Teresa Pelka

A NEW PEOPLE COME

“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, reporting on his 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”.

 

Well, one can have doubt without elaborating into an entire scheming theory. 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.

 

There is a feature in Mr. Thomson’s report that deserves thought. 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, kind” or … “people”, also “people in a situation”.

 

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 a body of people, or simply — 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 word use as he disambiguated it from Latin resources generally. Pointing at a particular source of language use 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” (compare the Perseus word study tool; it relates to a later form we can now associate with secular people, but that owing to developments in modern languages). 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 at a given time.

 

With the Latin ordo as a group, arrangement, body or class, we can interpret the Novus Ordo Seclorum as “A new people come” — a new formation has become, by people to have separated from others, to stand 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 yet might wonder, why Mr. Thomson did not use the word populus, if he meant people (?)

 

We derive the word form people from the Latin populus. Paths happen to diverge, for word sense and etymology. Today, we derive the words equal as well as 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 different rooms for elite offerings as distinct from those by the public: social status was to matter also in afterlife. Without legal rationale, Cesars 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, if we think to pick worthwhile aspects about the Antiquity. Feel welcome to compare the PIE, the Proto-Indo-European theory.

 

I think Charles Thomson was selective. Contrary to the word populus, the word ordo had a dignified sense, already in its ancient contexts. Though translated scarce by Lewis and Short, we may compare Cicero, whose sense is obviously not that for some people to have convened with troops or monasteries. Ordo did not have to denote a linear arrangement, but it also could: bringing territories down, the Roman military happened to face local people in battle formations.

 

Nowadays, the noun people means a group of human beings, or a nationality. To mean 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 noun people today 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 also a child might remember:

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

Learn to read the Seal in Latin.

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THE LATIN DEMEANOR

Wikimedia Commons: Letters to the Conversant, Epistulae ad familiares, Marcus Tullius Cicero

Why say circle [sIrkl], if we say cat [kæ:t]?

 

The thing here is about saying Annuit coeptis in classic Latin and knowing what and why, not only repeating memorized pronunciation.

 

Ancient Latin had a sound that modern English hardly has, [ts] in many phonetic scripts. We may try to produce it, saying [s] and closing on the hard palate as for [t]. Russian and Polish have the sound in the word ценT, cent. German has the sound in the numeral zehn, ten. The Latin centesimus meant a hundredth, and cententionalis was a small coin, all the words here to belong with a decimal idea.

 

It was the Amber Road to bring the Latin influence. We can compare kwota [kvota] in Polish, квота [kvota] in Russian, and Quote [kvote] in German. French native phonology, would generally discard [v] within syllables, and has shaped quota as [ko:ta:].

 

Ancient trade communication was mostly spoken. Italians, more familiar with written Latin, have developed [kwota], let us yet mind that Italian is not “modern Latin”, however it has [ts] in cena, and [k] in costo. Assimilation of Latin patterns into English was mostly via written resources as well, English further to have been influenced by French, after the Norman conquest. The French also would not have the speech sound [ts].

 

In Latin, the letter c stood for [ts] — or [c] in phonetic scripts for Slavic languages — before front vowels. Back vowels or non-vowels always brought about [k].

 

We can be back with circles and cats. Modern English words that derive from Latin sound the letter c as [s] before front vowels, and as [k], before back vowels.

 

Latin also had digraphs. We can see one in the word cœptis. In speech, it made the sound [e], therefore the c before it resulted in [ts].

 

Square Roman capitals were a font style, as we would call them today, for ceremonious and official presentations of text. The Great Seal motto would look as here, in the style.

E PLVRIBVS VNVM
ANNVIT CŒPTIS
NOVVS ORDO SECLORVM

 

arch-of-titus-inscription

Wikimedia: Arch of Titus, square Roman capitals

 

Latin had a specialty about the letter shapes and sounds u and v. For example, we can see the letter “u” in the word language. The Latin word was lingua, and the way to say it was [lIηgva], as a low vowel followed. The nominative decided for all declension. We may compare cuius [kuIus]. More, the letter shape q always was to be followed by u pronounced as [v].

 

 

Handwritten, the motto would look
E pluribus, unum
Annuit cœptis
Novus ordo seclorum.

