4 bookmarks for 2023-06-14


This Ancient Language Has the Only Grammar Based Entirely on the Human Body


An endangered language family suggests that early humans used their bodies as a model for reality

Great Andamanese, it turns out, is exceptional among the world's languages in its anthropocentrism. It uses categories derived from the human body to describe abstract concepts such as spatial orientation and relations between objects. To be sure, in English we might say things like “the room faces the bay,” “the chair leg broke” and “she heads the firm.” But in Great Andamanese such descriptions take an extreme form, with morphemes, or meaningful sound segments, that designate different zones of the body getting attached to nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs—indeed, to every part of speech—to make diverse meanings. Because no other known language has a grammar based on the human body or shares cognates—words that are similar in meaning and pronunciation, indicating a genealogical connection—with Great Andamanese, the language constitutes its own family.

The grammar I was piecing together was based primarily on Jero, but a look through Portman's and Man's books convinced me that the southern Great Andamanese languages had similar structures. The lexicon consisted of two classes of words: free and bound. The free words were all nouns that referred to the environment and its denizens, such as ra for “pig.” They could occur alone. The bound words were nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs that always existed with markers indicating a relation to other objects, events or states. The markers (specifically, a-; er-; ong-; ot-or ut-; e-or i-; ara-; and o-) derived from seven zones of the body and were attached to a root word, usually as a prefix, to describe concepts such as “inside,” “outside,” “upper” and “lower.” For example, the morpheme er-, which qualified most anything having to do with an outer body part, could be stuck to -cho to yield ercho, meaning “head.” A pig's head was thus raercho.


Rules for Calculation


The article teaches a strategy for playing the game. It works!


Rust Module System Encourages Poor Practices (Comparing to Go) [Dmitry Frank]


Go Go!


JSON Feed - JSON Feed Version 1.1


JSON Feed format spec. Perhaps it will power Mycoverse...