language and mind

May 23, 2013

The prince and the pauper

File:Connecticut Yankee4 new.jpg“The question as to whether there is such a thing as divine right of kings is not settled in this book. It was found too difficult. That the executive head of a nation should be a person of lofty character and extraordinary ability, was manifest and indisputable; that none but the Deity could select that head unerringly, was also manifest and indisputable; that the Deity ought to make that selection, then, was likewise manifest and indisputable; consequently, that He does make it, as claimed, was an unavoidable deduction. I mean, until the author of this book encountered the Pompadour, and Lady Castlemaine, and some other executive heads of that kind; these were found so difficult to work into the scheme, that it was judged better to take the other tack in this book (which must be issued this fall), and then go into training and settle the question in another book. It is, of course, a thing which ought to be settled, and I am not going to have anything particular to do next winter anyway.” :)

The fair cadence by Mark Twain comes from the Connecticut Yankee. The particular difference between selection and election has excited affects for centuries, and this not only among the American nation.

To apply a broad perspective for heads and states   in historical settings, the case of Thomas More finds mutuality in that of Charles I. A disobedient clergyman tried for treason, or a king          accused of the highest betrayal, both suffered decapitation.

The people of the land would not deny the right to divine intervention to a cockerel, however, relatively recent pleas for the sake of the noisy animal having been made at Tyneside.

 Twain Historical

Mark Twain : Historical Romances : Prince & the Pauper / Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court / Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc (Library of America)

The irony of fate does never leave cockerels. The animals end up in chicken soup regardless of maturity, unless turned into soluble blocks merchandised for bouillon.

We humans do not know our destinies, either. Jean Bodin, the big wheel to absolutism, died of the plague. Those may have been cases like his to inspire the thought the people could be in the making still: the idea of somebody up there simply not to like you no matter how hard you try, could be too much of a clear soup to take. ;)

FDR

I do not look upon these United States as a finished product. We are still in the making.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Divine right or intervention, the concepts have been made for people inheriting their political roles. Trust in a higher agency yet has never had much chance to get into everyday practice regardless of blood, as evidenced already in the Glorious Revolution. Well, and language is a prominent human valor to favor everyday work without supernatural aspects.

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Kindle Prince and Pauper

The Prince and The Pauper – Full Version (Illustrated and Annotated) (Literary Classics Collection)

Should the prince have left England at a very young age, he would have spoken fluent French or German ― and, for example, not a word of English.

We humans are born with brain areas specialized for language. Our language skills yet require learning. The bright side is that the important human valor depends on us and our efforts. :)

No men, women, children, or houses with the pie

William Jones was a hyperpolyglot to have learned Greek, Latin, Persian, Arabic, Hebrew, and basic Chinese. By the end of his life he knew thirteen languages thoroughly and another twenty-eight reasonably well, says Wikipedia.

William Jones wrote The Sanscrit Language (1786), the book to tell that Greek and Latin had a common root, and that root was Sanskrit. The Proto-Indo-European “language” allegedly gave origin to contemporary European languages — well, except Irish literature, they say.

If we believe Wikipedia, William Jones had an at least reasonably good acquaintance with 41 tongues altogether. Such an acquaintance should encompass the words woman, man, child, and house. Let us compare these words in Latin, Greek, English, Russian, Polish, German, and French.

WOMAN

Latin: femina; Greek: gyne; English: woman; Russian: zenshchina; Polish: kobieta; German: Frau; French: femme.

MAN

Latin: vir; Greek: andros; English: man; Russian: muzshtschina; Polish: mężczyzna; German: Mann; French: homme.

CHILD

Latin: putillus; Greek: pais; English: child; Russian: rebionok; Polish: dziecko; German: Kind; French: enfant.

HOUSE

Latin: domus; Greek: do; English: house; Russian: dom; Polish: dom; German: Haus; French: maison.

The words have been present on this Earth since the human started to speak, yet they do not have common, Proto-Indo-European stems. Vir or andros, child or rebionok, woman or kobieta ― have nothing to do one with another, whatever way to look at them. Progress in building shelters and dwelling has resulted in local linguistic influence, domus, do, and dom looking and sounding similar, house and Haus, or maison also to show geographic affinity.

