# [Lingtyp] Does bipolar polysemy exist?

Stela Manova stela.manova at univie.ac.at
Sat Jun 2 09:17:44 UTC 2018

```Dear Randy,

What you write simply shows that you do not know enough about numerical systems and how a computer works. Yes, there exist different numerical systems, btw not only the binary and the decimal one, but there are special notations for the different systems, so that mathematicians and computers know in which system a number is. Additionally, a computer works only in binary code. How exactly those things happen in computer science is explained, e.g., here: http://www.cplusplus.com/doc/hex/ <http://www.cplusplus.com/doc/hex/>.

Regarding induction / deduction and Jeff Dean’s method, I will not philosophize, there is a clear definition of mathematical induction. In math, induction is used in recursive situations to establish the basic case. That MIT professor explains induction and recursion very well: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WPSeyjX1-4s&t=0s&list=PLUl4u3cNGP63WbdFxL8giv4yhgdMGaZNA&index=23 <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WPSeyjX1-4s&t=0s&list=PLUl4u3cNGP63WbdFxL8giv4yhgdMGaZNA&index=23>. Let us leave readers decide of what type is Jeff Dean’s method.

What linguists cannot understand is the fact that in order to apply mathematical logic, one needs elements that are of the same type. If you assume that there are different types of words (basic elements of a system), you cannot describe that system mathematically, at least not without preliminary sortings of the elements, which will make the analysis more time-consuming = slower computer program. Therefore, Jeff Dean claims that using grammar is less efficient than handling without grammar. In sum, the difference between the computer scientist Jeff Dean and a linguist: Jeff Dean treats all words as units (elements of the same type) while linguists philosophize on bipolar polysemy = Jeff Dean solves a problem, linguists create an additional one.

Btw, if linguists listen to computer scientists, there would not be any research on complexity in linguistics, either. The above MIT professor again, part 1 at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o9nW0uBqvEo&list=PLUl4u3cNGP63WbdFxL8giv4yhgdMGaZNA&index=36 <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o9nW0uBqvEo&list=PLUl4u3cNGP63WbdFxL8giv4yhgdMGaZNA&index=36>, and part 2 at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7lQXYl_L28w&list=PLUl4u3cNGP63WbdFxL8giv4yhgdMGaZNA&index=37 <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7lQXYl_L28w&list=PLUl4u3cNGP63WbdFxL8giv4yhgdMGaZNA&index=37>.

Best,
Stela

> On 02.06.2018, at 08:51, Randy J. LaPolla <randy.lapolla at gmail.com> wrote:
>
> Dear Stella,
> The mathematical approach you discussed is very much in the Structuralist tradition, and not that much in line with the most cutting edge recent AI research. Almost all linguistics (including Chomsky), plus most computer science, particularly NLP, is based on Structuralist principles (though Interactional Linguistics, Usage-based approaches, and Halliday’s approach are not). What you said, "in mathematics / computer science, in isolation, a sequence of elements always has a single meaning because if it has not, no computation is possible”, and you assume it must be true for language, is very much the sort of thing I was talking about. Even in computer science that is not true, as “10” in a binary system such as machine code has a different “meaning” from “10” in a non-binary situation, so 1 + 1 = 2 is only true in the context of a non-binary code. Mathematics and logic is also tautologies, as Wittgenstein pointed out, so quite different from natural language, where even “War is war” is not a tautology, and that is why there was the whole Oxford School of Ordinary Language Philosophy (Grice, Austin, Searle, etc.), as they saw that natural language is quite different from the mathematical approach being pushed by the logical positivists and analytic philosophers. (Frege and Russel had turned logic into mathematics, and tried to apply it to language—the early Wittgenstein went along with that initially, but later saw how problematic even his own early approach was.)
>
>
> Yes, the abilities and principles related to meaning creation and linguistic behaviour are general cognitive mechanisms and behavioural principles, not specific to language, and not unique to humans. You say, "Linguists believe that linguistics is a module of its own in the brain and love re-defining things as something specific for the field”, but that statement only applies to an ever-shrinking minority of people doing rationalist philosophy rather than empirical linguistics, and the ones associated with the now discredited symbolic AI.
