Switch-reference and Math
|From:||Marcus Smith <smithma@...>|
|Date:||Friday, September 22, 2000, 7:25|
I was re-reading an article on switch-reference in Yuman languages tonight,
and I came across a section discussing how SR is used in math in
Mojave. Since both topics have been discusses today, I thought it only
fitting to give some examples so everybody could see one of the stranger
sides of Language. (Those of you with SR - pay attention). :)
First off, numbers are verbs. I'll specify same-subject as SS and
different-subject as DS.
rap havik-m casent-k
five two-DS one-tense
'eleven' literally 'five be two and it be one'
((5 X 2) + (1 X 1)) 5 isn't 1, so you use DS.
t@k@du:C@ havik-m hamoh-k
ten two-DS three-tns
'twenty-three', literally 'ten be 2 and it be three'
((10 X 2) + (1 X 3)) 10 isn't 1, so you use DS.
havik-k hamok-nt-m m-takyev-m Tarap-@
two-SS three-again-DS dual-add-DS five-fut
'Two plus three is five', literally 'it is two and it is three, add them it
will be five'
((1 X 2) + (1 X 3)) = (1 X 5), 1 is 1, so use SS between 'be two' and 'be
three'; but 1 is not (2+3), so use DS between 'be three' and 'add'; and
(2+3) is not 1, so use DS between "add" and "be five".
Yavapai (related to Mojave) does thing differently -- it always uses SS in
If anybody is interested in reading the entire article, it is "Subject and
(Switch-)Reference in Yuman" by Margaret Langdon and Pamela Munro, Societas
Linguistica Europaea; probably 1979, but could be a couple years later.
"When you lose a language, it's like
dropping a bomb on a museum."
-- Kenneth Hale