The Proto-Indo-European proponents went into making a religion too, undeterred by the lack of a PIE root for our planet.

EARTH

Latin: terra or tellus; Greek: gaia or aia; English: earth; Russian: ziemlia; Polish: ziemia; German: Erde; French: terre.

Finally, how do you even get to have a deity, if there is no stem in common to “him” or “her”? Well, it has to be the science-fiction Space 1999 to show reading Sanskrit accurately … ;)

I would not fit the picture of the “trained philologist” in the Space 1999 video. I got schooled in reading texts, not the people round. The holocaust in the clip is not the Holocaust.

Here is another idea for “fluency”. :)

Evidently, there was a pie, but that pie was India. The colonial era began about 1500, and there was much competition. Gaelic lands continue opposing inclusion into the Commonwealth: it is honest to have an own piece of a pie. ;)

May 8, 2013

The apostasy of the First Amendment?

Ideas of governments over tongues are aged. They have been about curbing language.   I came across a book stern in criticizing the human liberty to speak; the resource is ascribed to Richard Allestree, an author within the recognized scope of religious thought.

The text of the Government of the Tongue

Let us “begin with the very beginning”: there are things that change about the humanity over time; there are respects with which humanity remains invariable.

We humans are mortal and realize this. No one may assert that he or she knows what happens after his or her death. Faith is not knowledge, and no knowledge is all-encompassing. Therefore, people have been believers and non-believers, never to become intellectually strict opposites.

The non-believer does not necessarily claim there is no God: he or she may just decline concluding on the universe entire. The believer may reject holistic postulates, too: religion is not about picturing the cosmos. The non-believer may live and work without a yearning for God’s existence as well as non-existence. The believer will live and work without God being his or her very focus a proportion of the time.

The resolve on belief or non-belief remains equally with the individual. A non-believer might refuse deliberation on existence of a being not believed. A believer can leave comprehension of existence with the deity understood to have originated gnosis altogether.

Here are a few Greek words on existence, as for the matters that happen to change from time to time ;)

http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/definitionlookup?type=begin&q=exist&lang=greek

Therefore, let us try thinking about freedom of speech in some detachment from the actuality of belief and disbelief. The distance may keep The Government for the resource with one reservation: the book does not figure in the bibliographical notes for Richard Allestree, same as The Whole Duty of Man, ascribed to 27 people so far.

Open BookGovernment of the Tongue second impression

 The Government recommends memorization.

But sure tis a pitiful pretence to ingenuity that can be thus kept up, there being little need of any other faculty but memory to be able to cap Texts.

 The book ascribes the tongue an independent volition.

The Tongue is so slippery, that it easily deceives a drowsy or heedless guard.

 The writing has speech for separate from mind.

 … so the childish parts of us, our passions, our fancies, all our mere animal faculties, can thrust our tongues into such disorder, as our reason cannot easily rectify.

  It condemns linguistic fluency.

Language command is attributed supra-individual qualities.

David uttered a bloody vow against Nabal, spake words smoother than oil to Uriah …

The due management therefore of this unruly member, may be rightly be esteemed one of the greatest mysteries of Wisdom and Virtue.

The effort associated with controlling speech makes the author(s) invoke King Solomon.

42 The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here (Matthew 12).

27 Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. (Luke 12)

And here, the irresistible philological temptation is to compare Wycliffe.

28 And of clothing what ben ye bisye? Biholde ye the lilies of the feeld, how thei wexen. Thei trauelen not, nether spynnen;29 and Y seie to you, Salomon in al his glorie was not keuered as oon of these. (Matheu 6)

42 The queene of the south shal rise in doom with this generacioun, and schal condempne it; for she cam fro the eendis of the erthe to here the wisdom of Salomon, and lo! here a gretter than Salomon. (Matheu 12)

The history of the First Amendment emphasizes the separation of the Church from the State: In Everson v. Board of Education (1947), the Court drew on Founding Father Thomas Jefferson‘s correspondence to call for “a wall of separation between church and State”, though the precise boundary of this separation remains in dispute, says Wikipedia.

It was yet the fluent quality in the tongue to encourage reference to Wycliffe in preparing the new version of King James Bible: :)

Simply put, in countless passages of the “Early Version”, both the poetry of the language and fidelity to the original Greek text are superior to that found in the “Later Version”, says the Bible Gateway.

