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  • Clive Forrester

Anansi an Manguus (Achilles and the Tortoise - Zeno's Paradox)


In honour of International Mother Tongue Day, I have crafted a version of the Achilles and the Tortoise Paradox. It is one of Zeno's (Greek philosopher) formal paradoxes based on the idea that there is an infinite regression of intervals between any two integers. It is written using the Cassidy/JLU Writing System for Jamaican. Hopefully, it demonstrates that complex logic problems can be expressed in the language.

Wan maanin Breda Anansi disaid se im a go ries Breda Manguus. Manguus de pan di staat lain a wiet fi Anansi fram lang taim. Everibadi a wiet fi si Manguus ron lef Anansi. So Anansi tek im taim waak kom an stan op saida Manguus an se "Yu redi?" Manguus jos smail an se "Yes, mi redi fi win!" So Anansi se: "Wel wi av wan mail fi ron. Bot, bifuor yu ron wan mail, yu afi ron aaf mail. An, bifuor yu ron aaf mail, yu afi ron kwaata mail, an bifuor yu riich de so, yu afi go ron wan iet a di mail. Az a mata a fak, no mata ou smaal di distans yu a go ron, yu afi ron aaf a it fos kaaz eni nomba yu kyan tingk bout kyan kot ina aaf. An if dat a chuu, it no mek no sens wi iivn bada ron di ries kaaz it naa go don."

Manguus tingk bout we Anansi se, and im stan op de rait a di staat lain kyaahn iivn muuv. No mata ou faar im a go ron, im afi riich di aafwie fos, an no mata ou smaal di distans, it stil kyan kot ina aaf. Sieka dat Breda Manguus jos go bak a im yaad -no mata ou faas im ron, dis ya ries ya kyaahn don.

The paradox in the story is that there is no way "Manguus" will be able to complete the race since he will have to traverse an infinite amount of intervals before he even arrives at the shortest distance, and traversing an infinite amount of intervals will take an infinite amount of time. And since there is no first "shortest distance" the race can't even begin. But then, we run a mile all the time without even batting an eyelash. Happy Mother Tongue day!

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