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Summary Details

Query:   for Query:10.1673 Ling vis-a-vis Socio-economic development
Author:  Niladri Sekhar Dash
Submitter Email:  click here to access email
Linguistic LingField(s):   Sociolinguistics

Summary:   First of all I would like to thank to all those persons who have responded
to our question regarding economic development and language use which I put
in the LINGUIST LIST on Wednesday, 3 Nov., 1999. So far we have received
responses form 8 persons. I sum up the responses. I apologise beforehand if
any one is missed form the list.

Dr. Rob Pensalfini, Lecturer in Linguistics, Department of English, The
University of Queensland, Brisbane, Qld 4072. Australia
<> is curious about our project and doubts
whether the ability to understand metaphors has anything at all to do with
socio-economic development. What he understands from our query is that the
"speakers of languages associated with socioeconomically advanced (or
exploitative) cultures would be able to understand the metaphors of
underdeveloped societies better than they understand ours". Unfortunately it
was not our hypothesis. Moreover, to support his disagreement he has cited
two metaphors ('I have it in my ear' and 'The brother is in the knee') from
the Jingili people of central Australia, an oppressed and almost extinct
aboriginal people of Australia. Finally he concludes that metaphors require
an understanding of the culture that gives rise to it. He deserves thanks
for sending a quotation form King Lear ("Speak what we feel, not what we
ought to say.") that gives me the flavour of my by-gone college days.

Johannes Reese <> strongly disagrees with our
assumption. He is in the opinion that "on those islands, there is no winter"
and "metaphors are somehow idiomatically restricted in any language or at
least any culture". He believes that "any metaphor hinting at concepts like
these must fail to be understood by other cultures". He agrees that of
course, there is an impact, but the impact is not to be technical or even
cognitive, but towards a universal English-based culture, and "this is the
output of contact plus preponderance of English nations, preponderance being
the crucial factor".

Peter T. Daniels" <> is unfortunately very much
hasty and harsh in drawing conclusion without considering the gravity of the
proposition. To him "this sort of racist bullshit was very popular during
the 19th century." No more comments on it.

Prof. R.K. Agnihotri, Univ. of Delhi. India <> also
disagrees with our proposition. He is afraid that we are "absolutely on the
wrong track". He thinks that "you first decide the standards, then call them
objective and then measure the rest of the universe with those standards".
He informs that tribal languages have metaphors but they are NOT from the
English language.

Robert Orr <> has enclosed review of Dixon, the Rise and
fall of languages, plus the book itself, both in RTF and WordPerfect format
considering them relevant for our query: <dixon.dia.doc> (177k) (Download
without Scan - Scan with McAfee) and <dixon.dia.wpd > (165k) (Download
without Scan -- Scan with McAfee).

Prof. Suzette Haden Elgin <> http:<//>
provides us the address (website of the Union of
International Organisations), where one can find a huge repository of
materials on precisely the topic we are getting ready to work with. The UIA
metaphor projects, including Metaphors Of Governance, address our problem in
abundant detail. Finally she wishes us good luck with our project.

M. J. Hardman <> is "sorry to see anyone waste time and money
and expertise justifying prejudice. It is very sad and will be used against
the profession down the line." He has many experiences of his students
listening dumbfounded to people saying metaphors in English that they had no
clue as to the meaning of. They were being translated out of other
languages". He considers that sometimes the people saying them did not have
much money.

Thanking you all again who have responded our query.

Niladri Sekhar Dash
Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition Unit
Indian Statistical Institute
203, B. T. Road.
Calcutta - 700 035.
mail : <>

LL Issue: 10.1802
Date Posted: 26-Nov-1999
Original Query: Read original query


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