Questions and Answers
Copyright © September 2009 by Tienzen (Jeh-Tween) Gong
After the inception of the PreBabel site on July 14, 2009, it has caught many people's interest. An in-depth discussion on the PreBabel took place at "conlanger bulletin board." Many great questions and critiques were discussed there. The following is a brief summary of those discussions.
- Day one --- Summary of questions and critiques
- Day two --- Is a universal language possible?
- Day three --- What are the criteria for a universal language?
- Day four --- The history of finding the universal language root word set
- Day five --- The choices of roots for the universal language
- Day six --- Theoretical framework of a universal language
- Day seven --- Test procedure for validating a universal language
- Day eight -- The fuzzy logic and the PreBabel root word set
- Day nine --- Are all natural languages isomorphic among one another?
- Day ten --- PreBabel root word set is invented, not discovered
- Day eleven --- Private Language Thesis (PLT) and the types of language
- Day twelve --- Can any language be without verbs?
- Day thirteen --- The regression encoding procedure (REP) for PreBabel
- Day fourteen --- The attractor theorem and a universal language
- Day fifteen --- The innate meaning of a word token (of PreBabel) vs its semantic meaning
- Day sixteen --- Is English a universal language?
- Day seventeen --- A premise must be testable
- Day eighteen --- The method of handling any chaotic system, such as the system of natural languages
- Day nineteen --- Via PreBabel to learn any second language is to learn two instead of one, then, why do it?
- Day twenty --- A true Emperor cannot be discredited by any disbelieving person
- Day twenty-one --- Is Esperanto a universal language?
- Day twenty-two --- The strategy of constructing a universal language
- Day twenty-three -- Should PreBabel words be intuitive? And, the PreBabel a, b and c.
- Day twenty-four -- Can PreBabel (language x) be learned easier than the language x itself?
Day twenty-five -- About "words and concepts of one language are grouped differently in another language.
- Day twenty-six -- The PreBabel process is as easy as 1, 2 and 3.
- Day twenty-seven -- How and when can PreBabel (Proper) emerge?
- Day twenty-eight -- more about intuitiveness.
- Day twenty-nine -- about memory anchors on learning a language.
- Day thirty -- about tests for PreBabel.
- Day thirty-one -- about PreBabel (Chinese).
- Day thirty-two -- the debut of PreBabel (Chinese) at AP Annual Conference 2007 (CollegeBoard).
- Day thirty-three -- traditional Chinese etymology vs PreBabel (Chinese).
- Day thirty-four -- the first constructed language, the Lii character set.
- Day thirty-five -- phonological reconstruction vs PreBabel (Chinese).
- Day thirty-six -- more about the construction of the Lii character set.
- Day thirty-seven -- Published works on PreBabel (Chinese).
- Day thirty-eight -- more of traditional Chinese etymology vs PreBabel (Chinese).
- Day thirty-nine -- PreBabel methodology I -- equivalent transformation.
- Day forty -- Types of conlang and more on traditional Chinese etymology vs PreBabel (Chinese).
- Day forty-one --- PreBabel epistemology: the Occam's razor.
- Day forty-two --- axiomatic domain, theory and system
- Day forty-three --- about Sapir-Whorf hypothesis
- Day forty-four --- About the differences among languages
- Day forty-five --- Reasons being in the dark
- Day forty-six --- about large and complex system
- Day forty-seven --- A constructed linguistic universe (I)
- Day forty-eight -- about China's language policy
- Day forty-nine --- Construced linguistic universe (II)
- Day fifty -- Constructed linguistic universe (III)
- Day fifty-one -- Constructed linguistic universe (IV)
- Day fifty-two -- Constructed linguistic universe (V)
- Day fifty-three -- Constructed linguistic universe (VI)
- Day fifty-four -- Constructed linguistic universe (VII)
- Day fifty-five -- Summary of constructed linguistic universe
- Day fifty-six -- Discovering the PreBabel principle
- Day fifty-seven -- Benefits of PreBabel
- Day fifty-eight -- the PreBabel procedures
- Day fifty-nine -- about Chinese Etymology
- Day sixty -- Can the parts be larger than the whole?
- Day sixty-one -- Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis revisited
- Day sixty-two -- The two step PreBabel procedures
- Day sixty-three -- Can linguistics be justified with math laws?
- Day sixty-four -- About heavily inflecting or agglutinating languages
- Day sixty-five -- Can any theory be based on only two highly atypical examples?
- Day sixty-six -- Can PreBabel encompass the Martian language?
- Day sixty-sevenCan the word ªj be dissected and decoded with the PreBabel root set?
- Day sixty-eight -- Comparison the PreBabel (Chinese) with some old school ways
- Day sixty-nine -- Comparison (II)
- Day seventy -- Comparison (III)
- Day seventy-one -- Comparison (IV)
- Day seventy-two -- Comparison (V)
- Day seventy-three -- Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis again
- Day seventy-four -- the "center of gravity" for new linguistics
- Day seventy-five -- the reviews and the material facts on PreBabel (Chinese)
- Day seventy-six -- Is PreBabel just an oligosynthetic written Lojban?
