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174968Re: And/or

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  • R A Brown
    Sep 1, 2010
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      Alex Fink wrote:
      > Anyway, there are no uncontroversial examples of natlangs
      > with the ior vs. xor distinction. Latin _aut_ vs. _vel_
      > is often cited: _aut_ is supposed to be exclusive, _vel_
      > inclusive; but I think better the story that goes _A aut
      > B_ means "A or B, it matters which", and _A vel B_ means
      > "A or B, it doesn't matter which", where the "or" in the
      > glosses doesn't care about clusivity.

      That's about it, I think - at least as regards the general

      Under _aut_, the Lewis & Short dictionary says:
      "In general it puts in the place of a previous assertion
      another, objectively and absolutely antithetical to it,
      while _vel_ indicates that the contrast rests upon
      subjective opinion or choice, i.e. _aut_ is objective, _vel_
      subjective, or _aut_ excludes one term, _vel_ makes the two

      OK - _aut_ excludes one term, but then so, normally, does
      _vel_; but in the case of _vel_ I'm indifferent as to the
      choice. If I'm going to buy a burger or a hot dog for
      myself and friend and there's plenty each available (and I
      ask him in Latin!0, I'd probably use _vel_. But if the only
      two remaining items were one burger and one hot dog, where
      in English I'd say "Do you want the burger or the hot dog?"
      then the choice has obvious implications for me as well and
      I'd use _aut_.

      Under _vel_, Lewis and Short say:
      ".. disjunctive conjunction to introduce an alternative or
      preference, or as not affecting the principal assertion."

      _vel_ is indeed derived from the root vel- ~ vol- that we
      find in the verb _volo, velle, volui_ "to wish, want". i.e.
      _vel_ had the idea "what you will".

      BUT - things are never that simple in a natlang ;)

      In treating the various different uses of _vel_, Lewis and
      Short give examples where _vel_ is used with the *same use*
      as _aut_ above; they also give examples where the
      disjunctive meaning is very weak and the conjunction
      practically means "and". Maybe that's the source of the
      assertion that _vel_ = IOR. It doesn't. It covers a range
      of meanings, mainly XOR, in fact, where the choice is not so
      important (but sometimes it is) to just plain AND.

      Lewis and Short give examples where _either....or_ is
      expressed by _aut....vel_ and others where it is _vel ....
      aut_ :)

      "Ein Kopf, der auf seine eigene Kosten denkt,
      wird immer Eingriffe in die Sprache thun."
      [J.G. Hamann, 1760]
      "A mind that thinks at its own expense
      will always interfere with language".
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