May 4, 2013
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:
August 3, 2012
Psychoanalysis has always amused me a little, Freud must have been a guy with peculiar problems. My recent — today’s, actually — discovery of a book ascribed to Rene Allendy has made psychoanalysis a real laugh. Imagine, Aristotle might have been a ‘son of an ancient barbarian spy’ and a ‘latent homosexual’ (!)
The book, the ‘Treason Complex’, does not show in Rene Allendy’s bibliographies. The available reprints would date back to 1949, seven years after Mr. Allendy’s death. The Internet is not an oracle, yet I’ll refer to the book as the “Complex”, without ascribing it to any author, and enclose my comments with my initials, TP.
TP: I never knew that got already worked out, the thing why people get born the places of their births and not other places, like a mile away. The “Complex” has the answer:
Aristotle Born at Stagira. Why
One may wonder whether Nicomachus (Aristotle’s father, TP), the sovereign’s intimate friend, was not doing some kind of prospecting, or carrying out a secret mission in preparation for the conquest of that country.
TP: Just as any regular psychoanalyst produce, the “Complex” would have no explanation for the picture of the female nature it proposes.
That Nicomachus was on a pleasure trip is highly improbable. Even today the fact that spies spend their vacations in certain countries may be taken as a sure sign that secret diplomacy is going about its nefarious business there.
TP: Aristotle’s mother would have had to travel on a spying errand, herself in an advanced situation. Anything like this would have required some boundless attachment I do not believe in any possible evidence for in this human history entire, whatever brings the end of the world.
It is peculiar that Aristotle’s biographers, in their zeal to idealize their hero, should see in the fact of his birth on Greek soil an argument against his half-Greek origin. For them it is proof that he was “as purely Greek as Parmenides or Anaxagoras.” Actually, he was the son of a barbarian spy sent on a mission by his sovereign into a coveted Greek colony. He, himself, was to prove his barbarian background by working against Greece during his entire life.
TP: Stageira is about 34 miles away from Thessaloniki. Greek sources have Nicomachus, a native of Stageira, for a son of Machaon as well as a son of Asclepius — the last-mentioned happening to most guys in the medical doings of those times to adopt Greek professional titles. The produce comments on Aristotle’s joining the Academy:
Generally speaking, a young boy who, for one reason or another, is deprived of his mother, as when he is sent to boarding school or becomes an orphan, to use the example given by Arthus, tends to transfer his affection to some other boy who will protect him and will show him some tenderness. He then becomes a homosexual and his desire is fixed on boys …
TP: Aristotle was not a little boy when he joined the Academy. He was about 18 years old. The inference on orphans does not deserve comment, as it is thought to merit discussion. Accordingly, I leave the below on their own.
We have no authority for supposing that a consummated relationship existed between Aristotle and Nicanor, but our psychological deductions lead to the belief …
… even if he had never approached another man sexually we could have inferred homosexual tendencies …
Aristotle’s writings are quite a challenge to psychoanalysis. This is the theme of my book project, ‘What Time Was It for Sigismundus?’
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.
September 12, 2011
‘Even if you’re not American, everyone became an American that day,’ Bono, the pop group leader has been reported to say. I like to exercise my grey cells. What would my picture of Americans be, should Bono be the representation?
One to try evoke populist emotions. One to have never been there and trying to do for a sage. Wherever Bono was on the September the eleventh it was not the area of the burning buildings. Easy to see, the guy lives quite a relaxed lifestyle. I would also have to think that Americans are people to go about a simple key in guitar playing and they would not mind sounding cloudy singing ‘gloria’ (after all, this could be only Latin).
Popular taste happens to be low level. It never survives more than a hundred years. I could bet money that U2 is not going to mean much in 2112 (nope, I don’t expect to live that long, there’re charities and foundations). Mr. Bono feels like he’s some kind of a grace. He identifies with you. He knows this should make you happy.
I won’t be happy. My interest with American English would have never progressed but real Americans. I am not an American. I have learned and spoken American for some thirty years now. Why? Why don’t you listen to the jazz corner of the world (the Birdland corner). Quincy Jones. Back on the Block. Real folks.
‘Hey, yo got hit. I’m proud of you’, Mr. Bono would be actually saying. He wouldn’t feel like mutuality in pride, would he?
August 3, 2011
The sinister years of forced right-handedness fortunately are over. Should your preference be to whiffle at your pen running dry or have the famed Norfolk accident (that is, blotting paper) for your manacle – you do have your absolutely free will to make your pick or even go for both the prospects.
Well, seriously, there could be a way round.
The bad fame of left-handedness would come from ancient times. The contemporary English ‘sinister’ comes from Latin, in which it meant ‘on the left (hand) side’, ‘improper’ as well as ‘injurious’. Probably, left-handed soldiers using their right hand techniques could employ their left hands still and that could end up baleful. Obviously, the evaluation of the outcome may depend on the side you are on. The contemporary English ‘left’ is derived from the Latin ‘laevus’, ‘fortunate’, ‘lucky’, and ‘propitious’ in the language of the augurs.
Left-handed people happen to have their left hemispheres dominant for language. The fact about laterality has an implication: most people can choose their hand to write, handedness is not a biological doom. Right-handedness for writing needn’t be fate, either.
Most people learn to write in their childhoods. Provided the flexibility little humans tend to have forming their language habits, failure to teach a child to use his or her right hand for writing could be mostly the result of trying to use overgeneralized comments on quotient for the motivation. Pressure does not help shaping new pathways for language.
