Re: OT: Doubting Thomas: was "Introducing Myself
|Date:||Friday, February 18, 2005, 18:53|
--- Henrik Theiling <theiling@...> wrote:
> Dan Sulani <dansulani@...> writes:
> > Another strange thing: he states that they all were
> > afraid of being cheated in their dealings with traders.
> > I fail to see how the concept of "cheated" can occur without
> > any framework to measure what's fair! If they can't count
> > the bags of nuts one way or another, (ok, it may not be how _we_
> > do it in our langs, but then using some other [more interesting]
> :-) way)
> > how do they know that this time they might be getting
> > the same bartered goods for fewer or more sackfuls given over
> > to the traders. How do they know how much "more" or "less"
> > they are giving/getting this time as opposed to other times?
> Well, he states that they know how to judge 'much'. They have words
> for that. I suppose cheating is then determined by the vague amounts
> that are exchanged. And by daily mood, since exactness does not seem
> to be a feature.
I got the impression that they used quantity, but not count. As if all
nouns were nononcountable, maybe. No fish, a little fish, a lot of
fish. Just not 3 fish. So a lot of fish could be several small fish or
a single big one, and a little fish could be a single small fish or a
piece of a big one.
The lack of counting makes sense, in a way, if you think about it that
way. If you primarily think in relative quantities, it doesn't make
much sense to add them. A little plus a little more is... what? It
depends on what you're comparing it to. And if you've never really
thought any way but that, it might be hard to make the mental shift to
measuring separate things rather than total quantity.
My out-in-left-field and completely unsubstantiated two cents :-)
> > I don't know about hoaxes, but I _have_ read enough accounts
> > about how tribal people have later been found out to have given
> > misleading or absolutely wrong answers to "nosey" anthropologists,
> > especially if their history with outsiders has not been very
I wondered about this the first time I read it too.
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