>
> All the best,
> Randy
> -----
> Randy J. LaPolla, PhD FAHA （羅仁地）
> Professor of Linguistics and Chinese, School of Humanities
> Nanyang Technological University
> HSS-03-45, 14 Nanyang Drive | Singapore 637332
> http://randylapolla.net/ <http://randylapolla.net/>
> Most recent book:
> https://www.routledge.com/The-Sino-Tibetan-Languages-2nd-Edition/LaPolla-Thurgood/p/book/9781138783324 <https://www.routledge.com/The-Sino-Tibetan-Languages-2nd-Edition/LaPolla-Thurgood/p/book/9781138783324>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>> On 1 Jun 2018, at 4:57 PM, Stela Manova <stela.manova at univie.ac.at <mailto:stela.manova at univie.ac.at>> wrote:
>>
>> Dear Randy,
>>
>>
>>
>> It is not about bipolar polysemy, it is about the future of the field. Google guys claim and prove that the same learning logic applies to all areas of life; roughly, the same rules operate in visual perception, chemistry, language, etc. Linguists believe that linguistics is a module of its own in the brain and love re-defining things as something specific for the field - there is even statistics for linguists which unfortunately differs from Google statistics because people who do statistics in Google are mathematicians while (most of the) linguistic statisticians were bad at math at school and therefore studied languages at the university, etc.
>>
>>
>> I have a PhD in general linguistics from the University of Vienna (and my both PhD supervisors were very bad at math) but I cannot agree that this is sufficient evidence that the tip of my nose is the end of the horizon. OK, I was also educated in math nine years - intensively.
>>
>>
>> Best,
>>
>>
>> Stela
>>
>>
>>
>>> On 01.06.2018, at 06:06, Randy J. LaPolla <randy.lapolla at gmail.com <mailto:randy.lapolla at gmail.com>> wrote:
>>>
>>> Hi All,
>>> This whole discussion shows how problematic some of the a priori, non-empirical assumptions of the Structuralist approach are. The assumption that there is a fixed association of sign and signifier, and so words have meaning in some abstract universe divorced from context, and the assumption that language can be dealt with mathematically, and the assumption that communication happens through coding and decoding (on the computational model), and that the “real” word is the written, abstract, out-of-phonetic-context form, and so phonology in context can be ignored, and as there is only one “real” meaning to a word, the different uses in context , such as irony, can be simply ignored or treated as deviant. The assumption that there is a fixed system that has iron-clad rules, and that there are aspects of the system that are necessary for communication to occur.
>>> There is much literature showing how problematic these assumptions are, but somehow they are still in force in much of linguistics, as reflected in some of this discussion.
>>>
>>> My own view is that communication involves one person performing a communicative act in a particular place and time and to a particular addressee, and the addressee abductively inferring that person’s reason for performing that act in that particular context to that particular person at that particular time. So it is completely context dependent, as Nick shows, and there is no minimum morphosyntactic structure required, as David Gil has shown. No part of the communicative situation or act can be left out in terms of understanding the meaning that the addressee creates in inferring the communicator’s intention (as Mark shows in including gesture in his discussion, though it also includes non-conventionalised behaviour, e.g. gaze and body movements; and it is creation of meaning, not transfer of meaning, and so subjective and non-determinative). Language and other conventionalised communicative behaviour (language is behaviour, not a thing, and does not differ in nature from other conventionalised behaviour) emerges out of the interaction of the people involved.
>>>
>>> So the question asked is like a Zen koan: you can’t answer it yes or no, as it is based on problematic assumptions.