Looking to Wycliffe is another of my projects, strictly philological, intended to show English as a live tongue. :)

Looking to WycliffeLooking to Wycliffe sample with preface

978-1-304-02730-6

Freedom of speech is a most important human freedom. There is much room for it in my grammar: the course invites student independent practice, some exercises being open-ended or left without any prescribed answer at all. :)

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Travelers in Grammar Appendix 3 contains faithful typescripts of the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights: Dunlap, Carter and Wheeler prints, respectively. I think the material vital for comprehension of the American language and thought; students may benefit considerably from copies at hand.

April 13, 2013

It, him, or her: America, the world, and the human being

Martin Buber by Andy Warhol

Martin Buber would envision the human being in a bit of an embryonic role. I can agree that human cognition has its limitations, yet an embryonic status about human minds looks exaggerated. The matter evidently evolves round personal pronouns.

The philosopher, whose earnestness of study I do not mean to question, would yet see humans as entities in incessant ties; he would only differentiate this persistent condition into the I-You and I-It relationship. Simply speaking, every human would be an “I”. And every human would be always in a relationship, to a “You” or to an “It” like an embryo, incapable of independent living.

Buber’s famous essay on existence, Ich und Du, has been about as famously translated into I and Thou. Arguments on philosophical intricacies have not convinced me on the alleged non-existence of an English word for the German ‘du’. It would not be just me, looking to the translation for Bist du bei mir — If you are with me.

There a few more unconvincing details about Buber philosophy and its followers. Let us think about the word “being”. It is construed with the third person singular, “it”. However, if we modify this word with the adjective “human”, we refer to the “human being” as “him” or “her”.

According to Buber, the world would be an It. We yet may think about a world as by a man or by a woman, in which case the semantics would play its good trick and add male or female attributes to the notion of the world. Naturally, everyone may try own perception on The World According to Garp. ;)

Semantics is the language matter about meaning. This meaning may be not bound by singular, isolated lexical items. A “human being may be a male or a female. A “world can be a male or female world.

Languages also happen to have arbitrary, grammatical gender. In French or Spanish, a “book” is going to be a “him”. In Russian, a book is going to be a “her”. Ancient Romans had a day-book or diary for an “ephemeris”, a “her”. This arbitrary gender has had nothing to do with recognizing sex, since the beginning of time: mostly males were literate in ancient Rome.

Let us think about reference to countries: English would speak about a country as an “it”. French or Spanish would have their “pays” or “pais” for males.  As regards home countries, the legitimate Italian “she”, “patria”,  would keep company to the legal French “patrie”, Germans remaining unpersuadable on their “Vaterland” : there would be “Muttersprache”, but “Mutterland” would mean the country of origin, not the home country. American English would allow both fatherland and motherland, the home country or homeland prevailing.

Importantly, whether fatherland or motherland, when we go back in our thoughts, we use the third person singular again, “it. We would say, My fatherland, it …” We would not say, “My fatherland, he …” We also can say, and the vast majority would say, America in its time …

Well, America is a name of a country, same as Germany, France, Italy, or any other name of a country, fair and square. Concluding, human thought is not reducible to three pronouns, I, you, and it. Already the pronouns may have and often do have connotations to other pronouns, which though potentially arbitrary is a real factor to influence the way we formulate our thoughts. 

March 28, 2013

British grammar nazis

ImageDisclaimer: the adjacent — and colored meaningfully yellow — graphic piffle is not intended to mean the Union Jack proper. It is the British grammar nazis logo on Facebook.

BGN Facebook

The logo dubious pulchritude may be seen in its full form on the right. Now, without going into matters of the meaning of life or the spoken lore on WWII and British losses — invaluable for those hard of reading — let me focus on the statistics and implications.

 The site has about 50 K ‘likes’. Taking the British population alone, that would make the maximum of 50 thousand functionally illiterate among about 63 million people. I mean, much has been written about WWII; evidently, mere gathering orthography and other detail does not make you capable of text interpretation.

Some might say it is not so bad, it is not even one percent. Still, you’d better ‘think literacy’, going to the UK.

