[FOM] The Natural Language Thesis
hendrik at topoi.pooq.com
Thu Jan 17 19:32:37 EST 2008
On Tue, Jan 15, 2008 at 07:12:08PM -0300, Joao Marcos wrote:
> Do you have a specific reason or example hidden up your sleeve to
> doubt the translational equivalence between natural languages? If so,
> it would be nice to hear about that from you.
There's Navaho (so I'm told) where verb tenses do not refer to time, but
to how you know the information -- is it something everybody knows? is
it something you saw with your own eyes? Is it a legend? Is it a
So when translating form English into Navaho, you have to shoose a
tense, which is information not present in the original. And when
translating from Navaho into English, you have to include temporal
information, which is not present in the original.
Thus except for a very few sentences, in which the extra information
happened to be encoded as, say, adverbs in the original, exact
translation is impossible.
Is this the kind of untranslatability being discussed?
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