Chraki as a language makes a distinction between “words” and what goes on in the construction of a “word”. In linguistics, a
word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with objective or practical meaning. This is true for Chraki, to a degree, but there are additional caveats. This post discusses those caveats as well as the construction of both “words” and “codifications.”
The Slightest Philosophy (Again)
(Note: The heading for this section is borrowed from a book of the same title. Check it out!)
I write “again” because I also used this sub-heading in About Chraki, but it applies here. Chraki as a language does have a certain decided philosophy behind its construction. We come to philosophy here due to the philosophical questions surrounding the relationship between language and thought.
According to Wikipedia, there are two bodies of thought on this subject. The first body of thought is called the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis, while the other body is made up of what are referred to as “Language Of Thought” Theories. The strict form of the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis (also known as the strong version) can be interpreted simplistically as stating that without language there is no thought. In contrast, Language Of Thought Theories often involve proposals that state that language is inessential for thought, and in fact language may have been created for thought.
Chraki, as a language, separates what one might think of as a thought from the expression of that thought. We call the former a codification and the latter an encoding. In this fashion, Chraki subscribes to the Language Of Thought Theories school. To quote the second paragraph currently on Wikipedia in its Language and Thought article (cited from Gleitman, Lila in the Cambridge Handbook Of Thinking And Reasoning):
The main use of language is to transfer thoughts from one mind, to another mind. The bits of linguistic information that enter into one person’s mind, from another, cause people to entertain a new thought with profound effects on his world knowledge, inferencing, and subsequent behavior. Language neither creates nor distorts conceptual life. Thought comes first, while language is an expression. There are certain limitations among language, and humans cannot express all that they think.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Language_and_thought
We’re not out of the woods yet! When it comes to what components comprise language we come to another interesting determination: that of the signifier and the signified. [A] Course in General Linguistics, a book published in 1916 compiling Ferdinand de Saussure’s teachings (it was reconstructed from students’ notes after Saussure’s death in 1913), splits expressions (like a word) into the component parts of signifier (today, following Hjelmslev, the material form of an expression) and the signified (that which it’s intended to mean: the mental concept.)
In Saussure’s world, a sign then is the combination of the aforementioned components. One sign consists of an inseparable signified and signifier. To encapsulate this concept Chraki uses the term signal, however, its practical application is broader.
As a side note, the publication of Course in General Linguistics helped push the school of Semiotics into the public eye. Several proclaimed semioticians, such as Umberto Eco, or Baudrillard, expanded this field to include such notions a truth/falsehood, and simulation/simulacra.
In this light we arrive then at the definitions of the three previously mentioned terms:
- A delineated/distinguished thought(-form) which stands apart in abstraction/characteristics from other such thought(-form)s. A thought(-form) is what is conceived purely in the psychic processes of an individual, prior to expression. This would be considered Saussure’s signified component.
- A symbol, of any form, meant to indicate or refer to a codification in the eyes of the interpreter. This would be considered Saussure’s signifier component.
- The combination of codification(s) and encoding(s) to form a meaningful communication of significance, particulary if recorded.
Codifications And Words
Now we are ready to come back to “words.” In essence, words and codifications are two different things. The working definition of a word in Chraki is:
- The encoding of a codification, an “encodification,” that presents itself as part of a sentence or phrase in a particular performative capacity as indicated through context.
This may seem at first like a silly distinction to make because isn’t a “word” simply a signifier/encoding and that’s that? How many encodings does one codification need/have?
This requires a look at what makes up a word, such as in the English language. The words blue, rat, over, quickly, and run are all different from each other not only in meaning but in their application. Their use is determined by their membership within different lexical categories (also known as parts of speech): (in order) adjective, noun, preposition, adverb, and verb. In English, at least, you can’t always substitute one of these words for another grammatically, such as the utterance, “He over her ratly.” (meant as pronoun, verb, pronoun, adverb).
In Chraki, this does not have to be the case. Actually, any codification (the root of a word) can be transformed into an encoding (word) that may belong to any lexical category. Now what makes the motivation for the distinction between codification and word should be apparent. In Chraki, every codification can be encoded as every part of speech (lexical category). This is known as polymorphic encoding (Encyclopaedia entry coming soon!), named after the programming language feature.
In fact, if you are coming from a programming mindset, you can think of codifications as classes and their resultant encodings (words) as polymorphic instances.
