b-hebrew digest: December 13, 1999
cctr114 at its.canterbury.ac.nz
Tue Dec 14 15:19:43 EST 1999
Dave Washburn wrote:-
>If he means "precise" in mathematical terms, I agree. However,
>most English speakers intuitively know the difference between
>"bald," "balding" and "not bald." While these ideas can't be
>quantified in terms of how many hairs are the upper and lower
>limits of each, we know examples of each one when we see them
>(one of my uncles was bald, another was balding, and my father
>was not bald). This raises the related question of how far we can
>legitimately take mathematical quantification in linguistics. I tend
>to disagree sharply with most other generative grammarians on this
>point, and it's a big reason why I rejected Government-Binding and
>most everything that has ensued from it.
There is a relatively new branch of mathematics dealing with fuzzy sets
and fuzzy logic which was created to handle these types of problems.
A quick example. While we know that a whale is not a fish, there is
something rather fish-like about a whale, so in terms of a fuzzy
set we might assign a whale to being 80% a member of the set of
I don't know if fuzzy sets and logic have been applied to languages
such as Hebrew, but there is no reason why it shouldn't.
Bill Rea, Information Technology Services, University of Canterbury \_
E-Mail b dot rea at its dot canterbury dot ac dot nz </ New
Phone 64-3-364-2331, Fax 64-3-364-2332 /) Zealand
Unix Systems Administrator (/'
More information about the b-hebrew