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Terminological differences (was Re: Georgian)

From:Paul Bennett <paul-bennett@...>
Date:Monday, June 5, 2006, 12:54
-----Original Message-----
>From: "Mark J. Reed" <markjreed@...> > >On 6/4/06, Tim May <butsuri@...> wrote: >> So how is it transitive? What kind of construction is this used in? >> Isn't it just an antipassive? > >OK, maybe it's intransitive. I just tend to think of transitivity as >a semantic property rather than a syntactic one.
A common problem, and the source of several long and rambunctious discussions here and elsewhere. There are a number of terms, like this, that have similar but not always identical meanings across several domains of linguistics, or even science in general. I recall a rather heated discussion on this list that ultimately hinged on two incompatible meanings of the word "arbitrary" not so long ago, and there was a post on the Language Log just a couple of days ago that relied on the difference between the layman's definition of "vocalize" as "produce vocally", compared to the phonetician's definition as "turn into a vowel", which seemed to actually quite stymie the poster until it was discussed in the comments to the post. Science, in general, I feel, is a terminological mess, with new definitions for old words being added just about as fast and minutely as possible. If it were in any a plausible suggestion, I'd recommend an Egyptian / Japanese / Mayan-inspired set of semantic "determinatives", obligatorily tacked onto any term that exists across multiple domains of discourse. IMO far more needed than a spelling reform, and it would also complement any reform that increases the number of homonyms/homophones. Paul