Tuesday, April 29, 2008

El Rotochromodrome

"Why, for instance, do we not, like the Hopi, use a different way of expressing the relation of channel of sensation (seeing) to result in consciousness, as between 'I see that it is red' and 'I see that it is new'. We fuse the two quite different types of relationship into a vague sort of connection expressed by 'that', whereas the Hopi indicates that in the first case seeing presents a sensation 'red', and in the second that seeing presents unspecificed evidence from which is drawn the inference of newness. If we change the form to 'I hear that it is red' or 'I hear that it is new', we European speakers still cling to our lame 'that', but the Hopi now uses still another relater and makes no distinction between 'red' and 'new', since, in either case, the significant presentation to consciousness is that of a verbal report, and neither a sensation per se nor inferential evidence...."

[Benjamin Lee Whorf]