Re: Phonetic alphabet[wasRe: Bill Gates]

Kennita Watson (
Mon, 6 Oct 1997 04:57:59 -0400 (EDT)

Dan Clemmensen wrote:
>A person whose first language is japanese apparently has a grat deal of
>difficulty thinking about syllables that do not fit into this scheme.
>Does this constrain the way the japanese think? If so, how are english
>speakers constrained? Will we need some other representational method
>to relieve these constraints?

English speakers, as sloppy as they often are, are wed to precision.
To wit:

Complete sentences in English have a subject, a verb, and (generally)
a predicate -- implied if not spoken. Perhaps a language in which this
was not true would be difficult for us (I, strangely enough, can't think
of one off the top of my head).

How about a language with no representations of past, present, and future?

Or a language with no distinction between declarative, interrogative,
imperative, and subjunctive (or some subset thereof)?

That said, I think that English speakers are among the least constrained
on the planet, since we steal words from so many different languages.
We do, however, seem to have problems with melodic and clicking


Kennita Watson | The bond that links your true family is not one of blood,| but of respect and joy in each other's life. Rarely do
| members of the same family grow up under the same roof.
| -- Richard Bach, _Illusions_