[extropy-chat] Re: languages

Christian Weisgerber naddy at mips.inka.de
Wed Feb 18 16:03:56 UTC 2004

Robert J. Bradbury <bradbury at aeiveos.com> wrote:

> > I read recently that a native South American language (Tariana) has a
> > structure such that if you don't specify just *how* you know something that
> > you are talking about, you are lying.
> Ben, I am not sure this is certain (I am not a language specialist)
> but there may be a native Russian language that has a similar character.
> It might be the Udmurt language. [...]

Well, there is not enough detail to look at this more closely,

> But I would agree with anyone who would argue that a language structure
> like either of these examples would change both scientific and
> political debates.  Might also alter legal disputes significantly
> as well.

I don't think so.  I mean, after all we are quite capable of
expressing the veracity/reliability/etc of a piece of information
in English when we consider it important.  Grammaticizing this
sounds about as useful as grammaticizing tense--bizarrely redundant,
as the Chinese will tell you.

> It raises whole interesting questions regarding language and "intelligence".
> What would happen if "thou shalt not lie" turned into "thou cannot lie".(*)

Which is an enormous misapprehension on your part.

  I know for a fact that the world is flat.
  I know<-inflection for fact-> that the world is flat.

PEOPLE CAN JUST LIE.  Grammaticizing veracity won't change this one

Christian "naddy" Weisgerber                          naddy at mips.inka.de

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