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[Xmca-l] Re: The Inimitability of Grammar

Check out Margaret Magnus' book, "A Dictionary of English Sound" and her website, <www.trismegistos.com>. She shows that word sound is related to the characteristics of the things to which words refer.

		Joseph Gilbert

On Apr 7, 2014, at 4:21 PM, Martin John Packer wrote:

I want to thank Rod for posting these links. Following them I came cross more: for example, this one caught my attention:

Imai, M., Kita, S., Nagumo, M., & Okada, H. (2008). Sound symbolism facilitates early verb learning. Cognition: International Journal of Cognitive Science, 109(1), 54-65.


Some words are sound-symbolic in that they involve a non-arbitrary relationship between sound and meaning. Here, we report that 25- month-old children are sensitive to cross-linguistically valid sound-symbolic matches in the domain of action and that this sound symbolism facilitates verb learning in young children. We constructed a set of novel sound-symbolic verbs whose sounds were judged to match certain actions better than others, as confirmed by adult Japanese- as well as English speakers, and by 2- and 3-year- old Japanese-speaking children. These sound-symbolic verbs, together with other novel non-sound-symbolic verbs, were used in a verb learning task with 3-year-old Japanese children. In line with the previous literature, 3-year-olds could not generalize the meaning of novel non-sound-symbolic verbs on the basis of the sameness of action. However, 3-year-olds could correctly generalize the meaning of novel sound-symbolic verbs. These results suggest that iconic scaffolding by means of sound symbolism plays an important role in early verb learning.

1. Introduction

Since the time of Saussure, the arbitrary relationship between the sound of a word and its meaning has been held as an important principle of language (e.g., de Saus- sure, 1916/1983; Newmeyer, 1993). In mainstream linguistics, sound symbolism, in which the sound and meaning of words are systematically related, is considered to be a marginal phenomenon in language. For example, Newmeyer (1993) says that ‘‘the number of pictorial, imitative, or onomatopoetic non-derived words in any language is vanishingly small (p. 758)”.

Such a statement, however, turns out to be too strong when one looks beyond Indo-European languages. Many languages of the world have a large grammatically defined word class in which sound symbolism is clear. ...


On Apr 4, 2014, at 10:09 AM, Rod Parker-Rees <R.Parker- Rees@plymouth.ac.uk> wrote:

There has been a considerable amount of work done on cross- cultural patterns in sound symbolism and on cross-modal associations (e.g. between certain vowel sounds and visually perceived size differences). It is not surprising that we perceive the differences in 'mouth shape' between 'large' sounds and 'teeny weeny' ones and associate this with words which reference amplitude (brightness and smoothness as well as size).

Some examples:

Bremner, A, Caparos, S, Davidoff, J, de Fockert, J, Linnell, K and Spence, C (2013) "Bouba" and "Kiki" in Namibia? A remote culture make similar shape-sound matches, but different shape-taste matches to Westerners. Cognition 126 (2) 165-172. http:// www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0010027712002077

Davis, R (2011) The fitness of names to drawings. A cross- cultural study in Tanganyika. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j. 2044-8295.1961.tb00788.x/abstract

Taylor, I. And Taylor, M.(1965) Another look at phonetic symbolism.Psychological Bulletin, Vol 64(6), Dec 1965, 413-427. http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/bul/64/6/413/

All the best,


-----Original Message-----
From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu [mailto:xmca-l- bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of Huw Lloyd
Sent: 04 April 2014 15:26
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: The Inimitability of Grammar


From scanning your occasionally posts over the last six years, as far
as I
can see the principal problem you are having stems from holding your interest as a belief rather than an object of inquiry. You are not admitting for any thorough logic in your interest, which is why are you are continually faced with "academic" rejection.

Have you, for example, studied some of the bio-mechanics of the ear, such as how movements in the air matter become translated into nerve pulses? Have you studied how word utterances influence the nervous structure of behaviour? Have you studied the social processes in the establishment of norms and how these influence meaning of sounds?

If you undertake such disciplined study and demonstrate the logic of your interest, then I would predict you'll get more favourable responses -- from the scientific perspective, you'd start to be useful and relevant.