>>>
>>> Randy
>>>
>>> -----
>>> Randy J. LaPolla, PhD FAHA （羅仁地）
>>> Professor of Linguistics and Chinese, School of Humanities
>>> Nanyang Technological University
>>> HSS-03-45, 14 Nanyang Drive | Singapore 637332
>>> http://randylapolla.net/ <http://randylapolla.net/>
>>> Most recent book:
>>> https://www.routledge.com/The-Sino-Tibetan-Languages-2nd-Edition/LaPolla-Thurgood/p/book/9781138783324 <https://www.routledge.com/The-Sino-Tibetan-Languages-2nd-Edition/LaPolla-Thurgood/p/book/9781138783324>
>>>
>>>
>>>> On 1 Jun 2018, at 7:42 AM, Nick Enfield <nick.enfield at sydney.edu.au <mailto:nick.enfield at sydney.edu.au>> wrote:
>>>>
>>>> In Lao:
>>>>
>>>> The verb cak2 means ‘know’, and can be negated as in man2 bòò1 cak2 [3sg neg know] ‘S/he doesn’t know.’ But when used alone, with no subject expressed, often with the perfect marker (as in cak2 or cak2 lèèw4) it means “I don’t know.”
>>>> The verb faaw4 means ‘to hurry, rush’, and can be negated as in man2 bòò1 faaw4 [3sg neg rush] ‘S/he doesn’t hurry/isn’t hurrying.’ But when used alone as an imperative, with no subject expressed, often repeated, or with an appropriate sentence-final particle (as in faaw4 faaw4 or faaw4 dee4) it means “Don’t hurry, Stop hurrying, Slow down”.
>>>> Often, both positive and negative readings of verbs are available when the irrealis prefix si is used (with context or perhaps intonation doing the work); eg khaw3 si kin3 [3pl irr eat] could mean ‘They will eat it’ or ‘They will definitely not eat it’ with a meaning similar to the colloquial English expression “As if they would eat it.” The second meaning is made more likely by insertion of the directional paj3 ‘go’ before the verb (khaw3 si paj3 kin3 [3pl irr go eat] ‘As if they would eat it.’).
>>>>
>>>> Nick
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> N. J. ENFIELD | FAHA FRSN | Professor of Linguistics
>>>> Head, Post Truth Initiative https://posttruthinitiative.org/ <https://posttruthinitiative.org/>
>>>> Director, SSSHARC (Sydney Social Sciences and Humanities Advanced Research Centre)
>>>> Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
>>>> THE UNIVERSITY OF SYDNEY
>>>> Rm N364, John Woolley Building A20 | NSW | 2006 | AUSTRALIA
>>>> T +61 2 9351 2391 | M +61 476 239 669
>>>>  <>orcid.org/0000-0003-3891-6973 <http://orcid.org/0000-0003-3891-6973>
>>>> E nick.enfield at sydney.edu.au <mailto:nick.enfield at sydney.edu.au> | W sydney.edu.au <http://sydney.edu.au/> nickenfield.org <http://www.nickenfield.org/>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> From: Lingtyp <lingtyp-bounces at listserv.linguistlist.org <mailto:lingtyp-bounces at listserv.linguistlist.org>> on behalf of Mark Donohue <mark at donohue.cc <mailto:mark at donohue.cc>>
>>>> Date: Friday, 1 June 2018 at 7:13 AM
>>>> To: David Gil <gil at shh.mpg.de <mailto:gil at shh.mpg.de>>
>>>> Cc: "LINGTYP at LISTSERV.LINGUISTLIST.ORG <mailto:LINGTYP at LISTSERV.LINGUISTLIST.ORG>" <lingtyp at listserv.linguistlist.org <mailto:lingtyp at listserv.linguistlist.org>>
>>>> Subject: Re: [Lingtyp] Does bipolar polysemy exist?
>>>>
>>>> In Tukang Besi, an Austronesian language of Indonesia, the verb 'know' is dahani; verbs are generally prefixed to agree with the S,A argument, thus
>>>>
>>>> ku-dahani 'I know'
>>>> 'u-dahani 'you know'
>>>>
>>>> etc.
>>>> In some contexts (imperatives, emphatic generic (TAME-less) assertion), the prefix can be omitted.
