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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?



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