- Day seventy-seven -- About the flexibility of language
- Day seventy-eight -- About the universal grammar
- Day seventy-nine -- The "Large Complex System Principle" (LCSP) & the Martian Language Thesis
- Day eighty -- The three tiers of axiomatic system hierarchy
- Day eighty-one -- Universal grammar -- the total freedom
- Day eighty-two -- Spider Web Principle and the Minimum Complexity Theorem
- Day eighty-three -- Life system is the Totality
- Day eighty-four -- SULT is a language continuum
Day eleven --
Question -- from "Trailsend" --
Mmm...well, I would respond, but...it seems you did not read my prior post, or if you did, you opted not to address any of the points I raised there. I believe most of them are still valid arguments for why your criterion i, ii, and iii cannot be met universally.
Nnnope. I'm very sure I meant that your idea was theoretically impossible.
Answer -- I find your previous post on this issue, as below.
Quote from "Trailsend" --
I would suggest that a "universal language" as you have conceived it is indeed impossible, save that it becomes a redundant middle-man tongue that complicates cross-language understanding more than anything.
In that way, PB is, as others have said, somewhat redundant. It is just another language which must be "learned" like any other, and therefore would not serve the purpose of a universal language. For example, learning PB would not enable me to quickly learn Hindi, because Hindi will conceptualize ideas in a much different way than PB does, and I would essentially be starting over.
I also agree with the concerns others have mentioned about your proposed root system. It seems very redundant in places and very limited in scope. Granted, you have admitted that your root system may not be perfect, and you seem to be more interested in the theoretical notion of some small root set which could be used to derive all other concepts. (As mentioned above, I think this notion is flawed--even if you found a single root set which could represent all the concepts of one language, those representations will not necessarily be intelligible by speakers of different languages with different mindsets.) But for the sake of science, here's a test for the current root system.
In a previous post, I did discuss an issue about the isomorphism between languages, which was brought up by you. And, you kind of agreed that if all languages are isomorphic to one another, then a true universal language becomes possible.
After the introduction of the "Private Language Thesis (PLT)" and the "Invention Theorem", the isomorphic issue can be dealt a lot more precise than before. The whole issue is really about "what is a language?" I discussed this issue at two places.
- The main page of the PreBabel ( http://www.prebabel.info ), trying to list the necessary and the sufficient conditions for a language, with the example of English.
- A June 2007 paper at ( http://www.chinese-word-roots.org/cwr018.htm ), discussed the necessary and the sufficient conditions for a language on the metaphysical and on the ontological levels.
With PLT and the Invention Theorem, we now can address this issue in a much better details.
In fact, many of such a translation were not very good. Newton's laws were not a good translation of that "what not", and the situation became better after Einstein re-translated it by adding the Relativity. In fact, for the "gravity what not", no exact translation is found thus far yet.
- Long before the coming of human existence, our universe moved and evolved for a long time, billions years.
- During the past a few thousand years, men began to notice or to hear some of those primordial moves and evolutions by either discoveries or by inventions,
then, they wrote them down with one of man's invention, the languages.
- Discovery -- reached with induction (observations of phenomena)
- Invention -- reached with deduction
- What are those primordial moves and evolutions? What should they be called? A language or a "what not"?
- Even if we deny that they are a language, and call them as a "what not", yet they are something which can be described with the human languages. What is the difference between description and translation? If we give that a name, the "What not language," what is the grave consequence in linguistics? Can the following postulates make sense?
Postulate A: Every "what not" which can be described by a human language carries a "what not language".
Postulate B: All natural laws written by human (either via discovery or invention) are just translations of the "primordial 'what not' language".
With the postulate A and B, we have discovered a new kind of language, the "Primordial what not language (PWNL)," which itself is wordless, soundless,..., and many more -less(es). Yet, they can be translated into human languages as soon as we can hear them with some means.
Seemingly, this PWNL has no intention to communicate to or with humans but governs the entire universe with its wordless, soundless "what not language." At the human level, this PWNL is not a communicative language. Communication is not its purpose while the communication plays a major role in all human languages. If this is true, we then have two types of languages.
Then, the issue of "what is a language?" must be re-evaluated. This will be "the" central issue for linguistics. We should get back to this issue later. Yet, even without an answer for this issue, we are now able to re-visit the isomorphic issue of human languages.
- Communicative language
- Non-communicative language
Not only are the differences between natural languages great on their word form and on their grammar, but the differences between their contents are even greater. With so big content differences among languages, the isomorphic issue of comparing any two languages with one-to-one translation mapping could become less convincing. Yet, now we can select some "same" contents for any two languages and make one-to-one translation comparison. Let us fix the content to be the four parts of the PWNL (physics, chemistry, mathematics and biology). We only compare the part (the verbal part, not math language) of the language which is used to describe these four parts by any two natural languages . Can an one-to-one translation mapping be made between these subsets of these two natural languages? This is not a theoretical issue but a testable one. As far as for the world's five major languages (English, Russian, ..., etc.), they all passed this test. Thus, even if those languages were not isomorphic among one another as a whole, there are subsets of them isomorphic to one another. That is, we can, at least, build a universal language for those subsets.
Day twelve --
Question -- from "koffiegast" --
quote from "loftyD" -- how the hell can a language not have verbs...
Try to say, I am making some lunch . It seems impossible. End quote.
Well it is possible, as it all comes down to the notion of verb and what kind of information those words hold.
