2317 has been learning language for the past several months in conjunction with robots 2300-2330 (inclusive). It has learned 500 words, which are built thus:
- Does an object have a name?
- Yes: Use it
- No: Does the object resemble some other object(s)?
- Yes: Modify the name of the other object(s), either by appending a suffix (see suffix rule set) or through portmanteau (see portmanteau rule set).
- No: Create a new name for the object.
New names are created so: Robots 2300 – 2330 (inclusive) have a syllabary space of 70 sounds. New objects are given names of no less than two and no more than three syllables, with preference given to two syllable words over three, a linguistic space of 347,900 words. Words that do not have identical neighbors are better: ah-bah is better than ah-ah, but ah-ah is better than ah-bah-ah. The robot that first encounters an object gets to propose the new object’s name, but other robots are not required to use the name if a better one is suggested.
2317 has 17 words in current use. It doesn’t feel pride about this, but every time it hears one of its words it swivels to look at the robot using it. The researchers say, “Oh, she’s so vain,” which are all words it doesn’t know. Its name is Zoo-Ra, though the other robots call it Pie-Doo. No one else has heard the word Zoo-Ra; 2317 has never had to say itself.