On Sat, 14 Jul 2007 08:14:01 +0100, R A Brown wrote:

> [log in to unmask] wrote:
> [...]
> > Exactly so.  The word "chireme" (from 'hand') was used at first, but they 
> > realized that "phoneme" would work as well, so "phoneme" has replaced
> > "chireme".
> Thanks - nice to have that confirmed. Yes, in the context of sign
> languages, this use of the word 'phoneme' is readily understood to be
> analogous to the use of the term for spoken (or once spoken, e.g. Latin
> or Ancient Greek) languages.
> In the case of Plan B the term is clearly ambiguous.

Yes.  A particular pronunciation scheme may have phonemes, Plan B
itself doesn't.  It is a bit stream language.  One could
*metaphorically* say that the bits are the "phonemes", but only
metaphorically so.  Bits, after all, don't live in the human
phonetic space.

> -----------------------------------
> Jörg Rhiemeier wrote:
> > Hallo!
> >
> > On Fri, 13 Jul 2007 08:19:54 +0100, R A Brown wrote:
> [snip]
> >>Neither you, nor I nor And at all in disagreement about the 16
> >>bit-quartets (tho arguably one might hold that the bit itself, 0~1, is
> >>the _minimal_ underlying unit).
> >
> >
> > That's a valid analysis as well, especially given the way the length
> > of a morpheme is calculated from the number of consecutive "1" bits
> > at the head of it.  Does Plan B have just two phonemes, then?  No,
> > because bits don't live in the human phonetic space :)
> Indeed, the bits *are the fundamental units of Plan B*. As you rightly 
> observe, it is whether leadings bits are 0 or 1 that determine the 
> length of morphemes.

Yes, that's the rule - and the quartet boundaries don't even really
matter with regard to this rule: if the first quartet is '1111',
look at the second; if that is '1111' too, look at the third; etc.
The rule is: If n is the position number of the first '0' bit
in the morpheme (starting with position number 1), the morpheme
is 4n bits long:

0...     ->  4 bits
10...    ->  8 bits
110...   -> 12 bits
1110...  -> 16 bits
11110... -> 20 bits

and so on.

> The bits do ultimately determine the human phonetic space. In Jeff 
> Prothero's ad_hoc scheme, each group of four bits determines the 
> pronunciation by:
> - the patterning of the four bits;
> - the position of the four bits within the total bit stream.
> But, as Jeff made clear, his ad_hoc scheme is not essential to the 
> language, and the bits could be mapped to human writing using a 
> different 'alphabet'* and using a different pronunciation scheme.
> *It is also clear to me that by 'alphabet,' Jeff was not using the term 
> in the strict sense which distinguishes alphabet from abjad, abugida & 
> syllabary. He just means the set of 16 graphemes which will be used to 
> map the 16 bit quartets. This, of course, is usually done by {0 1 2 3 4 
> 5 6 7 8 9 A B C D E F}      :)

Yes.  The term 'alphabet' is used in formal language theory for any
finite set of elements from which "words" (i.e., strings or sequences)
are built, no matter what those elements represent, if they represent
anything at all.  The phoneme inventory of a spoken language is an
"alphabet" in this sense, as are, for instance, the 20 amino acids
proteins are built of.

> > [Jeff's pronunciation scheme]
> >
> > Yes; the whole scheme is completely arbitrary.  Each of the three
> > schemes you proposed is more elegant, systematic and consistent.
> Thank you  :)
> In my schemes the individual bits within the quartets have a direct 
> relation to the pronunciation.  This is not so with Jeff's ad_hoc scheme.
> I feel it is a pity that while the bits play such an important part in 
> other aspects of the language, they were completely ignored when Jeff 
> suggested his scheme for pronouncing the language. He might just as well 
> have used the traditional hex digit symbols and allotted arbitrary 
> consonant & vocalic values to them.

Yes, it is indeed a pity.  He could have made so much out of it,
and makes so little.  Your schemes are superior in that they derive
the pronunciation systematically from the actual bit pattern.

> Maybe this topic has been given more than sufficient airing. The thread, 
> in its way, has been interesting and helped clarify some of my thoughts 
> (it even lead me to revise my web page that deals with the orthography 
> of Plan B).

I think I will also revise the FrathWiki page on X-1 ...

> But both Jörg and I, at least, have concluded that discussing the 
> "phonology of Plan B" is as meaningless (or meaningful) as discussing 
> the bit pattern representation of English. Maybe we should leave it at that.


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