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Re: help wanted
- To: cbmvax!snark.uu.net!lojbab, snark!lojban-list
- Subject: Re: help wanted
- From: Michael Urban <wetblu!uunet!monty!rand.org!urban>
- Date: Thu, 31 May 90 09:13:19 -0700 (PDT)
- In-reply-to: <9005300549.AA13917@snark.uu.net>
- References: <9005300549.AA13917@snark.uu.net>
> I am also looking for an Esperantist, who can tell me the words for
> 'morning' andfor 'arm', and who knows the language well enough, or can
> check a few dictionaries to tell me whether these words are defined the
> way they are in English. By way of explanation, in some languages, the
> arm includes the hand, in others not. In some, the 'hand' goes all the
> way to the elbow. For morning, in German, 'morning' is not properly used
> after about 10am, and in Sweden after abaout 6am. Other words of distinct
> meaning are used after this point (such as 'forenoon", etc.).
> The obvious question is how an 'international language' such as Esperanto
> deals with choosing a meaning for its concept, or whether the question is
> even addressed (if not - so much for cultural neutrality - or for good
> communications) in dictionaries. I need the answer before LogFest, as it
> will affect discussions of gismu proposals and dictionary planning.
Of course, there is a tradeoff here between cultural neutrality, simplicity,
and precision; the most culturally neutral design would be to ignore the issue
and let each speaker use the words in the most natural manner for that speaker
(with a little more dialog or precise technical words needed if the ambiguity
is important); precision would pick one culture's model and establish that as
The Definition. Or one could require technical terms at all times, possibly
encumbering the language with too many possible words for `arm'.
In any case, the Esperanto word for `arm' (`brako') is defined (in Plena
Ilustrita Vortaro, which is not official, but widely used) more or less as `one
of the upper limbs', which indeed seems to evade the question somewhat.
However, in PIV's definition, two segments of the arm are defined as the femur
and the radius/ulna, with no mention of the hand, so the strong implication is
that the hand is omitted. Sorry; I do not have a copy of Plena Vortaro, the
The word for `morning' (`mateno') is specifically defined in PIV as the time
between sunrise and noon. One commonly uses a compound for 'before-noon' to
signify `AM'. Again, in an act of communication, ambiguities due to slight
cultural differences do not represent serious practical problems. If I forget
the difference between Esperanto and English 'morning', and say ``Three o'clock
in the morning,'' someone might look at me oddly, but they should be able to
understand what I meant.