language

Grammar is always a project

Travelers in Grammar will remain always a project. It does not mean the books and courses never end, or remain unfinished.

 

What is grammar?

 

Wiktor Jassem quotes Paul Postal:

“…a language is an infinite set of sentences which are triplets of phonetic, syntactic, and semantic properties generated by a finite abstract project, or grammar, which consists of sets of partially independent elements called rules and a lexicon or dictionary. Such grammars are represented in human neural systems and provide implicit knowledge of the language they define. A grammar is thus in certain ways analogous to a computer program in that it is a formal system partially determining the behaviour of a physical system (…)”

 

Nature and information

 

In the 20th century, neurophysiology began applying the phrase information processing to human bodily structures. Fair and square, if we see a cat or a dog, our eyes give us information on the animal being around. We are not just under an impression we see it, or experience premonition on life on Earth. At the same time, nobody would go on a lookout for cats or dogs, to tell the weather.

 

Program and feedback

 

It is natural grammar to have natural language information. This information gets operated by human nervous systems, and this in basically two modes: closed-loop or open-loop. The open-loop processes go their course as the instruction requires. They are compared to programs. Closed-loop processes are feedback.

 

Nature delimits on programs. Live nervous systems need to sustain in variable ecosystems. Excess program would thwart the ability to react and adapt. All biological programs depend on feedback, including the DNA for active protein.

 

In everyday language, feedback is associated with opinion, or physical control. Obviously, live nervous systems are not opinionated tyrannies. Feedback is a biological capability for closed-loop interaction. It becomes generated as necessary, among neural and other structures.

 

For the proportion on program and feedback in language, we can compare spoonerisms. The slips are segmental, and this is about the scope the nervous system allows pre-determined routines for language.

 

A program is predetermined from beginning to end. Natural language is infinite. There is no way to calculate all possible forms or structures, and there is no genetic program to produce literature. To manage own language skill, we need own brain logic. This logic can produce finite sets as projects, yet never as programs. Natural grammar cannot be analogous to a computer program.

 

magnifying-glass_we-the-people

American English ― where from?

Magnifying glasses do not always make matters clearer. There has been much talk about American English in terms ancestral. Researchers have analyzed speech sounds and “derived” them with particularity suggestive of Pygmalion:

 

“…I’ll take it down first in Bell’s Visible Speech; then in Broad Romic; and then we’ll get… the phonograph…” 😉

 

I have never pondered over any possibility to become my grandfather. Anyway, my grandfathers as well as grandmothers did not speak American, or actually any English, as far as I remember. My father spoke some English, but he had an accent and told me to pick up on my own, I was little enough to do that. If I wanted a grammar book, he would buy it for me, same for note books and other stationery, but he would not teach me. He was right, though he was a historian.

 

Back to deriving American:

“The main idea of the approach is that the origins of American English are somehow contained in the various regional dialects of British English…”
American English, an Introduction, by Zoltan Kovecses.

 

Ben Trawick-Smith makes an interesting point: we might think about the British as “talking American”, as well. He includes American English with “a larger continuum of Southern England-derived dialects”. He yet adds the idea is debatable. When Did Americans Stop “Talking British”?

 

What American English would the talk be about? If we do not say, the American English of the 1900s, or 1800s, we say contemporary American English.

 

The present-day form of the language originated in the USA. Part the speech sounds, isolated, might resemble British. It is yet inevitable. We could not want a language without speech sounds, to have a language of its own. However, we always tell origins of languages by lands of emergence.

 

Feel welcome to my grammar Extras. They also present some knowledge about the USA to include the beginnings.

 

Link to grammar extras

 

Generative and Universal Grammar: frequently asked questions

The questions and answers below are to explain on the stand my grammar approach has regarding the Universal Grammar by Noam Chomsky. Undeniably, Mr. Chomsky’s work has been of important reference in my language activity. I began inventing my grammar long before I ever heard about Mr. Chomsky, however.

