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gismu list baseline changes
- To: lojban-list
- Subject: gismu list baseline changes
- From: cbmvax!snark.thyrsus.com!lojbab
- Date: 7 Jul 90 00:29:16 EDT (Sat)
- Resent-date: Tue, 9 Jul 91 16:24:29 EDT
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- Resent-to: John Cowan <email@example.com>
The following are the changes to the gismu baseline that were approved
at and after LogFest. New words have yet to be made; we'll announce them
when we get to it (but it'll be a few months).
Decisions on gismu Proposals
The following proposals were approved with little controversy:
1. Change "ckamu" to "mleca" for rafsi considerations
2. Add "daytime", change keyword for "day" (full day?, 24hr day?)
3. Add "virtue", as distinct from "good", to parallel with "evil"
4. Add "citrus"
5. Add "cabbage", to include broccoli, cauliflower, and perhaps lettuce
6. Add "hemp", to include natural rope, burlap, marijuana, and hashish
7. Add "protein"
8. Add "buckwheat"
9. Add "cassava", to include taro and yam, and other starchy roots (not
10. Add "sorghum"
11. Add "magenta" and "cyan" as the missing two subtractive primary
12. Change the keyword of "gismu" from "primitive" to "root word"
13. Add "North America", the continent, as distinct from "merko",
referring to the U.S.
14. Add "South America", the continent, as distinct from "xispo",
referring to Latin America
15. Add "Antarctica"
The following proposals were added with considerable debate and
1. Add "glimmering" to cover the concepts of morning and evening
twilight, as well as the phenomenon of astronomical terminator; the
poetic usefulness and the extension of the concept astronomically
led to passage
a. "Dawn"/"morning twilight" and "evening twilight" were voted down
2. Define "morning" and "evening" symmetrically
a. The specific symmetry required much debate; consensus was finally
built around a culture-dependent definition, wherein morning is
the time between sleep and work, and evening is the time
between work and sleep, according to the cultural norm. In a
tanru this could be modified to a personal norm.
3. In a discussion of "decrease" as an opposite of "increase", initial
sentiment was only weakly for adding it
a. It was noticed that the existing place structure of increase was
transitive; it was proposed that by changing the place
structure to the intransitive "x1 is increased in property x2
by amount x3", an opposite gismu for "decrease" would be better
justified. Without the change, the semantic difference from
"adjust" and "add" was felt to be too small.
b. The vote to add "decrease" in parallel to the new meaning of
"increase" was then successful
The following changes were voted down:
1. Add "text"
2. Add "tears"
3. Add "ugly", the opposite of "beautiful"
4. Add "diffuse", the opposite of "concentrated"
5. Add "deficient", (after discussion, it was decided that "deficient" is
the opposite of "excess" with "sufficient" as middle ground. The
opposite of "sufficient" then, encompasses both excess or deficient.
6. Add "alfalfa"
7. Add a common term for the Western Hemisphere continents
The following are still open issues:
1. The definition of "arm" was not discussed; we forgot.
2. It was decided to change the keywords for "tanru" and "lujvo".
Unfortunately, there has been no consensus on what to change them to.
The clear sense is to avoid linguistic jargon and words that have
multiple meanings in English such as "compound". There is some sentiment
for keywords that show a parallelism in definitions of the two concepts,
though alternatively the parallelism could be made clear in the extended
definition. The keyword should be 15 characters or less to keep it
simple for LogFlash users (and avoid an unnecessary program
modification). The proposed choices, in roughly chronological order are:
a. open compound closed compound
b. relation phrase affix compound
c. relation phrase relation compound
d. word cluster cluster word
e. word cluster affix cluster
f. word grouping affix grouping
g. grouped words affix word(s)
h. modified phrase modified word
i. phrase relation affix relation
3. The familial relationships never quite seem to satisfy. It was agreed
to add "sire" and "dam" to the definitions of "patfu" and "mamta" (no
vote necessary since place structure change). Later it was suggested
that we retain some unsatisfactory holes and combinations, which are of
uncertain importance. The fact that American culture is shifting away
from traditional family structures makes it unlikely that we (who are all
Americans) can decide on a culturally neutral solution. The choices are
then to be maximally inclusive of the possible relationships, or to pare
the list in ways that ignore American sensibilities. The general
preference seems to be for the former. Thus, we can make the following
Gender-neutral Male Female Gender-neutral but
but genetic not-necessarily-genetic
1. panzi bersa tixnu se rirni
2. bruna mensi lunba
3. se panzi patfu mamta rirni ("rearer")
3a. se jbena "mother/father"
But note that as currently defined, "patfu" and "mamta" are defined
biologically, whereas their counterparts (except "se jbena") need not be.
The obvious suggestion is to make them non-biological. However, it can
reasonably be argued that with animal breeding and genetics, and in some
less transitional cultures, the biological parents have a uniquely
important role enough to be considered 'primitive'. If so, the tanru
"mamta se panzi" and "patfu se panzi" may be too long to be satisfactory.
They could be shortened by any of the options:
a. Change "panzi" to be its inverse, making "se panzi" into
b. Add a different gismu to be the inverse of "panzi";
c. Add two gismu to specifically represent the genetic relationships
"sire" and "dam";
Other options are possible. Note also that "rirni" is not quite the
same as "mother/father", so we may need another genderless general term
There is also the question of the extended family, which we have
long ignored. We can be very specific about "mother-mother", "father-
sister", and other extended family relationships, but we cannot be
general. This is a weakness in that most cultures use general terms, and
in American culture, the extended family relationships are getting so
complex that specific terms will not suffice. For discussion purposes
then, let us consider:
a. "elder/ancestor" for family members of generations preceding the
parents (including non-direct line, the relationship is more
social/ethnic than biological). Gender would be added via
tanru, as would explicit biological lineage (or a place could
be used for specifying lineage, with specific names used in
alternation with properties of the lineage of relation). The
conversion would give "descendant" as well as "grandkids" in
the broadest sense.
b. "aunt/uncle/godparent" for non-lineal (socio-ethnic) family
members of the parental generation. The conversion would
c. "cousin" for non-immediate (socio-ethnic) family members of the
The generalized family relationship is still expressed by "lanzu", which
can be modified via tanru.
Days of the week were discussed prior to the gismu baseline
discussion, and it was decided to add color and continent based names as
alternatives to the number based names that have been standard. In addi-
tion, the number based names will be set to run from 0 to 7, with Sunday
serving as both 0 and 7, depending on speaker preference/orientation.
John Cowan expressed great skepticism that any alternate system
would catch on. They seem too much like crackpot 'calendar reform'
efforts, and isn't well supported in numerical date representations. He
also noted that not all cultures have a 7-day week (which had been
previously noted). The generic concept of a week is the time between
successive market days, which ranges from 4 to 9 days in agrarian non-
Western cultures. He thus suggested that "jeftu" add a place to indicate
the culture. This requires no vote, since it is a place struture change.
If you have comments on any of the open issues, either put them on the
lojban-list, or send them to me.