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Re: Let the hammer fall, background, no language no people

From:dirk elzinga <dirk.elzinga@...>
Date:Wednesday, January 24, 2001, 16:52
On Wed, 24 Jan 2001, Matt McLauchlin wrote:

> Which reminds me, I came across a Welsh proverb today. Would we like to > conlang it: > > Welsh: Heb iaith, heb genedl. > English: No language, no people.
It seems to me that the Tepa viewed having language as a defining property of "personhood", and since they were rather isolationist, they didn't readily acknowledge the existence of other people. So the proverb becomes a tautology in Tepa; you're not a person if you don't have language; hence, no language, no people (i.e., no status as persons). pesutepasui sutua pe= su= 0- tepa -sui su= 0- tua if= NEG= 3- speak -NOM NEG= 3- person 'No language, no people' (lit: If it is not speech, it is not a person.') I realize that this is probably not what was meant by the proverb, but it's hard to translate things like national pride into a culture which didn't recognize the existence of nations. Dirk -- Dirk Elzinga "The strong craving for a simple formula has been the undoing of linguists." - Edward Sapir