Re: Localizable Sentences Experiment

From: John W Kennedy (
Date: Wed Apr 22 2009 - 12:58:14 CDT

  • Next message: Adam Twardoch: "Re: Which Character sets to support for kazakh cyrillic alphabet ?"

    On Apr 21, 2009, at 1:08 PM, William J Poser wrote:
    > The problem of translation is even worse than you may realize. In the
    > language of the area in which I live, for example, before I can decide
    > how to say "it's raining" I need to know whether the speaker is on
    > land
    > or on water. nawhulhtih means "it is raining onto land". tawhulhtih
    > means "it is raining into water". And in the relatively unusual
    > situation
    > in which the rain is falling into a cave or cellar we would have
    > 'awhulhtih "it is raining into a hole". Similarly, we have najus
    > "it is snowing onto land", tajus "it is snowing into water", 'ajus
    > "it is snowing into a hole". And should we get into hail, we not only
    > have those possibilities, but we have to double their number since we
    > must distinguish between dense hail (e.g. 'indloo nawhulhtih = "it is
    > hailing densely onto land") and sparse hail (e.g. 'indloo nanukat =
    > "it is hailing sparsely onto land").

    Some North American languages lack a word for "thing", and cannot
    express anything without including an epistemological marker ("I
    know", "people say", etc..). On the other hand, Indo-European
    languages demand a temporal marker (though English is evolving a time-
    neutral form by the distinction between "I walk" and "I am walking");
    not all languages have that. Japanese is a minefield of registers,
    together with specializations depending on whether the speaker is male
    or female, juvenile or adult.

    John W Kennedy
    "You can, if you wish, class all science-fiction together; but it is  
    about as perceptive as classing the works of Ballantyne, Conrad and W.  
    W. Jacobs together as the 'sea-story' and then criticizing _that_."
       -- C. S. Lewis.  "An Experiment in Criticism"

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Wed Apr 22 2009 - 13:01:41 CDT