language and mind

May 23, 2013

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.


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.


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.


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 19, 2013

A new people come

Filed under: cognitive progression, etymology, language, language bias, nationality — teresapelka @ 7:22 am

Charles Thomson Great Seal report page2

Charles Thomson Great Seal report page2

“The Date underneath is that of the Declaration of Independence, and the words under it signify the beginning of the new American Æra which commences from that Date”, says Charles Thomson in his report on the design of the Great Seal to have become the accepted pattern.

Man in U.S. Marine Corps Uniform Saluting American Flag --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

Man in U.S. Marine Corps Uniform Saluting American Flag — Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

Wikipedia relates the Great Seal motto, NOVUS ORDO SECLORUM, to Virgil’s Eclogues and ancient pagan ritualists, Sibyls.

Arguably, the picture on the left is not to suggest aprons or paganism; the Great Seal is associated with American executive powers. Charles Thomson, the author of the Great Seal design, was a staunch Presbyterian. He — same as many people, not only Presbyterian and me included — would not have a Sibyl for an elder. Let us mind that those pagan rituals relied on narcotics and burnt offerings.

Importantly, Charles Thomson was also a sound expert at Latin and Greek. His spelling did acknowledge the digraph “æ”, as may be seen in the preserved original image on the right. And the word ‘seclorum’ in his Seal design does not have the digraph.

         … the new American Æra (Charles Thomson’s report) 

Novus Ordo Seclorum (the Great Seal)

ab integro sæclorum nascitur ordo (Virgil’s Eclogue quoted for the source)

The phrase is sometimes mistranslated as “New World Order” by people who believe in a conspiracy behind the design; however, it does directly translate to “New Order of the Ages”, says Wikipedia

Novus ordo seclorum - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia 2013-05-22 07-15-31 Novus ordo seclorum – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Hardly anybody will believe in a time without a place on this planet, therefore the translation ‘a new order of (the) ages’ can cause doubt. Does the Seal say it, however? Telling the time by the people would have been an endeavor too haphazard even to the human as irrational as an ancient Roman. :)

I do not believe the Seal would have a misspelling. I abandon the Eclogue hypothesis and find the Latin form seclum for earlier than saeclum and seculum. These forms were also used in ancient Rome and not only in the Middle Ages, as Wikipedia claims. The lexical item ordo seclorum could refer to people, a kind, and a generation. Let us compare Cicero and the Philippics:

Accuse the senate; accuse the equestrian body, which at that time was united with the senate; accuse every order or society, and all the citizens; (…) at all events you would never have continued in this order, or rather in this city; (…) when I have been pronounced by this order to be the savior of my country; (…) when you, one single young man, forbade the whole order to pass decrees concerning the safety of the republic (…)

There is an aspect of language use we should take into account interpreting Latin. When we speak, we may not refer our words to written resources ― do we say “morning” early in the day because there would be a Whig journal to come with the Oxford Companion? ;)

Latin experts have been our human contemporaries. The persons could not have just memorized dead text. They have developed the capability to use Latin generatively.        I believe Charles Thomson formed the motto himself. This would explain why his report does not provide any bibliographical reference and it gives a rendition of the meaning and not its direct translationAttat (!) :)

 … the words under it signify the beginning of the new American Æra (Charles Thomson).

The word people may help see how word meanings change. The noun people is derived from the Latin populus. It did not connote nationality in ancient times and often referred to laying waste or degrading: perpopulor, to devastate, pillage; populabilis: destructible. Ancient Romans did not have much of a sense of nationality. Their militaristic culture recognized mostly status. Latin had words aerarius and aerarium for residents who had to pay tax but were not allowed to vote or hold offices, and the part of the temple of Saturn for the public treasure as different from that of the elites. The word Aera in Charles Thomson’s note refers to time in the modern sense of an era.

Nowadays, the noun people means a group of human beings, or a nationality. As a group, it takes a plural verb: The people here all speak English. Only as a nationality or ethnicity, the noun may take on the plural itself: The peoples of Europe have formed a Union. Status does no longer decide on civil rights.

