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PROPOSED CHANGE TO GISMU BASELINE -- PLEASE READ & RESPOND!
- To: lojban-list@snark
- Subject: PROPOSED CHANGE TO GISMU BASELINE -- PLEASE READ & RESPOND!
- From: John Cowan <cbmvax!uunet!marob.masa.com!cowan>
- Date: Thu, 24 May 90 11:58:48 EDT
- Resent-date: Tue, 18 Jun 91 10:27:50 EDT
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This is a formal proposal for a CHANGE TO THE GISMU BASELINE.
Lojbab, please copy for transmission to non-networked Lojbanists.
THIS CHANGE ALTERS ONLY THE ENGLISH-LANGUAGE KEYWORDS, NOT THE GISMU THEMSELVES.
1) Change the keyword for "tanru" from "metaphor" to "open compound".
2) Change the keyword for "lujvo" from "compound bridi" to "closed compound".
I believe that the use of "metaphor" to translate "tanru" is both misleading
and inaccurate. In ordinary language, "metaphor" refers to a certain kind
of figure of speech, in which the meaning of a word or phrase is transferred
from its normal referent to some other referent. For example: in a poem,
"golden egg" may be a metaphor for the sun; in ordinary language, "bulls**t" is
a metaphor for nonsense; to computer users, "run" is a metaphor for "instance
of execution" or some such phrase. This is not the way in which tanru are
intended to be used. The individual brivla of a tanru mean exactly what
they mean when used outside a tanru; only the relationship between them
is left unspecified.
Much closer to the Lojban use of tanru are English compounds of the form
"walking stick". This would appear to mean "a stick that walks", but actually
does not: it means "a stick that helps [someone] walk". The words "walk"
and "stick" are being used in their ordinary descriptive sense, not in any
metaphorical sense, and this would not normally be called a metaphor in
English. Linguists call this sort of construction an "open compound".
The word "open" is intended to distinguish a tanru from a "closed" compound,
which is one in which the compounded parts are merged into a single word. For
example: "frying pan" began as a open compound, is now often written
"frying-pan" (semi-closed) and sometimes appears in the fully closed form
"frypan". This is exactly parallel to the formation of lujvo from tanru.
Each lujvo means exactly the same thing as the tanru from which it was
built, but is shorter and is perceived by the listener as a single unit.
By changing the assigned keywords for "tanru" and "lujvo", we bring Lojban
terminology into line with linguistic usage, and also avoid the use of
"metaphor" in a sense distinct from the usual sense, thus eliminating
confusion. The true analogue of English metaphor within Lojban is
language marked by the figurative-speech cmavo "po'a" and "po'i".
An advantage to the phrases "open compound" and "closed compound" is that
they are technical terms. The simple word "compound" has many meanings
ranging from linguistics to chemistry; "open compound" and "closed compound"
may be confusing to the uninitiated, but at least they cannot mislead,
being confined to the linguistic domain of discourse.
Send comments to the lojban-list, or to the address below, or to:
Chemical Bank, Cooperative Systems
95 Wall St., 6th floor
New York NY 10005 USA
firstname.lastname@example.org (aka ...!hombre!marob!cowan)
e'osai ko sarji la lojban