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RE: Response on relatives and quantifiers

la kolin. cusku di'e

>First, a clarification of intent. Veijo in particular seems to have
>assumed that my intent was to find a way to say certain things in
>Lojban. This is not so. I was analysing the existing structure of the
>language, trying to understand it and see its semantics, and I came
>across an area where the syntactic structure does not match what I
>believe to be the *current* semantic (or logical) structure. It is
>likely that my interpretation of this semantic structure is at least
>part derived from my intuitions as an English speaker; but I do my
>to avoid this.
>So I was a little hurt by Veijo's implication that I was coming from
>the point of view of translation - old Loglanists will know that I
>been assiduous in questioning malglico for years.

I'm sorry I gave that impression. It wasn't intentional but due to a
careless choice of words. I saw your intent but my approach was based
firstly on the fact that I am, as a newcomer, still struggling to
express ideas and to understand ideas expressed and secondly, after
all, this interplay of expression and understanding is what a language
is all about.

Lojban is an emerging language which still is in a state of flux in
many respects. We have a relatively limited corpus of existing text
which is at least partly outdated. Some of this text has been created
by people at a relatively early stage in their development as
Lojbanists and may contain usages which necessarily haven't been so
thoroughly analyzed at the time of writing but may have been
'instinctive' choices reflecting more the linguistic background of the
writer than the grammar of Lojban. When I spoke of translating I
didn't mean that to be taken quite literally. What I tried to say was
that when we are dialing with a completely different language like
Lojban we mustn't always expect to see things expressed in an
'instinctive' way. We have a grammar which defines the framework
within which we are trying to express ideas and before we modify it I
think we must see whether it is possible to express the ideas we might
want to express -- even in an 'alien' way. After that we must make a
choice: do we accept the 'alien' way or do we modify the grammar. I
think that at this stage we still have the option of specifying the
way various things are expressed.

Before I continue I'll withdraw the suggestion for the modification
of the grammar I made in a previous posting. It is both unnecessary
and partly erroneous. The correct (and presently defined) transform of

     lo ci le cukta pe mi
     lo ci le mi cukta
     the three of my books

which -- now that I got it figured out -- seems quite obvious.

Now if we take

  (a)   lo ci lo mi cukta   =    lo ci [[lo cukta] [pe mi]]

how does it differ from

  (b)   lo mi ci cukta      =    [lo ci cukta] [pe mi]
                                 *lo ci [cukta [pe mi]]* (Colin)

(a) seems to parse the way Colin would like (b) to do (though we
cannot presently have a relative hanging from the bri_string).

The restriction imposed by the external quantifier in

        ci lo panono vi cukta

selects 3 out of the 100 books which are in the vicinity but the
restrictive relative in

  (c)   lo panono vi cukta pe mi

seems to do no selection in the quantified set if I have interpreted
the expressed opinions correctly. So the selection must be done as

  (d)   lo su'o lo panono vi cukta ku ku pe mi
        those of the 100 nearby books which are mine

which isn't any too clear. The preposed possessive cannot be used
although in this case it would clarify things a lot:

       *lo mi [su'o] lo panono vi cukta*

Things would clear up a bit and the new interpretation would match
the parse in (b), if the restrictive relatives (and the corresponding
preposed possessives when applicable) were to do selection --
contrary to the present praxis. The highly regular and understandable
form (a) would be the more common one and (c) or its preposed
possessive form would be used instead of (d) when ever required. This
would also clarify the difference between restrictive and incidental
relatives as the restrictives would always perform selection from the
referent set whether it were quantified or not.

External quantification of (c) would also be quite clear:

         ci [[lo panono vi cukta] [pe mi]]
         ci [lo mi panono vi cukta]
         3 of those which are mine of the 100 nearby books

         lo ci lo panono vi cukta pe mi
         lo ci lo mi panono vi cukta
         the 3 which are mine of the 100 nearby books
         ( = internal quantification of (a) )

This change in interpretation would also mean that the interpretation
of 'lo panono vi cukta' would become context-free, not dependent on
the possibly following restrictives. It would also be possible to
quantify the starting set without tricky constructs.

KOhAs assigned between successive restrictives would each have
a different referent. This would offer an advantage on relatively
rare occasions. As Colin noted, his approach, however, gives more
concise expressions -- at the expense of a modified syntax.

To sum up:

    The presented change in approach would mean

    - minor relearning required
    - minor changes to the present pragmatics required
    - the restrictives as applied to descriptions would
      acquire a new meaning
    - occasionally more verbose expressions in comparison with
      Colin's scheme

    + no changes to the present syntax required
    + better agreement between syntax and semantics
    + a slight increase in expressive power
    + a slight increase in clarity
    + occasionally more concise expressions in comparison with
      the present pragmatics

I am not, at the moment, suggesting this change but I should like
to bring it up for discussion before it is too late.

  co'omi'e vei,on

 Veijo Vilva       vilva@viikki21.helsinki.fi