-- Todd Moody <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> The faulty asumption here is that "savoir" and
> "connaître" express one 
> concept in two ways.  It's more accurate to say that
> English expresses 
> two concepts with one word.

I don't disagree with you on principle. Clearly, there
are times when a language unnecessarily expresses two
concepts as one. A good example is euphemisms like
using "bottom" for "buttocks" in English. There's no
reason for an IAL to follow that example. 

But it has to be a case-by-case thing, and as you
said, the designer's choices are important. For savoir
and connaitre specifically, I don't agree.
Incidentally, Japanese also uses "shiru" for both "I
know someone" and "I know a fact." There is a word
"wakaru," which is only used for facts, but that is
like English "understand." So it doesn't seem clear to
me that the concepts are really different. To me, a
similar example is the difference in English and other
European languages between "see" and "look", for
example. One is involuntary and the other voluntary.
But in Japanese, there is just "miru". And to be
honest, I don't see a need to distinguish them. "I see
him" "I see baseball game" "I see a movie." 

So while I agree that ultimately it's a choice by the
designer, I think it is valid to look at various
languages and be suspicious of distinctions that are
made in some languages but not in others. 
> Another example that came up is the use of one word
> to mean "wear" and 
> "carry," as is found in many European languages. 
> Although there is 
> *some* relation between the two concepts, there
> could be confusion 
> between wearing and carrying my cosume to the
> theater.  For that matter, 
> the English verb "wear" also means to wear in the
> sense of become worn 
> (out).  Should that be emulated in an IAL?

It's not only European languages. Indonesian also uses
"pakai" for both using and wearing and carrying. I
don't see any problem with combining those. The
example of "wear out" in English is obviously a
different concept, derived presumably from "exhausted
as a result of wearing." 

Incidentally, Japanese makes a distinction between
"wearing" a shirt (kiru), "wearing" pants (haku) and
"wearing" glasses (kakeru). But I don't think there's
any need for that. 
> > If you adopt the more complex one in an IAL,
> speakers
> > of the simpler system will likely make "mistakes."
> Not if there's a clear rule for when to use which
> word.

If there's a good reason for it, I don't have any
problem. If there were a good reason to make
distinctions between "ser" and "estar," I'd be happy
to adopt it. But I don't see the necessity. 
> >  But
> > if you adopt the system with just one word,
> speakers
> > of more complex systems will only have one word
> > available, and they can't make "mistakes."
> They may find that the word they want sems to be
> missing--rather the way 
> English speakers find the verb "to miss," as in "we
> missed you while you 
> were away," missing in French.  To express it, you
> must use the French 
> verb "manquer" in the construction "Tu nous
> manquais," you were lacking 
> to us.  Should an IAL use a separate verb, as
> English does, or add a use 
> to another verb, as French does.

That's certainly true. But you have situations where,
for example, they have this wonderful word "genki" in
Japanese that can't be adequately expressed in
English. So some foreigners in Japan use the word
"genki" a lot in English. So you could argue that an
IAL should have all the concepts that natural
languages have. You should be able to say "you please
me" as in Spanish or "I like you" as in English. But I
don't agree. I think an IAL should move toward the
minimal rather than trying to have an expression for
> It's a judgment call on the part of the language
> designer to decide when 
> two concepts are semantically close enough to
> warrant a single word and 
> when they're not.

But in the end, it seems we agree on the general
theory. I can't find anything at all to disagree with
on this last point. 

Jens Wilkinson
Neo Patwa language:

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