On Wed, 7 Jul 1999, Matt Pearson wrote:

> Patrick Dunn done wrote:
> >My language Hatas-Oa, the notes of which have been lost, had no negative
> >forms.  To say, "don't shut the window!" you'd have to say "let the window
> >remain open."  It required a strange sort of precision, actually.
> >
> >"Do you want somethiing to drink?"
> >"I am satisfied."
> >
> >"Do you want some tea?"
> >"I like coffee."
> Very interesting.  Reminds me of Laadan, in which it is allegedly impossible
> to directly contradict someone (although, as we've discussed on this list,
> that's not strictly speaking true).
> It seems that the Hatas-Oa system would work for concepts that have
> opposites ("open" and "shut", for instance), but that it would run into
> problems with non-polar concepts.  How, for instance, could you express
> something like "John is not my brother" or "It didn't rain yesterday"?
> I suppose you could come up with non-negative paraphrases which would
> get those ideas across (e.g. "John is someone else's brother", "It was
> sunny yesterday"), but of course those don't convey exactly the same
> meaning.
> Hatas-Oa speakers must have a rather unique understanding of truth-
> conditional semantics...  :-)

Well, I invented the language as an experiment.  It also lacked any verbs
of being.  I just picked a few basic things that seemed essential to
language and tried to do without them; it worked fairly well.

For "John is not my brother," how about "John is my friend.", asuming, of
course, that the word for "friend" implies "unrelated to me by
consanguity."  Of course, the verb of being makes this an illegal sentence
in Hatas-Oa.  "John's father did not have children with my mother."

"It didn't rain yesterday."  "The sun shone yesterday."