Re: [mythsoc] Digest Number 1287
- In a message dated 6/26/2003 2:25:18 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
> Is that true [that they have no tenses, like Navajo] of all AthabascanO.K., there are several problems here. Athbascan is a branch of the Na-Dene
> languages on both sides of the Bering Straits?
language family. Here's the family tree for the Na-Dene languages:
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.
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