Philippe Caquant wrote:

> This discussion about scales is quite interesting I
> think, and it's one of my main concerns.

Mine too. Especially since Nokta Kanto brought a light in the dark cave
where I was chained by the european concepts.  ;-)

> - why should a scalar concept be oriented one way and
> not the other one ? For ex, for a temperature scale,
> why should "cold" be at the lowest end, and "hot" at
> the highest ? If we naturally think so, that means
> that we think that the concepts or "hot / cold" and
> "high / low" are alike, and that if we consider those
> 2 pairs, "hot" is similar to "high" and "cold" similar
> to "low". Why is it so ?

IMHO, we don't think in terms of high/low but more/less. So "cold/warm" is
"more or less temperature in C/F", "high/low" is "more or less high",
"far/close" is "more or less distant in meters/feet", and so on. All scales
are always oriented from minus/less to plus/more. The temperature climbs of
fall. The speed increases or decreases, etc. We are conditionned by our
thermometers, cynemometers, altimeters, barometers, rulers, numbers... and
even our fingers! There is always more or less fingers. ;-)

> - if we also consider the concept of good / bad, or
> pleasant / unpleasant, than we have a tendency to
> consider "good" or "pleasant" to be at the highest end
> of the scale. So, logically, we consider that "hot" is
> good, and "cold" is bad. But clearly there is a flaw
> here somewhere, because "hot" cannot be good in any
> circumstance (ask a fireman). So where lies the flaw ?

The flaw is that you forget the context. You can't say a word out of context
if you want to be understood. The positive/negative value isn't in the word
but in the context. "long vacation" vs. "long agony", "long time on the
beach" vs. "long time in a hospital". The "positive/negative" value depends
totally on context... until we talk about good/bad or mean/nice which have a
"positive/negative" value of their own.

Length, weight, speed, distance, temperature are objective concepts. Take a
device (ruler, balance, thermometer, etc) they will give you an objective
value (more or less of some unit). You may like or dislike the value but
that's only a subjective feeling. I said it: subjective. good/bad,
mean/nice, pleasant/unpleasant are subjective values. There are no other
device to measure them than yourself. For these, you have to choose to what
end of the scale you'll put your concepts. In our world, good, nice,
pleasant are positive values. Even if they are subjective, nobody will
disagree. Even if you create a conlang for alien entities, it sounds rather
logical that they would have (mostly) the same subjective positive/negative
values than we have. But they can have objective values very different from
ours or totally unknown. They may prefer a cold wet weather because of their
physiology or be very interested by the density of methan in their
athmosphere. Whatever.

Since Nokta's post, I've been working on my "scalar" concepts for
Shaquelingua. I create 2 scales. One bilinear scale from -5 to +5 and one
bipolar scale from -- to ++ where -- covers all degrees from -5 to -1 and ++
  all degrees from +1 to +5. In both scales, degree 0 is undefined and is
used to say "unknown degree" or in interrogative sentences.

(-5) d- j- r- j- s- (0) ge- pa- ze- pi- kli- (+5)
                 (--) da- (0) k- (++)

pre-kjpi'virr teo'va-krha ? *(0)*
[pxe:^kjOpi^vix: teo^va:^kOx.a]
interrogative-temperature'(immaterial possessed quality)
(indicative retrospective)'the-water ?
= The water possesses which temperature quality?
= Is the water warm or cold?

be-klikjpi'virr teo'dajj. *kli-*
[be:^k4i.kjOpi^vix: teo^daj:]
(declension)-(extremely warm)'(immaterial possessed quality)
(indicative retrospective)'it
= It possesses the quality extremely warm.
= It is extermely hot.

pre-kkjpi'virr teo'va-krha ? *k-*
[pxe:^k9kjOpi^vix: teo^va:^kOx.a]
interrogative-warm'(immaterial possessed quality)
(indicative retrospective)'the-water ?
= The water possesses which warm quality?
= How warm is the water?

be-zexge'virr teo'dajj. *ze-*
[be:^zex\Oge^vix: teo^daj:]
(declension)-(very thus)'(immaterial possessed quality)
(indicative retrospective)'it
= It does very thus.
= It is very warm.

be-dakjpi'virr reo'tva-krha ? *da-*
[be:^dakjOpi^vix: reo^tva:^kOx.a]
(declension)-cold'(immaterial possessed quality)
(interrogative retrospective)'this-water ?
= Does this water possess the quality "cold"?
= Is this water cold?

steo'dajj. *s-*
(-1 indicative retrospective)'it
= It does a bit.
= It is just a bit cold.

Yes! The scale can be applied to the modal-temporal proclitic and even to
non-scalar concepts.

teo'ja-tsera dxej'tull. *d-*
[teo^ja:^tsexa dOx\ej^tu4:]
(indicative retrospective)'one-snow
(-5 self)'(immaterial expressed object)
= One snow is giving extremely few of itself to perceive.
= I saw a snowflake.

teo'ja-tsera xej'tull. *(0)*
[teo^ja:^tsexa x\ej^tu4:]
(indicative retrospective)'one-snow
self'(immaterial expressed object)
= One snow is giving itself to perceive.
= It's snowing.

teo'ja-tsera klixej'tull. *kli-*
[teo^ja:^tsexa klix\ej^tu4:]
(indicative retrospective)'one-snow
(+5 self)'(immaterial expressed object)
= One snow is giving extremely much of itself to perceive.
= There's a hell of a snow storm out there!

By the way, thanks to Nokta for pulling me out of my european conceptual
cave.  ;-)

See ya,

Remi Villatel
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