Herman Miller: >Then it should be possible to distinguish computer languages from human >languages by purely formal definitions. I'm sure it is. I'm not much of a formalist. >Which linguists don't classify pidgins and creoles as languages? Matt just posted that creoles fit amongst "languages of interest to linguists" whereas pidgins do not. I had earlier read that creoles were on the border - some include them, and some do not. >By that >definition, not only pidgins and creoles, but extinct languages like >Ancient Egyptian would be excluded from the category of languages. I did not intend the implications of the English tense system. Use a timefree sense of "is". >I'm >sorry, but I can't take this definition of language seriously, and I'm >surprised that linguists do. My wording was sloppy, but then I composed it on the fly. Academics are quite adept at drawing lines to restrict their field of study. Linguistics is by definition the study of languages. If linguists define their field of study to include only "natural languages", then only natural langauges are languages by the scientific definition of being subject to study as a language. (Gawd trhat syntax is convoluted - I think you know what I mean). >>Given this definition, it seems clear that most conlangs are not languages >>and are not intended to be languages, in that their inventors never seriously >>expect them to be used by two or more people in communication, much less >>learned by a community. > >But I don't accept this definition of a language, and I suspect that most >of us here don't. Got any grant money available? Do you publish a journal? The professionals in a field determine the meaning of the words used in the field. If this forum were not intended to be about languages, it would not be subject to the definitions of those who study languages. Amongst the latter there is a power structure, and I am not part of it, so I cannot pick the definitions. lojbab ---- lojbab [log in to unmask] Bob LeChevalier, President, The Logical Language Group, Inc. 2904 Beau Lane, Fairfax VA 22031-1303 USA 703-385-0273 Artificial language Loglan/Lojban: ftp.access.digex.net /pub/access/lojbab or see Lojban WWW Server: href="http://xiron.pc.helsinki.fi/lojban/" Order _The Complete Lojban Language_ - see our Web pages or ask me.