I looked at the roots, the structure in general and... sure some nice ideas, but they just don't work out. I'm sure it has been pointed out before that the choice for some roots is ... you know. The grammar has some great points, but nothing really that super or different from any other average (experimental/logical) conlanger.
Tienzen if you want us to understand and show we are wrong (or whatever word you feel like fits in better) I recommend to be more precise and exhaustive. Also it would be nice if your site had some more clear sections (add some spaces, a line, anything will do).
That said, I hope to see some great results (in special: the semantics).
Answer -- I think that there is no disagreement of any kind among linguists on the issue of whether any computer language is a genuine language. Yet, I did not find any "verb" class in any computer language, although there are some kind of action-like key words, such as, goto, print, etc..
Those action-like key words (goto, print, etc.) are not verbs. Computer language is written in "lines". They are executed (by CPU) line by line. Although we can use computer as a communication tool, the computer language itself is not a "communicative" language but an executive language, very much similar to the PWNL (Primordial what not language) which I discussed in my last post.
In fact, verb is a sub-class of the "parts of speech" class which is a unique feature only for an inflected language. Any language which is not inflected does not have "parts of speech" although it does have action-like, adjective-like, adverb-like, ..., many other-like words. In my paper "PreBabel -- The true Universal Language", I did discuss the issue of conceptual and perceptual languages (also available in the book "The Divine Constitution", Library of Congress Catalog Card number 91-90780). Many of the perceptual languages are inflected. Yet, most of the conceptual languages are not inflected. In a conceptual language, all words are in a conceptual level, no time-mark (or any other mark for that matter, such as adjective or adverb, etc.) is attached to any word. Then, a word can be used as anything, as a noun, a verb, an adjective, ..., etc..
For the conceptual language, even the "subject - predicate" structure is not needed. As there are some conceptual languages out there, many linguists do recognize this fact. Without a subject-predicate structure, there is no need for a verb class. Chinese language is an 100% conceptual language and its words are not inflected. What kind of grammar can govern this type of language? A great paper on this is available at
It is quite obvious that all computer languages are conceptual language, and all their vocabulary (key words) is not inflected. As the computer language is "executed" line by line, no time-mark is needed, and of course, no inflection. No verb is needed.
Now we have discussed a few attributes of language.
Of course, none of these attributes are 100% mutually exclusive among them. The executive can communicate although it is not its prime purpose, and vice verse.
For a universal language, it must have the capacity to encompass all those different attributes. For any basket, its largest capacity is that when it is empty. Thus, the PreBabel grammar is, now, an near empty basket, and thus it can encompass all grammars. A detailed description of the PreBabel grammar is available at the PreBabel site.
Day thirteen --
Question -- from "porpleafreet" --
and lastly, I would like you to encode a few things for me, here's a small list:
never trust a pineapple -- or a grapefruit, for that matter.
the blue sky greened, then faded to red, then out to black before dawning anew the next day.
the little monkey attacked tienzen viciously with a spork.
please encode those, I want to see how they'll turn out.
Answer -- I think that 2 or 3 examples will suffice to show the process of encoding and to evaluate that whether the PB root word set is capable of encoding all English words or not.
The first step is to define the word with two or more (maximally 4) English words of your choice.
For "laser" = (engineer, light), Note: (this is my choice, and you can have yours.)
The second step is to read out these words with PB roots or PB words.
"Engineer" = root 125
"light" = (fire, energy), as this word "light" is not a current PB word, it must be encoded first.
"fire" = root 91
"energy" = root 3
So, "laser" = (R125, R91, R3)
For "electricity" = (lightning, energy)
As "lightning" is not a current PB word, it must be encoded first.
"lightning" = (rain, light)
Again, "rain" is not a current PB word, it also must be encoded first.
"rain" = (sky, water)
"sky" = seed word (sw) 97
"water" = root 93
So, "electricity" = (sw97, r93, r91, r3, r3)
For a large PB word, it can actually written as a PB word phrase, such as,
"electricity" = (lightning, energy) = ((sw97, r93, r91, r3), r3)
For "radio" = (artificial, speak)
"artificial" = (man, engineer) = (r96, r125)
"speak" = r165
So, "radio" = (r96, r125, r165)
For "buttmunch" = (kiss, butt) and many of you can encode this one better than I could.
For "what's up" or "never trust a pineapple", the meaning of these phrases or sentences is the result of semantic operation. When PreBabel has enough PB words, some combinations of those words can easily translate those sentences. In fact, we don't encode sentences but translate them.
Question -- from "Ave94" --Why there can be no universal language:
And if they were going to learn another language, why one with no other speakers, when they can learn a natural language with millions of speakers? If there are only a few other speakers, then there's no point in learning it, because it would be useless without people to talk to in it. And it is easier to learn a language if you have help from fluent speakers.
Answer -- With the above examples, we can be very confident that an induction proof that this PB root word set can, indeed, encode the entire English vocabulary. Yet, why should anyone want to learn it?
Almost all the non-English speaking countries teach English in their schools, and most of their students learned English one to five years during their school years. Yet, 80% of them are unable truly to speak or to write in English. English is simply a too difficult language to learn as a second language.
With the PreBabel, a new linguistic law was discovered.
Law 1: Encoding with a closed set of root words, any arbitrary vocabulary type language will be organized into a logically linked linear chain.