I think Charles Thomson knew about these aspects of language change. Forming the motto, he used the Latin ordo to avoid the unfavorable ancient connotations. Ordo had a dignified sense, as we may compare in Cicero. Naturally, it did not necessarily denote a linear array. The modern word order comes from Latin ordo, an arrangement, group, or class.

The contemporary word to seclude can give us some light on the seclorum in the Seal. Latin secludere meant to separate, become distinctive with a regard. Seclorum is a participal form, hence a new people come (a new people to have become).

I propose voluntary extra practice on comprehension and language in my grammar book, too.

View this document on Scribd

“Hailing the Nation: the American Great Seal” is another project of mine.


Pär Lagerkvist wrote a few interesting books on the history of human conflict and ancient influences.

 The Sibyl may tell — this depends on the focus — about the primitive treatment pagan temples gave women as well as the nonsense of the pagan practice and belief.

The Sibyl (Vintage)


 The Dwarf describes a persistent propensity for contradiction and strife.

The Dwarf


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.

Much has been written about WWII. Evidently, mere gathering orthography and other detail does not make one capable of text interpretation.

 The site has about 50 K ‘likes’. Taking the British population alone, that would make about 50 thousand functionally illiterate among about 63 million people. Some might say it is not so bad, it is not even one percent. Still, you’d better ‘think literacy’, going to the UK.

Try for a plain passport photo, that is, without brooches, scarves, ties, anything you do not always carry; the piffle shows the guys’ attention to picture specifics. ;)

Remember to wave your hand, getting a taxi; it is a simple, therefore legible gesture. 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 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. ;)

It is not only to me that Hitler figures and grammar study do not get along, I believe. I do not associate grammar with humiliation and abuse — I’ve hardly had problems; teachers happened to be strict, yet never insulting.

The most important feature to make grammar nazis incongruous yet remains in intellection. I have grammar for a conceptual framework, not a disaster. Hitler, who spoke like and was a madman, wreaked havoc wherever he turned.

Feel welcome to try some of my concepts. Form Relativity is a new idea to try conciliation on the Conditional and Unreal Past. Dynamic mapping can boost language economy on the tenses. :)

Grammar web log

Relativity loopDynamic mapping

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. Ms. Fogarty says:

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.

Grammar Girl

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 — whenever the moment seems right ;) — I have to deny. My story is here, with Travelers in Grammar.

If we tell people to mind to say I love, we tell them to mind to say I hate, too. See Feelings.

Stative mapping

To varied extents, all grammar books are stories. Their definitions and rules gain efficiency only when people get to know them and work with them. This story does not have rules: it has concepts and ideas. The story 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 writings are 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). :)

View this document on Scribd

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. :)


View this document on Scribd

August 11, 2012

How to grind effective – a brief intro

Filed under: cognitive progression, learning — teresapelka @ 5:07 pm

Inborn skills, gifts, and talents may become mediocre myths with exams. We either have the talent, gift, and inborn skill to ‘cram’, or we end up doomed to unfulfilled dreams of prospect.

Now, the important thing: we never cram. We work at least a little every day. The brain gets a habit. The grand matter is in finding a fancy. Before we think about going schools, we consider what we really, really like. And we do not forget about it even on school leaves and vacations. We think outside the schoolbox. Our knowledge needs to belong with us, not schedules.

Think outside the schoolbox. See the grammar grapevine.

Outside the schoolbox

We never memorize. We try to see things for ourselves. Schoolbook authors put things in words own ways. We always think how we can view and express the study content independently.

Aspect mappingWe can map tense Aspects. See why think about space.

We make cursory notes. A verb or two, and from time to time only — we see if we ‘get ourselves’ returning to our notes after a while. We also can come up with sample test questions. For example, we learn about the Constitution. The question — First? — could do for the Article and the Amendment. The question — Representative? — might cover the Senate with regard to representative functions. I mean, we make our questions open-ended. It can be anyway a pleasant surprise only, if we discover that real tests are not as detailed. ;)

And we never take ‘happy pills’. As probably everybody, I happened to be offered those a few times and never took them: even if someone says it is ‘the good stuff’, artificial chemistry can only compete against that natural chemistry our brains need to make memories. After ‘happy pill learning’, we could end up with state-dependent memories, that is, ‘happy pill test taking’ — not a practicable resolve, especially with entire school terms in view.


