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Re: Sensory Infixes in rtemmu (was Mauve and a related conlang question)

From:Jesse Bangs <jaspax@...>
Date:Wednesday, June 12, 2002, 17:06
> >Instead of the horribly abstract "the process of being blood", > mightn't we > >use a word meaning "to bleed." > > Not really. It is hard to use a lang like English, which views > the world as full of "things" and "actions" to describe a worldview > based on "developing processes".
Ah, that pesky nouns/verbs distinction. As far as I know, every natlang has them--but you're free to flout this universal if you wish. I assume that rtemmu is an AllVerb lang, then?
> For that mattter, "blood" is not always red! Only if it is > oxygenated! Deoxygenated blood is dark purple to black in color.
Very good point. In Homer, again, blood is often black or purple for exactly this reason.
> So, if I still wanted to use blood as a touchstone for the color > red, > I should probably stress _oxygenated_ blood. In rtemmu, this would > probably involve a compound: > | xvoxo`gw'oduh | > xvox = (the process of being) oxygen > o`g = compounding particle > w'oduh = (the process of being) blood
This seems too elaborate to me. Red is the most outstanding color for human perception, so describing it with a five-syllable compound is pretty awkward. This brings up again what I said about making the most fundamental colors have their own roots, to cover cases just such as this.
> > This brings up a question that I haven't as yet considered: > where to put infixes in a compound! Perhaps the placement would be > constrained by real-world facts --- I mean, what would it mean > to write | xvo-yai-x |, or oxygen-color, since oxygen is a colorless > gas.
If you get enough of it, it turns blue, viz. the sky. Surely any culture advanced enough to have a theory of "oxygenated blood" would know this ;-).
> >In Homer, the sea is often purplish (the color of wine, or > >"porphuros" if I remember the word right.) > > Now, I don't know what kind of sea Homer was talking about > (except that if it was the Mediterranean, it was probably a whole > lot > cleaner than it is today! ;-) ) under what kind of conditions. And > I > don't know what kind of wine he drank. All I _can_ say is that > the south-eastern end of the Med that I see all the time, when > under a cloudless blue sky (especially in winter, if the air is > still and > cool) is nothing like any wine that I have ever seen! It's a very > beautiful shade of blue! In fact, I've never seen a purple sea!
Well, this is exactly the point. Different cultures perceive colors differently, and have different dominant metaphors for the same objects, leading Homer to speakof "the wine-dark sea," while we call it "crystal-blue" sometimes.. Sapir-Worf argued that this actually influences color perception, but I think that's going a bit far. Color terms in Homer are an item of great controversey because of exactly this. He often uses words in ways that are surprising or even impossible from our perspective, leading people to suggest elaborate ways to get around what the word "seems" to mean.
> Thanks for the suggestion. I'll have to think about it.
Glad to help! (writing from home) Jesse S. Bangs Pelíran jaspax@ "Oh, look, you earned your wings Are you an angel now or a vulture?" --Pedro the Lion


Christophe Grandsire <christophe.grandsire@...>
Dan Sulani <dnsulani@...>