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Re: [ontolog-forum] Frege-Whitehead hypothesis (was Sapir-Whorf)

To: ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
From: John F Sowa <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 26 Feb 2013 12:50:17 -0500
Message-id: <512CF5D9.6080708@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Phil and Hassan,    (01)

I don't want to revive the debates about Sapir-Whorf.  So I'll just
use the noncommittal word 'influence', and let anyone elaborate that
word with any qualifiers they prefer.    (02)

> Yes, native speakers of English like me have to adapt to the significant
> difference between representations of tense. But in this particular
> case, I can't think of any specific instances in which an equivalent,
> fully grammatical representation cannot be constructed in either
> language.    (03)

That's true.  And it's consistent with what Keith Chen was claiming.
He made the point that the syntactic patterns of certain languages
have *obligatory* distinctions that other languages leave *optional*.    (04)

In the Sherlock Holmes stories, Conan Doyle emphasized the difference
between passive seeing and active observing.  Sherlock said that other
people *saw* the same things he did, but they did not *observe* them.
Different language patterns can affect what people see or observe.    (05)

> I believe that awareness/understanding of purposeful activities
> preceded the use of language to convey that awareness.    (06)

That's true for most language use.  But the patterns of different
languages can emphasize or obscure different features.    (07)

> I'd say a good example might be poetry...
> ... Basically, I like to play on word sounds so that what you
> read and what you hear have different meanings...    (08)

Yes.  Poetry is extremely difficult to translate.  The literal
"meaning" can be translated, but the sound patterns can have
a significant *influence*.    (09)

John    (010)

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