Deep in the Amazon rain forest, they do a really marvelous thing.
Have I seen it for myself? Well, no. Did I hear it from an eyewitness? No again. Truth to tell, I read about it on the internet.
I need to back up and start from the beginning.
Dave Thomas, in a recent article titled The Revolution Will Have Structured Content, describes how the language of a culture will reflect whatever values the culture finds most important.
Thus, for example, “if we require Mr., which says nothing about marital status, before a man’s name but either Miss or Mrs. before a woman’s name, we are saying that the most important thing to know about that woman is her marital status.” And that’s why, over the last half-century, the use of Ms. has become prevalent.
A grammar based on evidence
Now, Thomas asks, what if a culture placed a high value on truth? Would its language evolve a grammar that would help a listener to evaluate the veracity of a given statement? Continue reading