On Fri, Jan 14, 2011 at 11:23 AM, And Rosta <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Well, I can agree that the narrative itself needn't unfold through time, but
> for it to be a narrative it must be telling a story that does extend through
> time. Something that doesn't tell a story is, by definition, not a
> narrative. I guess your point is precisely that the telling (i.e. the
> narrative) needn't iconically mirror the story.

My point is stronger: I reject (for the sake of argument at least) the
presupposition that narrative, as in a communicative act of
storytelling independent of whatever properties the story told may
have, is necessarily temporal.

This is I think completely necessitated by the premise of no reified
parse order.

Would a nontemporal narrative be weird? Perhaps. But I still think
it'd be a narrative.

If you want to just say by fiat that narrative is *definitionally*
temporal, I request you instead use the qualified term "temporal
narrative" or equivalent, to distinguish your sense from my broader
one, as I've no desire to argue over definitions. And then we can
argue over what properties my broader temporal-agnostic narrative may
have. ;-)

>> What do you mean by 'orthography' here?
> The 'writing' done live is a kind of speech that unfolds in time.
> Orthography translates speech into a permanent record that doesn't unfold in
> time. Recording-and-playback of speech creates a permanent record, but one
> that unfolds in time, without translation into a different mode.

Ah. Recording-and-playback I think is the native form of a natively
temporal conversational process. (As in, of ones that are—not as in a
claim that all conversations are.)

TTBOMK (Alex?) we have no plan for a flattening of that, though as I
said, it would be possible to indicate this through e.g. the color
channel, which we don't currently use. (We do use saturation, e.g. for

However I think we're likely to come up with something more
interesting to use that for, so I'm loathe to reserve it for such a
(to me) limited usage.

>> We are completely discounting as desiderata any linearization, reified
>> spoken mode, etc. This is meant to be, ahead of all other things, a
>> writing system that takes maximal advantage of its medium.
> It does appear crucial to your scheme that it unfolds through time, so that
> while the text itself is not linear, discourse still is. (That's an
> observation, not a criticism, of course.)

I don't think this is true, as I hinted above.

Certain kinds of discourse, it's true, are temporal—ones that have
temporally bound back-and-forth.

But, just thinking offhand: suppose for instance conversational
parties independently compose messages, which are then simultaneously
merged. There is nothing intrinsically temporal to latch on to here,
yet the result of such a process could be argued to be a conversation
(inasmuch as what occurs at most conference panels is 'conversation'
[ok so I'm a bit cynical]).

I would prefer to start by presuming as little as possible about meta
things like discourse protocols, to leave the field open to
alternates. That's kinda the point of this whole exercise in a way,
after all—to explore the potentials for radically different language.

If it turns out that we are, try as we might otherwise, forced into
such things as temporal conversations by a priori principles like good
design… well, so mote it be. But not until then. :-)

> Some of this I understand, and some is alienly beyond my understanding.

Ditto. :-P

> Omnidirectional parsing and avoidability of repetition I understand. Fractal
> display I understand as a principle of textual organization. 'Easy
> expressability of linearly difficult concepts' and 'direct expression of
> semantic relationships' are alienly beyond my understanding, as is almost
> everything in the Ouwi Apology.

I leave defense of the Apology to Sky, as I think he's quite good at it.

Expression of semantic relationships, however, is not alien at all:
it's approximately uber-flowcharts or thoughtmaps.

I think this'll be easier discuss once we figure out how we're going
to display argument structures like theory, evidence, etc. We have
only a little bit of this right now (in evidentials).

>>> Livagian,
>> URL?
> Ha, that'll be the day. Maybe once I'm able to retire, if that time ever
> comes?

*laugh* Indeed. Though it's no fair hiding your goodies. ;-)

> I don't yet see how the grid-based system acts a constraint.

* it wastes space by reserving it a priori for (ishly) semantic role slots
* it constrains syntax by forcing directionality—as I think Sky
discussed, syntax is going to be severely stressed as is just from
problems like graph relaxation and crossing avoidance, so making that
worse is bad
* there are (in the naïve case) only 8 (compass-oidal) syntactic roles
something can fill; I imagine one might need far more

… etc.

> But UNLWS uses pictograms for vocables, and so can incorporate the 'binding
> points' into the pictogram.

Not just. We anticipate having symbols be fungible, such that e.g.
changing the curve or length or thickness or whatnot of something
would have semantic effect. As a trivial example, take 'exchange' vs
'gift' - that's an inflectional relationship, not suppletive.

> UNLWS's sparklines and decorations are
> optional extras, serving as abbreviations for what could otherwise in
> principle be expressed by the basic glyph+binding point device.

Sparklines could not easily be compressed into static glyphs. They're
one of the stronger examples of what I mean by fungible symbols above;
their form *is* data.

> A predicate pictogram must essentially consist of a set of binding points
> such that the identities (i.e. semantic roles) of the binding points are
> identifiably distinct from one another, and such that the binding points
> form an identifiable whole that is distinct from the pictogram for other
> predicates. -- Yes, this is lovely, reducing language to its purest form,
> with the least possible distortion due to the constraints of the channel.

Heh, you lost me there. :-P

I suspect this'll make more sense later once I'm closer to grokking
your perspective, as I'm not thinking of it as predicate-based.

It's true, though, that we aim for purity of form; it's effectively
entailed by fidelity to and maximally native exploitation of the
channel's capability.

I should also just stress, as I think this is likely to be another one
of those things that's significant to our design and not easily clear
given its universality in other systems, that NLWS symbols are *not
pictograms*, in that they are not really "symbols" to begin with.

That is, they are not arbitrary in form, nor are they iconic of what
they represent IRL (rather, they are iconic of *semantic* properties);
they are not self-contained (rather, they are fungible and permeable);

This isn't very clear in our current lexicon, and honestly, it's a
conceptual trap that we too have difficulty escaping.

Just remembered - another background paper of mine that may be

On Fri, Jan 14, 2011 at 12:12 PM, Jim Henry <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> I don't see how a 2D writing system's root pictograms could really be
> more advantageously 2D than a spoken language's strings of phonemes

See above. To me they are dramatically different forms.

> even taking nonlinear transformations like changes of tone
> or accent, or consonant or vowel mutation into consideration.

Those are all completely linear transformations. What I think you mean
is "parallelized" or somesuch, which is a much weaker thing. E.g. tone
exists in parallel with other phonation, but they're still both
completely linear; it's merely an added channel, not an added

> In a 2D language's compound words, vertical vs.
> horizontal links between elements might have significance,

We decided against this because it entails a grid, which has severe
drawbacks. UNLWS is completely agnostic as to the orientation of its

It does, however, make use of *relative* orientations of symbols.

> for instance arranging three pictograms in a triangle vs. along a
> line, or four pictograms in a square vs. a triangle with one pictogram
> in the center vs.  a triangle with an extra pictogram connected with
> one of the triangle's vertices...

Right, these are all possibilities. We haven't really looked at them
yet; so far most of our syntax is entailed by how we handle binding.

- Sai