Doug Dee wrote:

> Although the "distrusts source" evidential and the "dishonorific"
> pronouns could be said to "grammaticalize meanspiritedness" (as you put
> it earlier), I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing, because I
> don't think it's intended to promote or endorse meanspiritedness.  It's
> the reverse, really.  Elgin has noted (I forget exactly where) that
> hostility in English is largely expressed through tone of voice, which
> is very convenient for those who like to verbally abuse others and
> awkward for their victims.  I can say hostile things to someone (relying
> on tone of voice to indicate hostility) and then afterwards deny it by
> saying "But all I SAID was . . ." followed by repeating whatever I said,
> this time in a non-hostile tone.  In Laadan, I gather, the point is to
> require the speaker to put such attitudes overtly into the grammar of
> the utterance, where they aren't easily deniable.  The hope, apparently,
> is that it will be harder to abuse people -- or at least harder to duck
> responsibility for doing so.  It's an attempt to make a kinder & gentler
> language, I'd say.

The problem here is that tone of voice *still* has connotations, and
they really can't be removed. In fact, I think the existence of these
markers makes it easier to be "stealthily abusive", looking at it your
way, because you can now say, "But I didn't use the 'despised' marker,
so what are you mad about?"

> I don't think _everything_ in Laadan is supposed to reflect women's
> attitudes, and "superstition" seems like a biased term.  Many cultures
> have placed value on information, prophecies etc. received in dreams,
> and it seems harmless enough to provide an evidential for that.

Well, okay, superstition *is* a biased term, but I don't know of a
neutral one. (And, well, I'm biased in this regard.) If it's not *meant*
to be there in order to reflect women's attitudes, then I can't really
argue with it on those grounds, and it's just another feature.

- Ian Maxwell
C'est la vie, c'est la guerre, c'est la pomme de terre.

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