John Clifford

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John Clifford
Posted about 1 year ago
The viability of implementing a logically constructed Language. Namely Lojban.
To clarify a bit. 1. The language created by James Cooke Browne is Loglan, which is still supported by The Loglan Institute. Lojban is a revised version created by the Logical Language Group, Robert LeChevalier, Founder and President. The two have diverged significantly within the same broad framework, but both have active followers. 2. The any non-trivial claim that language has a profound effect on speakers is contentious (the Sapir Whorf Hypothesis, itself never clearly formulated). The suggestion that a language based on the principles of Logic (whatever they may be) will say something significant about this question was the original purpose behind Loglan, but the experiments were never carried through. 3. Both Loglan and Lojban exist, the one for 58 years in various forms, the other 24 or so, and both are. in some sense, based on the principles of logic, so the issue of viability seemed settled in the affirmative, unless there are further details that are not mentioned. 4. The characterizations of Lojban are basically correct but perhaps misleading (and are, for the most part, not unique). a. Lojban has developed its own culture (related largely to Western computer scientists) and is hardly neutral. b. Lojban grammar is unambiguous by fiat and the grammar that guarantees lack of ambiguity is not proven to tie in with principles of Logic. c. No one reports Lojban to be easy to lean (this may be partly due to old-fashioned learning tools, now being replaced):its vocabulary is totally unfamiliar (despite claims to the contrary), its basic sentence structure is different from that of familiar languages, lack both prepositions and cases, which latter accounts for its regularity -- there is nothing to change. d. Lojban culture goes for precision and the requirement to get things just right has proven to be a hindrance rather than a help for creativity -- constatnly going back to check delays going forward. But it still functions.
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John Clifford
Posted about 1 year ago
The viability of implementing a logically constructed Language. Namely Lojban.
Just how can a predicate be incomplete? It is what it is (a set of some sort, say). A two-place "go" predicate ("go to", say) may not have everything you might want for your "go" predicate, but it may have all that is needed in a particular case and so, for that case, it is complete. We're into strategy here: is it better to have minimal predicates and expand them at need, or maximal ones leave or cover up pieces you don't need on particular occasions? In fact, Lojban uses both strategies but favors the latter a little because it fudges on the unneeded places: it leaves them blank rather than filling them with what FOPL requires, bound variables of some sort. This results in a small and insignificant ambiguity, but you can be sure that, were that problem taken to be serious and so all insignificant places on any occasion had to be filled, the first system would be far and away the standard one.
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John Clifford
Posted about 1 year ago
The viability of implementing a logically constructed Language. Namely Lojban.
Well, it probably depends on how you do it. If words are multivalent enough, you can make one do a lot of work (look at toki pona), so "to" can serve as destination and goal and a number of other such notion, while "go" may cover a variety of motions. And so on. A survey of natural languages shows many ways of solving these problems (and conlangs add many more), any of which (well, almost) is compatible with logical structure.
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John Clifford
Posted about 1 year ago
The viability of implementing a logically constructed Language. Namely Lojban.
Well, "practical usability" depends on what you want to use it for. Loglan, Lojban's ancestor, was designed to test the Sapir Whorf Hypothesis. That required that a number of test subjects become reasonably fluent in the language over a range of topics. This goal is no longer active and the perfection of the language has become central. At the same time, to be called a language, in some evaluative sense of the term, it must be capable of dealing relatively efficiently with a range of topics and so the core group of Lojbanists also includes many who are working on translations or original texts at a variety of level and in different fields. Not that anyone is expected to learn Lojban to read these but just to show that Lojban is capable of doing what natural languages do. This includes being spoken in face to face or at least instantaneous interplay as well as writing (which cuts out numbers as words).
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John Clifford
Posted about 1 year ago
The viability of implementing a logically constructed Language. Namely Lojban.
I agree that EngLog looks pretty hopeless, but that is largely problems with English orthography (a misnomer if ever). The dividing of predicate up over several words offs some advantages, chiefly in terms of a smaller vocabulary (questionable) and added ease in ignoring what isn't relevant. "He goes to the store from the school along Route A on foot" is neither more or less logical that {ko'a klama lo zarci lo ckule la A lo [foot - no dictionary at hand]}, but saying just "He's going to the store" is relatively simpler.
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John Clifford
Posted about 1 year ago
The viability of implementing a logically constructed Language. Namely Lojban.
Comments so far are rather irrelevant. The issue is not math versus the world nor phonemic spelling, nor is it merely familiar words or usefulness for ordinary folks. It is about what a logical language would do for the human mind. Brown had rather expansive dreams in that respect, starting with a dubious version of a dubious hypothesis and proceeding with a language which did not test even that. But the question remains: would a language which unambiguously presented the logical structure of any discourse in it lead to more reasonable discourse. We know already that simply learning logic does not help that much and that there are other factors -- factual and emotional, for example -- which enter into reasonableness and about which Lojban and like languages have nothing to say. Of course, we are probably not too clear about what reasonableness is, but getting a language like a cleaned up Lojban, which meets on part of a possible definition, would be a useful step.