May 23, 2013
William Jones is reported a hyperpolyglot to have learned Greek, Latin, Persian, Arabic, Hebrew, and basic Chinese “at an early age” ― “By the end of his life he knew thirteen languages thoroughly and another twenty-eight reasonably well”, says Wikipedia.
William Jones is the author of The Sanscrit Language (1786), the book to tell that Greek and Latin had a common root, and that root would have been Sanskrit. The Proto-Indo-European “language” would have given origin to contemporary European languages, too.
A reasonably good acquaintance with a tongue should encompass words such as woman, man, child, and house. Let us compare these words in Latin, Greek, English, Russian, Polish, German, and French.
Latin: femina; Greek: gyne; English: woman; Russian: zenshchina; Polish: kobieta; German: Frau; French: femme.
Latin: vir; Greek: andros; English: man; Russian: muzshtschina; Polish: mężczyzna; German: Mann; French: homme.
Latin: putillus; Greek: pais; English: child; Russian: rebionok; Polish: dziecko; German: Kind; French: enfant.
Words present on this Earth since the human started to speak do not have common stems. Vir or andros, child or rebionok, woman or kobieta ― have nothing to do one with another, whatever way you look at them. Progress in building shelters and dwellling would show local linguistic influence, domus, do, and dom looking and sounding similar, house and Haus, or maison would all show geographic affinity.
The Proto-Indo-European hypothesis would have gone also in the area of religion. However, if there would not be any stem in common to “him” or “her” as a deity, would there be deity?
Well, it could be that Space 1999 shows reading Sanskrit accurately …
Disclaimer: I would not fit the picture of the “trained philologist”, as I got schooled in reading texts, not the people round. The holocaust in the clip is not the Holocaust. See another idea for “fluency”:
May 8, 2013
The government of the tongue has been elaborated on for centuries. Richard Allestree would belong with the recognized scope of religious thought. There would be a resource stern in criticizing the liberty of the tongue; freedom of speech would stand close to blasphemy and atheism in the writing. The book would be ascribed to Richard Allestree.
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; no knowledge is all-encompassing. Therefore, the non-believer and believer would not be strict opposites.
The non-believer would not necessarily claim there is no God; he or she may decline concluding on the universe entire. Importantly, the believer would not propose a holistic resolve, either: religion does not offer a picture of 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 would remain equally with the individual. A non-believer, one might not be forced to deliberate on existence of a being not believed. A believer, one might feel that the comprehension on existence would remain with the very 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,
Therefore, a non-believer myself, I still do not intend to propose a resolve on God’s existence. The purpose of this post is to discuss freedom of speech in the light of the notion of the government of the tongue as derived from religious resources. My perspective will be philological and I will refer to the resource as “The Government”, since the book does not figure in the bibliographical notes for Richard Allestree.
The text attempts to support its fierce treatment of freedom of speech with frequent invocations of king Solomon. Let us look at two examples.
The Philosopher and the Divine equally attest this: and Solomon (who was both) gives his suffrage also;
Solomon tells us Death and Life are in the power of the Tongue, and that not only directly in regard of the good or ill we may do to others, but reflexively also, in respect of what may rebound to ourselves. Let Moses then make the inference from Solomon’s premises, Therefore choose life, Deut. 30. 15. a proposal so reasonable, so agreeable to nature, that no flourishes can render it more inviting.
These would look definitely denominational, compared with the matter of the Gospel.
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)
The irresistible philological temptation is to compare the above with 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)
Let us stay with temptation for a while. “The Government” would have “good” words and “bad” words. Temptation would be one of the “bad” words:
A man secluded from company can have but the Devil and himself to tempt him …
At the same time, the book would advocate memorizing texts,
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.
Therefore, the text would advise memorizing what is good and what is bad, keeping guard:
The Tongue is so slippery, that it easily deceives a drowsy or heedless guard.
… 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. The due management therefore of this unruly member, may be rightly be esteemed on of the greatest mysteries of Wisdom and Virtue.
