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- To: John Cowan <cowan@SNARK.THYRSUS.COM>, Eric Raymond <eric@SNARK.THYRSUS.COM>, Eric Tiedemann <est@SNARK.THYRSUS.COM>
- Subject: Aorist
- From: "Mark E. Shoulson" <cbmvax!uunet!CTR.COLUMBIA.EDU!pucc.PRINCETON.EDU!shoulson>
- In-Reply-To: And Rosta's message of Tue, 8 Oct 1991 19:53:51 +0000
- Reply-To: "Mark E. Shoulson" <cbmvax!uunet!CTR.COLUMBIA.EDU!pucc.PRINCETON.EDU!shoulson>
- Sender: Lojban list <cbmvax!uunet!CUVMA.BITNET!pucc.PRINCETON.EDU!LOJBAN>
And asks about the finer points of purported synonymy in Skt.
I guess I should start watching my mouth a little more closely before I
start discoursing on the minutiae of Sanskrit grammar and semantics. After
all, I only studied it for a year, and I don't really have the right to be
such an authority.
>Were these different Skt tenses equivalent (& different) in the way
> I like beans
> Beans I like.
> John kissed Mary
> Mary was kissed by John.
>are? Or was there really no difference whatever? Synonymy is very rare
In English, of course, word-order is very important and the passive form of
a sentence carries a very different load than the active. Sanskrit has
many cases, so word-order was freer and carries less semantic loading
(though I'd guess it still means something). Compare Latin (I won't,
'cause I don't know it). Likewise the passive. It doesn't seem to carry
the same heavy semantic load that it does in English, though it is
certainly noted and marked (different verb form and the cases of "subject"
and "object" change). (Sometimes, with irregular verbs, the grammar works
out such that you can't tell whether a verb is in active or passive form,
and there's a whole class of verb stems (4rth?) about which it has been
proposed that they developed from passive constructions owing to their form
and sometimes meaning.) I guess that, on the whole, I'd better back away
from my "Synonymy" stand before my foot gets wedged too deep in my mouth.
Ditto vocabulary synonymy. I can think of some half-dozen words for
"king", and I'm *sure* there were some connotational (and even
denotational) differences among them, tho they were used in texts
interchangably to describe the same person. One thing that used to strike
me as funny was when my textbook would use two words to demonstrate
different grammatical features, in contrast, and gave the same translation
I thought Prakrit was later than Sanskrit (as I think its name implies:
Prakrit speaks of being "basic" or something, while Sanskrit means
I'll have to look up some details on that "not-before-me" past tense,
though I doubt I'll be able to get you much on it. Lojbab can probably
give you more examples on what Lojban would do about these things than
you'd ever want. I can tell you that Sansrit rarely used indirect
quotation, even in non-speaking subordinate clauses. So your sentence
would likely get translated "'Arthur wept.' [this] Sophy knew." Lojban
does all sorts of weird things with its extended tense grammar and its
attitudinals. Nick, Lojbab, and I have recently (off-line) had a similar
discussion wrt the Lojban attitudinal "kau", which indicates knowledge. I
felt that using it within a subordinate clause it still refers to the
speaker, not the actor in the clause, or at least that it was very unclear.
Bob and Nick felt that it referred to the actor in the clause (at least in
the case we were dealing with, where the sentence was something like "he
knew that something (known!) ...") Bob said that these things could be
helped by using the "self-oriented" and "non-self-oriented" attitudinals,
which are reserved for reference to the speaker.