 

Feel welcome to email me about generative grammar. Comments will be posted only by consent.

 

1. Is there literally a universal grammar, to learn any language of choice?

 

A uniform grammar for all languages in the world is impossible. I am not aware of any such postulate by Mr. Chomsky.

 

A grammar is generative when it tells the principles or variables a person can use to produce standard language independently, without following formulations by other people. In other words, with generative grammar, we do not consider if we use the Present Simple because a book says we do so when “we want to say this or that”. We consider the Present Simple when our own cognitive and spatio-temporal orientation encourages it.

 

Mr. Chomsky’s grammar tells what principles many languages would have in common. My grammar would offer variables for primarily American English.

Feel welcome to read: Grammar is always a project

 

2. Does the Universal Grammar imply there are actually Language Acquisition Devices in human brains?

 

Linguistically, a device may be something devised, as well as a faculty that devises. This latter meaning would apply to Mr. Noam Chomsky’s theory best.

 

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition defines the verb to devise: “to form, plan, or arrange in the mind; design or contrive; to suppose; imagine”.

 

However, I do not follow the notion of the Language Acquisition Device. I follow the term of the human language faculty.

Feel welcome to read: Parameters and devices

 

3. Could language be a result of a genetic mutation?

 

Mr. Noam Chomsky has used the word “mutation” with reference to language as a result of human evolution.

 

I think people can evolve language during lifespan, without any corresponding genetic change. Human language skills are not the same if to compare childhood, adolescence, and adulthood, while the DNA retains identity in good shape. My sense for evolving is “to achieve gradually, to work out, to devise.” I never use the term “mutation” with regard to language.

Feel welcome to read: American English ― where from?

 

4. Is language fully explainable in terms of principles and neural models?

 

Natural language learning and use would not have been possible without the human person. There are no “mathematical”, “purely functional”, or “strictly logical” connectivities in human brains. Outcome of isolated neuron excitation can be considered only in terms of statistics. Without individual work, the brain would not just “start up” and produce language.

 

A simple example might come from a mail person: even only two, but absolutely identical postcards are unlikely.
Feel welcome to read: Feelings!

 

5. What is spatialization and is it universal?

 

Spatialization means that we can use some of the words we have learned regarding earthly space ― also for time. In English, we can say before that house at the end of the road, before that turn to the left, as well as before noon, or before twelve hours.

 

All natural languages spatialize, thus we could say that spatialization is universal. Every language would spatialize a bit differently, however.

Feel welcome to read: Grammar ― why think about space?

 

The conscious mind of Emily Dickinson

There is an occurrence in Emily Dickinson’s verse; it is beyond mere coincidence or unaware habit. Noticed, it helps see her light musing with Greek and Latin.

 

(Time and Eternity, XVIII, Playmates) Latin: collusor, companion at play; condiscipulus, school-mate; angelus, a messenger, an angel; lapillus, small stone, pebble (marble?); lusus, a game;  Greek: ὁμηλυσία, omelusia, companionship.

 

God permits industrious angels
Afternoons to play.
I met one, — forgot my school-mates,
All, for him, straightway.

 

God calls home the angels promptly
At the setting sun;
I missed mine. How dreary marbles,
After playing Crown!

 

The inspiration is morpho-phonemic. Let us try a few more pieces. (Life, XXIII, Unreturning) ἀνάπλυσις, anaplusis, washing or rinsing out; ἀνήλυσις, anelusis, going up, return; ἤλυσις, elusis, step, gait; lenunculus, a small sailing-vessel, bark, skiff (the toddling little boat).

 

‘T was such a little, little boat
That toddled down the bay!
‘T was such a gallant, gallant sea
That beckoned it away!

 

‘T was such a greedy, greedy wave
That licked it from the coast;
Nor ever guessed the stately sails
My little craft was lost!

