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Re: [glosalist]

Robin Fairbridge Gaskell (Robin Fairbridge Gaskell <drought-breaker@...>) on October 9, 2005

At 09:09 PM 10/4/05, John Avis pa grafo:

Mi ne es glosa-pe, sed glosa inte= rese mi.

I write this as an outsider, but I think Glosa could have grea= t potential.

  • So far so good. **A nu fo boni.

Depending on its mean= ing one word can serve as noun, adjective, verb, adverb and even a prepos= ition - less words to learn. Fine !

  • The inflections, beloved of people w= ho are good at languages, do not suit everybody. Glosa has “Syntax-based= Grammar” and thus the sequencing of the words gives the language its gram= mar. Less words and less inflections: fine!

However, such a language d= oes have its downside. It is very easy to write a sentence that is incomp= rehensible to the reader. English can do that too, even for native speake= rs !

  • Quite so. A study of ‘Good Syntax’ seems necessary. With clearly= thought-out syntax, the function of each word ought to be clear, and thus= , the meaning of the whole sentence should, accordingly, also be meaningfu= l.
I have found most Glosa sentences easy to read, but >some are more = difficult to >decipher than Classical Latin. I feel this must put >people o= ff the language. * Usually because the writer has tried to be too  economic= al with words, and has over-used the few present.

To show what I mean I a= m using an example text from the Glosa website.


Glosa - puri komu= nika (Ronald Clark & Wendy Ashby, =A9 GEO, 1996; from the newspaper “Plu = Glosa Nota”, ISSN 0265-6892, No. 75, January/February 1996; HTML by Paul = O. Bartlett, 1996)

Ex kron a kron uno civi fu protesta; “Sed Glosa feno

kopi un English modela; sura id debi difere?”

Panto Cina ami dice iso.= Glosa funktio iso Cina lingua.

  • G. Panto Cina ami dice iso. = glos. (all China friend say as/the_same ) E. All Chinese= friends say the same.
     G.   Glosa funktio iso Cina lingua.
  =  glos.  (Glosa function as/the_same China language )
     E.   Glosa wo= rks the same as Chinese.


In the above example the first sentence = is fine. I could read this without having to consult a vocabulary. The wo= rds “fu, feno, debi” indicate the verb cluster and the rest of the senten= ce falls into place.

Not so in the next two shorter sentences. I have no=

idea where the verbal cluster begins. In the context I think the point i= s being made that Glosa is similar to Chinese, but not being able to get = the exact meaning of the sentences, leaves me in some doubt.

  • Interesting=
    the idea of a ‘VERB cluster’ seems to have thrown you. The ~iso~= is more of a “verb auxilliary” than anything. In this sentence structure,= the ~iso~ is ‘helping’ the VERB ~dice~, so acts as either a Modifier (= =3Dadverb) or an Auxillary to the verb. The whole VERB Clause (=3Dverb c= luster) would be ~dice iso~. This sentence uses the Intransitive form.

= In the first sentence, is the verbal cluster, ‘dice’, ‘dice iso’, or perha= ps even ‘ami dice iso’?

  • Running a simple S-V-O test on this sentence, it= is:
                    S           -      V
         Panto Cina = ami  -  dice iso.         ...OR

   Fancifully, with a three-word VERB = Clause

                S          -         V
          Panto Cina=   -  ami dice iso.
         ( all  China      love say the-same) [eithe= r]  All China loves to say the same. [or]       All China lovingly says the=  same.

I’d award these sentences a “*” suggesting that they did not go.

Literally the sentence says: “ all china friend say identical”

  • It is = a very handy trick to use the glos (direct word translation), either expli= citly as I have done here, or in your head - like looking at your cards b= efore working out the value of your hand. NB The simple word-translation = dictionary produced by the Glosa authors was all they could afford, but t= o use it requires imagination.

Assuming that ‘dice’ is the verb, are pan= cina ami agreeing with the criticism in the first sentence that Glosa is= too much like English, or are they saying that Glosa is like Chinese, wh= ich the third sentence seems to say ?

