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Re: Point of View and Empathy

From:John Vertical <johnvertical@...>
Date:Monday, October 2, 2006, 10:31
Christopher Bates wrote:
>There are also various other factors (in fact, most things in linguistics) >that could potentially involve point of view. An issue that occured to me >in English is which referent, exactly, secondary predications of emotion >are attached to. For instance: > >the king left the room disgusted > >seems to me to ordinarily require that either the king's or the room's >point of view is adopted. If I try adding "bloody", which, as a >perjorative, normally indicates a positive lack of empathy, then the first >reading is blocked for me at least: > >??the bloody king left the room disgusted (the king was disgusted) > >the bloody king left the room disgusted (the room was disgusted)
Isn't this simply due to the two diffrent meanings of English "leave"? You seem to be trying to use the "departure" sense in the 1st, and the "causation" sense in the 2nd. Unless it's supposed to be the arcaic structure used in eg. "a story untold". Anyway, I think this works: "The bloody king left the room, disgusted" -With the comma in there, it's clearly 1st sense of "leave" & the king who is disgusted... doesn't really come across as being due to the leaving, but I'm not sure if that's even what you wanted. Also: "The bloody king left the disgusted room". Seems to be just an issue of juggling the modifier's location 'round. You could in the first case just as well put it in the same spot as "bloody" (but as you say, having both there does not really work).
>It seems to me that giving the emotional state in this way requires empathy >more generally, and often the point of view of the entity exhibiting the >emotion to be adopted. English does not present, in this situation, any >easy, fairly minimal way of indicating the speaker's emotions when their >point of view is adopted as narrator. For instance: > >the king left disgusted > >CANNOT be read as "the king left (I was disgusted)".
So... what you're looking for in this case is essentially a way of expressing the discorse participants' opinions grammatically, even when they're not directly related to the topic? Eg. "The moon is cheese (but I'm skeptical about it)." "I saw a long snake (you would have been scared (of it))." "Then you just add up the numbers (geez damn am I bored)." with the parenthesized information expressed by nothing but the emotion/opinion itself plus a morpheme to label it as assigned to 1p, 2p, object, subject, etc? Possibly with a few modal categories for persons other than 1st, so in 2p for example you could have assumptiv "you probably think that..." vs. interrogativ "so you think that...?" vs, I dunno, though-police-iv "you would do best to think that..." It could be fun to have 1p the unmarked person there and thus require extra to talk about the opinions of anyone else than yourself. Might even proov useful in egoistical personalangs maybe?
>There are languages which have morphology or particles specifically >to specify the speaker's attitude towards an event.
>However, these seem to have the opposite problem: they are fixed as speaker >orientated, rather than being relative to the point of view adopted.
Again a bit like the English "I think <gerund phrase> is X" construction then? Or does it only work when the speaker is actually hirself involved in the commented action?
>Finally, a Papuan language Oksapmin actually has verb morphology to mark >point of view adopted during an event:
>This is apparently used to great effect in telling stories, but it is >unclear what other categories are affected by a change in the viewpoint >adopted.
Well, yes, it would be interesting to kno' what other things than telling stories this is used in. Or maybe it is just a morpheme to mark storytelling? :) John Vertical