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How many words are enough?
01-01-2013, 08:59 AM
Post: #1
How many words are enough?
I just wanted to get this thread going because everyone has to be thinking about it as soon as they think about

Are 20 words enough?

123? (toki pona's range)

500?

10,000? (Getting into the range of a child)

Can you get by with fewer words if you have more grammatical rules?

Is it all an illusion and we end up having to memorize the same number of lexemes regardless to the bound +unbound morpoheme count?
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01-02-2013, 02:58 AM
Post: #2
RE: How many words are enough?
(01-01-2013 10:18 AM)Kuti Wrote:  Sonja took BASIC English dictionnary ( 850 words ) and sort them by theme.

That I did not know. It sound much more plausible than the wikipedia articles that keep saying that toki pona was inspired by New Speak, which it doesn't share hardly any of the design principles. (New speak took a natural language and subtracted words, had a 3 category system of words that allowed unlimited technical words, and had a mental model of the mind that assumed that the brain couldn't think of treason if it couldn't learn the word from someone else-- none of this reminds me of toki pona)

The 20 word range is interesting since toddlers go through a phase when they only know 20 words and it isn't hard to teach 20 words to an animal (hard/impossible to teach them grammar tho)

20 words is also close to a typical number of phonemes, I'd imagine that if there were 20 words, our brains would treat them as meaningless and we'd get a language that is sort of like Japanese or Mayan and could be written with a syllabary (except that each "letter" is a word with the same sort of independent meaning as a word in a compound word.
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