  • Yes, the reported speech is uttere= d as a criticism. The concluding sentence is an affirmation of the value= of Glosa’s syntax. I have communicated with both groups, English-sp= eakers who say Glosa is simply English ‘relexified’, and Chinese-speakers = who say they recognise in Glosa the same syntax as in their own language. =
  Solution of conundrum:

 Well-written Glosa can usually be  tran= slitterated word for word into English. BUT
 English does not translitt= erate directly into Glosa.


 Glosa demands the use o= f correct syntax,  otherwise its 'grammar' does not work!

 In English = with its minimal bag of  inflections, and through [sloppy] usage, we get  a= way with lingustic murder in our syntax.
 The brain recognises utteranc= es in English  as meaningful by seeing the patterns of usage and converting=  them into meaning.
  In Glosa we have no body of usage to fall  back o= n, and we must observe the niceties of  proper syntax, otherwise we talk Gl= osa-Gobbledegook.
  Unfortunately Syntax has not been taught in  school= s; fortunately for me, however, I am old  enough to have gone to school in = Queensland when  Parsing and Analysis was still being taught in Primary Sch= ools.

  Personal belief:
  By imposing the need for good sentence =

structure on its speakers, Glosa ensures much less ambiguity [and deceit]= in in the usage of language.

  Glosa Rules:
 1. A word is modifie= d by its preceding word.
 2. Glosa sentences use Subject-Verb-Object st= ructure.
 3. Within phrases, 'head final" structure applies.

   Th= is last rule says that the major word in  a phrase is the last word of the = phrase, and, for  the other words, the least important starts the  phrase, = while subsequent words leading to the  major word build up in significance.=   This  happens in English with Noun Phrases, e.g.

  the three large f= at high-school boys    <try re-arranging the order>

In the third sentence= I assume that the verb is either funktio, or iso, or both. I can, I thin= k, get the meaning, but it would be nice to be sure.

  • All language has so= me fuzziness Glosa just does it differently. But it is annoying all the s= ame.

In the above example it is a just bit annoying, but in a different = context it could mean that a reader comes away with totally the wrong mea= ning, and that is the sort of thing that would put people off Glosa.

  • Yip= , creatives like it, but the less imaginitive find it a bit off-putting.

= May I, as an outsider, suggest that perhaps a ‘nu’ could be slipped into s= uch sentences to split off the subject cluster from the verbal cluster. T= he easier it is to read, the more people may want to read it.

  • Such an id= ea has been put forward. ~nu~ has an exact funtion: it puts things into t= he immediate present. ~Mi vide an,~ has a different meaning from ~Mi nu = vide an.~
If you have this sort of trouble, you could  use ^trainer wh= eels^ at the start to help you recognise the VERB Phrase.

e.g. Plu t= ri ju-an /fo hedo voko/ ko plu ridi ju-fe.

  The three boys very happi= ly talked with the laughing girls.

NB The “^” is such an invention to d= enote the use of non-literal language. It is not supposed to be used in G= losa, but this is a rule which I find unnecessarily restricting.

I have a= lso noticed that there are older versions of the vocabulary in existence, = and it is not clear which one you should be using. This is surely not hel= pful to anyone wishing to learn Glosa.

  • Quite so, but the matter never re= ally got sorted out.

Sorry for the criticism, but it is meant to be cont= ructive. * I think the secret of Glosa is to write clearly and simply, e= ven if it takes a few more words to do so, and that the writer should tak= e care to ensure that the reader will easily be able to understand what h= as been written.*

  • I call it reading out loud what you have written and= seeing if what you hear reminds you of the meant to say. If the answer = is ‘NO’, then recast the sentence.

Good luck to pan glosa-pe ! I hope you= succeed.

John Avis

  • Thanks John. In a sane world there is a place fo= r Glosa… but we aint got one.

Robin Gaskell

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

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