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CONLANG  November 2014, Week 1

CONLANG November 2014, Week 1

Subject:

Re: Engelang article draft

From:

Jeffrey Brown <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Constructed Languages List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 5 Nov 2014 10:04:59 -0800

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (33 lines)

On Wed, Nov 5, 2014 at 12:53 AM, Patrik Austin <[log in to unmask]>
wrote:

> These are obvious questions to which one article probably cannot give an
> answer. Actually my supervisor says we should test learnability in a
> standard way, so I suppose he has an idea. To me it's evident – learning 60
> cases is easier than learning 60 cases + 11,703,240 possibilities whether
> you're a computer, a human or a duck. There's no way you can turn that
> around.


​"To me it's evident" -- No, no, no, no, no, no.
"My supervisor says we should *test *learnability..." -- Yes, yes, yes.​

Nothing in language engineering is evident, because it is impossible to
exclude the likelihood that the evidentness is a consequence of the
structure of the grammar of the designer's L1.

I believe you are trying to test the difference in learnability between an
engelang based on PL versus an engelang based on RNG. To do that, you need
to create TWO engelangs, as similar as possible in all respects except for
the basis of the grammar, and then test against a pool of subjects. You
can't use Lojban as one of the langs because then you cannot exclude the
chance that some of the subjects may have been exposed to it somehow, which
would muddy the results. You have to control other factors, such as
phonetics and orthography and lexicon, so that differences of learnability
are not attributable to those factors.

I would guess that to do this thoroughly exceeds the time and money
available to you. Better to conduct a pilot study, merely to show that your
hypothesis (RNG is better than PL) is plausible, and then say (like all
research papers), "Further study is warranted."  :)

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