Sunday, March 20, 2011

"Lacks a concept of lack"

In one of the prose poems in his book Angle of Yaw, Ben Lerner puts a new twist on the popular "No Word for X" meme when he refers to "a culture that lacks a concept of lack." The wonderful irony of that phrase is something to keep in mind whenever you come across a claim that a particular language "has no word for" a particular concept, such as the recent claim that "Japanese has no word for 'looting.'" (For a discussion of that, see this Language Log post; for a list of the many LL posts about the issue, see this post.)

1 comment:

Mrs Crocodile said...

I would love to leave a comment, but the words seem to have escaped me.
Yours, till I find my words again,
Mrs Crocodile