 

We can compare the Greek -upo/ypo- for I asked no other thing (Life, XII, p. 213): ἰσότυπος, isotypos, shaped alike, συνυπόπτωσις, synypoptosis, simultaneous presentation to the senses; Latin cauponarius, a male shopkeeper, tradesman, ποπτερνίς, upopternis, a knob (a kind of a button that can twirl, in the modern use), and πo, below, looking a picture up and down (as Brazil on a map).

 

I asked no other thing,
No other was denied.
I offered Being for it;
The mighty merchant smiled.

 

Brazil? He twirled a button,
Without a glance my way:
“But, madam, is there nothing else
That we can show to-day?”

 

Feel also welcome to read Why I stay with the first print.

 

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

William Jones was a reported hyperpolyglot. He learned Greek, Latin, Persian, Arabic, Hebrew, and basic Chinese, says Wikipedia, adding he knew thirteen languages thoroughly, and another twenty-eight reasonably well. This makes a total of 41 languages.

 

William Jones

 

Mr. Jones wrote The Sanscrit Language, to tell that Greek and Latin had a common root with Sanskrit, and there must have been a Proto-Indo-European language, PIE in short, that originated contemporary European tongues.

 

Is there a root PIE vocabulary? A reasonably good acquaintance with a language should encompass the words woman, man, child, and house. Let us compare these words in Latin, Greek, English, Russian, Polish, German, French, and Sanskrit.

 

WOMAN

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

 

MAN

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

 

I do not know Sanskrit. I can only compare resources. The morpheme man, quoted by supporters of the PIE, yet seems to refer to thinking, not gender, whereas it is common lore that masculinity is not strictly synonymous with pensiveness. 😉

 

CHILD

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

 

Words for children would have varied, in Sanskrit. The language is to have taken origin in rigid social stratification, for status and ancestry. “Children of men” made another name, napraja. We thus could not say, let us look for a common root with the PIE, because it must have been a beautiful culture.

 

HOUSE

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

 

Vir or andros, child or rebionok, woman or kobieta ― the words do not resemble one another, and they are the basic vocabulary that hardly ever changes. This vocabulary is compared for language grouping.

 

Polish and Russian could make a group. We may compare the words muzshtschina and mężczyzna. There is not much point deriving Polish from Russian or Russian from Polish, however. We can compare rebionok and dziecko. Language groups work better than language families. “Families” derive languages, one from another.

 

Similarities in form as domus, do, and dom, or house and Haus, show geographic affinity; they are characteristic to urban or other developments, and do not decide on language grouping. Within evolutionary approaches, languages may have emerged independently, owing to human cognitive advancement. Language knowledge became shared, in the process.

 

Why derive European vocabularies from Sanskrit, while Sanskrit might have absorbed loan words?

Proto-languages are constructs. They are theoretical guesswork. Taking the Russian and Polish words for children as our example, to make up a “proto-language”, we would have to create a word form that might have preceded both “dziecko” and “riebionok”. Even if we created a form as *dieriebok, it would not mean such a form ever existed. Honestly, it is unlikely.

 

Decent linguistic work requires a source. However, the Rosetta Stone was absolutely unique, and it covered only the Ancient Egyptian ― the glyphs and the demotic ― along with Ancient Greek. The stone allowed translation, but not an etymological study. There never was anything like the Rosetta Stone, for “Indo-European” languages, and Marco Polo was probably not the first visitor to the Far East.

 

Carbon dating

Whenever possible, written resources should be carbon-dated. There is no philological method to affirm the original beyond evidence. Writings were copied in Antiquity, the Middle Ages and later, hand style and pen craft.

 

Oldest does not mean wisest

What rationale could we find to constructing probabilistic language forms? Linguistically, there is none. Machine or otherwise constructed, a code is not a natural language and thus does not belong with linguistic inquiries.

 

Regarding the psychological side to the human being, I also do not share in the enthusiasm or fascination with speculative ancient cultures. People were not more sophisticated in ancient times. Ancient languages were not more intelligent, either. Modern languages are far more economical and refined, at the same time. It is not true a language is the more advanced, the more flections it has. We can speak without looking up to “parent tongues”.

