Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Dictionary questions

Gleki Arxokuna just pointed out to me that I wasn't being specific enough in the definitions I've been writing, so I've reverted to the old Loglan XYZ method.  Take a look at:  I've revised up through banyo-tawl.  Now, my question is, am I overdoing it?  Does the predicate really need a second argument?  I have:
banyo-tawlbath towel, X is a bath towel of person Y
And I'm thinking that including the Y argument is too arbitrary.  I notice that in the latest Loglan glossary from the Loglan site has a lot of nouns in the form:
   bancykru (1n) <bath room>[B-] B is a bathroom
So take a look at what I've revised so far, and let me know what you think.  Mimimal arguments or not?  I'm inclined to go with dropping the Y arguments in most of them.  Answer in the comments, or email me at


  1. A second argument is needed only if the predicate defines some kind of relationship, for example, "X is a parent of Y", or an action which has an agent and object, or something like that. In the case "bath towel", it's just an object that may or may not have an owner. (On the other hand, a parent, by definition, has a child, even if that child isn't stated.)

  2. Nicely stated. Gives me a rule of thumb.

  3. There might be some predicates that have up to three arguments.

    A exceeds B in property C.
    A asks B to do C.

    and other similar predicates.

    Don't you think that they can be expressed using specific prepositions?

    One for the agent (A)
    another one for the object (B)
    and the third one for the property of that object (C) ?

    We need to be absolutely careful here because those rough terms as "agent" and "object" start to be misleading at some point.

  4. Nice to see you and Cheng-Lee back!

    In my opinion arguments should be intuitive. Also it would be good if compound words would have the same arguments as the head word alone. So banyotawl and tawl and also (hand)tawl would be comparable.

    1. Note that in gua\spi components of compound words have equal "rights" by default.

      "A goes down to B" is "A goes to B; A is higher than B" => "A goes down and higher than B".
      So both components are headwords. Such policy can spare a lot of new words and therefore make the lexicon more compact but with more expressive power reached by combinatorics.

    2. That's interesting. What about a construction like harten, hair-have, which I have in Ceqli for hairy or hirsute? How does guaspi handle that?

    3. I'm not sure on the exact meaning of that.

      A is a hair of B; B has hair A.

      so hairy can be just the passive of "hair"
      (just like "home" is a passive form of "to inhabit").

      Another possibility can be
      A is covered with hair:
      1. A is a hair of B.
      2. X covers Y.
      Y is covered by hair A=X

      So you can just use predicate style without creating compound words.
      Another option could be to use connective "AND" in the example

      "A goes down to B" is "A goes to B; A is higher than B" => "A goes down AND higher than B".

      e.g. in Lojban (sorry I don't know much gua\spi lexicon) it's

      A klama je galtu B = A goes-to AND higher-than B.

      A se pilka lo kerfa = A is-covered-by [ hair ]

      or just
      A pilka B = A is a-hair-of B
      A se pilka B = A has-hair B (passive voice from the previous sentence).

    4. Dang! Hadn't thought of that.
      Da har go. That is a hair of mine.
      Go behar. I am-haired-by-something. I'm hairy, hirsute.
      (Now we know what Joy Behar means. "Happy Hairy.")
      Go behar fwi. I have a lot of hair, I'm very hairy.

  5. Intuitive, yes. Unfortunately, my intuition would be filtered thru English only. You'd have a broader experience, of course. And yes on the second point too.