language and mind

August 27, 2011

In sooth, language would more field spirit

Filed under: books, grammar, language, psycholinguistics — teresapelka @ 11:15 am

Hat tricks take producing objects from hats. With some theories on language, it seems that these objects could be pinballs, odd spoons, or… even God. Everyone may know about the highly unenviable problems that Adam and Eve had with their garment. Looking to Fred Walter Householder ‘God’s truth linguistics’, one may feel like the forbidden fruit might become language – that for the sake of some yet unknown higher authority.

Metaphysics of linguistics may not become the admirable Crichton to me, not only for the Crichton’s ill fame with epigrams. The simple fact is that ideologies to attempt to build beyond language might turn out intellectually unsatisfactory with regard to basics such as the vertical and horizontal planes cognition (please feel welcome to see my ‘Metaphysics as in this real world’).

This unsatisfactory stand happens to be presented in Language and Ideology: Theoretical cognitive approaches by  By René Dirven, Bruce Wayne Hawkins, Esra Sandikcioglu:

‘On the metaphysics of linguistics there are two extreme positions, which may be termed (and have been) the “God’s truth” position and the “hocus pocus” position’. The truth of the “God’s truth” linguists […] is that a language has a structure, and the job of a linguist is (a) to find out what that structure is, and (b) to describe it as clearly, economically, and elegantly as he can, without at any point obscuring the God’s truth structure of the language. The “hocus pocus” linguist believes (or professes to believe – words and behavior are not always in harmony) that language is a mass of incoherent, formless data, and the job of the linguist is somehow to arrange and organize this mass, imposing on it some sort of structure (which must not, of course, be in any striking or obvious conflict with anything in the data).’

You might venture watching a black-and-white television program or movie and arguing that the sky is blue. You’d have to make an assumption, however. I am a linguist and I have specialized in psycholinguistics. I do not have any ‘God’s truth’ approach and I will never care to become a ‘hocus pocus’ dummy. Dualist approaches cannot explain language itself (feel welcome to see my post). Therefore, dualism (‘God’s truth’ or ‘hocus pocus’, just as well, black-or-white) may not provide for any meta-structure to clarify on speech and tongue. I could not be the only person to know this and not mind the Technicolor.

The dualism would be more indicative psychologically and socially. The humanities (and not only the humanities) have had hundreds of years of a more or less behaviorist background. Opposition to it, which psycholinguistics has been, seems to have spurred some to a kind of  ‘warfare by attribution’. Psycholinguistics happens to be really effective in language learning, teaching, and remedial. The unfair competition practice would be to try another area of human activity (religion, in this case) in order to give one trouble. ‘Your language thing works, so you be either some “God’s truth phenomenon” or assume an inferior status of a linguist having language for quagmire or hodgepodge’ – would be actually the message. The so-called ‘God’s syndrome’ may never become my special (why not any other figure, like Hammurabi? ;)). Both the labels – ‘God’s truth’ and ‘hocus pocus’ – would belong with social exclusion. Nope, no love lost. I do not need intimacy with competition. :)

Well then, metaphysical attitudes would be much of trying hat tricks themselves. With two options only, which would be the truth – the pinball or the spoon? :)

The strangest thing I have ever read about psycholinguistics so far would be coming from a presentation as by Professor Dr. Neal R. Norrick from the Saarland University Lecture on history of linguistics. Obviously, the context remains open, taken this world’s peculiarity… ;)

(I have e-mailed the Saarland University about my reference here).

You’re welcome to see my grammar project, It is absolutely not any ‘God’s truth’ or ‘hocus pocus’. It is a working idea by a woman – ‘Language and Ideology’ as quoted above would recognize mostly male linguists. Browsing the book gives 70 occurrences for the pronoun ‘he’, 14 for ‘she’, and 4 for ‘he or she’, the only reference for the ‘he or she’ being to a salesperson figure. Again, no love lost. :)

Please feel welcome to see my defended language thesis

my poetry corner

my scribbling site

or my other WordPress posts; they are listed at

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