 

In actuality, supporters of the Proto-Indo-European “family” have gone into making own Proto-Indo-European religion. There is not a PIE root for the name “Earth”, however.

 

EARTH

Latin: terra or tellus; Greek: Gaia or Aia; English: Earth; Russian: Ziemlia; Polish: Ziemia; German: Erde; French: Terre; Sanskrit: vasudha.

 

It seems there was a pie, more than the PIE, in the times of Mr. Jones, and that pie was the Company rule in India. The India colonial era began about 1500, and there was much rivalry.

 

Space 1999 would show reading Proto-Sanskrit accurately… 😉

 


My YouTube: Sanskrit Readout

The holocaust in the clip is not the Holocaust.

Charles Thomson

A New People Come

b

“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”, concluded Charles Thomson about his accepted design of the Great Seal. He never provided a translation, that is, he never wrote what the Latin phrase denotes exactly.

 

 

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

 

ab integro sæclorum nascitur ordo
(Virgil’s Eclogue)

 

 

Wikipedia adds, “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”.

 

Conspiracy theories are not reasonable, but they always feed on something. Here, the Great Seal belongs with US powers to involve the executive. Charles Thomson was a Presbyterian, not a mantic. He — same as many people, me included — would not have a sibyl for an elder, authority, or factor of strength. The rituals involved narcotics and burnt offerings.

 

More, we can say “an age” as well as “a century”. A “new order of ages” implies an altered approach to time, and we could not have Romanticism before Enlightenment, and Renaissance only after. It would be as trying to have the 19th century before the 18th, and the 14th century only after.

 

I have never interpreted the Latin as a “new order of ages”. However unbelievable this might look or sound for a university graduate, I realized my comprehension was different from the official a few years ago, over the Internet. The Seal never was of my special focus, and there was not a lecture on it at the uni, where you are expected to study mostly on your own.

 

I have looked up the details, and here, I yet would like to try defending my view. There is a feature in Mr. Thomson’s report that seems overlooked. His spelling did acknowledge the Latin digraph æ. We can see it in the report.

 

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

 

The “seclorum” in the Great Seal does not have the digraph. The “sæclorum” in the Eclogues has it. Possibly, the Eclogues are not the source.

 

There was a man who had a talent for persuasion, and his thought influenced the Framers. The man was Thomas Paine. He titled his work “Common Sense”. The links here allow downloading it from a Project Gutenberg file, as well as reading my translation for public domain.

 

 

If we search the Gutenberg Common Sense for “æra”, we get:

 

“By referring the matter from argument to arms, a new æra for politics is struck…”
“…the independancy of America, should have been considered, as dating its æra from, and published by, the first musket that was fired against her…”

 

Let us search Thomas Paine’s Common Sense for the word “order”:

 

“Mankind being originally equals in the order of creation…
“It is repugnant to reason, to the universal order of things, to all examples from former ages
“England and America, with respect to each other, reverses the common order of nature…
“he who can calmly hear, and digest such doctrine, hath forfeited his claim to rationality—an apostate from the order of manhood…
“Do they take within their view, all the various orders of men whose situation and circumstances…”

 

Thomas Paine would have written about examples from former ages, but he would not have put them into an alternate order. In his use, we could paraphrase the word “order” as a “pattern” or … “people”.

 

The “ordo” in the Seal is a Latin word. We can compare Cicero’s Second Philippic. In linguistics, we can call it learning from the usus.

 

“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…”

 

Here again, if we tried to picture an “order”, we would think about people.

 

Marcus Tullius Cicero was of considerable influence on the Founding Fathers. Mr. Thomson might have been influenced with Cicero, or he might have followed the usus as he disambiguated it from Latin resources generally. Pointing at a particular source of usus might be impossible, without the author’s indication.

 

When we people speak, we do not take our words from books, magazines, or other resources. Latin was a dead language when Charles Thomson was making the motto, but he was alive. I think he formed the motto on his own.

