Russell Brunelle (russellb) wrote,
Russell Brunelle


So... I don't believe the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, even in its weak form: I'm much more partial to what Steven Pinker has to say about this, to the effect that the thoughts we're capable of having aren't limited by the grammar or vocabulary of our native language.

But still, there's a difference between a limitation and an inconvenience, and I have to say that for legal purposes (and especially witness testimony during trial) it sure would be convenient if English had "evidence particles."

"Evidence particles" were built into the language called "Láadan" - a feminist effort from the mid-1980's to create an entirely new language "more reflective of the female experience."

In this language, every declarative sentence had to end with a syllable indicating how trustworthy its claim was. The options were:

wa: Known to speaker because perceived by speaker, externally or internally

wi: Known to speaker because self-evident

we: Perceived by speaker in a dream

wáa: Assumed true by speaker because speaker trusts source

waá: Assumed false by speaker because speaker distrusts source; if evil intent by the source is also assumed, the form is "waálh"

wo: Imagined or invented by speaker, hypothetical

wóo: Used to indicate that the speaker states a total lack of knowledge as to the validity of the matter

With this in place you could almost fall asleep during cross-examination, and basically just wake up to object if you hear anything other than a "wa" or maybe a "wi."
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