(This is in adherence to the first guiding principle of the Chraki language.)
The Tree Of Knowledge
- Codification Root-forms (Long And Short)
- Creating Meaning: Codifications And Their Hierarchies
- Relationship To Speaking/Writing
So, you may be asking, how are codifications classified and recorded, and how do they turn into words? This is the topic of the next several sections.
Codification Root-forms (Long And Short)
Codifications are, hopefully, defined independently of any particular symbol or signifier. This is accomplished somewhat through the tradition of defining the “essence” or “nature” of a codification in another language (as of now, English) rather than in Chraki itself. In this way, we are not necessarily limited by the inability to “bootstrap” the language with itself into greater meaning.
However, in terms of expression, each codification is officially attached to two root-forms. A root-form is (one of) the official canon encoding(s) of a codification using phonetic units. For each codification there are two root-forms: the short form, and the long form.
The two encodings of a codification, root-forms, serve two different purposes. The long form is just like you might imagine any traditional word. This is the form you would use as a basis to express the codification in an utterance. Opposite, the short form is used when the codification is used within the encoding of a long form for another codification. Using this method we can see in any given word’s make-up the codifications that make it up (and hopefully lend to its meaning.) We have arrived at three new definitions:
- A official (canon) encoding of a codification using phonetic units. Each codification has two root-forms, one short and one long. Using root-forms allows us to be able to quickly understand the make-up of any given codification’s meaning.
- Long Root-form
- The form used as the basis for an expressed word.
- Short Root-form
- The form used when the codification is being used within the long root-form encoding of another codification.
Creating Meaning: Codifications and Their Hierarchies
Why would I want one idea to have two pronunciations? It seems a bit inefficient at first glance, I’ll grant you that, but it’s been done this way to allow for greater efficiency in applications of ontology. Ontology (in this context) is, simplistically, the categorization of entities that exist or may be said to exist. Chraki employs two sets of hierarchies to create a mesh-like ontology of meaning: the denotative/disintegrative tree and the connotative/integrative tree. Both trees work in opposite ways.
Integration Versus Disintegration
Before we get to these specific trees, a quick note should be made about what the terms integration and disintegration mean. When I integrate something I am bringing two seemingly disparate elements together to form one whole. You could say that when I mix the color red with the color blue (to achieve purple) I am integrating the two colors to create purple. Opposite this, when I disintegrate something I am “taking it apart,” resulting in specific individual components that might comprise what was once whole. You could say that when I take apart a chair, for instance, that I am disintegrating the chair into its component pieces of wood. So, now we have two definitions:
- The process of taking two individually distinguished elements and putting them together to form one whole.
- The process of breaking down one individually distinguished whole into its separate and specific individually distinguished components.
Every codification in Chraki is related to other codifications in very distinct ways using hierarchies (trees). With these definitions in hand, we can now create the denotative/disintegrative tree and the connotative/integrative tree!
The Denotative/Disintegrative Tree
The Disintegrative Tree starts with one element at the “top,” from which we can then derive one or more elements. From those elements, we can further derive one or more elements of greater specificity. If we were to visualize this tree with the aforementioned “top,” we’ll see that it grows ever larger the more we move down the “chain” of derivations.
An arbitrary (as in not official canon) example of this follows:
plants / \ fruit vegetable / \ / \ apple orange eggplant potato
(Yes, I’m aware that technically vegetables actually contain fruits in their definition. This is just a colloquial example.)
You can see that at the “top” we have plants. That is our singular root codification for the next two “leaves” on the tree: fruit, and vegetable. By this example, both are more specific examples of plants. In the context of Chraki, we’d say that fruits/vegetables “derive” from the parent codification of plants.
Subsequently, we can grow a tree downwards of ever-greater specificity, breaking up broad meanings into smaller more specific categories and instances. I call this process denotative, or categorical because it is all about defining new codifications by what category they fall under.
In fact, this process was inspired by the now de-facto online process of cataloging content: categories, and hashtags. This tree represents the process of categorization.
The Connotative/Integrative Tree
The Integrative Tree works in the opposite way. Instead of taking a root codification and deriving several more potential codifications, the integrative tree takes multiple codifications and derives a single new codification from them. If we were to visualize this tree, we’d see that it would grow downwards in a narrow fashion toward the bottom (the theoretical final element.)
