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The Quandary about xorlo


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> pc:
> > Let me lay out my quandary.
> > For all I know, xorlo may be a highly
> desirable
> > way to transform Lojban. It may solve many
> known
> > or previously unknown problems in earlier
> Lojban
> > and do so without introducing any new
> problems of
> > its own. It may make Lojban as a language
> for
> > use much smoother and moore elegant and
> > transparent (and whatever other virtues you
> want
> > here). For all I know.
> > But all I know is what I read here (together
> with
> > some recollections of discussions stretching
> back
> > through several years). I have asked for
> more,
> > making explicit requests, asking particular
> > questions. But I have not received answers
> --
> > often none at all, occssionally inadequate
> ones
> > that merely raised more questions.
> > So what I am left with is what emerges here
> > willy-nilly. And that comes down at the
> moment
> > to a small number of points:
> > 1) It is in xorlo easier to say "two groups
> of
> > three broda each" and harder to say "two of
> the
> > three broda," though the latter appears to
> be
> > the more common expression and the former had
> a
> > transparent expression before — and of
> Zipfily
> > appropriate size.
>
> "two groups of three broda each" would in xorlo
> be "re loi ci broda".
>
> "two of the three broda" would in xorlo be "re
> lo
> ci broda" or "re le ci broda" (depending on how
> to read your "the").
>
> So I think your concern here is not warranted.

Interesting. I have to check to see whether it
has changed back in the last week. Last week,
two groups of three brodas was {re lo ci broda}.

> > 2) In xorlo the marking of opaque contexts is
> no
> > longer obligatory as it was in older Lojban
> (at
> > the risk of misspeaking). Whether this
> amounts
> > to saying that there are no opaque contexts
> (as
> > sometimes appears) or that we can tell which
> is
> > meant from context with such a high level of
> > success that the extra fillip is unnecessary
> is
> > unclear. The first is clearly false; the
> second
> > seems to be so, given how frequent the errors
> > were when the marking was required.
>
> Up to the time when I tuned out, there was no
> satisfactory treatment of opaque contexts. I
> think it would be better to discuss xorlo's
> treatment of opacity in the context of specific
> examples, but I think "lo broda" in contrast
> to "su'o broda" handles most opaque:transparent
> contrasts (subject to your third concern).

Well, that is not clear from the texts so far and
would certainly not be true in older Lojvban, so
one would expect some clear statement of the
change. Of course, since the main pr0oblem
ultimately is "What does {lo broda} mean?" this
would seem to be case of the sort discussed later
-- that {lo broda} does not have any fixed
meaning but can shift around at someone's
convenience.

> > 3) To make xorlo a coherent system requires
> Mr.
> > Potato-head or some equivalent — to bridge
> the
> > gap between opaque and transparent contexts
> if
> > nothing else. But just what Mr. PH is or how
> it
> > works is not clear in the beginning and has
> not
> > been clarified since. We are just assure
> that it
> > does work the way required. But there are two
> > thoudnad years and more of philosophy and
> logic
> > on the side that nothing does all this. To
> be
> > sure, in most places what is said about Mr.
> PH
> > fit known structures: batches, mereological
> sums,
> > species — but there is always a further step
> > they cannot follow but that, we are told,
> Mr.H
> > does.
>
> "lo broda" refers to whatever the speaker
> chooses
> (subject to the requirement that it has the
> property of brodahood), so it's up to the
> speaker
> whether it can refer to Mr Broda. But it is
> true
> that any speaker who doesn't like the notion of
> Mr
> Broda is going to have to find alternative ways
> of
> expressing opaque sumti. But (a) some speakers
> definitely are happy to refer to Mr Broda (-- I
> am one of them...), and (b) those other ways of
>
> expressing opaque sumti (e.g. your suggestion
> of
> using a propositional sumti of an appropriately
>
> defined selbri) are still going to be
> available.

 
Well, I am glad they are available, but that
doesn't help with the fact that they are not
obligatory, which is what is needed here --
unless Mr. Potato Head or its equivalents can be
specified. I think the "{lo broda} can mean
whatever the speaker wants as long as it is a
broda" is very telling — this means that
communication — except among telepaths --
becomes a much more risky business than it
ordinarily is, even if the speaker sticks to the
same meaning for several sentences (which, in the
opaque cases he usually does not).
iIncidentally, in any useful sense of Mr. Broda,
it is not a broda. If it is, then it clearly
cannot solve the opaque "problem" — which is a
problem only for those who do not — for as yet
unspecified reasons — laziness or ignorance
aside.

> > 4) On the side of elegance, all that has
> > apperared so are a) that we don't need to
> worry
> > about opaque contexts any more (which is nice
> > because many of us never did get them right)
> and
> > b) that a mass of improper Lojban (perhaps
> the
> > greater part of what we have that has any
> claim
> > to be Lojban) is proper xorlo. b is clearly
> the
> > best argument so far for xorlo but does not
> seem
> > to me to be enough, especially for something
> that
> > calls itself a logical language (even if in a
> > very restricted way).
> > So, once again, will someone please lead me
> out
> > of this quandary onto the side of xorlo, or,
> if
> > that is impossible because the objections
> here
> > are true, fix xorlo in some minimal way to
> avoid
> > the objections.
>

Yes; it comnfirms that my worries about the
situation are well placed.

 


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