[Lingtyp] Lexical semantics of 'know/believe/think'-type verbs

Broadwell,George Aaron broadwell at ufl.edu
Tue Jul 21 16:01:49 UTC 2020

Dear colleagues,

I'm trying to understand the semantics of a handful of verbs in Choctaw that seem to be used rather differently than their closest English translations:

  *   ahnih seems to equate to 'want, notice, find out, think, pay attention to'
  *   yimmih seems to equate to 'believe', but only with nominal objects ('believed Mary' or 'believed in Jesus') but not with clausal objects
  *   ikha_nah seems to equate to 'know (probably as the result of inquiry') and often to 'believe' with a clausal object.
  *   akostininchih is something like 'be certain of'

So far as I can tell, none of these "attitude verbs" seem to match very closely to their English equivalents. (At least, given an English sentence with an attitude verb, I am only partially successful in predicting which verb a Choctaw speaker will use!)

I would appreciate links to discussion of other languages with similar systems or an overall typology of different ways of dividing up this semantic domain.

Aaron Broadwell

George Aaron Broadwell, broadwell at ufl.edu<mailto:broadwell at ufl.edu>  [Pronouns: he/him/his]
Elling Eide Professor | University Term Professor (2018-2021)
Associate Chair,
Dept. of Anthropology, University of Florida
Turlington Hall, Room B364
PO Box 117305 Gainesville, FL 32611
Copala Triqui dictionary: http://copalatriqui.webonary.org/
Timucua dictionary: http://timucua.webonary.org
San Dionisio Zapotec http://sandionisiozapotec.webonary.org<http://sandionisiozapotec.webonary.org/>
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