Keep your profile according to your passport photo; the guys demonstrate attention to picture specifics. ;)

Remember to wave your hand, getting a taxi; try to get a map with statues and other tourist attractions in large icons. It is better to take a walk from the National Museum than end up the Piccadilly owing to a visiting card small print. ;)

In hotels, always tick the boxes; at best, you ask for those straight, should you be provided with a form without boxes to tick. ;)

When it comes to mailing letters, get the recorded: they have ID strips. Seeking directions, approach people with newspapers: there are odds they can read them. Never ever leave your books or papers, especially open: they might be taken for other utilities. ;)

 

March 5, 2013

Mignon Fogarty will not let you go on with love – no reason to try to make the French ashamed

Filed under: cognitive progression, language, life, psycholinguistics, psychology — teresapelka @ 11:34 pm

As it must, it shall be disclosed: the Grammar Girl forbids progress with love. The Grammar Girl is the Mignon Fogarty.

It turns out that when it comes to progressive tenses, English is divided into two groups of verbs: dynamic and stative.

The issue at hand is whether verbs like “to love” can be conjugated in a progressive tense, which you use to indicate that something is happening at the moment and is continuing around the time to which you refer.

http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com/im-loving-it-grammar.aspx

Let us think about language altogether. The French, for example, however they might be right next to the Casanova bad fame for superficiality, would never ever honestly tell you not to say love round the time you feel it. Well, the emotional difference is American? ;)

Mignon Fogarty says, Dynamic verbs relate an action or a process. Common dynamic verbs are “to walk,” “to yell,” and “to read.” These verbs can be conjugated in progressive tenses, so it’s fine to say, “I will be walking all day” and “He was yelling at me”.

To quit has to be a stative verb owing to an American habit: one walks in, yells, and then reads something to work as the riot act; then another, at the moment and continuing around the time, says I quit. I saw such things in the moving pictures and could believe, but well … grammar would be plenty of a movie thing to remember …   ;)

The CNN offer an international perspective in a written form: Tired of your boss? Five ways to resign in style. Naturally, do not take the matter for my counsel, please. :)

Let us see the ‘verdict’:

Grammar Girl - Is -I'm Loving It- Proper Grammar- -- Quick and Dirty Tips ™ 2014-03-14 10-00-47‘That said, it’s still probably best for ESL teachers to continue to advise their students not to say, I’m loving it or to use other potentially incorrect stative verbs in progressive tenses. ESL teachers should point out, though, that students will hear native speakers using stative verbs in progressive tenses when the moment seems right.’

Minding my ESL hours, minutes, and seconds, I have to deny. My story is here, with Travelers in Grammar Part Two (in the draft shape still, but I hope to finish writing it soon).

The story has concepts and ideas to work with language skill. The story yet does not promise to tell the truth, with an important regard: there is not even one method in the world to work always and for all minds. However, we can say after Mark Twain, whose work is of reference in our grammar venture: If the story is good for you, it can be your true friend. Our learner strategies have already worked  (the Introduction). :)

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The grammar guidance is purposely more relaxed than that of most resources. The
course is to present American English as it actually happens to be written or spoken.
The work aspires to draw conclusions from natural language learning and use, not
formalized definitions or rules only. I am an English philology M.A. specialized in
language psychology with own, successful learning and teaching experience. I am
absolutely opposed to behaviorism.

American English is the only English I have learned since I was a kid. However, I freely
chose to learn American and I have never meant to impose it. The grammar approach
could be adapted for any English in the world, including first language practice (Introduction).

The content and book information are also free to view

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June 10, 2012

Apples grow on noses: two languages – two minds?

Filed under: language, language processing, language use, psycholinguistics — teresapelka @ 12:18 pm

Kids may take language tasks easy. Adults might need some time. The New Scientist of May 5th, 2012 provides an article by Catherine de Lange, ‘Mon espirit paratage – My two minds’, that proves it.

“Speaking a second language can change everything from problem-solving skills to personality. It is almost as if you are two people”, she says (or they say). The author quotes an experiment to compare the cognitive progression in monolingual and bilingual children.

