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

Peter Austin pa2 at soas.ac.uk
Tue Jul 21 16:24:31 UTC 2020

Dear Aaron

Anna Wierzbicka and Cliff Goddard have thought a lot about the semantics of
thoughts, feelings and emotions over many years so there may be something
relevant in their writings, mostly in the Natural Semantic Metalanguage

Best wishes,

On Tue, 21 Jul 2020 at 17:05, Broadwell,George Aaron <broadwell at ufl.edu>

> 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
>    - *ikha̱nah* 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.
> Thanks,
> Aaron Broadwell
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------
> George Aaron Broadwell, 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
> 352-294-7598
> Copala Triqui dictionary: http://copalatriqui.webonary.org/
> Timucua dictionary: http://timucua.webonary.org
> San Dionisio Zapotec http://sandionisiozapotec.webonary.org
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Prof Peter K. Austin
Emeritus Professor in Field Linguistics, SOAS
Visiting Researcher, Oxford University
Foundation Editor, EL Publishing
Honorary Treasurer, Philological Society

Department of Linguistics, SOAS
Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square
London WC1H 0XG
United Kingdom
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