Kids respond well to examples. If you write anything for them using your ‘worse’ hand, they are really likely to get the thought that they can use their ‘other’ hands, too. Finger painting the letters of the alphabet all fingers one by one can do a good job. Holding a painting brush over a large sheet of paper could be a good introduction to holding a pen over a copy book. The most important thing might be ease, however.
The Latin alphabet writing convention takes writing from the left to the right. Using your left hand usually requires the ‘manacle’ – you tend to blur what you write as you go. Showing the kid the difference can be the best of motivations (!)
I have been always right-handed myself. I had this luck that my dad brought plenty of stationery for me when I was little – crayons, copy books, paints, whatever you could think about. I never had any stress learning to write. When I didn’t like the way my writing looked like, I just ditched the piece. I could read and write before I went to school. This could be good for left-handed kids, too.
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June 8, 2011
No, I have never seen a ghost and I wouldn’t care – should there be anything for me to learn after I pass away, the after could be the only right time, without any need to hurry. The subtitle is a word play to involve etymologies and contemporary language use. More, I do not really believe in anything non-physical in this physical world, and this is what ghosts are rumored to be – immaterial spirits. You know what things could be like even with a little bit of vacuum in this earthly atmosphere.
Therefore, when I hear the word ‘specter’ I get the etymological association to the ‘spectrum‘. The Latin ‘specere‘, ‘to look’ is to be held exclusively responsible for the fact (fortunately, there is no need for a headache or other discomfort). Seeing and sense happen to open the part of Aristotle’s work to be alleged responsible for the term ‘metaphysics‘. However, the author and the work could not be as responsible as enunciated.
Aristotle is actually innocent of the ‘supernatural’ collocations attached to the term ‘metaphysics’. Let us look to the Greek particle ‘meta-’. It can mean ‘after’ or ‘beyond’, ‘over’, or ‘supra’. Materially, words such a ‘ghost’, ‘specter’, or ‘spirit’ do not occur in ‘Metaphysics’ at all. Aristotle uses the term ‘soul’ (Greek ‘psyche’) in the work. The surviving sense seems yet to be that of a personality or individuality factor, not anything supernatural.
Thus, ‘Metaphysics’ would be ‘that to come after Physics’ in a collection of works. The present-day accounts ascribe the decision on the work ordering to the editor, Andronicus of Rhodes. Simply a piece of work to come after the ‘Physics’, the ‘Metaphysics’ does not deal with any ‘super-’ or ‘supra-physics’. Aristotle was accused of insufficient reverence for gods by his contemporaries.
Let us take a simple test on the meanings of the Greek particle ‘meta-’. Let us imagine two axes, one vertical, and one horizontal. Let us think about representing progress in time and progress in space on the axes. Both time and distance could refer to the sense of ‘meta-’ to denote ‘after’. You might feel like representing progress in time with the vertical axis and the distance with the horizontal, like in figure 1. Traveling this Earth tends to take a horizontal perspective. Going up and down would leave one the same geographical location. One could feel more flexible as to representing time.
Whatever actually your choice as for time and distance, try to think about representing a hierarchy (‘beyond’, ‘over’,) and time or distance (‘after’). You might feel like using the vertical axis for the hierarchy and the horizontal one for the time or distance, like in figure 2. There could be a psychological aspect of distance to hierarchy; there would not be always a hierarchy to distance, yet.
‘Where are you?’ could be a natural question when you see a friend reading a book you know. It might be interesting to think whether your perspective on the book and the progress someone is making in it would be vertical or horizontal. The fact that the Ancients mostly scrolled to read might make not much difference, taken the fact that walking always has been different from climbing, anyway.
Interpretations of the Greek particle ‘meta-’ in the term ‘metaphysics’ could have gone from the horizontal into the vertical representation over the centuries. Psychologically a very interesting phenomenon, the ‘super-’ as well as ‘supra-natural’ associations would not be mandated by the piece of Aristotle’s work at all, however – ‘all things may be ‘so and not so’, still there is a ‘more’ and a ‘less’ in the nature of things’ (Aristotle).
What is ‘Metaphysics’ really about? It is mostly about the substance as compared with the essence and matter. A very concrete, material thing. Aristotle makes an interesting observation about language here. If you divide water, a part of water is water. A part of a syllable is not a syllable, however. He discusses what an element is (the primary component indivisible in kind into other kinds). Aristotle maybe does not split the atom, but his works are very good exercises for the gray matter.
‘If, then, the affirmative can be predicated, the negative must be predicable too; and if the affirmative is not predicable, the negative, at least, will be more predicable than the negative of the subject itself. If, then, even the latter negative is predicable, the negative of ‘trireme’ will be also predicable; and, if this is predicable, the affirmative will be so too’ (Metaphysics).
‘There must, then, even so be something which denotes substance. And if this is so, it has been shown that contradictories cannot be predicated at the same time’ (Metaphysics).
There must, then, even so be something which denotes substance. And if this is so, it has been shown that contradictories cannot be predicated at the same time.
OK, let us be back to specters and their chances to talk sense. Speech is perceivable as physically sound waves to a working human ear. The sound waves need to have their specific contours to be intelligible and may be produced by human articulators or artificially. Still, human voice or a computer, speech takes matter and shows in physical sound spectra. The specter is not going to talk sense…
Please feel welcome to see my poetry corner
my scribbling site
or my other WordPress posts; they are listed at