On Wed, 24 Jan 2001, Matt McLauchlin wrote:

> Which reminds me, I came across a Welsh proverb today. Would we like to
> conlang it:
> Welsh: Heb iaith, heb genedl.
> English: No language, no people.

It seems to me that the Tepa viewed having language as a
defining property of "personhood", and since they were rather
isolationist, they didn't readily acknowledge the existence of
other people. So the proverb becomes a tautology in Tepa;
you're not a person if you don't have language; hence, no
language, no people (i.e., no status as persons).

        pesutepasui sutua
        pe= su=  0- tepa -sui  su=  0- tua
        if= NEG= 3- speak -NOM NEG= 3- person
        'No language, no people'
        (lit: If it is not speech, it is not a person.')

I realize that this is probably not what was meant by the
proverb, but it's hard to translate things like national pride
into a culture which didn't recognize the existence of nations.


Dirk Elzinga                          [log in to unmask]

"The strong craving for a simple formula
has been the undoing of linguists."               - Edward Sapir