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.
  • , WARNING/posting

    Message 1: self concept

    Date: Fri, 27 Sep 91 09:17:14 EDT
    From: "Bruce E. Nevin" <>
    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 speakers. 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? Bruce Nevin

    Message 2: 2.559 Warning

    Date: Thu, 26 Sep 91 10:56:43 EST
    From: bert peeters <>
    Subject: 2.559 Warning
    > Date: Mon, 23 Sep 91 18:59:22 BST > From: (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 Hobart TAS 7001 Australia

    Message 3: Re: 2.559 Responses: Soviet language, warning, kilometer, etc.

    Date: Wed, 25 Sep 1991 16:04 CST
    From: <>
    Subject: Re: 2.559 Responses: Soviet language, warning, kilometer, etc.
    RE: warning 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... Christine Kamprath ;-)

    Message 4: WARNING/posting

    Date: Thu, 26 Sep 1991 01:11:55 PDT
    From: <paramskasdmCCVAX.CCS.CSUS.EDU>
    Subject: WARNING/posting
    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 eschatological sign... Dana Paramskas (