 

There is no context to require sounding u as [v].

Here we go,
[a: n n u I t]  [ts ε: p t  I s].

We may mind that ancients pronounced double non-vowels separately, as in an | nuit.

 

Feel welcome to read about the Seal.

PHILOLOGY

In most simple terms, philology is a study of words. Words that get to be spoken, words that get to be written, words as they happen to become human thinking matter. Words in texts old and words in texts new: if you think about this profession, you need to be fond of words, and this is what the name means — the Greek philos and logos together have been to convey one who is fond of words.

Humanity has complicated the philological matter. History, philosophy, and politics thrown into the same goblet, here comes Friedrich Nietzsche, even without an energetic stir. In another cup, politics, fable, and war amalgamated into the bubbly tales by J.R.R. Tolkien. It would have been a tumbler, where politics brimmed into the Proto-Indo-European theory by William Jones, without foot or stem.

 

The mixtures did not make an agreeable entity, as the idea was for the American melting pot, and well, philology got more than adulterated. It is not a philological study at all, to propose an Übermensch. An honest lexicographer might shrug to a theory there is a universal instinct. A reliable etymologist might frown to an “ancestor” language, if words for men, women, children, and houses do not sound even similar (feel welcome to READ).

 

Particular philological curricula may vary, but there is nothing Nietzschean about library training, history and theory of literature, or British and American literary scopes. Tolkien’s “universal instinct” may look faint, if we take the history of English language, along with descriptive or contrastive grammars. History of England or USA would not support the idea, either. Finally, one ancestor language will have little hold in the light of practical, modern English: phonetics, grammar, study and translation of written and spoken language, as it is today.

 

Outside the box or cup, people are people, and ideas by persons should not make for judgment on philology overall. Just as we do not ask another baker for a refund, if the local bread is too salty, our assessment on philological works should be individual as well.

 

NOTE
J. R. R. Tolkien wrote “the philological instinct” was “universal as is the use of language”. Wikipedia, Tolkien, J. R. R. (1923). “Philology: General Works”. The Year’s Work of English Studies. 4 (1): 36–37. doi:10.1093/ywes/IV.1.20.

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.

 

FEELINGS!

What do you do, if a child says he or she is hating you? Do you say,
“No, you are not hating me. You hate me. It is a stative verb, here, in the list… ?”

__Smiley joke PNG

 

I have come across a few languages in my life, and English grammars and grammarians remain the only scholarly entities to recognize stative verbs. Whatever order the British Council would enumerate on such special words to memorize, the couple in the picture do not look like rehearsing rote.

 

CG6F71

 

In fact, it feels quite strange to be told to parrot words from a list, for thought and emotion. It feels… a kind of a lie, and good liars do not publicize their lying rules.

 

Regardless of fact, English grammars would group the “stative” or “static verbs” and tell the learner not to use them with the Progressive, for the nature of the verbs.

 

 

The verbs themselves do not make separate groups or categories. To feel can serve an interesting example. We might say, “I feel fresh”, to speak about our senses. We could say, “I feel love”, to speak about our emotions. We also could say, possibly in another context, “I feel this is crude”, to say what we think.

__Smiley joke PNG

 

Let us compare American English at work.
This is a dream come true. And I’m loving every minute of it.
(NBC_Today Sun as in the Corpus of Contemporary American English, COCA.)

 

I’ve been loving it. But I want to keep doing different things.
(People magazine as in COCA.)

 

If we have a look at all Aspects as in a chart, we might be tempted to view grammar as made of options. Then, we might say, we can choose not to use some verbs with an option. Options can be mutually exclusive.

 

FEATURE CHART

 

However, human brains need to be live structures for grammar, and these have simultaneous processes. When we use the Present Simple, our paths for the Perfect Progressive for example do not become “switched off”. If we use the Progressive, we do not exclude a possibility for the same thing to happen also in a manner we describe in the Simple:

“I’m loving you”,
would not mean
“I don’t love you”.
Feel welcome to the Earthling basic variable.

 

Link to chapter 8.1. Earthling basic variable and proper egoism

 

Grammar – Why think about space?

The word spatialization comes from the Latin “spatium”. It meant a place, space, as well as room or extent. All natural languages spatialize, which does not have to refer us to the outer space, however it also can.

