- To: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Subject: The case of the cow oak: a lexicographical anecdote
- From: Arnt Richard Johansen <email@example.com>
- Date: Thu, 17 Mar 2005 12:35:31 +0100 (CET)
- Sender: nobody <firstname.lastname@example.org>
On Jbovlaste, we (that is, Robin :) ) have imported the contents of
luj1999.ZIP into these pages:
This word list has, I believe, been assembled programmatically by Nora
based on occurrences in the corpus.
Now, many of these words are nonce, typos, or simply erroneous
registrations of natlang words. But one thing that caught my eye in the
first few pages of that list was:
It *could* simply be an error, I thought, but there are many species of
oak. Maybe one of these species is the "bovine" one in some language the
original author wanted to calque from, possibly Linnean binomials. I
searched for "bakcindu" in the lojban.org search interface (which covers,
among other things, this mailing list since the dawn of time). But no
occurrences were found. I pored over the List of Quercus species on
Wikipedia, but nothing seemed remotely cow-like there.
I then asked Pierre Abbat, our resident taxonomist, to help out. A few
minutes after receiving a response that there was no such thing as cow
oak, I started racking my brain about how it could come to be that that
word had ended up in the list. Did Nora have access to some texts back in
1999 that wasn't searchable on lojban.org yet? Probably not. So it *had*
to be in there somewhere.
Then it hit me. Obviously, Nora's script did canonicalization of the lujvo
forms. Otherwise, there would be at least some alternative forms in the
list. So it was probably registered from a non-canonical form. I tried
searching for "baknycindu", and BINGO!:
That was, apparently, the only usage ever of that word. And in a really
bizarre metalinguistic discussion, too (read it!).
I feel a bit bad about going to Pierre before thinking through *why* there
was no hits on the search form now.
Arnt Richard Johansen http://arj.nvg.org/
Så mange ord som mulig per gram var utvelgelsesgrunnlaget da bøkene
skulle plukkes ut. --Erling Kagge: Alene til Sydpolen
And now I discover that there actually is a cow oak. See ordnet.