(From Lognet 93/4)

Sau La Keugru (From the CaretakingGroup=Academy)

We have a couple of “migrations” of CVV words to report; and several minor changes in our morphological (wordmaking) rules have been adopted. But the major news in this column is that several new usages for expressing comparisons have been invented.

(1) The Keugru has accepted a proposal to replace cue in the pair ge...cue with geu. Geu is a better mnemonic mate for ge; and the ge...cue pair is little used, so the change causes minimal disturbance.

(2) It has been pointed out that the words svera and kin for things Swedish are illegal because sv is not on the list of permitted initial consonant pairs (Table 2.1 in L1). The Keugru has decided to add sv to the list of permissible inititials, thus legalizing svera and kin ex post facto.

This addition required no changes in our existing wordlist. If the proposal to accept sv initially had required changing many complexes, then it probably wouldn’t have been adopted In general the Keugru is now doing “impact studies” to assure itself that the changes it adopts have acceptably small impacts on the existing structure of the language. Typically this means that the changes it adopts are additive rather than corrective. However, the Keugru is still accepting corrective proposals if the change required in the current habits of our logli is neligibly small. For example, the next change falls in that category.

(3) The case tag mao (from cmalo small/er), which was originally intended to be used for the “lessers” in “greater/lesser than” relationships, confusingly reminds some people of the very common affix mao (from madzo make). The Keugru has accepted a proposal to replace this case tag with jui (from junti young/er) on the grounds that case tags are, as yet, very infrequently used and so there is still time to remove this source of a potentially bothersome confusion.

The rest of this report deals with comparatives and related topics, which the Keugru has been wrestling with a lot lately.

(4) The Keugru has accepted a proposal to allow the creation of “categorical adjectives” from predicates that are essentially comparative.

Many of the Loglan predicates that correspond to natural language adjectives are essentially comparative: e.g., corta means ...is shorter than...by interval..., meucli means ...is more manly than... (although of course the sutori places are often left empty). I.e., both shortness and manliness admit of degrees.

The new convention allows these comparatives to be made categorical or absolute; i.e., the quality is either present or absent. The categorical form of such predicates is formed by prefixing kle (from klesi class) to the preda or one of its affixes: klecoa ...is short (period), klemeucli ...is manly (period). Such predicates are, of course, always oneplace.

(5) The example word meucli (manlike) ...is more manly than... also illustrates a way of forming comparative predicates with the suffix cli from clika ...is like...in feature... However, it’s been discovered that the cli move isn’t enough, because it uses just the first place of the base predicate. Sometimes we need to express the first two places of a predicate in its comparative form. For example, ckano ...is kind to...: ckacli ...is kinder than... doesn’t answer the question “Kinder to whom?”

To solve this problem the Keugru has adopted the suffix mou from the primitive mordu ...is more than...in dimension.... We adopt the convention that mou will always make a fourplace predicate in which the first two places correspond to the first two places of the modifying predicate and the last two places repeat the relationship of the first two but at a comparatively lower level. Thus, Da ckamou de di do = X is kinder to Y than Z is kind to W and Da framou de di do = X is more of a father to Y than Z is a father to W. Commonly, one or more of the places will contain the same designation: Da ckamou de di de = X is kinder to Y than Z is to Y; Da ckamou de da di = X is kinder to Y than X is to Z; and Da ckamou mi mi mi = X is kinder to me than I am to myself.

The mou convention has some interesting implications for case tags. The Keugru is considering these implications and will report on them in the next Lognet.

The Keugru is also considering whether to adopt affixes, parallel to cli and mou, that compare two arguments and find them equal.

(6) Loglan currently has a modal operator which expresses equality. Ciu (from ciktu ...equals...in dimension...)is grammatically a PA word and means as much as/as little as/to the same degree as. The lack of a similar modal operator for inequality has been keenly felt, and the Keugru has decided to change the meaning of the modal mou (derived of course from mordu), which now means as well as/in addition to, to mean more than/to a greater degree than. The Keugru feels that the UIword sui (also/moreover) can perform most of mou’s former functions.

The two PA words ciu and mou now permit what might be called “prepositional comparisons” for both equality and inequality: Ciu lo bludi la Mars, redro = To the same extent as blood, Mars is red (Mars is as red as blood); La Sam, farfu mi mou la Djordj = Sam is a father to me, more than George is (Sam is more of a father to me than George is). A word of caution: These modal phrases are sentence modifiers; so they can make comparisons only with whatever is in the first place of the sentence predicate.

The Keugru is considering whether to adopt another modal word for less than. For the time being, all six possible comparisons (including less than) are covered by ciu and mou and their compounds:

ciu equal to
nociu not equal to
mou greater than
nomou less than or equal to
numou less than
nunomou greater than or equal to

(8) For a long time, Loglan’s grammar has allowed compounds made from a connective plus a PA word (loosely, “a preposition”) to form another connective. The first uses of this move involved the PA words for time and space, e.g., La Meris, efa la Djan, pa godzi le ckela = Mary and, later, John went to the school.

But it’s been noticed that ciu and now mou are also PA words and so can also be attached to connectives in this fashion. Connective compounds made with these “comparative” words allow the speaker to make comparisons very flexibly, and between arguments occupyingany place of a predicate. E.g., Le nu balci pa harko mia lopo crina, emou lo brize = The building sheltered us from rain and to a greater extent than from wind (The building sheltered us more from rain than from wind).

Note that the connective part of emou is in full force here. The building provided shelter against both rain and wind...it was just better shelter against the rain. This means that comparisons made using comparative connectives may not have the same meaning as comparisons made with comparative predicates. For example, for Da, emou de mrenu = X is more of a man than Y to be true, both X and Y must be men; Da meucli de = X is manlier than Y can be true even if neither X nor Y is a man.

Comparative connectives can also be formed with sheks and keks. E.g., Da fremi cenumou matma mi = She’s less of a friend than a mother to me (She’s a friend and more of a mother to me); Da kemou fremi ki matma mi = She’s both more of a friend than, and a mother to me; or Da ke fremi kimou matma mi = She’s both a friend of, and more of a mother to, me.

In principle these compounds can be formed using connectives other than e, ce, and ke. To date, the few examples produced using a, o, or u type connectives have been contrived, fanciful, or both. The Keugru urges the Loglan community to experiment with the other connectives, and to report the results of their experiments to the Keugru or in letters to Lognet.

The remarkable thing is that, despite all these usage inventions and additions to our wordmaking conventions, except for tweaking LIP to make it accept the shek and kek comparatives, not one single grammatical change in the language has been involved. The grammar of Loglan does indeed appear to be “settling down”.