 

Resources continue to differ in presenting the Latin language. We may compare The Rudiments of Latin and English Grammar by Alexander Adam, of about 1786. On page 141, he presents seclor as a consequent of sequor.

 

Seclor_sequor

 

We can compare the Latin secludere as to stand apart, and seclusus as separate. The form seclorum would be the plural genitive of seclum. The word is translated broadly, as “a race, generation, age, the people of any time” (see Perseus word study tool). Backtracking, the Latin verb secludere had a Perfect participle seclusus that became used as an adjective, which in turn originated the noun seclum.

 

The form seclusum would have been still an adjective, gramatically neuter: seclusus est: he is separate; seclusa est: she is separate; seclusum est it is separate. We can say that seclum generally meant “people who are separate / different with a regard”, be it features, chronological age, or even decisions made a given time.

 

With the Latin ordo as a group, arrangement, or class, we can have the Novus Ordo Seclorum for “A new people come”, that is, a new formation by people to have separated from others, to stand apart, as a nation, for example. Literal, word-for-word translation happens to be clumsy, also for ancient Latin (new form/order of/by the separate/separated?) In English, we have the form how come ― it can render the verb-participle-adjective-or-noun interplay.

 

“WHEN in the Course of human Events, it becomes necessary for one People to dissolve the Political Bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the Powers of the Earth, the separate and equal Station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent Respect to the Opinions of Mankind requires that they should declare the Causes which impel them to the Separation”, says the Declaration of Independence.

 

 

We also might wonder, why did Mr. Thomson not use the word populus, if he meant people?

 

We derive the word form people from the Latin populus. Paths for word etymology and meaning happen to diverge. Today, we derive the word equal as well as the word adequate, from the Latin aequus. In practice, adequate remuneration may not mean equal money, and equal money might be inadequate for jobs of different specifics.

 

The Latin populus did not connote nationality in ancient times. It often referred to laying waste or degrading: perpopulor, to devastate, pillage; populabilis, destructible. The Senatus populusque Romanus, never a real power over the Roman military, can be associated with practices of times unpleasant to Christians.

 

Ancient Roman military did not have much sentiment for nationality. Their culture favored status. The Roman civitas was inseparable from the city of Rome. Latin had words as aerarius and aerarium, for Roman residents who had to pay tax, but were not allowed to vote or hold offices. The temple of Saturn had a special part to keep public offerings separate from those of the elites. Without legal rationale, caesars could give death verdicts among any people within their armed range. Ancient Rome was not as much or often a republic, as a practice at pretending it. We have to be very selective, seeking worthwhile aspects of the Antiquity. Feel welcome to compare the PIE, the Proto-Indo-European theory.

 

The word ordo had a dignified sense. Though translated scarce by Lewis and Short, we may compare Cicero, whose sense is obviously not that for just a few people to have convened with troops or monasteries. Ordo did not have to denote a linear arrangement, but it also could: Roman military, bringing territories down, happened to face local people in groups, or battle formations.

 

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. The plural is for human persons, men or women. As a nationality or ethnicity, the noun may take on the plural itself: The peoples of Europe have formed a Union. Status can no longer decide on civil rights. The word sense of the present day does not translate into the ancient Latin populus.

 

Well, would the Declaration be for males only? “We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal…” Feel welcome to practice on the civics, with my grammar course.

 

 

Interestingly, the Great Seal could make a rhyme, the people generally could remember along with children:

Out of many one,
With favor to the endeavor,
A new people come.

 

Learn to read the Seal in Latin.

British grammar nazis

Disclaimer: 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.

 

Grammer

 

The logo dubious pulchritude may be seen in its full down here, also with a click.

 

British grammar nazis header

 

Let me lay out on the fundamentals of orthography. I do not spell the nazis with a big letter. Big letters, though they do not always import reverence, are reserved for proper nouns, everywhere except a beginning.

