Friday, May 20, 2011

jargon into vernacular: also, time is not necessarily platonic, in the linguistic sense ..

sometimes i smile when a friend of mine uses the word "modulo" a party that includes non-mathmos, and inwardly i smile:
  1. you poor mathmo: you don't realise that "modulo" means nothing to my barista friend;
  2. my poor friends: you don't understand what we mean by "modulo," do you? it's such a useful word .. like osmosis in the sense that "i sat in enough talks that i learned about qc mappings by osmosis!"
admittedly i was once playing basketball during an REU program .. and when a friend of mine hit a lay-up, he immediately began playing defence against his defender ..
"don't bother," i tell him. "that dude is nilpοtent!"

this threw him into a fit of giggles, and we had to call a time out for his .. lack of self-control.

some people, i tell you. q-:
anyway, i say all of this because i happened upon this quote ..
"But perhaps most surprising is the team's suggestion that there is no "mapping" between concepts of time passage and movement through space."
.. which was from an article about how one amazon tribe has no independent sense of time .. in the sense, i suppose, that time is embedded in the way one thinks of a lifetime.
"To link number, time, tense, mood and space by a single causal relationship seems to me hopeless, based on the linguistic diversity that I know of," he told BBC News.

Dr Pica said the study "shows very interesting data" but argues quite simply that failing to show the space/time mapping does not refute the "mapping hypothesis".

Small societies like the Amondawa tend to use absolute terms for normal, spatial relations - for example, referring to a particular river location that everyone in the culture will know intimately rather than using generic words for river or riverbank.

These, Dr Pica argued, do not readily lend themselves to being co-opted in the description of time.

"When you have an absolute vocabulary - 'at the water', 'upstream', 'downstream' and so on, you just cannot use it for other domains, you cannot use the mapping hypothesis in this way," he said.

In other words, while the Amondawa may perceive themselves moving through time and spatial arrangements of events in time, the language may not necessarily reflect it in an obvious way.
"mappings," eh? perhaps it is a good thing, sometimes, to be a "geometric mapping theorist" ..!

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