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Next word: "key"

From:Herman Miller <hmiller@...>
Date:Friday, May 21, 2004, 4:07
How does one word end up with so many meanings? You've got the metal
thing that you turn to operate a lock. "Key" has other meanings
associated with secrets, answers, and so on, which could be related to
the idea of opening a lock. Then there's a lever or switch on a
keyboard, which can trigger a musical note to play or a letter to appear
on your screen. Not to mention the different sorts of levers on wind
instruments that cover or uncover holes to produce different musical
notes. And then there's the tonal center of a piece of music, like the
"key of C minor". And what about those islands in the south of Florida?

It seems that most of these meanings of "key" could be translated with
different words. The key of a piano keyboard is a "lever", and the key
of a typewriter keyboard is a "button" (but not the kind of button on a
shirt). Other meanings of "key" could be translated "clue", "guide",
"island", and so on. So you're basically left with two meanings:
something that operates a lock (usually a metal thing that you turn in a
lock, although it could be something like the key cards in hotel rooms,
or even something abstract like a combination or password), and the
basic tonal center of a piece of music.

In Lindiga, you use a "tling" to operate a lock, which can either be a
physical key or something abstract like a combination. A password is a

A musical "key" is "rnaka". This is more general in Lindiga than the
traditional major and minor keys; it includes details about the tuning
and which intervals are considered as consonant or dissonant.

A key of a musical keyboard is a "lever" (kroch).

"Key" with the general meaning of "clue" or "guide" is "ukáli".

The adjective meaning of "key" (essential) is "warski".

And finally, the Florida keys are just "islands" in Lindiga (palta).
Thus, "key lime" is "island lime".


Nik Taylor <yonjuuni@...>
John Cowan <cowan@...>