Re: Delexicalization of left & right
- Ash Wells wrote:
>I was thinking deriving this meaning from the hand names, i.e. "The one on
> What about 'thing/one' - when you're describing a non-specific item, or
>differentiating 2 objects out of
> 'Which one would you like?' 'The one on the left'.
the left hand side".
Roger Mills wrote:
>Yes, naturally there will be absolute directions too. Since the climatic
>Armt Richard Johansen wrote:
> > First, a question: how about cardinal directions? (North, south, east,
> > west.) Surely, these concepts must be important to hunter-gatherer
> > societies.
>Some languages use derivs. of "toward the mountains/toward the sea",
>up/down etc. but of course that depends on the local geography and one's
>orientation in it...
setting in question is subtropical / tropical, terms referring to local
geography might be more important than the cardinal directions. (Those
aren't anyway always as stable as you IE people might think; none of the 8
cardinal direction terms in Finnish date older than Proto-Fennic - ie. 2-3K
years of age.)
> > could of course go with left/right version of every body part that comesWhich is exactly why I settled for so few root-pairs. The four eye / hand
> > in pairs, but it gets kinda implausible for the language to have that
> > of fine-grainedness, yet still have no words for left and right.
>I think so too.
names will definitely be fully independant words; either or both of the foot
names I suppose could be nigh-ancient derivations from the hand names...
which will probably in turn come from "strong" and "weak" or sumthing
> > Other suggestions:Helicity is definitly too advanced a concept. Clockwise/counterclockwise
> > - port/starboard
> > - clockwise/counterclockwise
> > - right-handed/left-handed helicity
>IIRC from what John V. said about his people, they may not have that level
>of technological thought....?
will be trivial to derive from the verbs "to turn left / counterclockwise" &
"to turn right / clockwise"; and the riverbank names & the absolute
directions upstream/downstream will probably be used instead of
port/starboard, as the culture won't be seafaring (much, at least)
> > Also, the lexical items for Right Eye and Left Eye might over timeWouldn't the fact that there's two or three such combining root-pairs hinder
> > semantic drift, so that they end up actually meaning right and left.
> > would especially be the case if they can be combined with the words for
> > specific body parts that come in left-right pairs.
development of full abstraction? At least as long as the culture stays on
the same development level (small indigenous SE-Asian or sub-Saharan African
people could be a good comparision)
Also, as far as semantic drift goes, I'm thinking of taking the eye names
originally from mythology... maybe relating to stellar bodies. Ooh, and new
idea - ritual eyepatches during eclipses! /,-)
>Whether the cultural concept _right: good vs. left: bad, taboo_ is reallyWell, with handedness, right=strong, left=weak is rather trivial; the more
>ancient is an interesting question.
symbolic meaning is not exactly lightyears apart, altho I wouldn't expect
every culture to have developed / adopted it.
- 2006/8/1, John Vertical <johnvertical@...>:
>In many of the southern Chinese languages, "right" is still expressed
> >Whether the cultural concept _right: good vs. left: bad, taboo_ is really
> >ancient is an interesting question.
> Well, with handedness, right=strong, left=weak is rather trivial; the more
> symbolic meaning is not exactly lightyears apart, altho I wouldn't expect
> every culture to have developed / adopted it.
with 正 (right, erect, proper) and "left" with 倒 (overturned, fallen,