>>>>
>>>> dahani 'I/you certainly know'
>>>>
>>>> Now, I've heard this (and only this) verb used, in the absence of any inflection, with exactly its opposite meaning
>>>>
>>>> Dahani 'I don't know'
>>>>
>>>> in what might be a sarcastic sense. Unlike the antonymic uses of many adjectives in many languages, including English, this use of dahani is actually a simple (though emphatic) negation of the verb's 'normal' meaning.
>>>>
>>>> -Mark
>>>>
>>>> On 1 June 2018 at 04:43, David Gil <gil at shh.mpg.de <mailto:gil at shh.mpg.de>> wrote:
>>>>> Yes, as Matti points out, negative lexicalization is not quite as rare as I was implying.  Yet at the same time, I suspect that it might not be as common as Matti is suggesting.  Looking at the examples that he cites in his Handbook chapter, I suspect that in some cases, the negative counterpart isn't "just" negative, but is also associated with some additional meaning components.
>>>>>
>>>>> Matti doesn't list "good"/"bad" as being such a pair, though, citing work by Ulrike Zeshan on sign languages, he does mention other evaluative concepts such as "not right", "not possible", "not enough".  in English, at least, "bad" is not the negation of "good", it is the antonym of "good"; there's all kind of stuff in the world which we attach no evaluative content to, and which hence is neither good nor bad. (It's true that in English, in many contexts, the expression "not good" is understood as meaning "bad", which is interesting in and of itself, but still, it is not necessarily understood in this way.) While I have no direct evidence, I would strongly suspect that in languages that have lexicalized expressions for "not right", "not possible", and "not enough", the meanings of these expressions will be the antonyms of "right", "possible" and "enough", and not their negations.
>>>>>
>>>>> Under lexicalized negatives in the domain of tense/aspect, Matti lists "will not", "did not", "not finished".  Well the one case that I am familiar with that falls into this category is that of the Malay/Indonesian iamative/perfect marker "sudah", which has a lexicalized negative counterpart "belum".  However, "belum" isn't just "not sudah"; it also bears a strong (if not invariant) implicature that at some point in the future, the state or activity that is not complete will be completed — in fact, just like the English expression "not yet".  (When people in Indonesia ask you if you're married, it's considered impolite to answer with a simple negation "tidak"; you're supposed to say "belum" precisely because of its implicature that you will, in the future, get married.  By avoiding this implicature, the simple negation "tidak" is viewed as a threat to the natural order of things, in which everybody should get married.)
>>>>>
>>>>> I suspect that many if not all of the cases characterized by Matti as "lexicalized negatives" will turn out to be associated with some additional meaning component beyond that of "mere" negation.
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>> On 31/05/2018 20:06, Miestamo, Matti M P wrote:
>>>>>> Dear David, Zygmunt and others,
>>>>>>
>>>>>> negative lexicalization is not quite as rare as David seems to imply. There is a cross-linguistic survey of this phenomenon by Ljuba Veselinova (ongoing work, detailed and informative presentation slides available through her website), and Zeshan (2013) has written on this phenomenon in sign languages. There's also a short summary in my recent Cambridge Handbook of Linguistic Typology chapter on negation (preprint available via the link in the signature below).
>>>>>>
>>>>>> Best,
>>>>>> Matti
>>>>>>
>>>>>> --
>>>>>> Matti Miestamo
>>>>>> http://www.ling.helsinki.fi/~matmies/ <https://protect-au.mimecast.com/s/O7N4CL7rK8t5zx0kUBCq-Q?domain=ling.helsinki.fi>
>>>>>>
>>>>>>
>>>>>>
>>>>>>> Zygmunt Frajzyngier <Zygmunt.Frajzyngier at COLORADO.EDU <mailto:Zygmunt.Frajzyngier at COLORADO.EDU>> kirjoitti 31.5.2018 kello 17.23:
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> David, Friends
>>>>>>> Related to David’s post, not to the original query.
>>>>>>> In any individual language, there may exist a few of ‘Not-X’ items.
>>>>>>> In Mina (Central Chadic) there is a noun which designates ‘non-blacksmith’.
