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Re: Number

From:Jeff Jones <jeffsjones@...>
Date:Monday, August 6, 2001, 9:23
On Mon, 6 Aug 2001 01:46:11 -0700, Aidan Grey <frterminus@...> wrote:

>Teithan Marcus: >> >No. This is a distributive/collective distinction. >> Say you want to refer >> >to the tools in the back yard. If they are >> scattered all over the yard, >> >you use the plural marker, but if they are stacked >> up by the porch all >> >together, then you use the singular or a collective >> plural (depending on >> >the language). So the distributed plural indicates >> multiplicity of >> >"locations" of the noun/pronoun/verbal action in >> question. > > This reminds me of a demonstrative feature of an >Iniuk lang (don't remember which one) I adore. Shape >is a distinctive feature of the demonstrative system, >round and long being the two main features. How this >works is that if I was referring to a man running, he >would be +long, because the space he's occupied over >time is greater in one dimension. And a man sitting >still would be +round, because he's basically the same >in all dimensions. A pair of gloves piled is +round, >but one glove separated from the other is +long, >because the two sort of bookend the space between them >and include it as part of the set.
Well, the feature makes some sort of sense, and the terms "+long" and "+round" can be understood within the context of that particular language. What I object to is the use of general terms in a language-specific way when the context is general.
>Ran teithan Jeff: >> I hope you're kidding -- that is not at all how I >> understand "distributive" >> and "collective". To me, "distributive" is like >> mathematical distributive >> and "collective" means that the set of entities is >> treated like an entity >> itself. > > Nope, he's not kidding. And it gets weirder still, >like in my example above. Remember that every >occupation will have its unique uses of certain terms.
Unfortunately. I think the lojban people have the right approach: invent new terms appropriate to the language rather than redefining latinate words for the millionth time.
>A psychologist will have a very different >understanding of distributive than a mathematician!
In my personal observation and experience, psychologists tend to have shit for brains. Jeff
> Aidan