[FUNKNET] Query on structural properties

dlevere at ILSTU.EDU dlevere at ILSTU.EDU
Sat Dec 19 12:48:38 UTC 2009

Wolfgang, Osten, and all,

I agree that culture, language, and cognition are bandied about  
without much effort to define them. I try to do this in my book. Most  
anthropologists deny the existence of some concrete entity, Culture,  
just as linguists recognize that there is no such entity, Language.  
Both are idealizations. Your tables become much more complicated when  
we break culture down into individual values and language into  
individual constructions, rules, principles, etc. Not only that, as I  
also say in the book and many other places, the relationships are not  
binary. It's just that the major research programs around them are  
based on binary relationships, wrongly in my opinion. They are  
symbiotically related to each other and to other things, such as  
biology, material existence, and so on. The issues are much more  
complex than even your charts.

Osten is right about Piraha morphology. It is extremely complex. Every  
Piraha verb has as many as 65,000-100,000 possible forms depending on  
how finely the suffixes are split (sometimes I realize how difficult  
it is to distinguish valid divisions, e.g. English -ed and -s from  
things that Hjemslev warned about e.g. the th- of then, though, than,  
etc. or the wh- of why, when, and what). Piraha is no pidgin language!  
It is an incredibly complex and rich system that chooses to place the  
majority of its morphosyntactic complexity in discourse and word  
structure rather than sentences and phrases.


This message was sent using Illinois State University Webmail.

More information about the Lingtyp mailing list