John Quijada <[log in to unmask]> writes:
> I'm not sure I'm understanding your critique fully,

From what you wrote, you understood my critism.  But it did not
make myself clear about the reason for it, I think.

> but it seems that you are at least saying that the collapsing of
> binary oppositions into a single continuum to which degree is
> applied is inferior to using a system employing binary oppositions,

Nono, not to collapse to binary oppositions, but to a system where you
have both views of the continuum *plus* degree.

> "it's hot enough" vs. "it's cold enough."  Note that the Ithkuil
> translation of these 2 sentences would be loosely translatable as
> "it's temperature suffices"

Ok, that, indeed is not to my personal taste, I think.

> coffee, the intent, expectation or desire is that it be sufficiently
> hot to drink.

Actually, it might be the case, indeed, that the coffee is cold enough
to drink instead of hot enough.

> For more information, you might wish to read Sec. 10.5.2 of the
> Ithkuil grammar

I will, thanks for the pointer!  For this posting, I try to make my
point clearer without having read that thoroughly.  So
misunderstandings of the system might be due to that.

> Ithkuil are NOT simply a two-valued "positive polarity" (from zero value to
> maximum value) scale, but rather a three-valued "positive/negative
> polarity" scale (from negative maximum value THROUGH zero-value to maximum
> positive value).

I consider a scale from -1.0 to +1.0 equivalent to a scale from 0.0 to
1.0, since the 0.0 on the former is simply the 0.5 the latter.  But
indeed, concentrating on esthetics instead of mathematics, you're
right: -1.0 to +1.0 is nicer. :-)

Anyway, I did understand that your scale is from negative extreme to
positive extreme through the center.

> It is with this positive/negative polority scale of gradation that
> Ithkuil can have a single root that encompasses the "nice/mean"
> semantic scale of Western languages.

That's the problem: by applying the same scale to the stem for
nice/mean, you identify +1.0 on this scale with +1.0 on the
temperature scale.  That's bias: let's define that +1.0 is mean on the
nice/mean scale, for example.  And +1.0 is the hottest temperature (in
the current discourse, I assume).  Then +1.0 is the 'mean'
temperature.  You cannot help that: you could tell the speakers of
Ithkuil that is a pure coincedence and that hot is not bad, but the
structure of the language tells them a different story: scale +1.0 =
mean = hot temperature.

And maybe +1.0 is bad on the scale good/bad (in accordance with
nice/mean).  By only having one stem for each concept, you'd introduce
a bias on the degree itself.  +1.0 would become the 'bad' temperature.
For temperature this can be discussed away due to obvious physical
reasons, but what about a scale male/female or hetero/gay?  Each
concept in each pair should be equal and none of them should
exclusively assigned the 'bad' end of the scale.

I only consider it a neutral scale if +1.0 is conceptually the same as
-1.0 for the same concept with the opposite, different (and not
regularly derived) lexical stem.

Does this make my point clearer?

I think neutrality of the scale can only be achieved by having base
words for both extremes of each possible scale.