[Conteaching] response to question about sensory modalities

Suzette Haden Elgin ocls at madisoncounty.net
Sat Mar 10 16:36:39 CET 2007

From Sai -- while watching a podcast [I didn't know it was possible to watch a podcast, which shows you how old I am] about neurolinguistic programming:

Q: Basically the idea is people communicate in three modes: visual, audio, or tactile (or maybe even olfactory). E.g. "I see what you mean"; "does that sound good to you"; "that feels like a good idea". Etc etc etc. The idea is that you match whatever mode the other person is using and this will enable greater rapport. I'm not aware of any actual empirical studies that confirm this hypothesis but maybe they exist. ... Another empirical claim (again dunno how well founded) is auditory 'people' look sideways, visual up/side, and tactile down/side when doing recall. [snip] My question is: (how) do you address this in your conlang(s)? [snip]

A: I did a thing or two in Láadan that I think may be relevant for this question, although they have no relevance for the issue of validity/non-validity of the hypotheses Sai mentions.  

I provided Láadan with a vocabulary that (a) explicitly distinguishes between perception of an external stimulus and perception of an internal one, and (b) explicitly distinguishes between the active and involuntary senses of the various perception terms  [between hearing and listening, for example].  

Also, Láadan has obligatory evidential morphemes, and one of them means roughly "my evidence for what I'm saying/writing/signing is that I perceived it with my own sensory systems."


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