The relativism would blame language, not the language user. Speech is described as the force of all our other depravation, quoting the Old Testament. Fluency is outwardly condemned,
David uttered a bloody vow against Nabal, spake words smoother than oil to Uriah, when he had done him one injury, and designed him another. Twere endless to reckon up those several instances the Old Testament … amidst the universal depravation of our Faculties, there is none more notorious than that of speech.
Philologically, one notices a broken argument:
Other blasphemies level some at one Attribute, some another; but this by a more compendious impiety, shoots at his very being; and as if it scorned those piece-meal guilts, sets up a single monster big enough to devour them all: for all inferior profaneness is an much outdated by Atheism, as is religion itself. 2. Time was when the inveighing against this, would have been thought a very impertinent subject in a Christian nation, and men would have replied upon me as the Spartan Lady did, when she was asked what was the punishment for adulteresses, There are no such things here.
Whether adulteresses would have been things, or there would not have been punishment, the adversely influenced discourse would show most weakness in its treatment of the negative,
Secondly, it does not suffice that I do not know the falsity; for to make me a true speaker, tis necessary I know the truth of what I affirm. Nay, if the thing were never so true, yet if I knew it not to be so, its truth will not secure me from being a liar: and therefore, whoever endeavors to have that received for a certainty, which himself knows not to be so, offends against truth. The utmost that can consist with sincerity, is to represent it to others as doubtful as it appears to him: yet even that how consonant soever to truth, is not to Charity.
Now to apply these practices to our rule of duty, there will need no very close inspection to discern the obliquity.
The geographical interpretation on James’s stanzas would resound a grudge against Vespucci and Columbus, Europe having stood for the world entire to many people, before the discovery of America and other territories:
… it doth indeed pass all Geography to draw an exact Map of that world of iniquity, as St. James calls it.
Let us invoke the strictly metaphorical use in the Gospel, along with the figurative reference on adultery “The Government” would be missing,
6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. (James, 3:6)
Patrick J. Hartin would say, Here one is using the tongue not to pray, but to make evil requests of God in prayer. Mr. Hartin’s discourse would not be lacking in the interpretation of the term “mochalides”, “adulteresses”:
The word moichalides (“adulteresses”) is used in the figurative sense of the biblical tradition, where Israel is the bride of God … (James: Sacra Pagina Series, Patrick J. Hartin)
Denying atheists conscience, “The Government” would be making selfish attempts, indeed:
Human spite is usually confined within some bounds, aims sometimes at the goods, sometimes at the fame, at most but at the life of our neighbor: but here is an accumulation of all those, backed with the most prodigious insolence. Tis God only that has power of annihilation, and we (vile worms) seek here to steal that incommunicable right, and retort it upon himself, and by an anticreative power would unmake him who has made us. Nay lastly, by this we have not only the utmost guilt of single rebels, but we become ringleaders also, draw in others to that accursed association: for tis only this liberty of Discourse that has propagated Atheism.
Their most bold Thesis, That there is no God, no judgement, no hell, is often met with an inward tremulous Hypothesis, What if there be? I dare in this remit me to themselves, and challenge (not their consciences, who profess to have none, but) their natural ingenuity to say, whether they have not sometimes such damps and shivering within them. If they shall say, that these are but the relics of prepossession and education, which their reason soon dissipates, Let me then ask them farther, whether they would not really give a considerable sum to be infallibly ascertained there were no such thing …
Importantly, the word atheist does not come from the word thesis. It relates to the Greek word “theos”, god. Perseus also shows the lexical items referring to theses. An affirmed atheist would not place disbelief with a term categorically to refer to theory. As I have already stated, I do not intend to resolve on the matter.
Returning to the “Government”, language deficit to be equaled with waging war on God,
I Begin with those which relate to God, this poor despicable member the tongue being of such a gigantic insolence, though not size, as even to make war with heaven. Tis true every disordered speech doth remotely so, as it is a violation of God’s law,
Wycliffe’s myrrh is yet not to be taken even with such an attempt:
A Third sort of impious discourse there is, which yet is bottomed on the most sacred, I mean those profane paraphrases that are usually make upon the holy Text, many making it the subject of their cavils, and others of their mirth.
