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Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis

Unread postPosted: 07 Feb 2017 22:10
by Aarlaya
To be totally honest, I don't know if this would go here or in the culture section.
The Linguistic relativity principle (, also known as the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, discusses the relationship between thought and language: specifically the concept a person cannot express or understand because their language or the one they're translating into doesn't have the words to express it.
I'm curious to hear how you think this would play out in Mando'a.

Re: Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis

Unread postPosted: 08 Feb 2017 19:42
by Belandrie Meave
It already does, it's a nightmare.
I'm working on the Bible translation project.
'Holy'? Nada.
'Angel'? You've got to be kidding.
'God'? Technically there is one but it takes about a paragraph in Mando'a to approximate three characters in English.
Oh, and any form of thought-process verb? Forget it. Either Mandos don't think, or it doesn't occur to them that that's what they're doing. A Mando'a philosopher would be scuppered. 'Realize'. 'Consider'. 'Imagine'.

Re: Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis

Unread postPosted: 09 Feb 2017 15:24
by Ruus
I haven't studied Mando'a as long as Bellandrie, but I agree. Mando'a is a language that has become highly specialized (in that universe) and as a result certain things that other cultures have words for are missing in mando'a. Apparently they never had a renaissance.
this is actually something I love about languages, as to fully understand the language you have to understand the culture. certain idioms, direct translations, etc. don't make sense unless viewed through the culture. I mean, who needs to know whether you stabbed someone with a small skinny knife, a bes'kad, or a long broad knife? And yet mando'a has words for each of those things, which is a big culture statement right there IMO :shock:

Re: Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis

Unread postPosted: 09 Feb 2017 22:07
by Aarlaya
Belandrie Meave wrote:It already does, it's a nightmare.
I'm working on the Bible translation project.

I would LOVE to hear more about this. If it's helpful in any way, I do know where to find Acts and I think all the Gospels in Elvish- just to see how someone else worked with that. Are you translating from English to Mando'a or from Hebrew and Greek to Mando'a?

I think, for an in-universe example, the relationship between Jedi would be difficult for Mando'ade to describe; they'd refer to a master as a father/ mother, for instance, and probably struggle to comprehend the idea that someone raising and teaching a child wasn't a parent. In our universe there might be a similar issue with blended families.

Theoretically, considering the importance of family in Mando culture, there should be a number of concepts related to that without a direct translation. We have a few, but there would likely be more, I think.

Re: Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis

Unread postPosted: 09 Feb 2017 22:40
by Belandrie Meave
It's here... viewtopic.php?f=21&t=34
Kensoku started on Genesis, I started on Luke, taking a slightly different approach as you'll see. It's pretty slow, and technically I'm paraphrasing, as I'm going from an NIV into Mando'a. Putting up the literal meaning of my 'translation' as I go.
Oddly enough that particular example hasn't been a huge issue. I'm Jedi myself (Jedi and Christian first, Mando second), so obviously I take an interest in it. Talk to Tempest or Taljair, or get hold of Taljair's copy of the dictionary (there's a nice preface on Mando'a culture) but really, nobody blinks twice at the idea of blended families, or people raising a child that isn't their own biological offspring. Aliit ori'shya tal'din, and all that. A Jedi Padawan speaking Mando'a would cheerfully refer to their Master as 'buir', because that specific word connotes (so far as I can see) an interpersonal relationship, rather than a genetic one. See also, 'Kar'buir'.
Ruus is having you on, he's been here much longer than I have, I just pick things up quickly.

Re: Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis

Unread postPosted: 18 Feb 2017 04:42
by Aarlaya
I meant more along the lines of which parents in a blended family get "custody."

On a totally different note: since food is divided so clearly into 'this is what you eat in the field' and 'this is what you eat at home' that the word "perishable" doesn't exist in and of itself, so it might take some explaining to be able to get a Mando from that word to the the concept of 'you can't carry this in your backpack,' not because they don't understand that food can go bad, but just because of how they sort it mentally. If that makes any sense.

Certain gender roles would probably go over a Mando's head, especially any idea that a woman should be quiet and passive. Same thing with racism/speciesism.

Re: Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis

Unread postPosted: 18 Feb 2017 09:11
by Ge'tal Buy'ce
Racism may not exist in the Mando'a thoughtspace, but nationalism certainly does. Mandos use the same word (aruetii) for "traitor," "foreigner," and "outsider," with linguistic ties to "enemy" (aru'e). If memory serves, some interpretations of the Resol'nare require that armor be worn in public, and that Mando'a not be spoken where non-Mandos can easily hear it. They're not exactly trusting people. Or perhaps more accurately, their trust is not easily earned.

There seem to be three basic categories a person can fall into: outsider, Mandalorian, or family. This is more on the cultural side than linguistic, but while it's difficult to move up from one category to another, doing so generally seems to gain you a degree of implicit trust that isn't shared by many cultures.

On the speciesist side, a highly insulting word that means "coward" (hut'uun) appears somewhat similar to the word Hutt. I wonder how a Mando would react to the idea of a Hutt Mando'ade?

Re: Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis

Unread postPosted: 18 Feb 2017 19:07
by Aarlaya
I think that would follow what you say: if you're Mando'ade, that's enough. You're in.

Re: Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis

Unread postPosted: 24 Apr 2017 19:32
by Aarlaya
Something I just remembered I wanted to mention here:
The word "udesii" is translated "calm down/ relax." Typically, what we mean when we say "relax" is "a state without worry or concern." That's not practical or safe for our Mando'ade pals, nor would they likely enjoy it. I think it's more likely that they use "udesii" to mean a state where someone is focused on what's important (be that their mission on the battlefield or their time with their family) at the moment and can do their tasks well.

Also, discussion question: Do you think Mandalorians are an individualist or collectivist culture? Explain. Use 400-600 word, cite your sources in APA format.