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> >There *are*, however, properties of languages which *can* be compared qu=
ite
> >effectively, logic and complexity being two of the easiest to define a
> >means of
> >measurement for --
>=20
> I'm not so sure about that.  The last time this issue was discussed on
> Conlang, we tried to figure out some objective criteria for measuring
> relative logic and complexity, without much success (or at least, *I* was
> unconvinced).  The only real quantifiable feature that people could come
> up with was relative number of morphologically irregular forms.  The idea=
,
> I guess, is that morphologically irregular forms are harder to learn (bot=
h
> by native speakers and by second language learners), making a language th=
at
> has more irregular forms more 'complex' and less 'logical' than a languag=
e
> with less irregular forms.

What I had in mind (i.e. my particular conception of "the complexity of a=
=20
language") is more along the lines of the amount of syntactical information=
=20
neccessary to  speak the language -- the complexity of the "mental programm=
ing"=20
which correct use of the language demands.  My choice of that particular=20
"definition" is  probably influenced by my A.I. work (I've had to actually=
=20
*program a human language* into a machine; details of complexity become ver=
y=20
obvious here!), but in the abscence of any other more concrete definition (=
what=20
is "irregularity"?), at least the more "logical" languages like my Danoven =
or=20
the various loglangs become measurable, as they have fixed, visible rules t=
o be=20
followed.  For natural languages things become much less clear, as the spea=
kers=20
of the language  are themselves not fully aware of the rules or influences =
that=20
go into their choice of a certain pattern in speech (e.g. "I'm running out =
of=20
time!"  What is *this* supposed to mean?  Well, if you want you can stop an=
d try=20
to define the verb "to run out of time" and equate the speaker's sentence w=
ith=20
this artificial rational exression -- but really, nothing resembling that=
=20
definition ever went through the speaker's mind; the utterance simply came =
about=20
through association of a feeling of rushed apprehension with a certain Engl=
ish=20
phrase; there is little here to analyze from a grammatical point of view, a=
nd=20
any considerations of "complexity" must neccessarily run off into the realm=
 of=20
psychology and intelligence theory).  With a purely "logical" language, in=
=20
contrast, the speaker's expressions can always be followed back to a defini=
te=20
informational construct.  In a language such as mine, emotion mimics logic =
in
that there is a system for identifying emotions in order to reduce them to=
=20
networks of the usual, stylized variety -- so that they can be expressed in=
 the=20
same manner as rational assertions -- and therefore even that aspect of the=
=20
language remains "analyzeable" (this might seem very artificial -- and it i=
s --=20
but it works quite well and, when speaking to another person in real life (=
you=20
know, where you can actually see the person you're speaking to; everyone he=
re=20
still remembers that sort of thing, right? ;-) no words go unaccompanied by=
=20
other, more intuitive forms of communication).
The "logical" nature of a language, I would say, can be described (and=20
quantified, if desired) fairly well by the degrees to which it relies on cl=
early=20
describable, discrete constructs, while "complexity" is a term best reserve=
d for=20
relatively logical languages, or for the logical components of more "intuit=
ive"=20
ones.  I don't know if anyone else has any suggestions, but that is in any =
case=20
my idea of logic and complexity in language.  To figure "irregularity" in, =
I'd=20
take the *simplest possible description* of any given set of grammatical ru=
les=20
(and exceptions, which are also rules), and call "irregular" (if you want t=
o get=20
some sort of use out of the word) those branches with especially limited fi=
elds=20
of applicability.  Irregularities do increase the complexity of a grammar, =
but=20
they are *definitely not* the sole determining factor.  Try programming a=
=20
computer to speak English some time; you'll gain, if not a computer which s=
peaks=20
English, an aggravatingly clear view of linguistic "logic" and "complexity"=
 in a=20
practical sense ;-)


        _/_/      _/_/  _/_/_/_/   Joshua Shinavier            =20
         _/        _/  _/         Loorenstrasse 74, Zimmer B321=20
        _/        _/  _/_/_/_/   CH-8053 Z=FCrich              =20
 _/    _/  _/    _/        _/   Switzerland                 =20
_/_/_/_/  _/_/_/_/  _/_/_/_/  =20
http://members.tripod.com/~Paradox5/Danoven/danoven.html