Logan Kearsley, On 26/09/2011 20:15:
> On Mon, Sep 26, 2011 at 11:18 AM, And Rosta<[log in to unmask]>  wrote:
>> Since in all likelihood human natlangs are stack-based, the existence and
>> human-usability of natlangs proves the human-usability  of stack-based
>> languages.
> [...]
>> But limitations of working memory is not one of the things that are
>> difficult. Also, it's not the machines themselves that don't find natlangs
>> easy; rather it's the programmers, who are unable to program computers with
>> knowledge of how natlangs work, because nobody yet understands (to a
>> sufficient level of thoroughness) how natlangs work.
> Given that we don't know to sufficient detail yet how natlangs work, I
> am very sceptical of the idea that they are likely to be stack-based
> in the same simple sense that Fith is.
> A stack may be a good model for the process of tokenization- reading
> in the individual ordered symbols- but that's a very small part of the
> whole parsing / deserialization process.

Indeed. There's much more to the structure of a sentence than a tree structure of its audible form; but palpable processing complexity strongly correlates with the tree structure of its audible form. Processing of audibilia tree structure looks to be done with a stack, and this can straightforwardly account for the correlations between tree shape and processing complexity.

> If we assume that the parsing of human natlangs is meaningfully
> stack-based, though, we can still observe that whatever the stack
> manipulation rules are, they must be far more complicated than those
> of Fith, seeing as how we know how to program a computer to parse Fith
> perfectly, but not English.

I don't see the logic behind this reasoning. The reason why we don't know how to program a computer to parse English perfectly is in large part due to us not knowing what the rules of English are, what the structure of English sentences is (and then partly that stuff like general knowledge appears to be able to guide disambiguation, so the full parsing process requires the full array of powers of the mind). But why does this entail that there are complex stack manipulation rules. Rather, it looks as tho the stack is dead simple, with no fancy manipulation rules, but that the bit of processing that uses it is only a small part of the overall mechanism.

> This is evidence that in some way human
> processing capacities are stronger than Fithians',

I'm afraid I know too little of Fithians' capacities to be able to comment. All I know about Fithians is that they have powerful working memories. All I know about Fith is that it looks pretty much like a natural language except for these utterly un-natlanglike stack-manipulation conjunctions.

>but it also
> provides additional evidence (albeit weak) that excessively simple
> grammars are hard for humans to deal with. Assuming that a stack
> system is at the core of human language parsing, removing the
> 'decorations' to reveal the underlying stack structure results in
> something that seems very alien; my explanation for that being that
> the human language faculty naturally employs multiple kinds of
> syntactic objects and operations, and it gets difficult if you try to
> dump all of the processing load on only one of them, whichever one it
> is.

My claim is that it is the structure of the audibilia tree, including the number of terminal nodes, that influences the processing cost. So the problem with Palno is not that there is only one kind of syntactic object or operation, but rather than there are too many object and operation instances in surface syntax. I'll say a bit more in the other thread another time.