criteria for evaluating experimental cmavo

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  • And Rosta:
    • Some disorganized remarks:
      • One common response to proposed experimental cmavo is to point out alternative ways of saying the same thing, without recourse to the cmavo at issue. In general this is a good line of criticism, but it is important to remember that virtually any cmavo, experimental or no, can be paraphrased by a suitably defined brivla (e.g. lujvo). So the "There is no other way of saying it" argument rarely ever works for any baselined or experimental cmavo.
        • experimental cmavo which don't do something that is either impossible or very difficult or clumsy under the current language, are, as far as I'm concerned, entirely frivolous, and do more harm than good (of course, the difference of opinion will invariably be where to draw the lines on those items). A good many of the experimental cmavo suggested here on the wiki are totally useless pe'i. For examples of these entirely frivolous cmavo, see bi'ai, da'au, jai'i, and (no pun) foi'a through foi'u (these latter ones (foi'a-u) are such a bad idea it makes my head hurt; thankfully no one has even paid them enough mind to create pages for them). Examples of experimental cmavo which actually try to do something useful which is either clumsy, difficult or impossible in lojban are xoi (which I think va'e can replace), xai, and xa'o. --mi'e .djorden.
        • Unlike you, apparently, I would distinguish between proposed cmavo that are simply not very good, or not worthwhile, and, on the other hand, proposed cmavo that are outright frivolous. It is not unreasonable to expect that bad proposals can be made without frivolity, in the expectation that intelligent peer review will filter out the good from the bad. As for the cmavo you mention, I will try to get round to having a pass through the current list of proposals to see which I think are worthwhile. ba'ai is not in Currently Proposed Experimental Cmavo. I hope you don't mean ba'oi, else I would suspect you of speaking with more vehemence than wisdom (-- a vice to which I too am prone). I don't know what the point of da'au was supposed to be, but I suspect that you don't either. jai'i is a redundant proposal, as evidenced by the commentary associated with it; it should be moved to Obsolete Experimental Cmavo. foi'a & co. have no pages for them because I rashly supposed their virtues self-evident. I can accept that in the absence of explanation you fail to perceive the argument for them, but you're more likely to elicit that information by asking, rather than by simply declaring them a bad idea. Nevertheless, I will try to supply a page for them some time. --And Rosta
          • Ah, I meant bi'ai (updated the link in the orig., feel free to remove this reply and your question about what I meant if you want). (Though I don't like ba'oi (or the others in its "worlds" family), I wouldn't call it outright frivolous). The distinction you make is clearly the same as mine, it's just where the lines are drawn, as is to be expected. --mi'e .djorden.
          • As xorxes says, bi'ai is proposed for the sake of symmetry. Lojban, especially in the cmavo, is full of symmetries, even relatively inutile ones such as the plethora of U-connectives, and this is an important ingredient of its conceptual-aesthetic appeal. Similar symmetries are, but more erratically, found in natlangs too, created usually through analogy, so clearly a love of symmetry is an intrinsic element of human language. You declare yourself swayed only by considerations of utility (and hence not of symmetry), but I don't think that is sufficient grounds to call bi'ai 'frivolous'. --And Rosta
  • It follows that the main argument in favour of a given experimental cmavo has to do with utility or symmetry. The argument from utility says "other (e.g. lujvo-based) ways of expressing this meaning are too cumbersome relative to the usefulness of the meaning". The argument from symmetry says "the meaning (or function) of this experimental cmavo belongs to a family of meanings that are expressed by certain baselined cmavo; therefore it is appropriate that the novel meaning be expressed by a cmavo".
      • A common argument against experimental cmavo is that they don't get used. This could be one of two arguments. One says that this shows that the cmavo is useless. The response to this is that this would only become apparent once there has been much usage by a body of highly competent users who are prepared to countenance using experimental cmavo. The second argument says that the lack of usage shows that the experimental cmavo aren't wanted. The response to this is that we don't have to look at usage to know that some people don't want them -- we can look at the various ideological declarations posted by the fundamentalism undamentalists -- and conversely, the fact that they have been proposed in the first place shows that someone thinks they're worth considering.
      • nitcion will add that I'm increasingly reconciled to there being two dialects of Lojban: one fundamentalist and naturalist, constrained by the baseline, and one hardliner, and constrained further than the baseline, but also admitting some experimental cmavo for hardliner purposes. Because I now guiltily admit that mu'ei is a good thing for Lojban to have around...
        • It sometimes seems like there's almost as many dialects of lojban as there are lojban speakers. feh. Wasn't the book supposed to end that problem? bleh. --mi'e .djorden.
          • The book approves of experimental cmavo, at least in theory.
        • Talking of dialects seems a bit exaggerated. I think both innovative and conservative elements are necessary for the health of the language. What is required is the right mix of these in the community as a whole, but there is no problem if some individuals are more on the wild side and others more on the constrained side of a given dimension. If we strike the right balance as a community, we'll be all right. --xorxes
        • I have to say I agree with xorxes. If all Lojbanists thought as I do, the community would long ago have withered away to half a dozen diehards. On the other hand, I am of the opinion that if Lojban was left wholly in the hands of the naturalists it would degenerate into (or fail to evolve from) a fatuous pidgin that has lost all the virtues of the original enterprise. --And Rosta