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CONLANG  June 2012, Week 3

CONLANG June 2012, Week 3

Subject:

Re: Ot: Language Envy and Language Pride

From:

Douglas Koller <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Constructed Languages List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sun, 17 Jun 2012 19:55:03 -0400

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> Date: Sat, 16 Jun 2012 20:24:19 -0700
> From: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: Ot: Language Envy and Language Pride
> To: [log in to unmask]
 
> --- On Sat, 6/16/12, Douglas Koller <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> > Oh, *you* said that. Sorry. 

What I meant here, was: "Oh, Padraic said that (which I did not attribute properly in my original post, a caveat which I placed at the top of my post in an unsuccessful attempt to head something like this off at the pass.).  Over the course of reading his posts over the years, I have come to believe that Padraic and I have a similar frame of reference on things and therefore, the quote I responded to should be taken in a different light as it would be if it were from Andrew, who for me, Douglas, is a relatively unknown commodity. So, sorry for the misunderstanding."

> Don't be sorry -- I simply never said there *has to be* a point! I said "I don't see much point" in a language expressing grammatical gender. It's my opinion. I didn't say that there "must be a point" in expressing 
> grammatical gender. That would be an assertion of general fact!
 
And I never said that you said that there had to be a point. Which is why I pulled "pragmatics" into this. To take the classic husband and wife scenario:
 
Husband: You look lovely tonight, dear. (he thinks he's delivering a compliment)
Wife: Oh, so I look like crap the rest of the time?! (she takes it as a critique)
Husband: I didn't say that....
 
and it may take them quite a while speaking very carefully, deliberately, and literally before equilibrium is restored, assumed mutual understanding resumes, and pragmatics runs at its normal pace. When pragmatics go awry, the number of sentences like "I didn't say that.", "I never said that." and "What I meant was..." goes up considerably.
 
> Well, if you believe there must be a point, 
 
I do not. I think we actually agree here. 

> If you can not demonstrate the underlying point (as can not be done with
> grammatical gender), then leave the other person's opinion stand as the
> opinion it is and certainly don't try to tell him he said something he 
> didn't say!
 
If my post read that way. I apologize. When throwaway lines misbehave...
 
> > So, if grammatical gender offends thee, 

> Seriously, you're reading fr too much into the simple opinion "I don't 
> much care for"! I don't much care for the taste of coffee either. I am
> nowhere close to being "offended" by it, or by coffee drinkers, or by
> coffee growers / importers / marketers / baristas.
 
I did not mean "thee", Padraic, here. The generic "you" of conversational English was my intent. Perhaps if I had said "one".
 
> > smite it in your conlang
> > project (this is not Padraic's argument, so I am neither
> > rebutting nor setting him up as my straw man). But as for
> > natlangs, the point is moot if you care to think there is a
> > point to there being a point about such things (which is all
> > I was saying). You can rail against it all you like like you
> > can rail against the human appendix. Good luck with
> > that. 

> Again, I'm not railing against anything! Although, I might start railing
> against your insistence that I'm "offended" or "railing against" some
> feature of any given language, when this is simply not the case!

*One* can rail all one likes . If *one* is "offended" (itself a bit of schtick riffing on Bible language (if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out), not literally "offended")... Not *you*, Padraic. I did not intend to ascribe these beliefs to you, nor to even hint at suggesting that you, personally, were offended or raging against the machine. 
 
> > And from a pragmatics perspective, "I (or "no one") ever
> > said that." means the pragmatics, which is often the first
> > thing to go in an argument, is beginning to falter, and you
> > have to wend your way back, more literally, to a point of
> > common understanding. Hence my now overly winded
> > explanation
 
> *ALL* it means is that I did not say or even imply what you claimed I said.
> There was never an "argument" to falter; 
> there is no need for me wend my
> way anywhere. 

When pragmatics begins to break down (as it obviously has here), *one* has to wend *one's* way back (actually, *I* was trying to wend *my* way back to yes, and clearly failing miserably). Indeed, there is no argument. I meant that pragmatics was faltering. Appearances apparently to the contrary, I was actually agreeing with you. And with that, I'll quit digging myself in further and quit while I'm behind.

> Could be -- I didn't catch his response to karate or chutney.

He did not respond. But *after* I sent my post I seemed to remember him saying in a post *before* mine that loans were okay if the concepts were not already in anglophone culture. 
 
> But as far as chutney is concerned -- that word dos come from a country
> that speaks English! India has its own kind of English, and chutney is
> certainly a regular part of the English language menu there, so I'm not
> sure how that and other particularly Indian English terms might fit in
> with his ideas on borrowing. After all, if American English borrows 
> chutney from Indian English, is it really that foreign a borrowing? 
 
Not the best example certainly. I thought "chutney" hailed from Sanskrit. I have visions of a pith-helmet wearing Britisher saying, "I say, right tasty, this. What do you call it?" "We call it 'catn', sir." "'Chutney', is it? Jolly good." 
 
Maybe "kimchee" would have been better.
 
Kou
 
 
 		 	   		  

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