 

odyssey-girl

Screenshot credit: Geoffrey Unsworth, Metro Goldwyn-Meyer

The little girl in the Space Odyssey says her mommy’s gone TO shopping. The girl spatializes: she relates activity and place.

 

Most children spatialize. The place may not be specified, especially if to think about big shopping malls. The child yet would reckon there has to be a place for a thing to happen at all.

 

As children, we first learn where objects, creatures, events, or people are. We learn telling when things happen later, hence the name spatialization. Our sense of time is secondary to our sense of space, and language has the process. Not only in English, there would be words we can use for space as well as time.

 

The phrase, “BEFORE the turn”, might tell about a place.
BEFORE ten”, might tell about time.

 

Spatialization remains natural, common and sane sense, when we are grown up. Association between time and place belongs with human minds. We can use it for grammar.

 

We can think about natural human mapping, as with geography and travel. We live on Earth. We usually view land or seas as extents. We give at least psychological borders to areas in which we are. We perceive routes and ways to places. We happen to be at landmarks and places. Here are a few examples.

 

_value-on

Simple: She meets him every month.
She reads a lot. [ON]

 

_value-in

Progressive: She is meeting him tomorrow
She is reading now. [IN]

 

_value-to

Perfect: She had worked hard for her success.
She will have finished the work by next month. [TO]

 

We can merge our values IN and TO, for the Perfect Progressive:
She has been  studying for hours.
She will have been studying for 10 hours then. [AT]

_value-at

 

Our variables together will allow cognitive mapping of all the four Aspects.
ALL ASPECTS MAPPED

 

Feel welcome to Travel in Grammar.

 

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?

 

Parameters and devices

Noam Chomsky proposed his Language Acquisition Device to explain human language learning. It is true that people acquire languages most flexibly until 14 years old. It is true that people could not merely memorize language: there has to be a logical capacity. I do comprehend that a device may be something devised, as well as a faculty that devises. However, a device is often a thing that could be operated externally, from the outside. Association with such governance could not be my ideal.

 

I have always preferred the human language faculty. Language skill needs the brain entire, regardless of age.

 

The break of the 19th and 20th centuries had people used to specialization. Linguistics was separate from psychology, as neurology from endocrinology. Human language became recognized as located in two areas, Broca and Wernicke.

 

 

Wernicke or Broca, they are not the visual or auditory tissue. Do we learn language without hearing or seeing it? Wernicke or Broca, they are not the frontal lobes, as of the forehead: do we learn to say and use our [t] or [d] without goal-oriented thinking? Wernicke or Broca are not the limbic system, brainstem, or parietal gnostic structures to integrate the senses: could the humanity ever have evolved language in some “non-time” and “non-space”?

 

 

The matter with the brain is that it does not have a singular superior structure we could call the mind. Brains make networks within. One time, a network or its part is more active. Another time, it is another network or part of a network. Whether we would call it a soul, a personality, or brain epiphenomenon (when particularly tired), the brain re-orients for activity without a permanently dominant gyrus or sulcus. If we would enjoy a political metaphor, brain structures would be a democracy. There is no king or queen tissue that would all the time preside.

 

More, there is no universal brain logic. Neurons connect as we join thought and experience. Neurons that would look identical, and would give the same parameter in measurement, might have very different cognitive contents. As people grow, learn and think more, the connections usually become as dense as to make “hidden” layers: continually active, they make telling which neurons work for what ― impossible.

 

This is why I do not see sense in trying to have “brain devices” and scanning them for parameters. Feel welcome to read:

The role of feedback in natural language

Artificial intelligence has patterned after human structures for years. In consequence, artificial parsing has come to be used for teaching and diagnosis. Computers rely on programs. The work discusses human information processing, with focus to the role of feedback in language. Human information processing differs from artificial considerably.

 

  • Tests by Ladefoged showed speech and language dependence on feedback without exception.
  • Human DNA requires cellular feedback for active protein.
  • Human endurance under feedback impoverishment has been proved lower than for fasting.

Not only on these grounds, the role of feedback in human language processing can be posited to approximate a drive.

 

I defended the thesis in year 2000, at Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan, Poland, earning my M.A. degree in American English, specialization psycholinguistics.