"Kill" vs. "cause to die" (was: "Transferral" verb form...)
|From:||John Cowan <jcowan@...>|
|Date:||Wednesday, June 26, 2002, 13:32|
H. S. Teoh scripsit:
> Good point, although you're using the English sense of "to kill" here
> (i.e., the killer is present at the scene and effects the immediate
I think at best that is an implicature (i.e. defeasible by the facts).
I remember a scene in Randall Garrett's Lord Darcy fantasy/mystery
novel _Too Many Magicians_ where Master (Sorcerer) Sir James Zwinge
has just been found murdered, and a pair of forensic sorcerers are
trying to find out the circumstances. The junior member says that
the evidence seems to him to show that Sir James was killed twice;
the senior says that in fact there are two sets of death-impressions:
"one when Sir James was killed, the other when he died."
(BTW, "James Zwinge" is the real name of the well-known stage magician
and skeptic The Amazing Randi. There are many such Easter eggs in the
Lord Darcy stories: my favorite is the Marquis de London, who never
leaves his palace on business, relying on the eyes and ears of his
assistant Lord Bontriomphe; his majordomo is Sir Frederique Bruleur.)
So I think the natural thing in the Friday-Sunday scenario is to say
that the victim was killed on Friday, since that is when the cause of
his dying occurred, even though the death itself didn't happen until
This may even be primarily a PP-attachment problem: "caused (to die
on Sunday)" vs. "(caused to die) on Sunday", a species of trouble which
English is just full of.
However, there is also the fact that I can cause your death without
killing you: in a hypothetical case that first-year law students
(in anglophone countries) think about, if I shout on a mountain and
cause an avalanche whereby a village is buried, I will not be said
to have killed the people in the village.
> Or, to quote from an Ebisedian short story I wrote,
> miKa' uro gii'j3l0 zo n0 jhit3 di ch3d0'd khejww're jh3t3.
> "But this incident and her sickness killed/caused-to-die her."
I would tend to say that Ebisedian has a lexical gap for "kill" and
uses a causative of "die" to fill it.
John Cowan <jcowan@...> http://www.reutershealth.com
I amar prestar aen, han mathon ne nen, http://www.ccil.org/~cowan
han mathon ne chae, a han noston ne 'wilith. --Galadriel, _LOTR:FOTR_