 

The proper noun Nazis were German nationalists. Their having bombed London during WWII might belong with the semantic field too, and further reasonably connote displeasure on the part of the British people. I mean, I do not have other people’s feelings, but thus I do reckon.

 

Much has been written about the second world war, including Hitler’s evident lack of linguistic finesse. Therefore, I will do some wondering only, on the British who want to be grammar nazis.

 

The Daily Mash offers observations.

 

“The way they selflessly dedicate themselves to correct punctuation, for example by pointing out to the staff of a chip shop why the term >>chip’s<< is a sloppy obfuscation, confirms they are bold and righteous individuals.”

 

 

On Facebook, grammar nazis share the article and comment.
“This pleases me. A lot!”
“We are doing a service to the world in helping people be rid of their ignorance!”
“We knew it all the time!”

 

It is only after a few lines or whiles that thought emerges.
“I suspect someone is taking the p*ss.”

 

 

Grammar nazis do not get irony. Let me think about statistics and implications. Should there be visiting nazis on this page, I promise a brief primer on irony after this indispensable piece of advice about living on the same planet.

 

The site has about 50 thousand “likes”. Taking the British population alone, that would make about 50 thousand oddly deficient, among about 63 million people.

 

Some might say it is not so bad. It is not even one percent. Still, it could be better to think literacy, going to England: the guys are permitted to have the UK flag for their capriccio, and odd types favor big towns, as London.

 

However this could not mean there only odd types in big towns, before you go to London, 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. 😉

 

Wave your hand broadly, getting a taxi. It is a simple, therefore legible gesture. 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. Ask for those straight, should you be provided with a form without boxes to tick. 😉

 

Mailing letters, get the recorded. They have ID strips. Seeking directions, approach people with newspapers. They could be literate. However, never ever leave your books or papers open and unattended. They might be taken for other utilities. 😉

 

Now, the primer on irony. The basics are in the affirmative and the negative. You do not take them for a yes or no merely. Let me quote the Mash:

 

“In no way are any of these people vain, arsey pedants.”

 

This does not have to mean a refutation, as Wikipedia explains. Life cannot be about affirming or denying only. Let me return to the Mash.

 

“The way they selflessly dedicate themselves to correct punctuation, for example by pointing out to the staff of a chip shop why the term >>chip’s<< is a sloppy obfuscation, confirms they are bold and righteous individuals."

 

Antonyms and synonyms are the answer.

 

Laying all out in detail to a grammar nazi looks discouragingly big a task, hence the handful of thoughts and the primary color, yellow (adjective, reference 3).

 

Grammar nazis do not offer own blogs or websites, especially with serious language work, for evaluation. Their picking on people’s works has no chance to bring anything creative, sophisticated. My attitude to them as well as critics will remain the same: Where is your own, better stuff?

Apples grow on noses: two languages – two minds?

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

 

“Mon espirit paratage — My two minds”, appeared in the New Scientist of May 5th, 2012. Ms. de Lange compares monolingual and bilingual children. The Washington Post has included the article online.

 

 

Ms. de Lange describes her testing children on syntax. Syntax is about the way we phrase our talk or writing.

 

“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 or multilingual, children get to hear or read fairy tales. It does not matter, if the kid speaks one or more languages. It is important that the child comprehends the words: there was a fairy land, a long time ago, where apples grew on noses.

 

Figurative thinking does not disturb syntax, and more, children learn early that words can have more than one meaning, also when the talk is for real. Whether in one or many languages ― but dependent on pragmatics ― we could or could not count any noses in picture 1. The Big Apple Corner in picture 2 only might have apples.

 

Language pragmatics deals with talk in context and with work on ambiguity.

 

 

PICTURE 1. IS THERE EVEN ONE NOSE IN THE PICTURE, IF WE DO NOT KNOW WHAT NOSES COUNT?

 

Noses

 

PICTURE 2. DO APPLES GROW SQUARE, IF WE HAVE BIG APPLE CORNERS?

