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Re: Jorge once more on ZAhOs


   ... the old man is a "perfective" man, while the child is an
   "inchoative" man. Now, we have to choose from "pu", and "ba" their
   first name. (Their common surname is "'o".) Lojban calls the child
   "pu'o" and the old man "ba'o", I would prefer the other way
   around.  i.e. instead of following the same man from childhood to
   old age, and looking where he is at each point with respect to his
   prime, I prefer to look at them both at the same time, and consider
   from there where is the prime for each of them.
   I think I repeated many times that I understand that the ZAhO do not
   refer to time, but rather to the status of an event, but obviously
   I'm not making myself clear.

Your language suggests an imaginary journey in time.  This is why I
keep coming back to time.  You use the phrase `following the same man
from childhood to old age' which suggests a _journey_ through time;
you use the phrase `consider from there where is the prime', which
suggests another journey.

It may be helpful to abandon use of time as a metaphor for translating
event contours into English.  These imaginary time travels detract
from the underlying meaning of event contours.

If you "consider from there where is the prime for each of them." then
you lose one of the interesting features of ZAhO, which is that the
event contours are *not* intended to be time-related in the English
sense.  As far as event contours are concerned, time is only one of
several possible metaphors for making translations.

Consider a static spatial metaphor.  Imagine a piece of paper with a
line drawn on it.  At one side, say the right, is a region refered to
as {pu'o}; on the other side is a region refered to as {ba'o}.  In the
middle is a region refered to as {ca'o}.  These regions symbolize
different aspects of a process, inchoative on the right, continuative
in the middle, and perfective on the left.  The regions or aspects of
a process have characteristics.

When you talk about a tree, you could say, `That tree is on the left
of being alive'; it is in the aftermath of being alive.

These regions are arbitrary aids to understanding.  Their location has
no more relation to time than noting that on most maps printed in the
northern hemisphere, Sidney, Australia is printed to the right of
Perth.  (For culturally motivated reasons of my own, I prefer that a
schoolbook diagram place {pu'o} on the left of a picture, as Lojbab
did in his spatial metaphor diagrams, but that is a different issue; I
might prefer differently if I grew up reading Arabic.)

(If you want to use the chance similarity of letters in {ba} and
{ba'o} as a mnemonic, use "{ba} related to `after' the present" and
"{ba'o} related to `after'math".  But don't try to make a mnemonic
that involves a temporal journey, as in a journey from the old man to
his middle age; that brings in too much a sense of time for what is a
non-time tense.  Also, don't try to suggest that the different ways of
viewing the world are linked by using a metaphor such as "first and
surname" for {pu} {pu'o} and {ba} {ba'o} (see above quote.)  This
metaphor can lead readers to think that somehow the two ways of
looking at the world, through temporal tenses and event contours, are
more closely linked than they are.  Emphasize that the words are
different and it is only a fortunate happenstance that `ba' works as a
cue for `after'.)

Instead of thinking visually or temporally while making translations
into English, one can think auditorially, and use words such as
`inchoative aspect' or `resumptitive aspect', and drop or overspecify
the English time markers:

    le cmalylalxu di'a culno lo djacu

    the small-lake I have in mind
    resumptitive aspect
    full/was full/will be full of
    what is at least some of what is really water.

This is the least misleading of English translations for ZAhO.

Let me ask again: could someone please try to find examples of
translations involving time/space from Hopi into English, and discuss
how well they manage; and how the sentences would be expressed in
Lojban?  (I think that Whorf presents some examples, but I would like
to see examples from a different source.)  Thanks

    Robert J. Chassell               bob@gnu.ai.mit.edu
    Rattlesnake Mountain Road        bob@grackle.stockbridge.ma.us
    Stockbridge, MA 01262-0693 USA   (413) 298-4725