King James Version translators relied for quality on Wycliffe’s Early Version.
Why did they do this? 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”, not only the Bible Gateway says.
With many regards, one may not agree to the status of language as only a tool to serve the “traffic and interchange” for “the notions and sentiments of a reasonable soul”, “the instrument to manage a commerce between the rational yet invisible powers of human souls”, as “The Government” would purport.
The Internet Archive also has Wycliffe downloads.
“The Government” front matter does not name the author. There is a circumstantial remark on a late Author within the text:
Men are indeed in all instances apt to speak ill of all things they understand not, but in none more than this. Their ignorance of local customs, Idioms of language, and several other circumstances, renders them incompetent judges, (as has been excellently evinced by a late Author).
Book titles happen to be the same, and “The Whole Duty of Man” itself has happened to be ascribed to 27 people so far. Therefore, my final comment will be that the text presents serious logical flaws and limited language functions in the interpretation of the figurative content of the Bible. This makes it not recommendable linguistically — I leave the parish to the parishioner.
The First Amendment shall remain an excellent piece of legislation, certainly not violating religious guidance.
“Looking to Wycliffe” is another of my projects, strictly philological, intended to show English as a live tongue:
April 13, 2013
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
The disclaimer: the adjacent — colored meaningfully yellow — graphic piffle is not intended to mean the Union Jack proper. It is the British grammar nazis logo on Facebook.
Now, I can go on about meaning generally, like the meaning of life. Some guys would be as void of any semantics, as to be afraid of living without a kink. This inherent emptiness, which might be related to the inner speech deficiency characteristic in people of severe literacy impediments, would result in abreaction on the computer screen. The Facebook grammar nazis meet all the criteria for the deep intellective handicap sketched on here.
Naturally, for the functionally illiterate, there is still the verbal tradition, and the spoken lore has a lot on British losses in WWII, Hitler’s miserable linguistic stand, as well as his crude intonation many people would not pay a cent to hear. There is no sense to bring these up, therefore. In case, one can go BBC archives and mind to have the subtitles off, should they suggest the frustrating written language reality.
The literate may agree that Hitler does not deserve admiration as a strategist. Germany might have gotten away — as long as the various Chamberlains of Europe stayed at power — with the invasions on the Austrian, the Czech, as well as Poland and Alsace. Arguments that he had to turn the military power somewhere cannot stand a look at a map of Europe. Attacking Russia and England, as well as getting America involved, Hitler made way for the ruin, poverty, and partition that Germany had to face after the war. The madness of the WWII genocide obviously could not get along with any literary pursuit, either. So much for Hitler, the meaning of life, and intellect. Let me focus on the statistics for the handicap.
The site has about 50 K ‘likes’. Taking the British population alone — and the ‘likes’ could have come from various sympathizers, empathizers and other similars — that would make the maximum of 50 thousand functionally illiterate among about 63 million people. Some might say it’s not so bad, it’s not even 1 per cent. This is fundamentally not my business, as I am not staying in England or planning to go there. Whoever yet would, you’d better think when literacy might be necessary.
Sure you anyway need to resemble your passport photo, and you can get a taxi waving your hand. Shopping, you needn’t worry about anyone’s ability to read labels, as products have bar codes. In hotels, you always remember to tick all relevant boxes and, at least theoretically, you can try hanging your jogging hat on the doorknob to get some peace and quiet. However, when it comes to mailing letters, get the recorded: they have ID strips. If seeking directions with a map, 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.
So much for the handicap statistics. The human ‘specimens’ exhibiting the symptoms are not of my interest as lacking individuality by choice. Important: a search for ‘American grammar nazis’ threw up more or less nothing, and there ain’t the piffle — cheered me up.
Feel welcome to visit my grammar grapevine
and my grammar web log
March 5, 2013
The Grammar Girl forbidding progress with love may be disclosed. She would hate you going on. The Grammar Girl is the Mignon Fogarty.