When the encoding of English with PB set is completed (100% or at least with a dictionary of 50,000 English words), this PreBabel (English) becomes a dialect of English. Then learning English as a second language via its dialect [PreBabel (English)] will become much, much easier (10 to 100 times easier). And, this is a testable issue.
As we already know that Chinese written language was one of the most difficult language to learn in the world, yet it becomes the easiest one after the Chinese word system was encoded 100% with a cousin of the PB set. A world record was set with only 89 days of study (from an initial state of not knowing a single Chinese word both verbal and written to a level of being able to read the current Chinese newspaper), and this case can be examined in detail at
Question -- from "Thakowsaizmu" -- And in manipulating those roots to make more words, all the people have to either agree on the meanings, or memorize meanings that may not make total sense to them. Universal languages in this vein are usually doomed from the get go. You cannot be one hundred percent nonsubjective when creating these words.
Answer -- Before a natural language is encoded with the PB set 100%, the encoding process is an open frame process. Indeed, a thing or a concept can be encoded in many different ways with the PB set, such as,
[R(a), R(b, R(c)] = [R(x), R(y)] = ...
And, these are synonyms. Of course, at the time of compiling a dictionary for that language, some synonyms should be dropped while only preserve the best ones.
Although the encoding process is wide open, limited only by our imagination, there is one rule that we should observe, the excluding principle.
Excluding Principle: when R(a) + R(b) means X, then R(b) + R(a) should mean X+ (not X). When a word already has a PB code, a similar code should be assigned to a different word if that PB code can encompass it.
This excluding principle is not in contradiction with the synonyms but is a good and economic way of encoding. In a sense, this kind of assignment is kind of going back to the issue of "you told me so," but the degree of that has reduced greatly.
Day fourteen --
Question -- from "Ave94" --
Even if you could get billions of people to speak the same language, it wouldn't last. Soon it would diverge into separate dialects, then mutually unintelligible languages. After all the work teaching everyone the language, you'd have to start all over again.
Answer -- This is a very important point. Yet, it was posted so early in this thread, and I was unable to answer it without laying out my position first. Now, I can answer it with an "Attractor theorem".
"Attractor theorem" -- if set R is an attractor (unifying set or a converging set) of some arbitrary set A, B, C,...; set R is also the attractor of all its (set R) descendant sets, set S, T, U, ...
In the case of our discussion, the Set R is the PreBabel set, and A, B, C ... are all natural languages. Set S, T, U,... are all dialects of the PreBabel, derived from a diverging force which is described in your post. Yet, the PB set will also be the converging point of all those dialects.
There are many examples in nature following this Attractor Theorem. For example, ocean is the attractor for all water. Hurricane is a diverging force for ocean, which sucks up billions tons of water away from ocean each time, and it moves those water to a very far away mountain. Yet, most of the water will eventually go back to the ocean. In short, if R is an attractor for a system L, there is no diverging force in L which can create a diverged set in L not converging to R.
Of course, if the PreBabel is not an attractor in L, then the Attractor Theorem does not apply. If the PreBabel is an attractor in L, then your question is answered.
Some of you are not happy about the way that I encoded some words, such as, laser. Of course, anyone can always do a better job. Yet, the key point is that whether the "Regression Encoding Procedure (REP)" works or not, regardless of whether a particular word was encoded good or poorly.
Before an actual PB set on hand, whether a system L (all natural languages) has an attractor (universal language) or not can only be discussed on a theoretical level, by proving many mathematic theorems, such as,
- Isomorphic theorem -- all natural languages are isomorphic to one another.
- Existence theorem -- there is, at least, one Set R is the root word set which is able to encode one natural language. Set R is called a PreBabel set or PB set in short.
- Universal theorem -- if Set R can encode one natural language, then Set R can encode all natural languages.
- Uniqueness theorem -- If R1 and R2 are both PB sets, then R1 and R2 are isomorphic.
- Fuzzy set theorem -- If R is a PB set, then R is a fuzzy set.
Those above theorems can be proved mathematically even without knowing the content of the set R. When an actual set R is on hand, the situation "changed completely". All above theorems become "TESTABLE," not just provable. That is, we can actually try out one premise at a time.
We can actually try to encode all natural languages with the current PB set by using the Regression Encoding Procedure (REP). "How good or how bad an encoding is" is not an issue. "Can we do it?" is the issue.
There is a major difference between a theorem and a law. Theorem is provable by deduction. Law is testable, generally by induction. Now, the whole issue is testable, and there is a "Law 2" after the construction of the PB set.
Law 2: When every natural language is encoded with a universal set of root words, a true Universal Language emerges.
Why b-o-o-k is book? If it is arbitrary assigned, what is so terrible to assign (engineer, light) for laser? It is not wrong although it may not be the best. The whole concept about the PreBabel is to link all natural languages with a "single set" which provides mnemonic recognition beyond and above the alphabet level. This is the "Law 1".
Law 1: Encoding with a closed set of root words, any arbitrary vocabulary type language will be organized into a logically linked linear chain.
As a law, it is testable.
Question -- form "Ave94" -- I really don't see how this will make it any easier to learn a foreign language, except Chinese. If I want to learn, say, Swahili, I wouldn't learn PreBabel, then learn how it is mapped to Swahili. I don't want to have to learn another language just so I can learn Swahili. Even if languages are all isomorphic, which I don't believe is true, I still have to learn two languages instead of one.
