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G.A.S. System

Robin Fairbridge Gaskell (Robin Fairbridge Gaskell <drought-breaker@...>) on July 20, 2005

Hello friends … especially Lluis, I am responding [reacting?] to various comments about the unsuitability of Glosa in its present form and to the possibility of modifying it to improve it.

Sorry about the very, very bad politics of suggesting that Glosa cannot  be improved.  Were we to live in a perfect world, everything could be  improved, CONSIDERABLY - even English - however from my observation of the  way things work, I note that this world carries a rather imperfect sample  of sentient beings, and so, perfection is out - for the moment.

Now having stuck around for 69 years, I am probably tiring of the  language battleground.

However, it can be said that I suffer from the "Peter Pan Perplex"  [Ref. J.M. Barry _Peter Pan and Wendy_] ... I just never grew up.  This  affliction left me with the mistaken belief that every one was doing their  best, and that things would continue to get better and better.   Well, as  all sane people know, the opposite seems to be true.

On the Glosa front, I was convinced by Ron Clark that, of the surviving  national languages, English was probably the one that had undergone most  evolutionary changes.  English had been hit hard by invasion after invasion  of people wanting the islands of Britain, and, accordingly, the language  had altered gradually following successive waves of linguistic imprint -  BUT the continuing trend of the modifications was towards a continual  simplification.  Complications of previous language systems were  progressively lost as newer systems were implanted: confusing grammatical  morphologies were watered down and successful communication modes were kept.
Bit by bit the speech and writing of Britain evolved through a  relatively large number of environmental changes.  The end result, the  English language we have now, is an open system full of evolutionary adaptations.
Or so that was how I waded into the the mellee that was Conlang discussion.

Trying hard to be positive - still suffering from my 'perplex' - I  would say that one day in the far distant future, what remains of the Human  Race will adopt an Earth Language for the purpose of simplifying the  process of communicating internationally.
 Rather than have the speakers of Russian, or Chinese, say that English  is virtually impossible to learn to speak like a native, I would think it  more productive for those, who wish to communicate globally, to start from  a point of view of pooling ideas, and determining the qualities of a  language that all primary school-children could learn.  While oldies, like  me, will die out soon enough, taking our language preconceptions with us,  Civilisation will probably go on; and, what is new to-day will be old  to-morrow.  Of course, a Lingua Munda will be created by adults and taught  by adults, so, obviously, it will have to be understandable to adults - at  least to the creative ones amongst them.

I am worn out by the language debate, and cannot justify spending more  time in it.  Needless to say, I will agree that Glosa can be considerably  improved, however, the qualities of good language seem to be extremely  subjective in their interpretation from one person to another, so we will  never find a set of criteria that can be agreed to by all.  While a few of  the more creative writers will always be able to express themselves  beautifully in whatever language they have inherited, many adults have been  linguistically crippled by the language that they have had foist upon them  by their culture.  Attitudes towards the articulation of concepts, to the  possible qualities of words; and even neuro-muscular patterns acquired to  speak a particular language all delimit the languages that can be used by  adult populations.  But, the most significant limiting factor on the  development of single Auxilliary Language for all Mankind is the matter of  ego: both individual ego and national ego.

While Glosa can be neatly labelled as the Planned Language with  Classical vocabulary and Syntax-based Grammar, it lacks a significant  user-base and any noticeable corpus of written works - it is destined to  end up as a museum exhibit.

And while the followers of Glosa primarily spent their energies on  refining the vocabulary instead of in developing a feel for the concept  articulation that the language allowed, no body of writing was  developed.  I have the feeling that either our knowledge of language has  not progressed far enough for our experts to expand on the fact that  syntactical relationships have been shown to be a large part of language  function in the brain; or that the leading edge of language activists in  our civilisation are not ready to experiment with Syntax-based  Grammar.  There is, of course, the opposing hypothesis that an overlaying  level of culturally created inflections is a psychological need for the  brain: we appear to thrive on the complexity that can be put into the  morphology, and sound, of words.

Oh yes, for those who are still with me, below this (NOT as an Attachment) is an example of a syntax analysis system based on ASCII symbols:

         The gASCII Analysed Syntax (GAS) system  (Alpha Test ver.)


