differently by different people. Encoding doesn't apply.

---

> .. and there are those that consider true communication between humans
> impossible, as a received attempt at communication is run through the
> emphatic system meaning that the receiver uses the string of tokens as input
> to run a simulation of the reality of the sender in order to guess at what
> the sender is attempting to convey. It's "monkey see, moneky (mentally) do"
> all the way down.
>
>
> t.

What I mean by the phrase "point of view of an engineer" is that I am
unconcerned with theoretical nuances and consider only practical
application. It doesn't bother me that "communication between humans"
is "impossible", as long as I can say "where's the restroom" to a
stranger and receive a reply that I can put to immediate practical
use.

If a translation of "See the boy." into a language that lacks a
definite article fails to covey that sense of "the boy", then that
language is at least mildly deficient in that it cannot convey such
meanings. The shorter word count results from an imperfect
translation, not from an inherent conciseness of the language.
Similarly, having no distinction between the inclusive "we" and the
exclusive "we" makes English mildly deficient in that specific sense.

In spite of those deficiencies, however, it is still possible to
communicate clearly and completely enough to build bridges, buy and
sell cabbages, and sing love songs. That is all that matters to an
engineer. The rest is theoretical ivory tower stuff of no _practical_
value.

--gary

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