December 2, 2004

100 Science-related Things to-do Before Dying

100 Scientific Things To-Do Before Checking Out. The original article is in New Scientist, but I haven't found a link online, it looks to be available only, gulp, in print!

Some of these are interesting, some useful, but some are a bit bizarre or even nonsensical.


The description of the Choctaw facts in this article are misleading.

Choctaw does have two past tenses, but they are not differentiated in the way claimed. The regular past tense, written -tok (or -tuk in older orthogrophies) is used for completed events ranging back about a year. The other suffix -ttook is for events that were completed more than a year ago. Furthermore, events that happened within the past few minutes and are still relevent for the current situation are often marked as "present" (-h).

Choctaw, and a huge number of other languages in the world, also have what are called evidentials. These are suffixes that indicate how you know the statement is true. In Choctaw, there is a first-hand knowledge suffix -hlih, used when you have direct evidence of the claim (you saw it, heard it, smelled it, etc). There is also the suffix -ashah which indicates that you are guessing that it is true -- you have some indirect evidence, such as hearsay, or very circumstantial evidence.

Tense and evidentiality are definitely distinct, as you can find tense and evidentiality marked at the same time on the verb.

Checkout the papers by a Choctaw expert: Broadwell at Albany

Online Choctaw classes are also offered.

Posted by duver001 at December 2, 2004 2:38 PM