OK, I think I am beginning to get your point of view a little more, and
maybe you are getting more of mine. I still don't think you've quite
defined what you mean by FL2 - a parse tree is not a definition, like Logan
said - but I see that part of your working definition is that it assign a
meaning to any syntactically valid word order, and that it be able to
translate potentially any sentence from another language.

On Aug 13, 2015 6:24 AM, "Patrik Austin" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> > I played around with some examples last night and I almost feel like
> something misleading about the example sentence we've been using; or maybe
> I've been staring at it too long. Other sentences end up not even making
> any sense in the FL2 languages except the one I design them for.
> They work but you've got to be careful how to arrange the sentence. All
sentences with an equal number of ['s and ]'s are grammatically correct,
but where you place an embedding can change the whole meaning.
> If you send me your sentences I'll have a look. You can also have a look
at the complex sentence in the first message: [query [state negative]
[topic [nom boy] [acc [on hill] house] [because [nom it] dark] see]

It seems like I could write up more grammars, too, and actual progress of
some sort would follow from comparing how sentences come out in each. I'm
going to stay away from this problem for a few days though. Switching
between identical-looking languages with different semantics gets

> > If I'm understanding correctly, this would follow the 3rd language I
> defined with those semantic grammars. (except of course that it's
> flipped). So FL2.4 isn't what you mean by FL2? (Let's call this option
> FL2.3)
> My idea is it's all the same, but maybe the semantics hasn't been
understood completely yet; and there can be several equally plausible
theories. One possibility to consider is that FL2 merely adds the semantics
of genitive and locative, and whether a function word (such as a
preposition) must be added as a lexical category is not decided yet. A more
reliable answer might be found by working with FL3 languages.

What would FL3 mean?

> >> Also important: don't forget that if you told a syntactician to analyse
> the structure, without any introductory talk of the semantic formula, they
> would do it like this:
> >
> > conjunction - subject - object with place adverbial embedded - verb
> >
> > Maybe?
> I'm pretty convinced. We could even test it if anyone knows an
unsuspecting linguist who's not too busy to have a look at a short text…

Even if someone analyzed it that way, I would say it's because they're
comparing with languages they're familiar with and seeing something that's
not there.

> > If
> you restricted yourself to common English words this probably wouldn't
> happen.
> Sure, but it's going to be difficult to find these particular two words.
The rest is easy. We could borrow 'o' and 'wa' from Japanese. Unless you
can think of something; self boy vs. other house? Subject_role boy vs.
object_role house? [some [role subject] boy] vs. [some [role object] house]?

I would instead translate the sentence differently. [House [glance boy]
hill] or, if you want it to be clearer the house is atop the hill, [house
[top hill] [glance boy] hill].

> > The house doesn't have the hill in FL2.2. It has an acc which contains
> on which belongs to the hill. Which does have some useful ambiguity, yes;
> for instance we can imagine the FL2.2 sentence
> > [memory [face girl] boy]
> That's true. I was thinking of the semantics of the postpositional
language. They should be the same because they're generated by the same
grammar. However the parse tree looks different.

Ah! Yes! I'll have to look at this more carefully, but maybe the
postpositional one is better! The parse tree is different because whatever
comes first is being treated as a head by that program. But I think
head-final is a better match!

> > Here, the boy has a memory, and in that memory is a face, and that face
> belongs to the girl (who presumably still has it). But we could also do
> > [memory [facial-expression girl] boy]
> Here's a good point. The prepositional tree generates:
> girl-face-expression-memory
> boy-memory
> but the postpositional tree should have the compound face-expression
switched to expression-face (French mode; cf. expression facial) giving:
> expression-face-girl-boy
> memory-boy
> > These languages are about as formal as they come, except of course we're
> not defining any of the vocabulary formally.
> I thought those were grammars, and a language should formalised with a
4-tuple and some {…}'s. It should be a straight-forward process though.
> > I have a dozen or so such questions scattered in my notes. There are no
> wrong answers, and different answers give very different languages.
> So each one is a language and interesting per se. I think maybe some of
these languages can express everything whereas others could leave a gap

Yes, this is a good question. Unfortunately it sounds like a difficult one.

> > If you want FL2 to have any connection to FL1 it seems like you have to
> have X act on Y and Z equally (again referring to [X Y Z]). This means you
> should choose semantics that only have one relationship, either "in" or
> "has". This could work with the relationship "is a type of" too, but it
> would be very different from what you've described so far.
> I think it would be fair to say that FL1 and FL2 shouldn't be kept
connected artificially although to me it seems like they're the same
language in some unknown way. At any rate 'in' refers to the locative, and
'has' to the genitive. A set theory approach might be able to explain some
of the semantics, but for a full system it might be more complicated.
> >> I don't have enough knowledge to demonstrate the point where
> languages like Riau and Salish will branch away from each other, but it's
> doable with the FL method.
> > I wish you luck in working out the details of this! When you put it in
> abstract like that it doesn't sound impossible. I feel like FL1 and FL2 as
> you've presented them are both too vague (ill-defined) and too specific
> (semantically) for this. But what do I know.
> You could be right, but I'll explain my problem with your definition of
FL2.4 below:
> >> FL2.4 (I'm going to start naming these for easy comparison)
> S -> aXb: (X there is a, namely b)
> S -> SS:  S and S
> X -> S:     S, within which,
> X -> (empty): (empty)
> >> Then we'd get:
> - ((There is nom, namely boy) and ((there is on, namely hill), within
> which, (there is acc, namely house)), within which, there is topic,
> namely see.)
> On is not hill. The on is on the hill; the hill is actually under, which
makes it the exact opposite of on.

In FL2.4, the word "on" is sort of like "platform" - it's saying that the
hill is the type of thing which can support other things. Or actually, the
type of thing which is currently supporting other things. Maybe it makes
more sense if I say it like:

The house is in an "on", specifically, the hill.