>>>>>>> In several Chadic languages there exist negative existential verb unrelated to the affirmative existential verb.
>>>>>>> Zygmunt
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> On 5/31/18, 5:52 AM, "Lingtyp on behalf of David Gil" <lingtyp-bounces at listserv.linguistlist.org <mailto:lingtyp-bounces at listserv.linguistlist.org> on behalf of gil at shh.mpg.de <mailto:gil at shh.mpg.de>> wrote:
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>     On 31/05/2018 13:37, Sebastian Nordhoff wrote:
>>>>>>>> On 05/31/2018 01:18 PM, David Gil wrote:
>>>>>>>>> A point of logic.  "Not X" and "Antonym (X)" are distinct notions, and
>>>>>>>>> the original query by Ian Joo pertains to the former, not the latter.
>>>>>>>> but is there any (monomorphemic) lexeme which expresses not-X which is
>>>>>>>> not the antonym of X?
>>>>>>>     But how many (monomorphemic) lexemes expressing not-X are there at all?
>>>>>>>     The only ones I can think of are suppletive negative existentials, e.g.
>>>>>>>     Tagalog "may" (exist) > "wala" (not exist). Even suppletive negative
>>>>>>>     desideratives don't quite fit the bill, e.g. Tagalog "nais"/"gusto"
>>>>>>>     (want) > "ayaw", which is commonly glossed as "not want", but actually
>>>>>>>     means "want not-X", rather than "not want-X" — "ayaw" is thus an antonym
>>>>>>>     but not a strict negation of "nais"/"gusto".
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>     What is not clear to me about the original query is whether it is asking
>>>>>>>     for negations or for antonyms.
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>     --
>>>>>>>     David Gil
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>     Department of Linguistic and Cultural Evolution
>>>>>>>     Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History
>>>>>>>     Kahlaische Strasse 10, 07745 Jena, Germany
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>     Email: gil at shh.mpg.de <mailto:gil at shh.mpg.de>
>>>>>>>     Office Phone (Germany): +49-3641686834
>>>>>>>     Mobile Phone (Indonesia): +62-81281162816
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>     _______________________________________________
>>>>>>>     Lingtyp mailing list
>>>>>>>     Lingtyp at listserv.linguistlist.org <mailto:Lingtyp at listserv.linguistlist.org>
>>>>>>>     http://listserv.linguistlist.org/mailman/listinfo/lingtyp <https://protect-au.mimecast.com/s/VBmHCMwvLQTGnKp2ikHGCw?domain=listserv.linguistlist.org>
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> _______________________________________________
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>>>>>>> Lingtyp at listserv.linguistlist.org <mailto:Lingtyp at listserv.linguistlist.org>
>>>>>>> http://listserv.linguistlist.org/mailman/listinfo/lingtyp <https://protect-au.mimecast.com/s/VBmHCMwvLQTGnKp2ikHGCw?domain=listserv.linguistlist.org>_______________________________________________
>>>>>> Lingtyp mailing list
>>>>>> Lingtyp at listserv.linguistlist.org <mailto:Lingtyp at listserv.linguistlist.org>
>>>>>> http://listserv.linguistlist.org/mailman/listinfo/lingtyp <https://protect-au.mimecast.com/s/VBmHCMwvLQTGnKp2ikHGCw?domain=listserv.linguistlist.org>
>>>>> --
>>>>> David Gil
>>>>>
>>>>> Department of Linguistic and Cultural Evolution
>>>>> Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History
>>>>> Kahlaische Strasse 10, 07745 Jena, Germany
>>>>>
>>>>> Email: gil at shh.mpg.de <mailto:gil at shh.mpg.de>
>>>>> Office Phone (Germany): +49-3641686834
>>>>> Mobile Phone (Indonesia): +62-81281162816
>>>>>
>>>>> _______________________________________________
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>>>>> http://listserv.linguistlist.org/mailman/listinfo/lingtyp <https://protect-au.mimecast.com/s/VBmHCMwvLQTGnKp2ikHGCw?domain=listserv.linguistlist.org>
>>>>
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