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Re: 2nd person inanimate

From:Matt Trinsic <trinsic@...>
Date:Saturday, June 19, 2004, 14:20
Jim Grossmann wrote:
> You speak of a "language" in which 2nd person inanimate would be useful. > But wouldn't the utility of the form depend, not just on the language, but > on the world-view and common practices--the culture--in which the language > evolves? > > To put it another way, you don't have to worry about inventing a *language* > in which 2nd person inanimate could be useful. Addressing inanimate things > could be useful for the speakers of any language. Simply invent the 2nd > person inanimate form, then explore how you want to use it. >
Yes, of course! It would certainly have to be a cultural feature. I usually work on language and culture simultaneously, so I tend to conflate them.
> I'm not sure that your "talking to the paper" scenario works. Unless the > message written on the paper were jointly addressed to the paper and the > letter's recipient, the speaker/writer would not have the same things to say > to the paper and to the letter's recipient. To the paper, the writer might > write: "You keep letting the ink bleed through you," or "O Paper, tell Jane > that I love her." But if the writer wrote to Jane, "Jane, I love you," > this would constitute a message directed to Jane, not to the paper. > > On the other hand, the idea of an "epistlatory 2nd person" sounds just as > much fun as inanimate 2nd person to me. You could easily invent a language > that has both! > > Jim G.
Well, my idea with the letter writing was that you would actually be addressing the person you are writing to as an inanimate object. That is, as Jane isn't physically located where you are, she is considered inanimate. Of course, what do you do then if you are writing a letter to Jane and she is sitting next to you? ~Trinsic