Re: Changing worldviews with language (LONG)
|From:||H. S. Teoh <hsteoh@...>|
|Date:||Monday, November 4, 2002, 23:28|
On Mon, Nov 04, 2002 at 05:10:39PM -0500, Roger Mills wrote:
> 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
The problem is, some words just aren't precise enough, and just can't be
*made* precise enough. It often comes down to a matter of interpretation
and personal opinion. For example, BLAME to me means speaker says X, but X
may not be true. The difference between BLAME and ACCUSE, is that ACCUSE
is more emphatic.
This is of course my own analysis; I'm sure others will break it down in
And then there's this funny comment made by the headmaster of my high
school: apparently, in a report card or during a parents-teachers meeting,
he had mentioned that a particular boy was struggling with schoolwork but
was nevertheless "meticulous". The boy's parents became greatly offended,
because to them "meticulous" implies "girlish". (Whereas if it were my
father, who highly regards attention to detail, "meticulous" would be a
very positive comment, son or daughter alike.)
Semantics are just very slippery things to lay your hands on.
> Also certain verbs may refer to the same action, but depend on the point of
> view of the speaker or situation:
Ahh. Exactly the way _le's_ "to move", and _laa'ma_ "to carry" works in
> To some extent, BUY/SELL and LEND/BORROW are similar, and it is not
> surprising that some languages use a single root for each.
Which causes endless confusion with L2 English speakers, esp. those from
Chinese backgrounds, who keep saying that somebody "borrowed" something
*to* them, and that they "lent" something *from* someone.
> >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?
At the moment, no. But I can certainly foresee the need to do so in the
> Is this r-/g-/j- alternation systematic, i.e. can it be applied to other
Not *precisely*; but there is a very general (and rather vague) pattern of
velars and dentals for beginnings, foundational things; palato-alveolar
affricates and bilabials for contents, convergent things; and liquids
(/l/, /r/, /s/, /z/) for moving things, things relating to space, things
relating to containers.
But this is, of course, too vague to be predictably useful.
> 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?
Well, these terms are abstract terms, whose precise meanings depend on
context. Normally, I wouldn't form compounds with them. Nevertheless,
depending on your POV, you may say the rii'bi/gii'bi/jii'bi of a person is
the skeleton/flesh/organs, respectively, or you may equally validly say
that the correspondence is with soul/body/clothing, or even
bones/flesh/food (the food being "contained" in the body).
Similarly, there are many ways to describe a building --
pillars/plumbing/furniture, or walls/furniture/people, etc..
The main usage of these terms is in discussions such as "what is the
structure (_rii'bi_) of this problem?", "what are the symptoms (_jii'bi_)
of the problem?", "what is the _gii'bi_ of our solution?", "does our
solution have the _jii'bi_ to tackle this?", etc..
> >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....')
Cool. I've just completed a new section in the Ebisedian tutorial, which
describes the difference between:
_le's_ "to go (to a place, physically)"
_la'zi_ "to go (to a topic/thought/idea)"
_l0'se_ "to go (by sending an emissary, diplomat, spy, or military
presence; in other words, to infiltrate/invade/occupy, often used
of abstract entities like governments or political/religious/other
Interestingly, the Ebisedi seem to like transliterating physical actions
into mental actions by converting physical verbs into "introvertive"
- le's/la'zi as seen above
- _da'mi_ "to think", or "to speak within oneself", from _ta'ma_, "to
- _va'ti_ "to realize", from _fa't3_, "to see"
- _za'ti_ "to regard an idea from afar", "to fixate upon a thought/idea",
"to watch a discussion for flaws/inspirational points" from _zota'_, "to
- _bo'ji_ "to hesitate", from _p0'ju_, "to stop".
- _ka'khi_ "to think harm to", or "to verbally harrass", from _ke'kh_, to
Similarly, they also like to convert physical verbs into abstract verbs,
like _l0'se_ as seen above; and _k0'khe_, "to cheat" or "to cause
disadvantage to", also from _ke'kh_, "to hurt".
Too many people have open minds but closed eyes.