Mignon Fogarty says, ‘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’.
Without trying to make the French ashamed about the Statue of Liberty, I need to mind the hours, minutes, and seconds here. I will for a while.
Mignon Fogarty says, ‘It turns out that when it comes to progressive tenses, English is divided into two groups of verbs: dynamic and stative’.
The French, however they might be right next to the Casanova bad fame for superficiality, wouldn’t be ever honestly telling that you never say love round the time you feel it. Well, the emotional difference would be 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’.
Divorce is my thought now — stats can’t be denied. It’s statistics in word use to tell the standard.
Finally, Mignon Fogarty gives the ‘verdict’:
‘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.’
I do not like presuming on what I should with language and what I will hear (I’m picky). No way I’d go into fractions of milliseconds or ‘continue’ doing what I’ve never done. Fortunately, there’s cognitive mapping:
June 10, 2012
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
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.
Etymology: Middle English tunge, from Old English; akin to Old High German zunga tongue, Old Norse tunga, Gothic tungo, Old Latin dingua, Latin LINGUA.
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
Having earned a legal badge with the EzineArticles should not make one overconfident, I realize. The legal profession is a depth of recondite detail the Supreme Court has the right to firmly deliberate. The linguist I am, I yet can venture a few observations on speech – and this has been quoting freedom of speech to have invalidated prohibitions on desecrating the American flag.
United States versus Eichman, United States versus Haggerty, Texas versus Johnson: all case disputes 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. If the Flag belongs to an institution like Seattle’s Capitol Hill Post Office, you can be fined.
Let me think. I do not need to burn the Flag to think. I imagine a human being burns something. Is there a speech sound produced, should the human just silently sit by, let us say, 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? Can you hear the anacrusis?
I could not, and there is nothing wrong with my hearing. Non-verbal acts such as burning do not produce language. The facts are exactly the same with tools such as hammers, saws, wrenches, screwdrivers, and whatever a handyman’s bag might contain: there is no speech produced with the use, unless the guy happens to be eloquent, interesting, and whatsoever handsome (I have to admit I’m not really talkative).
Non-verbal acts are not proper means or tools to 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: the many answers you get, none will be identical, each with specific and individual language.
The First Amendment does not allow abridgment of free speech. Should burning the Flag be a speech act, what do you do if the Flag would be burning on a barrel saying ‘TNT’ – would putting it out be against the law? The First Amendment forbids reducing free speech.
Some psychologists would have the tendency to ascribe language to non-verbal phenomena. They would call it a ‘body language’. Let us think about the Anders Behring Breivik trial. The shrinks in the courtroom spent some time interpreting his ‘body language’. One of the shrinks said in an interview that a single, particular gesture of whisking the shoulder could have meant Breivik’s want to ‘put things in order or to shake off guilt’.
The fact is that the shrink ascribed her linguistic structuring to a gesture of no syntax. More, the structuring could produce non-specific results real-life. For example, ask the recycling guys what message they get if you whisk your shoulder and not say a word. Would they take it for a clear message that you want your trash removed (shaking off guilt has collocations with purification and therefore cleanliness), or you want something fancy heaped (order has collocations with arrangement and that could be random, without any notion of removal from a place). Anyway, it’s your backyard.
A flag of a country obviously is worth more concern than trash you might take the care to express verbally about.
Language requires syntax, lexemes, and grammar. Seeing the American flag displayed against a wall over a poster of an overt female offering erotic dances – which is not a figment of my imagination – I do not get a thing. There is no language logic. And I do not believe the regard would require any improving my brains. Someone has got an expressive disorder.
Propagating expressive disorders is not of my interest. I enclose photographs of the improper display of the flag under separate links. They might be considered parental advisory.
The Flag Code may be found here,
http://www.senate.gov/reference/resources/pdf/RL30243.pdf, and many other places.
I have put the American flag on my grammar book cover. My grammar project is not a napkin and it is not a sarong, regarding the US Code.
August 27, 2011
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
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