 

apples

 

Thinking psycholinguistics for the science, the task was most probably deictically misconstrued. The children did not know what noses the talk was about, and thus if to focus on syntax or pragmatics.

 

 

Ms. de Lange says she speaks English and French. Humorously, but to follow her observations, with English and French, we would have to imagine monolingual people carrying shields instead of umbrellas, for heavy rain. They would be the people to get “flummoxed” with figures of speech, and it rains halberds in French, when it rains cats and dogs in English (in which latter case we would have to think monolingual people cannot keep appointments, staying home).

 

We would have to dread multilingual medics, fearing they would be the people to take cardiac cases for a game of opinion. They would be the people not to care what a matter literally might denote.

 

Quite seriously, both English and French have spoken and written forms. What we write as “bread” in English is “un pain”, in French.

 

 

Boy eating bread

 

Not only to a child, a test to neglect word sense would be a sort of mal a l’oreille. Without semantics, a multlilingual person would be left with some “phonological interface” only, for linguistic discernment.

 

What is likely to happen then (and I believe happened, in Ms. de Lange study), people go “surfing” the language form. The “surfing” is not a developmental stage. Monolingual or multilingual, very young or more advanced in age, people can learn to “surf” ― for a joke.

 

Natural language progress for syntax is more likely to have virtual or invented words. They have an extra advantage. They let exercise speech sounds without the flummoxing that verbal associations might bring, especially to very young minds:
[th] is the sound in mother;
[th] is the sound in father
[th] is the sound in brother;
[th] is the sound in… pother. 😉

 

We do not have to depend on nature; we can encourage syntax, in children as well as grown-up people. A car rolls, a doll dances, a troll hops, and a ball bounces. Toys are things. They can be “phimos”. Every phimo can bimo. Before long, a learner may tell easy, if we are correct saying,

 

The phimo bimo;
or if we should say,
The phimo bimoes. 🙂

 

Phimos can bimo.

 

Multilingualism is becoming an everyday thing in more and more countries and cultures. I like that.

 

I do not like bias about language and mentality. The simple, common sense fact of life is that bread is bread, whether a person speaks one or more languages.

 

Generally, experimentation on children raises ethical concerns, and honestly, for language acquisition, there is no need to experiment: it is enough to listen and talk. I have never experimented, and I would have mixed feelings. When you experiment, you introduce factors that naturally would not be there. A very serious ethical concern comes with Ms. de Lange reporting infant brain scans for experimental purposes. There is no way to obtain informed consent from an infant. Feel welcome to read why I do not see sense about such scans.

 

 

Naturalness does not require we never try anything novel. The method here would not fit an experiment well. I invented it in childhood, worked on it for some 30 years for own language progress, it is complete, and it does not have the “open ends” that experimentation explores. Feel also welcome.

 

Themis and the Flag

Burning the Flag ― where is the language?

The legal profession is a depth of recondite detail the Supreme Court has the expertise firmly to deliberate.

 

United States versus Eichman, United States versus Haggerty, Texas versus Johnson: all cases argued freedom of speech under the First Amendment. The Amendment says, Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.

 

 

The Supreme Court holding on Eichman says:
“The government’s interest in preserving the flag as a symbol did not outweigh the individual right to disparage that symbol through expressive conduct.”

 

What is the meaning of a national flag? It symbolizes: the country, the people, and the language. The Flag does not correlate with the authorities only.

 

flag-associations-2

 

Even if you do not like anybody around, would rather live in a tent, make own clothes,  and hunt for food ― all that to liberate yourself of American capitalism ― the nonsense of burning the Flag remains appalling, if to think about cause and effect.

 

There never would be the Constitution ― what follows, the Amendments ― without the people who fought for American freedom, also in Fort McHenry, about which the American anthem tells. The Flag continues to symbolize them.

 

flag-associations-3

 

Further, can we have burning for a speech act? Is there a speech sound produced, if the human sits silently by a campfire, warming his or her hands? Is there any written or printed language to emerge from the flame? Could the wood or coal crackling and hissing make stanzas, quatrains, epodes? Could we hear an anacrusis?

