Bresenish. This is That.

So another post on a language I’ve provisionally called Bresenish. The goal is to creates something inspired by set theory and computer programming languages.

So one book I read said language is kind of like describing a stage where a play is happening. There are actors, elements on the stage, things happen across a time line. We then use words to turn all of this into descrete models of reality. These models are serialized into a linear string of sounds. Someone hears it and frickin’ magic happens and they deserialize it back into a representation of reality in their brain. Unlike lojban that tries to solve the problem of deserializing the sound back into an intermediate model, I’m content to leave that up to frickin’ magic.

So far I have the idea of the stage being described by a set of typed elements (the items on the stage, each of which can be part of a type, such a animate, inanimate, blue, not blue, what ever), a set of relationships (sees, is-sitting, is-tired), and a set of compound pronouns for disabiguation, such as, it-him, they-her. To parse such a sentence, you’d imagine all the possible relationships (the cartesian product, which is all possible links) and then filter down the list using the compound pronouns.

Seems like a good idea, but I have a hard time thinking of occasions when there is more than two elements on the stage, more than one relationship and thus only one compound pronoun. This maps down to just S-V-O, some subject is define in relationship to some object. An awkward English gloss might be, “Cat, Dog”, “Sees”, “him-him” The cat and the dog see each other (or maybe just the dog sees the cat or vice-versa)

Also, I needed another structure for dealing with equality, such as “The animal in the other room is a cat”. So I got the idea of adding a bunch of imperatives.

“Image there is a stage. On the stage is a barrel, some fish, a smoking gun.”

Now I’d like to say that this is the set up for a joke. Or it’s a recipe. Or it’s a crime scene.

“Imagine another stage. On the stage is a recipe. These stages are the same”

In pseudo code, it would look like

var stage1 = [barrel, fish, smoking gun]; //I’m telling you to imagine that these exist, they are on stage.
var stage2 = [recipe]; //I’m telling you to image that this exists. This time, it’s an abstraction you need to imagine.
assertEqual(stage1,stage2); //Where I said, this is true and you can challenge me if it isn’t.

I can’t think of any human language that uses an open class of arbitrary as proper modifier names as pronouns. But why not, it’s convenient. If I’d chosen the names “this” and “that” then it would be pretty readable.

Another problem I ran into was how to do set operations. Set operations need to be able to yield a new set, and then discourse needs to be able to refer to that new set without repeating the recipe.

var stage1 = [All the barbers who shave.]
var set2= stage1 – [barbers who shave themselves]
var stage2 = [All independent people] intersect set2
var stage3 = [poor people]
assertEqual(stage2, stage3)

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One Response to Bresenish. This is That.

  1. Greg says:

    Why not just have “this thing is an element of the set of cats” instead of “equality”?