Linguistic attractors

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by Dinosaur, Apr 13, 2017.

  1. Dinosaur Rational Skeptic Valued Senior Member

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    Imagine a landscape with mountains, valleys, & plains. Due to gravity, the valleys are attractors.

    BTW: My Word perfect spell checker does not accept attractor as a word.

    There are mathematical processes which lead to one or more values, which are often called attractors. An example are processes which find square, cube, & polynomial roots.

    There seem to be analogous processes in the human brain used in dealing with understanding verbal communication. Without such processes, a conversation would be difficult for people with different regional accents. A similar problem is similarly solved when conversing with a foreigner using a local language poorly.

    I believe that the confusion some orientals have with English R & L pronunciations is due to such an attractor. For them, both R & L use the same linguistic attractor.

    I wonder if a Poster more knowledgeable in linguistics has some thoughts related to the above.

    There was once a delightful dialogue between fictional character Max Smart & an Oriental, which started as follows.
     
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  3. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    Fortunately, Dictionary.com does.
    Mandarin Chinese has a phoneme that's transliterated as "R," but in fact it has very little in common with the European R. It's much closer to the ZH sound in English "azure" or Russian "Zhivago."
     
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  5. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    I guess cuz it's a technical word.

    Linguistic attractors (great title BTW) seem to be closely related to memes.

    Dawkins' original meaning of meme - pre-Webernets.

    "an idea, behavior, or style that spreads from person to person within a culture"
     
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  7. Dinosaur Rational Skeptic Valued Senior Member

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    From Fraggle Rocker Post #2
    The absence of the English R sound is the reason many orientals confuse the English R & L sounds.

    Orientals have no linguistic attactor for the R sound & their processing of verbal conversation for some reason assigns it to the same attractor as the L sound. I suspect that a linguistic expert would have an explanation for this assignment.

    Note that without the existence of linguistic attractors, it would be very difficult to decode regional accents.
     

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