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>From:    Daniel Castro Landeira <[log in to unmask]>
>Subject: Re: Size of Esperanto dictionaries
>
>"Donald J. HARLOW" wrote:
> > Pretty obviously, the genuinely high (and open-ended) ratios appear at the
> > boundaries of the language. Very few people are going to need a word such
> > as (to use an old standby) "malsanulinarejego".
>
>    This is an interesting example: it shows that the length of a
>compound word or the number of its affixes isn't directy related to the
>difficulty of its comprehension.
>    I've understood "malsanulinarejego" at once because the string of
>affixes follows a logical pattern. Let's dissect it:
>
>      Mal       san      ul       in      ar     ej    ego
>    Opposite  healthy  person  feminine  group  place  big
>
>    Reading from right to left, we have "A big place for a group of
>feminine persons (i.e. women) who are the opposite of healthy (i.e.
>sick)". Everyone can figure out such a place without much effort.

Almost.  If you are strictly going from right to left you get "A big place
for a group of
feminine persons (i.e. women) who are healthily opposite".  Most women are
healthily opposite (to men) at least, so strictly reading it gives nonsense.

Now why one would interpret right to left in a compound when one interprets
left to right in adjective modification is unclear to me.  If one used the
component morphemes as adjective modifiers in an Esperanto phrase, I would
expect that the above order would not work, nor its reversal.

Shades of the classic Loglan problem "pretty little girls school" (for
which there are at least 18 distinct interpretations of the English).  Does
Esperanto resolve even a fraction of using adjectives, much less
compounding - which Lojban does quite effectively:

The proper grouping looks to me like
  ((((opposite-of healthy)    (feminine person)) group)     (big place))
which goes into Lojban as
      tol         ka'o    kem    fet     pre      gri   kem  bra  stu
with the "kem" explicitly showing the subgroupings that the Esperanto misses.
      tolka'okemfetpregrikembrastu
is slightly longer than
      malsanulinarejego
primarily because of those extra kem resolvers (and the fact that all
Lojban affixes are 3 or 4 letters)
but is less ambiguous

As for figuring it out, I'm not sure what the significance of the "big"
is.  It would seem to be some sort of hospital/hospice, but a hospital need
not be big.

lojbab
--
lojbab                                             [log in to unmask]
Bob LeChevalier, President, The Logical Language Group, Inc.
2904 Beau Lane, Fairfax VA 22031-1303 USA                    703-385-0273
Artificial language Loglan/Lojban:                 http://www.lojban.org