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Re: [probably OT] Perl in Natural Semantic Metalanguage

by sandfly (Beadle)
on Sep 25, 2003 at 19:46 UTC ( #294229=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to [probably OT] Perl in Natural Semantic Metalanguage

Very interesting! It seems like there are too many terms for time though, and you could cut a few others out if you traded OPPOSITE for some of the other primitives, such as: ABOVE, BELOW, BIG, SMALL, NEAR and FAR, though this is not really a decomposition.

The terms "colour", "bright", "dark" and "smell" are curious omissions, given the inclusion of SEE, TOUCH and HEAR. Are there languages where these are not concepts? Anybody like to take a crack at decomposing these into the primitives?

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Re: Re: [probably OT] Perl in Natural Semantic Metalanguage
by Anonymous Monk on Oct 14, 2003 at 04:31 UTC

    The Yele language of Rossel Island, Papua New Guinea has no word for colour. In fact all the colour terms are derived from physical objects, sometimes by reduplication (doubling the word). For example, the white cockatoo is "kpaap^i", "white" is "kpaap^ikpaap^i".

    It has no word for "bright", but you can say "it's light is big".

    There is an nice word for "dark", "mg^id^i".

    There is a noun "tuu", which means "smell", but no verb. To say "Can you smell it?" you would ask the equivalent of "Is its smell standing?"

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