“Both monolinguals and bilinguals could see the mistake in phrases such as ‘apples growed on trees’, but differences arose when they considered nonsensical sentences such as ‘apples grow on noses’. The monolinguals, flummoxed by the silliness of the phrase, incorrectly reported an error, whereas the bilinguals gave the right answer”.

I am bilingual and I am completely flummoxed. Monolingual kids can hear or read fairy tales. If you told a monolingual kid that long, long time ago, there was a kingdom where apples grew on noses and roses flew to the sea, you wouldn’t hear anything like, ‘gramma is amphigo-ree’, unless the kid would be poking you. Bilingual kids, on the other hand, do not have their vocabularies for lexicons of empty items.

A kid speaking English and French will not have pain for bread, whatever you’d feel like saying about his or her syntactic capacities. More, any attempts at negotiation could look only sick. Seriously sick. Mal a l’oreille.

To appreciate kids’ syntactic abilities, you need to use empty lexical items. For example, ‘Phimos bimoes’, right or wrong? Kids knowing the singular, ‘Phimo’, and the infinitive, ‘to bimo’, would not be likely to show differences, monolingual or bilingual. Bilingualism is not a dissociative disorder.

Bias flaws also another experiment quoted in Catherine de Lange’s article. Mexicans were asked to rate their personalities in Spanish and English. She says, “Modesty is valued more highly in Mexico than it is in the US, where assertiveness gains respect, and the language of the questions seemed to trigger these differences. (…) When questioned in Spanish, volunteers were more humble than when questioned in English”.

Languages, Spanish included, are spoken worldwide, in various cultures and by people of different social standings. Never try to tell a Spaniard that humility would come from his or her language (!)

Feel welcome to visit my grammar blog, travelingrammar.com. My project uses virtual lexical items to encourage syntactic progression. Virtual items do not deny sense: Form can’t be empty. You bet. A todas luces.

Important: the project is not an experiment.

May 26, 2012

Glossolalia: impediment versus gift

Filed under: language, language processing, psycholinguistics, psychology — teresapelka @ 12:28 pm

When you ‘speak in tongues‘, you produce unintelligible speech. This sure is strange, as humans usually talk to tell, unless the purpose would be the word play known as poetry. Is strange behavior really divine?

Imagine someone asked if this would have been their pair of dirty socks in the middle of the lounge carpet when the very important people that contractors happen to be came to talk sense. What one could hear, might be: “AAAA-R-GH. Nope. Whatsoever”. The AAAARGH might even become suggestive of the Great Vowel Shift should the contractors have left this meaning no cash and no holiday.

Purposely unintelligible speech would avoid natural phonology. This avoidance still would have phono-articulatory patterns. Let us think about something like “Me tum gade the bock be ore”. The pattern here is the bilabial stop [b] gradually to replace the bilabial nasal [m], the concomitant alveolar [t] and [d] to precede the dental [th], with a potentially velar [g] intermittent to the [t] and [d] vowels vacillating front to back, high to low.

I have emulated the pattern myself; it is nothing inspired. It could be transformed into “My mum made me mock me more”, if to think about heat and similar influences to the human brain that cause glossolalia and phonologically driven discourse. Would the non-speech be mandated by a higher agency?

Recently, a man standing in the street gave me copy of the Bible, the Recovery Version, printed by the Living Stream Ministry Anaheim, California. I have compared the passages about the Holy Spirit with the American Standard Bible, my quotes come from the latter.

“And when they lead you to judgment, and deliver you up, be not anxious beforehand what ye shall speak: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye; for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Spirit.”

The passage hardly could concern unintelligible speech, as it says about delivery in or under judgement. The delivery would be assisted by the Holy Spirit. Another passage concerns salvation and the Holy Spirit; it would imply to take the matter of the Spirit and, therefore, intelligibility serious.

“Verily I say unto you, All their sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and their blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme: 3:29but whosoever shall blaspheme against the Holy Spirit hath never forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin.”

Naturally, a deity to advise damage to speech might not gain authority. What new tongues would the Bible speak about?

“Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to the whole creation.’ ‘And these signs shall accompany them that believe: (…) they shall speak with new tongues …

Preaching the Gospel to new people most probably involved speaking their languages. Intelligibility not imposing any requirement to make oneself comprehensible to everyone, let us compare ‘language’ and ‘tongue’ in dictionaries.

