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Re: TECH: Desperately seeking properties

la i,n. cusku di'e

> Another longish technical rant.


> This one's in two parts, one on properties,
> and another on {sisku}.

I'll respond on properties later.

> Another even more recent discussion resulted in {sisku}
> being assigned a place structure something like
>         x1 searches for (an object possessing) property x2 among set x3
> One of the things I want to be able to say is
>         mi sisku la djan.
>         I'm looking for John.

The easy way to do that with the new place structure is:

        mi sisku tu'a la djan.
        I'm looking for an object with the property of being ...
                (insert some abstraction about John here).

> I can just about do this with the above place structure
>         mi sisku leka [da] du la djan.
> but it's a bit clumsy.

Yes, that works fine; it is the full form of which "... tu'a la djan." is the
loose abbreviation.  I will insert a [tu'a] in square brackets into
your examples below.

>         mi sisku [tu'a] le catra be la kak. rabn.
>         (to .iva'i.e'u mi sisku le du'u zo'ekau catra la kak. rabn. toi)
>         I'm looking for the killer of Cock Robin.
>         I'm looking for who killed Cock Robin.
> Here I have someone specific in mind, and I expect you to know what I mean,
> even though neither of us can identify or name that particular individual.

This sounds a little strange.  If you are a detective, then you want
"lo catra be ...", the one who actually did the deed: the sparrow.
(Maybe there were other killers too, but you want at-least-one of them).

OTOH, if you are just using "le catra be ..." as a conventional tag for the
sparrow, then you >can< identify him.  Indeed, saying "le catra" >is< an

>         mi sisku [tu'a] da noi nolraixli
>         I'm looking for a princess.
> I have a particular person in mind,
> although I don't necessarily expect you to know who I mean,
> at least not until I've given you more information.

The Lojban and the explanation don't match.  The Lojban just says,
"There exists something which I am looking for; by the way, it is a
princess".  There is no implication that you have any notion of which
princess it is.

Furthermore, "da" gives no indication of number; an equally good gloss
would be "There exist some things which I am looking for; by the way,
they are princesses."

> (I originally had
>         mi sisku [tu'a] lo nolraixli
> here, but I eventually decided that the {ka nolraixli}
> was incidental in this situation.  I'm still trying to get
> a grip on what the latter might really mean, but it must
> be something like "I'm looking for _some_ princesses".)

Actually, "lo nolraixli" and "da noi nolraixli" and "da poi nolraixli"
(which last can be rendered as "I'm looking for some thing(s), limited
to the domain of princesses") all come to the same thing here.
It is only in funky cases that they differ; in particular, where the
restriction is to the empty set.

>         mi sisku [tu'a] lo ka nolraixli
>         (to .iva'i.e'u mi sisku lo za'i mi djuno fi lo nolraixli toi)
>         I'm looking for a(ny) princess.

Well, no.  That one means that you are searching for some >properties< of
being-a-princess.  You can't seek a property, because properties aren't
concrete.  OTOH, if we take the "tu'a" out (and why not? I put it there
myself, after all), then we get "I'm looking for one or more princesses,
not specifying which", which is fine.

> I don't have anyone in particular in mind.

You never have anyone particular in mind unless you use an in-mind article
like "le", or an in-mind relative clause beginning with "voi", or something
equivalent to one of those.

> (An event used to be one of the options for the x2 of {sisku}.
> However, in the alternative {za'i} version here, {sisku} appears
> to be almost indistinguishable from {zukte fi}.)
> I think that {sisku} needs to be polymorphic in x2
> (i.e. needs to allow x2 to be either e.g. object or property)
> to cover all these cases conveniently.

Back when we introduced "tu'a" to settle the sumti-raising question, we
decided not to allow polymorphic place structures, because they easily lead
to bad reasoning.  If you aren't very careful, you end up substituting
abstract sumti for concrete ones at the wrong moments and destroying your
chain of reasoning.  Forcing you to mark sumti-raising with "tu'a" makes
for convenience but compels clarity.  See the JL15 discussion.

John Cowan      cowan@snark.thyrsus.com         ...!uunet!lock60!snark!cowan
                        e'osai ko sarji la lojban.