Answer -- The using of dishwasher is, indeed, increasing the dishwashing steps, from a two step job (washing, put it away) to five steps (rinsing, loading, close door, turn power on, unloading). Yet, no one will disagree that dishwasher is an easier way of doing the dishwashing. Of course, with the PreBabel, we are learning two instead of one. The point is that which one uses less energy, the memory energy. This again is a testable issue. We should design one or many tests for this.
I did discuss the "Minimum complexity theorem". Before the minimum complexity is reached for a system, there is always a way to reduce its complexity by using a device which re-organizes the system, such as the dishwasher. Unless all current natural languages are all at their minimum complexity state, we can always introduce a device to reduce their complexity. In the extreme case, that they all are, indeed, at their minimum complexity state themselves, the total system (encompass all natural languages) is still at a random state, as none of the language (excluding the dialects or a family language) is linked in any fashion. That is, the complexity of this total system can be reduced although all its members are all at the minimum state themselves. Thus, the concept of the PreBabel could still be helpful even under this circumstance. Whether that the current PB set is the best candidate for this job or not is not truly an issue.
Day fifteen --
Question -- from "sangi39" --
Therefore, this is not a "universal" language as it may have intended to be, but a simple mnemonic device whih would aid in the increased learning speed of the tens of thousands of Chinese characters, but not necessarily the spoken language represented by the script.
This method, again, is only able to increase the speed in which the Chinese character inventory, without sound or meaning, can be learnt, and as a result of being Standard Chinese script specific, may actually hinder in the attempts to learn a lot of languages around the world.
Answer -- Indeed, there are much, much more in a language than just "word form" of its vocabulary.
The Empire State building has 102 floors with two sets of elevators, A and B. Elevator A takes the tourists to the 82nd floor from the lobby. The elevator B goes the rest of way, all the way to the top, 102nd floor.
It is not right to condemn the elevator A being useless of not doing the job all the way. I have never claimed that the word root set alone is the whole thing for a language. For Chinese language, the "lesson two" of the book "Chinese Etymology" does discuss the verbal (pronunciations) of Chinese phonetics. As the book is a commercial product, only a brief introduction of that lesson is available online, at:
The Chinese grammar is also described in detail in my book "Chinese Word Roots and Grammar" (with US Copyright number TX6-514-465).
By all means, the elevator A, although not reaching the top, has done "the most" important job. It takes 10 years for a native Chinese child to learn 3000 to 4000 Chinese characters. With the "Chinese Etymology", anyone (12 years or old) who knows not a single Chinese word can reach that same level with only 300 hours of good study, and this is guaranteed (to the students) and tested times and again. After knowing 3000 to 4000 Characters, all other parts (pronunciation, grammar, etc.) become very easy.
Question -- "sangi39" --
So, although this method may actually be a good method for learning to more easily write Chinese characters, it doesn't actually seem to aid in the learning of what the character actually means since one still has to learn that "dào" with the correct pronunciation of consonants and vowels, not to mention the tone, means "way" which is essentially unrelated to the meanings of the radicals which make up the character, which evolved independently of the word "dào" itself, linking only in that the character is the attempt to physically represent the word.
Answer -- There is a significant difference between the PB approach and any other languages. Excluding the traditional Chinese word system (as the PB set was derived from it), the "word token" itself of most natural languages carries no "meaning," while its meaning is assigned and agreed in and by its language community. That is, those words have no syntactic meaning but have a semantic meaning. On the contrary, the PB word (Chinese traditional word is now a dialect of PB word) does carry an innate meaning, a direct read out from its composite root members. I can describe this difference as below.
- PB approach: word token ------> innate meaning ------> Semantic meaning
- Other approach: Word token ----------------------------------> Semantic meaning
Of course, the innate meaning and the semantic meaning can be very different, such as the Chinese word "light" (the innate meaning) can also mean "emptiness".
- The gap between the word token and its semantic meaning (for any language) is much greater than the gap between the innate meaning and its semantic meaning.
- Although the gap between the innate meaning and its semantic meaning can sometimes be large, the innate meaning can still be a great memory anchor for that word, and all its semantic meanings can be acquired easily if the word itself is already anchored in the memory.
Question -- from "sangi39" --
... ,and this method may not help in learning a language with a grammar vastly different from that of English and Chinese where, for example, the inceptive mood is expressed by circumflexes or an infix (which would surround the word or break it in two) or which include a morphological paucal number or an OVS word order.
Answer -- Seemingly, many of you are still viewing the PreBabel as a conlang, similar to Esperanto which is a "stand alone" conlang. Even if the Esperanto is a universal language, it is not an attractor for all other natural languages.
The PreBabel is not a stand alone conlang but an attractor of all natural languages. The difference between the two is so great, and there is no example which can be used to describe it, such as, the gap between Heaven and Earth, etc..
We use the PB set to encode all languages, not to replace them. For English, there is a PreBabel (English) or PB (English) in short, and the PB (English) is a dialect of English. For Russian, there is dialect of PB (Russian), etc..
For a Russian, learning PB (Russian), (when its encoding is complete), will be very easy. Then, this Russian can learn English via PB (English), (when its encoding is complete), and it will be much easier than by learning natural English directly. This is a testable issue as soon as both languages are encoded by a PB set, doesn't have to be the current PB set.
