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Re: [mythsoc] Digest Number 1287

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  • WendellWag@aol.com
    In a message dated 6/26/2003 2:25:18 PM Eastern Daylight Time, ... O.K., there are several problems here. Athbascan is a branch of the Na-Dene language
    Message 1 of 3 , Jun 26, 2003
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      In a message dated 6/26/2003 2:25:18 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
      sschaper@... writes:

      > Is that true [that they have no tenses, like Navajo] of all Athabascan
      > languages on both sides of the Bering Straits?
      >

      O.K., there are several problems here. Athbascan is a branch of the Na-Dene
      language family. Here's the family tree for the Na-Dene languages:

      <A HREF="http://www.ethnologue.com/show_family.asp?subid=1702">http://www.ethnologue.com/show_family.asp?subid=1702</A>

      None of these languages is spoken anywhere except in North America.

      As Alexei indicated in a previous post, it's not true that some languages can
      make distinctions in time that others can't. This would be part of the
      strong version of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis (which says that some languages can
      express ideas that others can't), and most linguists today say that that's just
      not true. The weak version of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis (which says that
      some languages can express certain things easier than others) may be true. Some
      languages use tense to express time differences in their language and some use
      aspect. This makes it easier for some languages to make certain time
      statements, but any language can make any statement about time (or anything else).
      It's just a little more complicated in some languages.

      Wendell Wagner


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