TONGUE

Etymology: Middle English tunge, from Old English; akin to Old High German zunga tongue, Old Norse tunga, Gothic tungo, Old Latin dingua, Latin LINGUA.

LANGUAGE

Etymology: Middle English langage, language, from Old French, from langue tongue, language (from Latin LINGUA) + -age — more at TONGUE.’

(Webster’s Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged. Merriam-Webster, 2002.)

Looking to etymologies and contemporary uses, as well as regarding American English, there is nothing to substantiate any interpretation of the lexical item ‘tongue’ for incomprehensible speech. Would the Greek-derived ‘glossolalia’ justify the interpretation? Let us look up word origins. How could we derive the lexical item ‘glossary’?

Etymology: Medieval Latin glossarium, from Latin GLOSSA, a difficult word requiring explanation.

A glossary can be ‘a collection of textual glosses or of terms limited to a special area of knowledge or usage.’ (Webster’s Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged).

How come ancient Romans had difficult words for ‘glosses’? Latin and Greek were the two most prominent languages of the Antiquity, the language ‘affair’ was not too hot, however. ;) The contemporary word ‘gloss’ may be derived from the Greek GLOSSA, tongue, language, word. (The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition).

The Greek item ‘lalia’ could be interpreted as ‘speaking, speech’. One could be speaking difficult words. One could be a kiddo acquiring speech. Kids begin or start ‘speaking in words’ some time in their lives. Before that, the speech of the young human may be unintelligible.

Well, there might be no reason to make the human an ugly bebe : ‘tout petit enfant; enfant dont la conduite est par trop puerile, ou adulte qui manque totalement de maturite’, says Larousse online hot affairs are infrequent. ;)

April 28, 2012

Burning the Flag – where is the language?

Filed under: language, language processing, language use, law, psycholinguistics — teresapelka @ 10:46 am

Having earned a legal badge with EzineArticles should not make one overconfident, I realize. The legal profession is a depth of recondite detail the Supreme Court has the right firmly to deliberate. The linguist I am, I yet can venture a few observations — and this has been quoting freedom of speech to invalidate prohibitions on desecrating the American flag.

United States versus Eichman, United States versus Haggerty, Texas versus Johnson: all cases argued violation of free speech under the First Amendment. Haggerty’s case would have the implication to make the Flag necessarily your piece of cloth before burning. It is when the Flag belongs to an institution like Seattle’s Capitol Hill Post Office that you get fined. ;)

Let me think. I imagine a person burns something. Is there a speech sound produced, should the human just silently sit by a campfire, warming his or her hands? Is there any written or printed stretch of language to emerge from the flame? Should one try to interpret the wood or coal crackling and hissing as stanzas, quatrains, epodes? Could we hear the anacrusis?

I could not, and there is nothing wrong with my hearing. Things do not produce language. Facts remain similar with hammers, saws, wrenches, screwdrivers, and whatever a handyman’s bag might contain: there is no speech produced with the use, unless the guy is eloquent, interesting, and whatsoever handsome — however noisy the job. ;)

Non-verbal acts cannot convey speech and language. The Flag itself – the many the people, the many the answers; ask someone what the Flag looks like and what it symbolizes: no description will be identical, owing to language specifics.

The Supreme Court decided the Flag could be burned under the First Amendment. It does not allow abridgment of free speech. If a burning object could be legally a speech act, what do you do if you see the Flag burning on a barrel saying ‘TNT’ – would putting it out be against the law? ;)

The Flag Code may be found here,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Flag_Code,

http://www.usflag.org/uscode36.html,

http://www.senate.gov/reference/resources/pdf/RL30243.pdf, and many other places.

I do honestly believe that flags are for people and, naturally, their use should not be forbidden. I have put an image of the American flag on my grammar book covers. For one thing, I like it: I think the flag is visually attractive. More, the grammar is not a temporary idea. :)

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, http://travelingrammar.wordpress.com/. 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

http://feedbackandlanguage.wordpress.com/

my poetry corner

https://sites.google.com/site/teresaspoetrycorner/home

my scribbling site

https://sites.google.com/site/teresasscribbling/Welcome

or my other WordPress posts; they are listed at

http://teresapelka.wordpress.com/about/

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