In fact, it is a testable issue that learning Russian via PB (Russian), (when there is one there), can be much easier than learning natural Russian directly even by a native Russian person.
For Chinese written language, the above test was done many times with success, as there is already a PB (Chinese written language). In all senses, the PB (Chinese) could be the worst PB (languages), as it was encoded by the ancient Chinese with the current PB set. And their encoding logic is very ancient and very heavily culturally laden. The students of Chinese etymology do have some problems for the ancient inferring logic; yet, it is quickly overcome when they place themselves in the ancient time. With this process, they also learned many Chinese culture.
Day sixteen --
Question -- from "loftyD" --
Yes Tienzen there is a universal language, its called English.
Answer -- After a three hundred year British Empire and one hundred year of American hegemony (a total of over 400 years), the English should be a true universal language long ago. Today, a very high percentage of non-English speaking people in the world learned one to five years English in their school years; yet, the majority of those people cannot claim that English is their second language with any kind of proficiency.
Ave94 said, "It isn't just that English is difficult, it's that they had no reason to maintain fluency. Most people only need one language in their lives, so why keep practicing their 2nd language? Only us language geeks will learn languages without real use for them."
Although this is very true, it still cannot hide the fact that English is just a too difficult language to learn. Even for Americans with the English as the first language, 20% of them are factually illiterate and a lot more are semi-illiterate. With the English as it is, even with another 500 years of America hegemony, it will definitely still not be able to make the current situation any better. Fortunately, with the PreBabel, this situation can be changed.
In the web page "PreBabel Laws and Theorems" ( http://www.prebabel.info/bab010.htm ), The Theorem 1 states,
Theorem 1: With law 1 and law 2, any arbitrary vocabulary type of language will become an easy language to learn (as mother tongue or as a second language) by encoding itself with a closed root word set to create a mnemonic chain.
Law 1: Encoding with a closed set of root words, any arbitrary vocabulary type language will be organized into a logically linked linear chain, similar to the amino acids / enzymes / proteins system.
Law 2: When every natural language is encoded with a universal set of root words, a true Universal Language emerges.
The PB(English) is that the natural English is encoded with the PreBabel root word set. And, PB(Russian), PB(Arabic) or PB(Chinese) can also be constructed in the same manner. The PB(English) is a dialect of the natural English. With the Theorem 1, PB(English) will be a very easy language to learn as a mother tongue or as a second language. That is, by using PB(English), the illiterate rate in "America" will be reduced. Of course, this is a "testable" issue as soon as the construction of the PB(English) is completed. Yet, some theoretical points can be discussed here.
- During the human evolution, humans have found out that the ability of facial recognition is the most important ability to have, much more than the ability of sound (phonetic) recognition. Thus, the ideograph is easier to be memorized than the phonemes. Any phonetic alphabet language can be easily learned as a first language but could be a very difficult lessons as a second language.
- Again, during the human evolution, humans have found out the way of economizing the memory energy, by memorizing only the "landmarks", not the entire blob of the surrounding. Logic is a pathway for those landmarks while any arbitrary vocabulary is, in general, a blob without a discernable landmark as a memory anchor.
The PreBabel approach uses both ideograph and logic chain as the memory anchors. As we already know, the power of hegemony alone is definitely not enough and is, in fact, useless for creating a universal language. Thus, with the PreBabel approach, it is the only chance for any natural language to become a true universal language under the power of hegemony. This can be achieved with two simple steps. Using English as the example,
- To construct the PB(English) as soon as possible -- it will reduce the illiterate rate in English speaking countries. Yet, most importantly, English will become an easy language to learn as a second language for all non-English speaking people.
- To construct the PB(L) for all other natural languages -- This will make all other language speakers learning their own language via PB(L, their own). Then, they can learn PB(English) even faster than the step i.
Only when a second language is ten or one hundred times easier than a person's "first" language, then that second language can be guaranteed a chance to become a true universal language. Can this be possible? Please visit
If that language is supported by a political hegemony, it will be guaranteed 100% chance to be a universal language. When one is on the throne, it can be very difficult un-seated by others even though the other is a much better one. For English, the time is about running out. The traditional Chinese word system is, now, already 100% encoded with the PB set. China has discovered this fact, and she is about to go back to it from the current simplified system. By then, the Chinese language will become the easiest language to learn in the whole world. For English, there is still a chance to fight for the throne, 10 more years, but no more.
Question -- from "sangi39" --
..., but a proposal is currently gaining support in China to remove the simplified script due to the higher number of merged characters, and in a language with a lot of homophones merging in the script is seen as a bad idea by some.
Also, you still haven't addressed th issue of a natural population, which would be needed for this language to actually have a start point for some momentous take-off to becoming an international language, which is actually crucial in the discussion I made above, i.e. a natural PB-speaking population, using PB as a first language, is necessary for the development of PB as a universal language,
Answer -- By 2020, China will complete her task of going back to the traditional system. The PreBabel (Chinese) will have 1.5 billion speakers by then.
Question -- -- from "jal" -- I visited the link. ...
This is a red herring: the percentages are false, and it doesn't say anything about English being suitable for an international language.
First, the percentage of non-English speaking people learning English. A quick google turns up this which claims about 1 billion people, ...
Answer -- my last post has, in fact, only two simple points.
