Monday, June 19, 2006

Your Past is Your Future

Linguists are all a-chatter over the published reports about a language called Aymara, spoken in the high Andes, in which "metaphors about the future relate to the concept of being behind, and metaphors about the past relate to being in front of you where you can see."

This is interesting, but as LanguageLog points out, it's not quite unique. Some other languages do this, and even English has an instance of it, in the phrase push back meaning "postpone, put off until a future time."

It also reminds me of the odd invented "past-future" tense of baseball announcers. After a player swings at a pitch and misses it, the play-by-play announcer says, "and that will be strike three."

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Thanks to Reader_I-Am for keeping the place going while I make lazy here and spend some time getting to know my kid again now that his school is out. When you work nights, it doesn't matter if you're divorced or not, you see your kids only in passing once they hit school age, unless you really make an effort. I'm also trying to get caught up on a Herculean backlog of e-mail.