I can't see a lesson for ontology in the survival or otherwise of words.
Words that are about features of a primitive life, and terms that are
semantically primitive, are two entirely different matters. I can't see
any benefit in conflating the one with the other. (01)
On the other hand, the abstraction away from tea/chai to 'brew' reflects
a nice exercise in asking of a given kind of thing "what kind of thing
is this?" and thereby arriving at semantically more primitive concepts.
Just as a securities exchange is a special case of a more general kind
of marketplace service, so a brew made from the Tea/Chai leaf is a
special case of a brew made from any kind of leaf, which itself is a
special case of a brew made by pouring boiling water onto any leaf, bark
or other natural product. (02)
That's ontology :) (03)
On 08/05/2013 19:28, Barkmeyer, Edward J wrote:
> For the record, 'tea', German Tee and Russian chai are all cognates. All of
>those Indo-European forms are cognates, and they are as John says, all taken
>from Han words for the plant. But the Mandarin term and the Cantonese term are
>also cognates -- variants of a common Han precursor. It doesn't really make a
>difference where in China you encountered the product.
> The Polish designation 'herbata' is more likely to be Indo-European in
>origin, and derived from one of the words for 'leaf', whence we have 'herbs'.
>You can put other kinds of leaves and flowers in boiling water, and some north
>Slav people may have done that for centuries before encountering the Chinese
>import. It is also common English practice to refer to 'herbal teas', and
>17th century English explorers described the similar practices of North
>American Indians as "making a tea from xxx". That suggests that, if making
>herbal teas was a practice in England (and other places in northern Europe)
>before the trade with China in the 13th century, the term "tea" became the
>term for the practice after the Chinese product became dominant. Whatever the
>former term was, it fell into disuse. (The previous term was probably more
>like 'brew' or 'potion', which also suggest that there may have been another
>reason why 'tea' became an acceptable term, the earlier terms and the often me
> dicinal purposes of such brews being associated with 'witchcraft'.) This
>is exactly the kind of thing the authors refer to as creating the "half life"
> Is there a lesson for ontologies in this? Or is this yet more "fun with
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:ontolog-forum-
>> bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of John F Sowa
>> Sent: Wednesday, May 08, 2013 11:28 AM
>> To: ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
>> Subject: Re: [ontolog-forum] 15,000-year-old ancestral language
>> Pat C, Matthew, Ed,
>>> The word "bark" (or "barking") is not included in the Longman defining
>> I believe that they meant 'bark' in the sense of the outer covering of trees.
>> Its survival in northern Eurasia is probably due to the importance of birch
>> in pre-industrial societies. For examples, see
>>> the notion of animal sounds being very basic had not occurred to me,
>>> nor appeared in the works I have seen.
>> But the way animal sounds are represented as words in any language is
>> extremely variable. It depends on which sounds are considered important,
>> how they're interpreted, and what patterns of phonology match those
>> interpretations. Just consider all the word forms that mimic the sounds of
>> animals in English and other languages.
>>> Did water and tea really not make the list? Tea especially.
>> The word for tea in most languages is borrowed from Chinese.
>> Traders who went by sea to southern China adopted words like 'tea' from
>> Cantonese. Those that traded with the north, borrowed words like 'cha' or
>> 'chai' from Mandarin.
>> There are exceptions, such as 'herbata' in Polish. Poland is on the border
>> between Russian 'chai' and German 'Tee'.
>> As for water, it is so common that it appears in many different forms with
>> different words. Which one becomes the generic term is accidental. The
>> English 'water' is cognate with the Greek 'hydor' and the Latin 'unda'
>> - not Latin 'aqua'.
>>> And in the latter half of the 20th century it became commonplace in
>>> our trade to re-invent the same old wheels every 5-10 years with a
>>> whole new set of terms to suggest that there was a "new" technology.
>> That's true, but the core vocabulary changes much more slowly.
>> Japanese, for example, has a huge number of words borrowed from
>> Chinese, but they still have a strong native core. Now they're borrowing so
>> many words from English that the older generation of Japanese can't read
>> their daily newspapers.
>> By the way, their words for tea and rice are borrowed from Chinese, but they
>> are also using the word 'raisu', which was first borrowed in the phrase 'kari
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