- A statement -- After a 400 year of domination of British and America, English did not become a true universal language.
- A premise -- by adopting PreBabel (English), English has a great chance to become a true universal language.
For a premise, it must be testable. Non-testable premise belongs to the fiction. There is no point of analyzing word by word or sentence by sentence of any premise or any theory. If it is not testable, it will not get any attention. Thus, any premise must face the following three steps,
Just this simple.
- Does it has any test point or points? That is, can it be tested? If not, here it goes, the trash can.
- Can a test be designed to rid of all random chances? If no such test can be designed, here it goes, the back burner until a good test design can be found.
- What is the test result? Right or wrong?
Can my premise be tested? Of course. As soon as the PreBabel (English) is complete, two test stages can be planned.
Stage one: test in ESL (English as the Second Language).
- Group A learns English with the current ESL material.
- Group B learns English with the PreBabel (English)
Stage two: test in American grade school as the first language
- Group A learns English with the current textbooks.
- Group B learns English with the PreBabel (English).
Of course, the above tests will not happen anytime soon. So, we can discuss them intellectually. Yet, for any testable issue, any discussion which is non-related to the test (the testability, the test methodology, the predicted test results) is truly meaningless.
Question -- from "Trailsend" -- The "mental images" formed by your roots (or any closed set of roots) will never be intuitive for all people everywhere because--to pose the problem mathematically as you are wont to do--the transforms from concept to lexeme employed by different people in different cultures are not the same. Heck, you claim that English can be entirely encoded in PB, but even the first few of your sample encodings aren't intuitive at all to me, and I'm a native English speaker.
This is what I am (and have been) trying to say. You cannot expect all the world's people to think identically. They are not isomorphic.
I went scarcely twenty seed words down your list, and the vast majority of them were not "direct" images for me at all. I would have to memorize individually (the same way I have to do for Japanese, Spanish, Mandarin, Hindi...) what each encoding was intended to mean. It would not be any easier for me than just memorizing a word to match the meaning.
And this doesn't even scratch the surface of what you would do with words that are culture specific.
Answer -- Your points are very important.
In fact, they form two chaotic systems, at person's level and at culture's level. In recent years, the chaotic system is understood in math and in physics. I did talk about it with math before, such as, the shadow theorem, the large number theorem. Now, I would like to show some actual examples of how any chaotic system behaves.
- People are different, in their thinking and their culture.
- Cultures are different
What is a chaotic system? It can be defined very precise both in math and in physics. Without using those jargons, it can be simply understood to be without "order". What is "order" then? There are many types of order, but they all share one characteristic, some kinds of alignment. So, if a system has some kinds of alignment, then it has some kinds of order.
Example one: the Earth's core is molten lava. In general, in such a high temperature system, it is thermodynamically chaotic. Yet, at one point of time, that glob of molten lava began to flow in a certain direction (no longer chaotic and random), and it produces the Earth's magnetic field.
Example two: A single fertilized egg multiples through the division of cells. At the stage of midblastula (having about 4,000 cells), the embryo has the shape of a "hallow sphere;" no particular orientation or alignment can be found. Then, suddenly, it becomes three moving groups, the mesoderm, the endoderm and the ectoderm. A certain alignment begins, and it forms a digestive tract as well as various other organs. The ectoderm develops into a nervous system.
There are many, many such examples in nature. This phenomena is called SSB (spontaneous symmetry breaking). SSB is a very deep subject in both math and physics. The modern physics (especially the High Energy Physics, the HEP) is based on SSB. At least, ten physicists have won the Nobel Prize on their works on the SSB. While many nature processes are controlled by the mechanism of SSB, all chaotic systems can be handled with an ISB (induced symmetry breaking). For example, the driving convention. Originally, there is no preference of which side to drive, left (used by England, Japan) or right (used by America). Yet, as soon as that symmetry is broken with an induced law, the correct- and the wrong- side are defined. Driving on the wrong side not only is illegal but is life threaten. With a simple ISB, the entire traffic system is aligned and placed under an order.
I would like to talk about one more example, the building of the spider web. The first thread which is placed by a spider can be somewhat arbitrary. Yet, it decides the "location" of the web, the first ISB (going to be here, not there). The second thread which can still be arbitrary will "set" the size of the web, the 2nd ISB (going to be this big, not that). The third thread (the choice becomes less than the two before) which connects the two previous thread will "locate" the center of the web. With these three threads (three ISB), the final shape of the web is determined.
Building a language is very similar to building a spider web. The initial ISBs can, indeed, be arbitrary. Thus, the first ISB (the 240 roots) and the second ISB (about 300 seed words) of the PreBabel can be somewhat arbitrary in nature. If you feel that they are arbitrary in logic, you could be right. Yet, those arbitrary ISBs will for sure set the alignment for PreBabel. Regardless of one's personal thinking style or his culture background, if he wants to be part of the PreBabel, he needs to take in the two ISBs and follow them the rest of the way. If one is not interested in PreBabel at all, then it does not matter to him in any way.
Question -- from "Trailsend" -- ... , I get the feeling that you are convinced that PB's system is constructed in such a way that any learner, regardless of starting language or mindset, would find it very easy to create a transform from his/her native language to PB, and then another from PB to any target language--so easy, in fact, that such a two-step process would in total be more easily accomplished than just learning the target language directly. I see very little to support this claim.