On 4 April 2014 02:55, Joseph Gilbert <joeg4us@roadrunner.com> wrote:

Dear David,
I was not expecting you to agree with me, but rather hoping that
you'll would grasp what I was explaining and respond in some relevant
fashion. It seems either you do not understand or do not want to
understand my offering. I admit, I am disappointed and frustrated with
this long-time situation. For me, it is not about blaming or, heaven
forbid, insulting anyone, it's simply about attempting to share a
discovery. I assumed, long ago, that those in the academic world would
be the most likely to understand what I had found. But it eventually
became evident to me that the very ones who, I had assumed it would be the most fruitful to share my work with, are the most resistant to new
ideas that relate to their turf. I have yet to receive a cogent or
even minimally relevant response from any person in the world of
academia, except for one Margaret Magnus. She was denied consideration
of her doctorate thesis by Chomsky's linguistics department at MIT.
She persisted and received her doctor of philosophy degree from
Trondheim University. It seems that because her findings ran counter
to the doctrine of many current linguists (that there is no
relationship between the sounds of words and their meanings), that
even though her method of proof of her assertion was scientifically
sound, the established order would not even consider her work on its
merit. She is the only one of those in academia who responded
intelligently to what I shared with her. She posted my writings on her website, "Magical Letter Page" and also put it on the web so that when one searches for "Joseph Gilbert sound symbolism" my writing comes up.
       I was saying that, after seeing many examples of academic
writings on the subject of phonosemiotics, I have found almost none
that make any sense and/or offer any solid assertions. It is obvious
to me that the sounds we make with our voices express what's going on with us. The ability to vocalize evolved because the ability to communicate was an advantage.
So, what was being communicated by vocal utterances? Whatever it was
still persists in all spoken-word languages. Ultimately, after all our
thinking, we are left with the sounds of our words and with the
persistent uncertainty of the final meaning of any of the many things we may talk about. We can gain an abstract understanding, with words, of how things work, but with all our reasoning we still cannot come to
any conclusion as to what any of it means to us. It is the sounds
themselves of our words, that serve to inform us of how we are
affected by that which makes up our world. Although this informing
takes place subliminally, it is all we have to go on in our quest for
a sense of meaning. That is the magic of
language: How we spell/pronounce our words is what creates the spell
of the our language. This is very primal and quite simple, but has
far-reaching ramifications. The spoken word is the driver of human affairs.
       I come from a partly Jewish background and have much
appreciation for who the Jewish people are and the role they play in earthly affairs.
       It's all about asking the relevant questions and not taking
any wooden nickels.

               Joseph C. Gilbert

On Apr 3, 2014, at 3:08 PM, David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com> wrote:

Well, of course, I sent out the results of the experiment without
any explanation because I believe that people should think for themselves.
But Mike is right--I am mildly insulted when I receive exhortations
to be relevant, be useful, and think for myself by agreeing with the
person insulting me.

Perhaps I shouldn't be. The truth is that I have been thinking for
myself for so long that I actually bore myself while still managing
to baffle the reviewers of prominent journals. And it is true that
sometimes--yea, often--I would rather think the way that Vygotsky
did, particularly since the way he thought seems more useful and
relevant to my work than the way that I do.

I would also like to think the way that Hannah Arendt did. One of
the interesting remarks she makes in support of the Kantian idea
that evil is always superficial and only moral good is genuinely
profound is that Eichman had not mastered the grammar of the German
language, and he speaks it rather the way that Arendt herself speaks
English, even though Eichmann is a native speaker of German. What
Arendt means that rather than consciously and deliberately master
the intricate system of German articles and case endings and
genders, Eichmann takes a shortcut--he simply memorizes phrases and
uses them whole, the way we do when we are speaking or trying to
write a very complex foreign language (in my case, Russian).

At first I thought this was merely the hauteur of a very educated
German Jew, the star pupil of Martin Heidegger and Karl Jaspers,
confronted with an unsuccessful peripatetic oil salesman who failed
to complete a high school education and used the extermination of
the Jews as a way of advancing a lackluster career. But Margaret Von
Trotta, who in the course of making the film "Hanna Arendt" also
subjected herself to thousands of hours of Eichmann testimony, makes
exactly the same remark. As a consequence of a lack of conscious
awareness of the way the German language works and a reliance on
memorized phrases, Eichmann's language is necessarily thoughtless
and cliche ridden.

Von Trotta's example is this. The judge asks Eichmann if the "Final
Solution" would have unrolled differently had their been "civic
responsibility", the judge is very clearly interested in whether
people like Eichmann, who essentially bear no ill will whatsoever
towards Jews and are simply doing a job that is somewhat more
lucrative and promising than selling oil, would want to change their
job if they were confronted with the kind of civic resistance that
the "Final Solution" encountered in, say, Denmark or Serbia or
Bulgaria (where local populations actively resisted the attempt to
round up Jews).

Eichmann makes no attempt to understand the question. He simply says had it benefited from sufficient hierarchical organization, it would
undoubtedly have been more efficient and more efficiacious. But of
course the result is nonsense, because in this case "X" is precisely a form of resistance to hierarchical organization. Eichmann does not
speak German; instead, German speaks him.