An arbitrary (as in not official canon) example of this follows:
happy sad attempt angry \ / \ / bittersweet frustration \ / dysphoria
You can see at the “top” we have the codifications happy and sad. These go through a process of integration to form the codification bittersweet. Likewise, the codifications attempt and angry go through a similar process to form the codification frustration. We repeat this process to finally arrive at the “bottom” codification: dysphoria.
Thus, using this process we can define new codifications that may not necessarily fit into a singular category, and/or may be too broad but in a different fashion. Codifications resulting from integration usually become broader in terms of meaning or impact (oftentimes in an emotional way.)
Following the previous hierarchy, this process was inspired by the now de-facto online process of cataloging content: categories, and hashtags. This tree represents the process of creating hashtags that you’d then apply to specific content.
Relationship To Speaking/Writing
Remember how we previously talked about long and short root-forms? This is where you can see them in action. Long and short root-forms are created according to the hierarchies: the short form of a parent codification is used in the long form of its children. Let’s use the two examples above to demonstrate; this time we’ll include arbitrary encodings to illustrate:
plants short: gari / \ / \ / \ fruit vegetable long: garidee long: ungari short: froo short: veji / \ / \ apple orange eggplant potato long: froopee long: froogu long: vejidu long: nuveji happy sad attempt angry short: yupi short: dari short: ef short: low \ / \ / bittersweet frustration long: yupidariki long: lowefshth short: gusr short: bani \ / \ / \ / dysphoria long: banigusr
(If this renders as unreadable, you will currently need to view it on a device with more screen real estate.)
It is important to note that, these processes can occur with any codifications, both integrated or disintegrated, at any hierarchical rankings. Ultimately, this creates more of a web than pure trees. In the end, we have the following two definitions:
- Denotative/Disintegrative Tree
- A graph structure where further codifications are defined in order of meaning specifity and classification, each relating back to their parent codification.
- Connotative/Integrative Tree
- A graph structure where a further codification is defined by combining the meanings of two or more parent codifications resulting in an integrated broader meaning.
There are multitudinous facets to the hierarchy system that I’ve laid out here. Covering them all is not in the full interest of the space of this article, so they are covered elsewhere (Encyclopaedia entries coming soon!) However, I do want to spend a little time on the parallels these two hierarchies have outside of Chraki (and in relation to each other).
Organizing Our Thoughts
If you were to take the two hierarchies and, instead of viewing them from vertically top-to-bottom, set them on their “side” and viewed them horizontally left-to-right it becomes easier to draw some parallels (at least for me.)
On the left we’d have The Root Codification, being the one that all other codifications ultimately derive from, and on the right we’d have The Ultimate Codification, being the one that all other codifications eventually derive to. Thus, we’d start from the classification of everything/the universe (yliaster) and end with another codification essentially meaning everything/the universe. But, these are two different codifications! What is their difference?
This becomes a matter of philosophical aesthetics. Mechanically, they could each mean the same thing, however, they ultimately do not mean the same thing grammatically. This differentiation is why I labeled the hierarchies as denotative (defining) and connotative (associating). The Disintegrative Hierarchy is one of definition, while the Integrative Hierarchy is one of association.
Thus on the left, we have the concrete, and on the right, the ephemeral. On the left, analytical, while on the right, emotional. Left, the easily definable, opposed to the right, the hard to define. Material versus spiritual, classification versus association, facts versus feeling, objective versus subjective and so on.
Thus, while The Root Codification indicates every possible existent and permutation in the universe, The Ultimate Codification speaks towards the impact of the universe on the consciousness.
You can also look at it from a modern perspective of content categories and hashtags: the former one classifies signal into specific bins, while the latter holds disparate pieces of content from different categories under one umbrella.
Using these parallels I can convey then the purpose or the intended spirit in which these hierarchies are to be formed, as simply stating them mechanically could result in the formation of unnecessary or inconsistent codifications.
You also might notice that, if any codification can derive from any other codification(s) regardless of hierarchical rank/position or whether they themselves are integrated/disintegrated, you don’t actually get a nice neat tree. Instead, you get a giant spiderweb that has one starting point, and eventually, one ending point, with a whole bunch of graph vertices in between.
If you are starting out on your Chraki journey, this post enables you to understand now how to form new codifications, as well as be able to break down long root-forms to discover the innate meanings inside codifications. Your next advised stop should be The Chraki Writing System, where you’ll learn how to record and broadcast Chraki.