Answer -- Yes, Yes. You are very, very, very close to the point. It is my claim.
Before, our discussions were about whether PB is possible. Your question now is about its usefulness. This is truly a great step forward.
To learn the Chinese written language in a traditional way (without the PB), it will take about 10 years for a native Chinese kid, and the similar time period for any American adult. As the PreBabel (Chinese) is now 100% completed, any (12 years or older) American can learn Chinese written language (over 3,000 characters) with 300 hours of "good (no slack off)" study. There are many tests already done on this. In fact, you can try it for yourselves if you are not already knowing the Chinese written system.
A year from now, the PreBabel (English) will be done with a 10,000 word dictionary. Any non-English speaker will be able to learn English much faster with the PB (English) then the traditional ESL material. Of course, the supporting evidence on this is yet to come.
In fact, for an American learning Chinese written language via PreBabel (Chinese), he does not need to know PreBabel (English), as it is not yet completed anyway.
For a Chinese learning English via PreBabel (English) when it is completed, he does not need to know the PreBabel (Chinese), as he might already learned Chinese in the traditional way.
So, it is not quite to be a two-step process as your description. Of course, he needs to learn the PB root word set and the formation rules (the grammar) for the PB (constructed language) which is a dialect of the target language.
Question -- from "Trailsend" -- ...this being the case because PB is derived (in a sense, at least) from the Chinese writing system. But even if this were true, the same advantage does not apply to native speakers of Tagolog, Swahili, !Xoo. I fail to see the universality here.
Answer -- For those speakers (native speakers of Tagolog, Swahili, !Xoo), they can learn Chinese written language via PreBabel (Chinese) as easy as an American can. As soon as the PreBabel (English) is completed, they can learn English via PreBabel (English) as easy as a Chinese can.
With the PB approach, only the target language needs to be PB-lized.
Day twenty --
Question -- from "sangi39" -- and that your actual linguistic knowledge is truly minimal in scale. You seem to be working almost completely using a script, and one which represents sounds through complex characters whose apparent modern form, seemingly based on a small number of radicals, is unrelated to there original form in that the original semantic and phonological detail which made up each character has been partially lost, leading to the false etymology which you cling to as much as math and physics. You seem to take little or know consideration of foreign morphology, syntax, pragmatics, and even semantics, etymology and language learning and application, and at the very worst the nature of language itself.
Taking all of this into account, that failed math, the sporadic application of mathematics and physics to linguistics, the presentation of incorrect and seemingly random data, the presentation of random theories and hypotheses which build upon each other in continual circles of contrived logic, the lack of sheer linguistic understanding and even the complete lack of a reply to several key points, most notably false etymology and the application of a "universal" language dealing solely on word level cross-linguistically, that this idea of PB as a "universal" language which underlies all natural languages on this planet as simply false.
Answer -- You have the absolute right to form an opinion or a judgement about me and about my work. Obviously, I failed to win you over, and it is my failure alone. Yet, I would like to tell a Chinese story to comfort myself.
A few hundred years ago, the Emperor went into the country-side in disguise. He fell in love with a village girl. Soon, he was in her bed chamber and made love to her. Then, he told her that I am the Emperor and will take you back to palace as my concubine. She said, I love you too but don't tell me the Emperor non-sense. He said, really, I am the Emperor, see, here is Emperor's seal. She looked at it, and indeed, it is made of jade. She said, "many rich kids have this too. You don't have to use the Emperor nonsense story, I love you anyway." He showed her the Emperor's gown, yellow color with dragon on it. Even a village girl knew that it is the gown for the Emperor alone. Yet, she said, "the opera player does wear this when he is playing the part as an Emperor." With a few more evidences, the Emperor was unable to convince her (who loves him) that he is a true Emperor. Finally, the morning came. The Emperor went to the window and opened it. There it was. Hundreds high officials, great Generals and thousands of soldiers were kneeing in the village. When they saw him, they yelled, "Long live the Emperor." Then, the girl dropped on her knees and begged for mercy.
Can a disbelieving village girl (or thousands of them for that matter) discredit a true Emperor?
My minimal linguistic knowledge on the "Chinese Etymology" was greatly praised by many
Presidents of Chinese universities. Over ten of their letters are available at
at the web page "Comments from University Presidents in China"
The President of Beijing Language University wrote, "I will hold your book in my bosom to study." Many other Presidents wrote, "You have opened up a new path on Chinese Etymology, which no one ever knew before."
I do not know who you are or what is your background. I do know about them. They are the top of tops. In the academic world in China, they are the top.
I also know the followings:
- The root word (or word root) is a Western concept. Before the publication of my book "Chinese Word Roots and Grammar" in 2006, not a single book, single article on "root words" can be found in China's history, going back 2,000 years or 5,000 years.
- at the US Copyright Office's search page,
By searching the key word "Chinese Etymology", there is only one such book in the entire US copyright database. And, the author of that book is I (Jeh-Tween Gong). By searching the key word "Chinese word root", there again is only one such book. Again, the author of that book is I (Jeh-Tween Gong).
- No one can find the term of "root word" or "word root" in any Chinese dictionary, either current or ancient.
My minimal linguistic knowledge not only is praised by the top of the tops in China but is the only contributor to the entire field of Chinese Etymology; at least, it is the case in the official database.