Re: Logic in Languages
|From:||Ray Brown <ray.brown@...>|
|Date:||Sunday, June 30, 2002, 6:23|
On Friday, June 28, 2002, at 10:13 , Christophe Grandsire wrote:
> En réponse à Christopher Bates <christopher.bates@...>:
>> but it seems to me that if the operation comes before its two
>> as in "or Z and X Y" or "and X or Y Z" then which is meant is
>> unambiguous. I know latin has some strange ways of doing things like
>> anding... like adding "que" onto the end of the second argument.
> Indeed. But it's not that strange. It's actually a very common way to mark
> coordination in PIE. Sanskrit had that too (clitic -ca) and Old Greek too
Yes, it was _te_ (<-- *kwe).
> So it was a construction that was common in all PIE dialects, and even
> the main
> form of coordination in PIE (coordination consisting in putting a word
> two others doesn't come from PIE, but comes from independent innovations
> the languages that developped it, using adverbs that first meant "also"
> or "then").
Yes indeed - it seems the postfixed *kwe was the common PIE of expressing
conjunction, and that the later infixed words for 'and', which is now the
method, are indeed later independent developments. Thus:
Greek used & still uses _kai_ (now pronounced /ke/).
Latin had _et_ and all the modern Romancelangs, except Romanian, have forms
derived from it. Romanian has _s,i_ (s-cedilla, i) /Si/ <-- Latin 'sic'
The Germanic langs have forms either cognate with our 'and' (e.g. German &
or with our 'eke' (Scandinavia); and so on with the other IE branches.
>> also has a way of indication xor... do many natural languages make the
>> distinction between or and xor?
> English does too, but it does that using a correlative construction
Yes, but _or_ is normally XOR is everyday usage. If we want specifically
indicate OR, we seem to resort to the "and/or".
But to return to the postfix construction above, it was not merely
conjunction, but also
disjunction that Latin could express this way, e.g. pueri puellaeue (boys
or girls); but
this was rarer than -que (and) and was somewhat poetic.
Latin made an interesting distinction between _uel_ and _aut_. The
two mutually exclusive ideas/entities (i.e. quite definitely XOR), e.g.
uincemus aut moriemur - we shall either win or we shall die,
aut te aut neminem sequemur - we shall follow either you or nobody.
_uel_ is used with the meaning "or, if you like", "or, what amounts to the
uel te uel illum sequemur = we'll follow either you ot him (we don't mind
I believe French can make a similar distinction with 'ou bien........ou
...aut) and 'soit.......soit' (uel........uel). Do other natlangs and/or
a similar distinction with "or"?