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Re: (why is high high)

From:                   tothl@inf.u-szeged.hu
Date sent:              Mon, 31 Aug 98 15:43 MET
To:                     pq@nencki.gov.pl

> >From tothl Mon Aug 31 15:42:59 +0200 1998 remote from inf.u-szeged.hu
> Date: Mon, 31 Aug 1998 15:42:59 +0200 (MET DST)
> From: Toth Laszlo <tothl@inf.u-szeged.hu>
> X-Sender: tothl@csilla
> To: Pawel Kusmierek <pq@nencki.gov.pl>
> Subject: Re: Why is high high?
> In-Reply-To: <199808311137.NAA05385@ameba.nencki.gov.pl>
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> MIME-Version: 1.0
> Received: from inf.u-szeged.hu by inf.u-szeged.hu; Mon, 31 Aug 1998 15:43 MET
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> On Mon, 31 Aug 1998, Pawel Kusmierek wrote:
> > Other people who now other non-Indo-European languages or who
> > has non-Indo-European-speaking friends: please contribute and tell
> > us how are sounds described in Chinese, Japanese, Hungarian or
> > any other language!
> >
> In Hungarian high frequencies are called "high", but the opposite is
> "deep" instead of "low".
Thank you very much!  Do you say "high frequency" and "deep
frequency" or rather "high sound" and "deep sound" (or maybe
"high pitch" and "deep pitch") in Hungarian.  What I mean is
whether the words high/deep are used to describe a physical
measurable property of sound or a feeling of a listener.  To be clear
I'll try to explain why I stress this discrimination.

I believe that the words that describe the frequency are same as
those that are used for other quantities and that they were not used
for description of sound pitch before concepts of frequency, hertz
etc, were invented.  I suppose that long before anyone had an idea
of frequency, people were calling sound pitch in a way.  In English,
Polish etc. these 'primordial' names are in agreement with
frequency values.  Possibly, in other languages, these 'primordial'
names have nothing to do with physical dimension, or with vertical
dimension (by the way, 'deep' is to some extent a synonyme for
'low'), or they are reversed in comparison to Indo-European
languages (and, consequently, they are in agreement with period

Pawel Kusmierek


Pawel Kusmierek
Department of Neurophysiology
Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology
3, Pasteur St., 02-093 Warsaw, Poland

tel. (48-22) 659 85 71 ex 379 or 388
fax  (48-22) 822 53 42
E-mail pq@nencki.gov.pl
ICQ 11740175

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