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>From tothl Mon Aug 31 17:23:57 +0200 1998 remote from inf.u-szeged.hu
Date: Mon, 31 Aug 1998 17:23:57 +0200 (MET DST)
From: Toth Laszlo <tothl@inf.u-szeged.hu>
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To: Pawel Kusmierek <pq@nencki.gov.pl>
Subject: Re: (why is high high)
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On Mon, 31 Aug 1998, Pawel Kusmierek wrote:

> > 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.
We say "high frequency" and "high sound". But we say "low frequency" and
"deep voice".

> 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,

See the example above (although it HAS to do with physical dimension, I

(by the way, 'deep' is to some extent a synonyme for
> 'low')

Yes, clearly. In measuring heights, the comparison level is the level of
the ground. Something that's above this line can be 'low' but never 'deep'.
What is under this line is 'deep'. Now, translating this to sounds:
if we choose zero as the comparison level, pitch can never be 'deep'.
(Zero is chosen in the case of frequency - and we never say 'deep'
But, if the comparison level is our own voice, 'deep' is clearly possible,
since a voice can be lower in pitch than ours.
This explanation is quite rational for me. Maybe we were more egoists in
choosing the zero level :-)

               Laszlo Toth
        Hungarian Academy of Sciences         *   "Military intelligence:
  Research Group on Artificial Intelligence   *    two words combined that
     e-mail: tothl@inf.u-szeged.hu            *    can't make sense"
     http://www.inf.u-szeged.hu/~tothl        *

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