Herbs are not bad, however. Chamomile, melisa, mint. They don’t put to sleep, unless in amounts definitely bigger than a cup or two. We could feel like our entire futures depend on the exams; herbs help keep calm and cool.

We remember always to have some sleep. Good luck (!)

June 10, 2012

Apples grow on noses: two languages – two minds?

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

The New Scientist of May 5th, 2012 provides an article by Catherine de Lange, ‘Mon espirit paratage – My two minds’.

Speaking a second language can change everything from problem-solving skills to personality. It is almost as if you are two people, 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, says Ms. de Lange.

Monolingual as well as bilingual children can learn Language mapping.

Dynamic mapping

Well, monolingual kids usually get fairy tales. If you tell a monolingual kid that a long, long time ago, there was a kingdom where apples grew on noses, the child gets it easy. Not only bilingual kids operate abstract notions, and no kids have their vocabularies for lexicons of empty items.

For example, a kid speaking English and French will not have pain for bread, whatever to say about his or her syntax. More, any attempts at negotiation could look only sick. Seriously sick. Mal a l’oreille.

Children naturally use invented, virtual words. See the Gumption set.

River of time

To appreciate children’s syntactic abilities, we 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.

Feel welcome to visit my grammar blog, 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.

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,,,, 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. :)

View this document on Scribd

November 6, 2011

Tongue entanglement

Filed under: language, language autonomy, language bias, language use — teresapelka @ 8:31 am

Language is often taken for granted, or given the regard for the humanity’s unloved child.

Diarmaid Ferriter of The Limits of Libertyan RTE One show, ventured the classic frown. Irish people speak English owing to cultural submissiveness, avouched Mr. Ferriter. You cannot dominate someone who does not speak your language: these have been the English to speak English; they brought the language.

Well, you could not make a prodigal son or daughter of language. It does not spend much, and it can give a lot. Most businesses in Ireland work on English language papers and cash. People have English language business talks. People learn in English language schools. People go to English language medics and shops. Many have never learned British. Irish English has a distinct sounding, one might find more pleasurable than that from over the Thames, as Pete McCarthy observes.

Getting rid of all this would not be freedom; it would be a disaster.

IMAG0172Contrary to Mr. Ferriter, I think Irish English should have a corpusAutonomous language environments always have own corpora. Google brings mostly Gaelic-English glosses, should you key in the phrase ‘Irish English dictionary’. Limerick university would not focus on Irish English, offering courses. The International Corpus of English requires a request form and does not promise anything.

Bus tours in Dublin symbolize English with the Union Jack; the Irish flag represents Celtic.

There are two kinds of power, The Limits said. The police and the military were the ‘hard power’. Language was the ‘soft power’.

I agree that saying ‘come in’  can be physically more efficient than carrying people into rooms, especially if the persons would be wholesome. Yet saying ‘fish and chips’ does not give a Leo Burdock, unless there is the cash to make the deal.

Language does not have an overpowering potential. More, political debates world round prove humans phylogenetically capable of days and more of a language production to have no influence on thought or decisions. ;)

Language is not a physical power. It can be an opportunity.

May 11, 2011

Larry Selinker’s interlanguage – Emily Dickinson and Mark Twain didn’t have it right?

Filed under: language, language processing, language use — Tags: , , — teresapelka @ 9:54 am

Naturally, I do not postulate error about the two authors. Should there have been misconduct somewhere on the way — the reader may individually judge. ;)

Larry Selinker, a professor emeritus of linguistics, developed his theory  of  ‘interlanguage’ or ‘third language’ in 1972. The hypothesis is that people who learn English after another tongue, learn English as a second language. A ‘latent psychological structure’ becomes woken in the brain, when a human learns a second language, says Mr. Selinker.

