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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 >> arguments >> 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 > IIRC.
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 > between > two others doesn't come from PIE, but comes from independent innovations > from > 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 normal IE 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 & Dutch) or with our 'eke' (Scandinavia); and so on with the other IE branches.
> > Latin >> 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 > "either... > or..."
Yes, but _or_ is normally XOR is everyday usage. If we want specifically to 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 latter denotes 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 same thing", e.g. uel te uel illum sequemur = we'll follow either you ot him (we don't mind which). I believe French can make a similar distinction with 'ou bien........ou bien' (aut.... ...aut) and 'soit.......soit' (uel........uel). Do other natlangs and/or conlangs make a similar distinction with "or"? Ray.