Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Wonderland logic

I am doing that last proposition just mentioned (metalinguistic comment: Alice swift- answered) (With hesitation, weak certainty, hesitation) I am the saying-desirer of the desired-to-be said thing of me. I know culturally that the referent of the last utterance is the same thing.
Literal English re-translation of a passage from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland translated into Lojban, a constructed language based on logic and designed to be free of ambiguity. The corresponding original text is:
`I do,' Alice hastily replied; `at least--at least I mean what I say--that's the same thing, you know.'
Lewis Carroll might have appreciated this exercise. He did enjoy writing logical syllogisms with perfect form but rather strange content:
(a) No interesting poems are unpopular among people of real taste.
(b) No modern poetry is free from affectation.
(c) All your poems are on the subject of soap-bubbles.
(d) No affected poetry is popular among people of real taste.
(e) No ancient poem is on the subject of soap-bubbles.

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