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Re: Changing worldviews with language (LONG)

From:Roger Mills <romilly@...>
Date:Monday, November 4, 2002, 22:08
This thread has gotten so complex, and interesting, that I can only reply
>> Mat McVeagh wrote: >> > Exactly, semantics is where the really juicy stuff is at, and it's
>> > it does seem as tho ppl are more interested in constructing *form* - >> > phonoogical, orthographic and grammatical, as you say. >>
(Nik Taylor I think:)
>> I wouldn't say that. There may be more talk about forms, but semantics >> is hardly ignored. >
>Heartily agreed.
As do I, but Mat's statement is also true. Phonology and morphology _are_ relatively easy; semantics is slippery and requires a lot of thought and analysis to get away from the languages we know, with relatively familiar categories-- constrained by the fact that most of our conlangs are intended for Earth-like people living in Earth-like environments. Some of you may remember seeing the famous (and only!) example of Chomskyan TG applied to the semantic component: BACHELOR 1. [anim, human, male] an unmarried male person 1a.[anim, -hum, male] a male seal that has not found a mate 2. [anim. hum] holder of a certain academic degree There was also an approach roughly like the following, an attempt to analyze lexical items into component parts (as best I remember it)-- KNOW: speaker believes [X is true]-- and X _is_ true BELIEVE: speaker believes [X is true]-- but X may/may not be true CLAIM: speaker believes and says [X is true]-- but X is not true .......? : speaker says [X did Y] -- and it is true that X did Y ACCUSE: Speaker says [X did Y] -- may/may not be true BLAME: Speaker believes [X did Y]-- may/may not be true Also certain verbs may refer to the same action, but depend on the point of view of the speaker or situation: GO/COME BRING/TAKE To some extent, BUY/SELL and LEND/BORROW are similar, and it is not surprising that some languages use a single root for each.
>A similar feature in Ebisedian: > rii'bi the skeletal frame of a framework > gii'bi the fillings of the infrastructure in a framework > jii'bi the contents, contained by the framework > >E.g., the metal frame of a car is the _rii'bi_, the engines, gears, >wheels, etc., are the _gii'bi_, and the passengers are the _jii'bi_. Or a >building: the pillars, weight-bearing beams and walls, are the _rii'bi_; >the plumbing and electrical connections are the _gii'bi_, and the people >and furniture are the _jii'bi_.
Can these be divided up further? Is this r-/g-/j- alternation systematic, i.e. can it be applied to other vocab.items? Or must these be compounded so that e.g. rii'bi-PERSON = skeleton, gii'bi-PERSON = muscles/cartilages/tendons (or perhaps innards?); then would jii'bi-PERSON be......soul, personality???? or would jii'bi-PERSON be the actual internal organs?
> >1) _fa'ta_ "to see" (phys) > _va'ti_ "to realize" (or, "to see", introvertive)
Kash has some similar groups: sanjañ 'be aware of, realize, understand (that...)' tanjañ 'to understand, grasp the meaning of', caka- 'to suddenly do so, to have a flash of insight' tacañ 'to mean, to intend'; andacañ 'definition' nuwak 'to ask, to question' penuwak 'to doubt' (old prefix pe- 'having....')


H. S. Teoh <hsteoh@...>