[semantics-public] Fluid Movement Semantic Metalanguage

Michael Turner michael.eugene.turner at gmail.com
Sat Oct 19 22:24:27 PDT 2019

No natural metalanguage (in the NSM sense) will have a movement
realization. The words and simple syntax rules in NSM are abstractions
of universals, not words or concrete syntax per se. The primes in
Natural Semantic Metalanguage are an example of this: although the
researchers tend to write their reductive paraphrases in an
English-style rendering of NSM, and although movement is thus implied
through reading aloud or subvocalization, that movement is only a side
effect of reading an explication in a particular natural language.
Those primes -- posited to be universal, in all languages -- are being
represented by symbols but they aren't the symbols themselves, or the
speech acts either. They are things in the human mind.

If you want to call them Movement Primes or Geometric Primes, fine.
But don't call them "natural" unless by that you mean "physically
limited to gestures that sign language users can theoretically perform
and distinguish" -- which doesn't narrow it down much. Nor are they
necessarily "semantic." In the 400 or so sign languages in the world,
it's a near statistical certainty that there will be words and parts
thereof that are signed identically in any given pair of the
languages, but that have entirely different meanings. Sign language
motions will relate to sign languages much as phonemes and syllables
relate to spoken languages. If you can find a fairly small repertoire
of those motions, covering all sign languages, great. But consider how
"comprehensive repertoire" agendas have worked out in spoken language
linguistics. The International Phonetic Alphabet project was started
in 1888, and kept adding symbols as new lexico-semantic distinctions
kept being found among speech sounds, with the most recent addition
being in 2005.

Michael Turner
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On Sun, Oct 20, 2019 at 10:55 AM John Carlson <yottzumm at gmail.com> wrote:
> Hello All,
> My goal is to create a way to use computers which does not depend on reading very small symbols that ache my head or my eyes. Perhaps I should use larger fonts or (yuck) glasses.  But to distract from the ache in my head, I try to come up with a solution that is beyond the sedentary lifestyle.
> Some of us have worked on using Natural Semantic Metalanguage (NSM) for translation.  Others have studied 3D ontologies.   Others have studied humanoid modelling and animation. What I would like to work on in addition, is the Fluid Movement Semantic Metalanguage (FMSM) problem as well, if not solved by Valerie Sutton in her MovementWriting and SignWriting work.  Perhaps the concept of Semantic can unify Fluid Movement (physical linguistics) and Sign (key frame), similar to how Symbol unifies Movie and Shape (my focus, based on PostScript, X3D/VRML and shading languages with a hats off to Ted Nelson). I believe this would mean that we would have to come up with Prime Shapes (in addition to Prime Semantics from NSM). I believe these Prime Shapes can come from MovementWriting icons (or the programs that create the icons) or from X3D/VRML ontologies. If we extend our thinking into time, then Signs and Shapes would become animated into Fluid Movement and Movies (possibly of hyperdimension).
> What I’ve left out so far is the semantics of grouping.  Please discuss.  I think we’re just getting to that in X3D Models in the semantics group.
> Anyway, I thought I’d get a bunch of smart people together to consider such things.
> John

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