Print

Print


On Fri, 22 Jan 2016 16:13:10 -0700, Logan Kearsley <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

>On 22 January 2016 at 16:06, Alex Fink <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> Even "either ... or ..." is not squarely an exclusive or in English.  
[...]
>> One construction that is inarguably only an inclusive or in English is "and/or", but that's only a century or two old and came from a written bureaucratic register (and as such many people don't like it).
>
>What do you think of the English conjunction "slash"? As far as I
>know, it's still firmly in the category of slang, and may and may not
>stick around indefinitely, but at first glance it seems like a
>naturally-developed explicit inclusive, completely interchangeable
>with "and/or" in different registers.
>
>If it did catch on long-term, I wonder if the presence of an explicit
>inclusive-or would lead to the semantic narrowing of regular-or to be
>explicitly exclusive....

Hm.  On reading this, the first use I thought of for conjunctional "slash" was for creating synergistic meldy concepts, "boat slash hovercraft" or whatnot, much like "cum" in classicising style.  If that is to have a Boolean reading at all "and" is the more appropriate one; you can't be a boat-slash-hovercraft by just being one of the two.  I can see there some examples where "or" is an adequate gloss -- Wiktionary offers "I think I'm having hallucinations slash someone is playing tricks on me" -- and I think that what you're judging to be inclusivity I would rather judge to be a stronger semantic bleed-through from examples like the first: a situation can't be described as having hallucinations *slash* being played tricks on if it's clearly just one or the other; it needs at least to be the kind of situation which has the common features of both, such that I can't tell.

Your long-term imagining seems possible to me if indeed the clusivity contrast is one that can be stable in a natural language, and that I'm still out on.

>> AFMnewerCLs, in UNLWS [...] "X or Y" is expressed as "one of (the group of) X and Y" [...]

Come to think of it, does any natlang have different words for "one (or more)" and "only one", or the analogue for other numbers?

Alex