Introduction to the Dictionary

James F. Carter

15 September 1991

This is the dictionary of the gua\spi language. It is organized into three parts in which words are ordered by gua\spi spelling (with morphological formats in separate sections), by the English translation, and by thesaurus categories. The table of contents also serves as an outline of the categories.

This edition includes only primitive words of gua\spi. Only a few compound words appear. A future project will be to go through a list of the N most common English words and either to verify that each one has a primitive translation or to recommend a compound representation of it. Note the word ``recommend''. The speaker of gua\spi is expected to represent his meaning by compounding primitive words creatively, and the architect of gua\spi does not insist on particular compound words to translate particular English words.

But since the vocabulary of English is so vast, even the working vocabulary of an educated person, most English words will never be in this dictionary. Here is where the thesaurus can help. Look at the primitive words in the category where your meaning is, and try to modify one of them by compounding to achieve the meaning you want.

To get the most use out of gua\spi you have to know all the primitive words. For this the thesaurus can be helpful as it forms an organized structure whose lists are a convenient size for memorization.

Be sure to remember that gua\spi predicates can be converted. The English word used in the definition is the one most representative of the unconverted gua\spi case order, but by conversion you can get up to four additional English meanings.

In one trial of Loglan about half of the predicates were compound, and likely more will be compound in gua\spi. Be alert for creative opportunities for expression --- don't use only the words identified as being ``common in compounds''. But resist the temptation to specify a predicate over-precisely with many compounded words; one thinks differently in gua\spi, and mashing gua\spi words to fit English preconceptions does not give the best results.

Acronyms, so popular in illiterate English, are useless in gua\spi because the letterals of the acronym are longer than the compound word or phrase that they abbreviate. Again, keep the compound short.

An example of a definition is ``X1 likes to do (vo) X2+1''. The symbols X1 and X2 represent the first and second numbered cases of the predicate ``like''. Words in parentheses before the case symbols, such as ``(vo)'', are provided by default before that argument unless there is an explicit article there --- which cancels both the default article and the default phrase linker if any. All arguments receive ``xe'' as a prefixed article by default, unless a different article is shown in the dictionary or is said explicitly. Signs following the case numbers indicate special features of compound words and case merging in infinitives. Here they are illustrated decorating the second case, but the same pattern applies for all cases.

In a transitive compound (tone `='), this is the case where the object goes. It is the second case by default (but the dictionary even so shows many X2*'s explicitly).
In an infinitive compound (tone `-'), this is the case where the infinitive goes. Note that a few words do not do infinitive compounds (they do parallel compounds instead) even though they have a case for an infinitive. All cases of these words lack `+' or have `@'. The `1' selects the first case of the main predicate. This argument is replicated as the first case of the infinitive (whether explicit or from a compound). The notation ``+1,2'' means that referents from both cases are replicated. A `+' alone signals infinitive compounding but with no case replication.
Usually used with a `+' decoration, the -3 means that the third case of the main predicate is replicated as the second case of the infinitive.
The `S' means that, X1 normally being a set, its members are replicated in extension into the first case of the infinitive. ``-S1'' is also used for the infinitive second case.
The `P' means that the infinitive is applied pairwise to members of the first case set, as in sorting or finding an extreme member.
The `@' indicates that this case is not eligible for infinitive compounds, though the indicated replication occurs for explicit infinitives.
The `=' means that starting with the indicated case (here X2), all following cases have a similar role, as many cases as needed. The sum of several numbers, as many as needed, is a typical example.
The `?' indicates a special case replication, described after the definition.

Here are the types of compounds. See the reference manual for a complete explanation with examples.

The second word is the predicate of an infinitive in one of the first word's cases. (Tone `-'.)
Both words share the same arguments so both relations are simultaneously true of each argument list. (Tone `-', or ``-fe'' if an infinitive compound would supervene.)
The second word is the predicate of an argument in one of the first word's cases, the second case unless otherwise noted. (Tone `='.)

Here is a reminder of the non-English letters of gua\spi. See the reference manual for more examples.

Gua\spi English Examples of Pronunciation
c ch CHew, Ciao (Italian)
q sh SHoe
x zh aZure, breZHnev (Russian)
: (pause) the:apple, hawai:i (glottal stop)
# uh thE, Among (schwa)
y i knIt
i i, ee grEEn machIne (not eye)
e e bEd
w ng stroNG