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Re: water (was:re:sounds like...)

From:JOEL MATTHEW PEARSON <mpearson@...>
Date:Monday, November 23, 1998, 22:18
On Mon, 23 Nov 1998, John Cowan wrote:

> Matt Pearson wrote: > > > Tokana has several words for water. Water as a substance or element > > is "hum", a word which I'm supremely unhappy with and will have to > > change one of these days. > > Why not just heave it overboard? Tokana chemists, if there ever > are any, can develop their own terms for dihydrogen monoxide. > After all, if Japanese (IIRC) can get along with words for "hot water" > and "cold water" but no word for "water" simpliciter, why can't > Tokana just have "wild water" and "tame water"?
Because water-the-substance plays a crucial role in Tokana metaphysics, and by extension, in Tokana metaphor. According to the Tokana, fire and water are the two 'elemental forces' of the universe, which combine to create all forms of matter and energy. These forces are each associated with various 'changes' or 'turnings' ("mislapi") within the mind/body. Fire is associated to 'warm' or 'active' changes (physical exertion, strength, libido, mental concentration, etc.), while water is associated with 'cool' or 'passive' changes (mental and physical relaxation, spiritual contemplation, sleep and dreaming, meditation, etc.). For this reason, I need a term for water-the-substance which can carry these various associations. (Coopting one of the other terms wouldn't work, since cool/passive changes can be associated both with 'wild water' and with 'tame water'.) Matt.