LINGUIST List 2.572
Fri 27 Sep 1991
Disc: Whorf and Warning
Editor for this issue: <>
"Bruce E. Nevin", self concept
bert peeters, 2.559 Warning
, Re: 2.559 Responses: Soviet language, warning, kilometer, etc.
Message 1: self concept
Date: Fri, 27 Sep 91 09:17:14 EDT
From: "Bruce E. Nevin" <bnevinccb.bbn.com>
Subject: self concept
Patrick McConvell in 2.563 asks about evidence bearing on Lee's
Whorfian proposal that the Wintu had a different self concept.
Constructions of the type "I am aching the leg" are in Achumawi
or Pit River, east of Wintu (with N. Yana partly intervening) but
otherwise unrelated (Hokan vs. Penutian). This language uses
hither/thither directionals a lot, and has inclusive/exclusive
dual and plural, both focalizing relation to speaker. I have
not encountered anything like "I am <x> the mother-in-law" but
though it seems unlikely to my intuitions of the language it
might be possible. Shirley Silver is closer to the remaining
This is a VSO polysynthetic language, so explicit noun arguments
have the effect often of being added as explanatory afterthoughts.
Thus: yakyak suwi qa sa?yeH "ache I-am the leg". This might have
bearing on the issue, so that any different sense of self might
be a byproduct of syntactic constraints rather than vice versa.
Len Talmy can speak for Atsuke (Atsugewi), neighbor and closest
related language. Are you on the list, Len?
Message 2: 2.559 Warning
Date: Thu, 26 Sep 91 10:56:43 EST
From: bert peeters <peeterstasman.cc.utas.edu.au>
Subject: 2.559 Warning
> Date: Mon, 23 Sep 91 18:59:22 BST
> From: WHEATLJSibm3090.computer-centre.birmingham.ac.uk (John Wheatley)
> Perhaps I take too strong a Hallidayan / Whorfian view of things
> but if one doesn't start with the premise that differences are cultural
> do we just suppose that languages differ by chance? Of curse it takes more
> than a couple of signs to be convincing but with a larger corpus
> I wuld have thought that cultural differenence was the first
> hypothesis worth testing?
You don't have to be a Hallidayan or a Whorfian to believe in cultural
differences. I do believe in them myself (I'm not going to repeat that
warning of me this time! :-)) yet I don't consider myself to be either.
If anything, I am a Wierzbickian as far as semantics (and pragmatics)
goes. How is that for an adjective?
Dr Bert Peeters Tel: +61 02 202344
Department of Modern Languages 002 202344
University of Tasmania at Hobart Fax: 002 207813
GPO Box 252C Bert.Peetersmodlang.utas.edu.au
Hobart TAS 7001
Message 3: Re: 2.559 Responses: Soviet language, warning, kilometer, etc.
Date: Wed, 25 Sep 1991 16:04 CST
Subject: Re: 2.559 Responses: Soviet language, warning, kilometer, etc.
Nobody is advocating "ignoring the possibility of cultural differences"
as influences on the wording of signs. What I'm advocating is rather
that we not _assume_ that the differences in the wording of signs are
caused (or even influenced) by this or that assumed (i.e., not-checked-
out) cultural differences, such as slavishness, or literal-mindedness,
or disrespect for authority or whatever other broad-stroke generalization
you have in mind. Since I sent my note, I've learned from Bruce Fraser
that he means his statement about the possibility of cultural differences
to be tongue-in-cheek anyway. So I misread what he said, Bert Peeters
misread what I said, and on and on. Happens all the time on the net.
Must be cultural differences...
Message 4: WARNING/posting
Date: Thu, 26 Sep 1991 01:11:55 PDT
Or what happens to WARNING, when languages are in a clashing
situation, in this case, English/French in Canada:
The traditional posting for NO TRESPASSING in bilingual parts of
Quebec used to be: De'fense de tre'passer. For those of you
whose French is rusty, "trepasser" means "to die". A most
Dana Paramskas (danapcsus.edu)