I read some linguistics books a while back, and more recently I've been reading (against my better judgement) Mad Investor Chaos and the Woman of Asmodeus. So, I've been thinking about word length and concept importance a lot. 

Question 1: Should we be picking one or two syllable words for phrases/concepts central to thinking better? Is the hit to interpretability (which LessWrong is not really optimised for as is) worth it? What other significant costs am I missing?

Question 2: Which phrases/concepts?

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What other significant costs am I missing?

Language has redundancy at least partially for purposes of error-detection-and-correction.

Adding new short words increases the probability of undetected (or detected-but-ambiguous) errors.



We were discussing this in the Eliezerfic Discord server a few weeks ago, and aurellem made a Google doc which listed their brainstorm for what phrases/concepts might be good to have short terms for. The doc also has a list references to Baseline (the constructed language used in dath ilan) in Mad Investor Chaos.

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I'm sure this happens in many areas (maths, for one), but medical language is a pretty well-optimised system I know well. You might like to use it for inspiration:

Medicine: "72yo F BIBA with 3/7 hx SOB, CP. Chest clear, HS I+II+0. IMP: IECOPD"

English: 72 year old woman brought in by ambulance because she's been short of breath and had chest pain for the past 3 days. No noises were audible over her lungs with a stethoscope, both of her heart sounds were clearly audible with no added sounds. I think it's most likely this is being caused by an infection on top of a history of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.  


I can kind of reverse-engineer most of that; what's the /7 mean?


Three of seven, three days in the last week. (I think)