                      Regardless of the perspective — monolingual, multilingual, first or second language learning — all Englishes of the world have 4 Aspects, Simple, Progressive, Perfect, and Perfect Progressive. Try Aspect mapping.

Aspect mapping

Language theories should not be made merely to give lectures. Let us think how Larry Selinker’s theory could hold in life.

Eduardo was born in America, in an immigrant Hispanic family. He spoke mostly Spanish before he went to school: his parents spoke Spanish and his little friends in the town area he lived were all Spanish. Mr. Selinker would have Spanish for Eduardo’s first tongue.

Mr. Selinker built his hypothesis on studies of student errors. His interlanguage theory says people idiosyncratically make rules from language experience.

An idiosyncrasy may be a structural or behavioral characteristic peculiar to an individual or group, a physiological or temperamental peculiarity, or an unusual individual reaction to food or a drug.  The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. 

Let us compare the relaxed perspective by a notable author, Mark Twain: And if I sell to the reader this volume of nonsense, and he, instead of seasoning his graver reading with a chapter of it now and then, when his mind demands such relaxation, unwisely overdoses himself with several chapters of it at a single sitting, he will deserve to be nauseated, and he will have nobody to blame but himself if he is. ;)

Mark Twain’s Speeches by Mark Twain, Project Gutenberg


Mark Twain caricature,  published in Vanity Fair, May 13 1908. Author: Leslie Ward.Caption: “Below the Mark”. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Now, Eduardo is 20. He never wanted to stay in the small town. He has worked and learned hard. He wants to do an IT degree. He does elliptic integrals easy, but he would need a dictionary to translate math from English to Spanish — he learned math at school, in English-speaking classes.

It is not only math that Eduardo does not comprehend in Spanish. His girlfriend is an American. American English is the only language she has ever spoken. She is a real treasure and a natural for a good conversation. When Eduardo tells his sweetheart he loves her, he says it in English and he means it.

Stative mappingIf grammars tell people to say I love, they tell them to say I hate, too — and that just to follow the rules some people made a few hundreds of years ago.

I am hating you could sound milder.

It could be more to the fact.

See Stative mapping.

Ai-li also was born in America, in a family of second-generation Chinese immigrants. She has always been for languages. Before she went to school, she learned American along with Chinese. She started to learn German and French when she was about seven years old.

Ai-li is writing a thesis about spatial reference in German and French — her two ‘second languages’ or her ‘third-second languages’? Should American count as the second, German and French could count as the third or fourth, but actually she has learned the languages at the same time … ;)

Both Eduardo and Ai-li are made up figures, but they are absolutely possible in modern America. Larry Selinker would imply abnormal mental realities about both whereas they could easily communicate with one another, as well as with other people.

Mr. Selinker says second language learners show simplification, circumlocution, and overgeneralization, and that owing to latent psychological structures in the brain. Well, it is always the skin to be the skin. A second skin is just a way of saying things.

The brain is a physical structure to have no purely ‘functional’, ‘mathematical’ or, ‘psychological’ connectivities. There are no ‘latent’ brain areas in unimpeded humans. If you want to have a ‘latent’ brain region, you have to ask someone to hit you on the head and do it real hard. ;)

To be serious, the human language faculty is neural. The way we internalize language knowledge depends on the way we conceptualize language facts, whatever the language or languages we learn.

It is common sense to take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt, American President

Get in the Relativity loop.

Relativity loop

Second language learners produce utterances different from those by other people, says Mr. Selinker. Let us think, is this different? ;)


The brain is wider than the sky,
For, put them side by side,
The one the other will include
With ease, and you beside.

The brain is deeper than the sea,
For, hold them, blue to blue,
The one the other will absorb,
As sponges, buckets do.

The brain is just the weight of God,
For, lift them, pound for pound,
And they will differ, if they do,
As syllable from sound.

Source: Project Gutenberg

Emily Dickinson daguerreotype; source: Wikimedia Commons

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