03.08.05: The blog has moved to www.antropologi.info/blog/anthropology/
, and several broken links have been corrected
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Sunday, February 27, 2005, 23:38
UPDATED - The future lies behind: How languages reflect our conception of time
Laura Spinney, The Guardian
For the Aymara people living in the Andes, the past lies ahead and the future lies behind. The Aymara word for past is transcribed as nayra , which literally means eye, sight or front. The word for future is q"ipa , which translates as behind or the back. Over the years, rumours have surfaced of similar strangeness in other languages.
The researcher is Rafael Núñez, a cognitive scientist at the University of California, San Diego. With his collaborator, linguist Eve Sweetser, he will publish his findings later this year.
"This Aymara finding is big news," says Vyvyan Evans, a theoretical cognitive linguist at the University of Sussex. "It is the first really well-documented example of the future and past being structured in a totally different way from lots of other languages, including English." >> continue
An introduction to the language, history, religion and culture of the Aymara people by Jorge Pedraza Arpasi
Anthropologist Kerim Friedman writes "I can't understand the fuss being made over the Aymara people living in the Andes who supposedly have a unique spacial conception of time. My guess is that this is simply another example of reporters mangling academic research in order to make the story more exciting." >> continue
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