SV: SV: SV: On logic and fuzziness

H.M.Hubey hubeyh at MONTCLAIR.EDU
Tue Nov 10 07:35:42 UTC 1998

Lars Martin Fosse wrote:
> On Mon, 9 Nov 1998, H.M.Hubey wrote:
> > > LMF: I wish it were that easy. You really owe us a precise definition of such a distance.
> >
> > Definition of distance is precise and well known.
> >
> >         d(x,z) <= d(x,y) + d(y,z)
> >
> LMF: I think this is rather the point. Linguistic space has to be described on the basis of sufficient data, which we often lack. It is, however, obviously (from experience) unpredictable, and statistical laws are not easy to define, since linguistic space is fundamentally chaotic.

1. Linguistic space does not have to be constructed on the basis of
sufficient data.

2. Dynamical laws of linguistics are a far cry from construction of a
simple metric
space. HOwever, it is possible to analyze dynamical laws using metric
spaces. Furthermore
these metrics can also be used in statistical analysis of all sorts and
types. It is
only after all of this that you can make your model and then claim that
it is chaotic.

3. YOu want to assert some truth and then deny the method that can show
it to be false.
This is not how the science I learned works.

>Some trends are foreseeable (like language death, mixing of languages etc), and we may assume >that such trends have been at work in the past, but that is about as far as we get. To say >something specific, we need specific data. We cannot simply derive sound knowledge from >general mathematical rules. However, given data, we can describe processes and evaluate the >data with maths and stats.

These trends (whatever they might be) can only be scientifically
analyzed on the
basis of measurements which imply metric spaces and hence distances.
Without that
statements will remain pre-scientific. That is the reason why phonetics
(speech synthesis,
speech recognition) has become a science but phonology remains a game in
people draw pictures at two different levels and draw arrows between
them and use
level 1 to "explain" level 2 and use level 2 to "explain" level one.
Have you
read any of the posts of "Metallaeus" on sci.lang?

Best Regards,
hubeyh at =-=-=-=
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