The shape of language

Discussion in 'Human Science' started by wesmorris, Nov 5, 2003.

  1. water the sea Registered Senior Member

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    Big Blue Head,


    We do assume that something has meaning: but this doesn't mean that we can also correctly assume the actual meaning in a given case.

    It is like when we assume that the person on the other side, reading this, has two legs and 10 fingers. And when later, in some casual conversation about soccer or typing skills, it turns out that they have an amputated leg, and two fingers missing -- we are surprised or at least in the "Oh, I didn't know" situation. If we say "Oh, I didn't know", it must be that some assumption had to be there, saying how things normally (" ") are.

    We generally assume that what people say in communication has *some* meaning. We may not know what this meaning is, but we assume that some meaning, whatever it is, must be there. And we act on this assumption -- this it what makes it possible to communicate.


    I haven't read Mein Kampf myself, but I think I know what you are talking about. It is convergent thinking, that in the beginning looks like divergent thinking. A Socratic dialogue, if you wish.

    A "territory" is prepared, described, systemized. Basically, this is obeying the holistic principle: First, an amount of data is stored; this data consists of elements of the system and the relations between these elements. At first, while still "uploading", this data doesn't make much sense, it doesn't have much meaning. But when enough is uploaded, the system becomes viable, and it begins to make sense, we can identify a meaning.

    Of course, what A thinks that x means may not be the same as what B thinks that x means.

    But what can be done, is to ask A a question about x, and if the answer is comparable or complies with B's expectations, then we can say that A and B have a *comparable* idea of the meaning of x.
    This is as good as it gets.

    But, of course, the system of x needs first to be "uploaded" both to A and B.
    This is where it gets troubling, as we cannot simply expect that everyone will be willing to "upload" the system of x.


    I want to understand as good as possible what you mean (sic!) regarding these problems of meaning, so give me some feedback please.
     
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  3. wesmorris Nerd Overlord - we(s):1 of N Valued Senior Member

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    My apologies, but I just couldn't resist the idea of necro on a 20 year old thread. Holy shits, time shonuff do fly now. Dayam.
     
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  5. ThazzarBaal Registered Senior Member

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    Isn't this the basis upon which our various languages were developed? I'm not certain, but from Hebrew to Greek to Latin and Spanish to English, German has already been mentioned, I myself have noticed the opposite of the observation noted in the opening post.

    Languages, at least to me, seem to have been developed largely from the many other extant languages and even those no longer used from around the world.

    It's pretty cool actually. Roots, compounds, and even conjunctions and/or gender etc. appear to tie into other words and languages in similar fashion. At least by my own observation.
     
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  7. Ukiah Registered Member

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    Having traveled, I find it frustrating that we haven't a universal language. Who has time to learn Italian, French, German? How hard could it be to structure a simplified language that incorporates elements from all cultures?
     
  8. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    It's been tried: https://www.britannica.com/topic/Esperanto

    The problem, of course, is one has to learn any synthetic universal language, just as one does French or German. Worse, few people speak it. How would it get established?
     
  9. Ukiah Registered Member

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    Mandatory subject in school. If I were to put effort in learning a second language, I would want to learn that which is used globally.
     
  10. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    Well I suppose that might appeal to a Baha’i. But it’s hard to see it getting traction internationally in practice. We may find the issue diminishes as translation apps improve.
     
  11. Ukiah Registered Member

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    I see it as opening the world to a larger family. If we spoke a common universal language, our reliance on others would diminish and the mutual communication would be an advantage for all.
     
  12. gmilam Valued Senior Member

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    “Meanwhile, the poor Babel fish, by effectively removing all barriers to communication between different races and cultures, has caused more and bloodier wars than anything else in the history of creation.”
    ― Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
     
  13. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    You sound increasingly like a Baha'i. This is the sort of thing they are always preaching.
     
  14. Ukiah Registered Member

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    I think otherwise. The lack of communication brings misunderstanding and leaves people vulnerable to the interpretation of not so honorable people.
     

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