Brief Outline.

   * This is a means of codifying the syntactic function of the
     elements of a sentence.  Using this analysis, we can see the
     functional structure of a sentence, without needing to refer
     to the actual words.

   * The analysis can be done either manually or by machine; if
     done automatically, the code can be used as part of a program
     that parses the language.  It has the advantage that it can be
     scrutinised, if necessary, during the parsing process.

Natural Language Processing

   - This system was invented with both English and the Planned
     Language, Glosa, in mind.  Although linguists have attempted
     to codify the syntax of English, the average educated person
     has learnt his or her use of syntax through practice, and
     there is no easily-read reference book in which the syntax
     rules can be found.

   - Glosa is in a worse position: prior to this, no-one has
     codified its intuitively-used syntax.  This system is
     presented as a means of stabalising that syntax.


  i. ASCII code can be read by OCR software.
 ii. ASCII code transmits through the Internet.
iii. The various syntactic elements can be covered, in general,
      by the non-alphanumeric ASCII symbols.
 iv. Some semantic categories can also be shown.
  v. Small syntactic distances are shown using single spaces.
 vi. Syntactic spaces between phrases are shown as double spaces.
vii. Larger syntactic distances, such as those between the major
       parts of a sentence (S-V-O) and between clauses, are
       indicated with triple spaces.    viii. Clauses are marked with brackets - differently for adjectival,
       adverbial and noun clauses.
 ix. Non-literal language is marked: for ease of recognition
       and as an aid to machine translation.
  x. Patterns of syntax can be found by analysis, and used to
       prompt improvements in clarity.
 xi. Preferred patterns of syntax can be readily recognised and
xii. As part of a meaning representation system, the code (bearing
       the linguistic function) would be matched with the word or
       symbol (carrying the semantic content).    xiii. Languages that have no morphological grammar will use this
       code to hold the information usually found in Part-of-Speech
       markers and grammatical inflections .. for purposes of
       the machine handling of information and translation.
xiv. Generation of this code will be a function of Artificial
       Intelligence; the code generated can be perused and
       understood by the human operator of a mechanised translation
       system - thus allowing the process to be monitored.
 xv. The code permits the use of unchanging concept-words, ordered
        according to a syntax-based grammar ... in metalanguages,
        Intermediate Languages and concept-based auxiliary

gASCII Elements ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Basic . ! > @ $

     substantive   action   modifier   space, time   logical
       (noun)      (verb)  (adjective,  preposition   preposition

Tense / \ ~ ^ | future past continuous conditional now

Modifiers # % > v number quantity quality auxiliary (countable) (measurable) (property) verb

Conjunctions + & joins words, phrases structural: joins clauses

Functions x t = < <` location time equals, like verb is participle X proper noun as , similar passive

           0         ?          -           ,           ;
    negative: un-   general   joining    pronoun    pronoun
  no, not, never   question   concepts   personal  impersonal
   nothing                   (compounds)

People o s ‘ `. other self possessive gerund O proper noun S name of 1st person

Specific ?o ?. ?! ?x ?t questions who what why where when

Clauses ( ) { } [ ] “ “ adjectival noun adverbial parenthesis or quotation

Non-literal : * * _ _ language metaphor or idiom start end other n-l term of sentence


Examples of GAS in application

The cat sat on the mat. = U felis pa sed epi u tape. . ! @.

Plu studenti fu memo: na pa dice de u Tesaurus de Roget plura kron. o /! [, ! @.@O #t]

Three fat boys sat by the river bank, and ate jam sandwiches. #>o ! @.-. & ! >.

While three fat boys sat by the river bank, and ate jam sandwiches, their sisters stole their bicycles. [t #>o ! @.-. & ! >.] ,’o ! ,’.

Tem tri paki ju-an pa sed proxi u ripa, e pa fago plu konfekti pani, mu plu fe-sibi pa klepto mu plu bi-rota.



Robin P.S. Does the Russian language permit analysis using this system? Which languages cannot have their syntax analysed using a system like this? R.

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

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G.A.S. System - Committee on language planning, FIAS. Coordination: Vergara & Hardy, PhDs.