 

A national Flag symbolizes the language as-is and all-in-all, therefore I take the precedent for reasonable associations. The fact remains the Flag symbolizes, but it is not language, also unburned.

 

 

The First Amendment says that people have the right to the freedom of speech. The Amendment does not say, *”Congress shall make no law abridging expressive conduct in association with speech and language…” Fortunately: human expressive behaviors are a very wide spectrum part of which belongs under parental guidance and is not language at all.

 

At the same time, I would not uphold the term of “Flag desecration”. The word desecration suggests abuse on sanctity. I think flags are for people, as books and knowledge on language.

 

I have put images of the American flag on my American English grammar books, which are absolutely my human work.

 

I do not support the Supreme Court verdict. I hope time will bring legislation to discern physically abusive behaviors from speech and language, as well as allow national symbols in the hands of the people: it should be a public vote to decide on the matter.

Tongue entanglement

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

 

Diarmaid Ferriter of The Limits of Liberty ventured his frown at human glibness on RTE One.

 

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 to Ireland.

 

On love and humanity, I can agree that language is neither a prodigal son, nor daughter: it does not spend much, and it can give a lot. 😉

 

On life and freedom ― most businesses in Ireland work with English language papers and cash. These are all kinds of English, to include American, Australian, and whichever you like.

 

People make cash owing to English language business talks. People learn math and many more, in English language schools. People get advice from English language medics, and buy bread from English language bakers. Many have never learned British English.

 

 

Irish English has a distinct sounding, one might find more pleasurable than that from over the river Thames, as Pete McCarthy noted in his McCarthy’s Bar.

 

 

Getting rid of Irish English would not be freedom. It would be a disaster. English is a lingua franca, a language spoken world-wide. The Irish horizon for business and culture is all around the globe, with Irish English.

 

Rather, there is a predilection for terms of power, and it might be worthwhile to tell it apart from language itself. Probably, the predilection inspired the name “Hiberno-English” for Irish English, as in Wikipedia.

 

 

“English was brought to Ireland as a result of the Norman invasion of Ireland of the late 12th century”, tells Wikipedia.

 

The Irish isle was named Hibernia by ancient Romans, who evidently thought it was very cold; they must have compared temperatures in ancient Rome, Greece, or North Africa ― the regular influence they exercised, military campaigns mostly in warm times of the year.

 

 

Regarding a theory that Normans would have brought English, William the Conqueror was French and his Normans did not speak English, which was named for a factor in the Great Vowel Shift.

 

Exactly as other conquerors, Normans did not interact much linguistically, in battles. Without people who spoke, wrote, and traded ― in a preferably moderate climate, which both English and Irish isles certainly have had ― there would not have been language learning or change.

 

For “Hibernian English”, nothing holds linguistically. Just as Irish people do not need snowballs to learn language, the British do not need to join the military to have a “one-to-one” on “Birran English”, rainy days. Birrus was a Latin word for a raincoat. It is the predilection for terms of power to try bringing the Roman empire and a Norman conqueror into a field where pen craft matters most.

 

Mr. Ferriter claimed there were two kinds of power. 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 wholesome. Yet saying “fish and chips” does not give a Leo Burdock, unless there are the cash and the consensus to make the deal. More, various debates world round have proved humans phylogenetically capable of days and more of a language production, as well as reception, of no influence to thought or decisions. 😉

 

The word “power” deserves a more favorable regard as an intellectual capacity and ability to act. Naming language as one of tools for conquest does not do language justice. Language can be attractive. Language can be an intellectual pursuit.

 

I think Irish English should have a publicly accessible corpus. Autonomous language environments have own language corpora.

 

 

To date, no corpus of Irish English exists, said a paper from Limerick University in 1999.

 

I have looked up the Internet for an update. As of April 17 2016, the Limerick University says there is a corpus. There is yet no public access to it.