Excursión lingüística

Entrevista con Alexandra Aikhenvald, en la que habla sobre lenguas, culturas y gentes. En particular, sobre la desaparición de lenguas indígeneas:

First, to learn about how people communicate and how the human mind works. What are the categories that are important enough for people to express them in their languages?

If these so-called «exotic» languages die, we’ll be left with just one world view. This won’t be very interesting, and we’ll have lost a vast amount of information about human nature and how people perceive the world.

Second, without their language and its structure, people are rootless. In recording it you are also getting down the stories and folklore. If those are lost a huge part of a people’s history goes. These stories often have a common root that speaks of a real event, not just a myth. For example, every Amazonian society ever studied has a legend about a great flood.

Y sobre la diferencia entre algunas de esas lenguas y el inglés:

In English I can tell my son: «Today I talked to Adrian», and he won’t ask: «How do you know you talked to Adrian?» But in some languages, including Tariana, you always have to put a little suffix onto your verb saying how you know something – we call it «evidentiality». I would have to say: «I talked to Adrian, non-visual,» if we had talked on the phone. And if my son told someone else, he would say: «She talked to Adrian, visual, reported.» In that language, if you don’t say how you know things, they think you are a liar.

This is a very nice and useful tool. Imagine if, in the argument about weapons of mass destruction, people had had to say how they knew about whatever they said. That would have saved us quite a lot of breath.

(vía die puny humans)

Categoría: Silva

Pedro Jorge Romero

Show 1 Comment
  • ander 30 junio, 2002, 3:00 pm

    Es una pena que esta opinión sobre las lenguas no esté más extendida. No son pocos los que están por la desaparición de las lenguas minoritarias frente a las más habladas.