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John Cowan <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

>Mike S. scripsit:
>
>> Sapir-Whorf question:  are there any known cases in which
>> speakers tend to have _non-trivial_ difficulties seeing
>> the difference in colors of a foreign language where their
>> native lexicon does not distinguish them?  Or making any
>> other semantic distinction for that matter?
>
>You betcha.  Kay and Kempton established that English-speakers
>who are asked "Which is more like color chip A, color chip B or
>color chip C?" consistently get the answer wrong because of
>Whorfian lock-in.  We give the answer B, whereas C is correct,
>because C is on the wrong side of the blue/green divide.
>And this persists even when we are shown the evidence: damn it all,
>A and B are both *blue*, and C is *green* (or vice versa) and that's
>all there is to it.
>
>But Mazateco speakers, who don't have separate words for "blue"
and "green",
>consistently get the right answer.

I found an url "slide show" which illustrates what you mention:

http://www.stir.ac.uk/Departments/HumanSciences/Psychology/46AC/Language3/in
dex.htm


The slide show also indicates that there eleven universal
"focal points" too, regardless of lexicon.  Would you say
that this might preclude the strong version of SW?

Regards

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Jeffrey Henning <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

>"Mike S." <[log in to unmask]> comuni:
>
>> I think it is useful to analyze the problem of precision
>> from the view of hyponymy.  Even if language XYZ has, say,
>> "klur" to cover both English "red" and "orange", I still
>> don't think "red" and "orange" are required to translate
>> into XYZ as homonyms, but rather can be short versions of
>> paraphrases, e.g. "klur like blood" and "klur like fire".
>> This would not work if XYZ-speakers truly could not see, or
>> more accurately, could not learn to see, the difference.
>
>But if you were translating from XYZ and it had the sentence, "he painted
>the warrior's face klur" how would you translate that in a narrative?
>- A. "He painted the warrior's face red or orange."
>- B. "He painted the warrior's face red."
>- C. "He painted the warrior's face orange."
>
>I would argue for B, since klur is a basic XYZ word and most closely
>corresponds as a word with English "red".  I think the A. translation --
>while less ambiguous -- belabors the point.  Thoughts?

Ideally, one would choose the best term by inspecting the
paint they actually use.  Barring that, I agree that "red"
can stand for "orange" in such a case.  However, we'd be
in a bit of a quandary if XYZ speakers conflated yellow,
green, and blue, and we couldn't determine which they meant.
Those three really shouldn't stand for each other in English.



>> Sapir-Whorf question:  are there any known cases in which
>> speakers tend to have _non-trivial_ difficulties seeing
>> the difference in colors of a foreign language where their
>> native lexicon does not distinguish them?
>
>Allegedly not:
>http://www.artsci.wustl.edu/~jprinz/cog9.htm

I'm not sure what to conclude in light of conflicting claims!

Regards