From: "Andy Robertson"
Subject: Re: (urth) Loyal to the Group of Seventeen Date: Wed, 12 Jun 2002 22:55:50 +0100 ----- Original Message ----- From: "Dan'l Danehy-Oakes" > I wonder also if the choice of the number seventeen is > significant -- perhaps a sort of sideways reference to another > stfnal instantiation of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis. I refer, of > course to Samuel R. Delany's novel in which a language with no > words for "I" and "You" plays a major role -- Babel-17. Interesting thought. The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis has a long pedigree in SF (cf Vance THE LANGUAGES OF PAO) but is almost certinly untrue. In fact we now know that children bought up in a civilisation that spoke only in these tags would spontaneously Creolise the language, generating a real language with a built in grammar from it. At what time did Chomskyan ideas about language - intrinsic, built-in metagrammar - become standard? Did Wolfe know? hartshorn --