"To be" or not "to be"? (was Re: TRANS: something slightly more deep)
|From:||Paul Bennett <paulnkathy@...>|
|Date:||Sunday, February 6, 2000, 23:51|
On 6 Feb 00, at 15:00, Barry Garcia wrote:
> firstname.lastname@example.org writes:
> >Took me a while to figure this out, since there's no verb for "to be",
> >but then I remembered safái.
> Same with my situation. It took me a while to realize how I could
> translate that sentence. What fun it is not having "to be"........
>Hold on just one minute...
I maybe haven't been paying attention as much as I should, but are you
saying that W. and Saalangal lack a simple equivalent to the verb "exist"?
I can understand the lack of 'attributive' or 'essive' "to be" in terms of
a zero-copula language (and variations thereof), but I'd have thought that
any language needs a simple non-phrasal way of indicating whether something
exists or not. Are there a significant number of natlangs where there is
no simple way to oppose (for example) "this chair exists" against "this
chair does not exist"?
(Is there, therefore, a people so practical that they never discuss things
that do not exist???)
"Confused" of NC