Bateson remarks that the reason why keeping a room tidy requires
work, but it just gets untidy by itself is simple entropy; there are
many more ways of being untidy than there are of being tidy (and
when he says this, what he is really showing us--almost
perfectly--is the big difference between the way we mediate reality
and the way reality, objectively, really is). In the same way, being grammatical requires work, because there are infinitely many ways of
being ungrammatical and relatively fewer ways of being grammatical.
We can, of course, save work by replacing one psychological function
(grammaticality) with another (memory), but when we do this run up
against Arendt's biggest problem.

Arendt is shocked that Eichmann uses Kant to justify his actions and
even gives a reasonably good, though no doubt memorized, version of
the Categorical Imperative. She concludes that there are simply very
many ways of being evil, and relatively few of being good. The only
reliable method of telling the difference is to think and speak for
yourself. Paradoxically, or perhaps not so, this is something we do
not do well unless we actually listen to others and respond to them
in sentences that cannot be readily Googled.

David Kellogg
Hankuk University of Foreign Studies

simply want to advance their career, So the I want people to think
for themselves. B

On 4 April 2014 01:35, mike cole <lchcmike@gmail.com> wrote:
I believe David is commenting on Joseph's exhortation that we spend
our time more usefully, Michael.

hangin' out in southern california.

On Thu, Apr 3, 2014 at 2:15 AM, Michael <mlevykh@shaw.ca> wrote:


But what exactly does your "little experiment" mean?



Dr. Michael G. Levykh, Ph.D.

Therapist, Affective Speech Remediation

Psycho-Educational Consultant

Voice Teacher, Vocal Coach

<http://www.autisticvancouver.com/> www.autisticvancouver.com


Sharpening the Ear for Better Communication

and Socially Appropriate Behaviour

-----Original Message-----
From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu
[mailto:xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of David
Sent: April-02-14 11:48 PM
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: vygotsky's theory and symbolic

I just tried a little experiment. I googled "Think for yourself!"

relevant!" and "Be useful!" to see how many times someone has had,

more or less, these exact sentiments in these exact words.

Here's what I found:

"Be useful!"  4,030,020 matches in .32 seconds.

"Be relevant!" 607,000,000 in 0.26 seconds. (Much easier to find.)

"Think for yourself!" 717 million mentions in only .040 seconds!

David Kellogg

Hankuk University of Foreign Studies

On 3 April 2014 11:24, Lois Holzman


I'd like to know more about you. I appreciate your comment on the
"conversational thread."


Lois Holzman

Director, East Side Institute for Group & Short Term

104-106 South Oxford Street

Brooklyn, New York 11217

Chair, Global Outreach, All Stars Project, UX

Tel. +1.212.941.8906 x324

Fax +1.718.797.3966


Social Media

Facebook | LinkedIn | Twitter


Psychology Today| Psychology of Becoming | ESI Community News


Lois Holzman | East Side Institute | Performing the World

All Stars Project

On Apr 2, 2014, at 12:49 PM, Joseph Gilbert

May I suggest that you-all emphasize your own questioning and
rather than mainly referring to great innovators and thinkers of
By concentrating on what has already been said by recognized
one stays mired in the past. It is natural for intelligent,
conscious beings to have their own wonderings/questions. What are
yours? Do you wish to remake the world in any way? Would you like
to have a peaceful planet
your grandchildren? What needs to be done in order to achieve
that? How about a new perception, an updated world-view, based
upon our best
knowledge of human nature? Just as many Christians look backward
chart their course, academicians in this current corporate state
remain stuck in the already accepted arguments and premises
established long ago. Please break free and really accomplish
something useful with your wealth of knowledge rather than mostly
engaging in "small talk" among
cohorts in an isolated i

vory tower. We (humanity) need all the help we can get. It seems
you should be able to do more than split hairs among yourselves
while the real
the world go unaddressed. Get back to the basics and build from
there, using what you really believe to be true as your
navigational instruments.
for yourselves! Be original! Be relevant! Be useful!

            Joseph Gilbert

On Apr 2, 2014, at 8:27 AM, mike cole <lchcmike@gmail.com> wrote:

Seems like you nailed it, Robert, (and Benjamin read it there?).

The lesson I take away from this is that we are all "so-called

virtue  of the fact that our consciousness is mediated through

imagined present never precisely matches the encountered future.

In so far as there is an antidote to this characteristic of

as I can figure out, it is develop cultural practices that
might be

"critical" in that they diverge from the common imaginary worlds.

criticized, the preferred next step would be to test out your

world in practice in order to discover its flaws.

What do others conclude?


On Tue, Apr 1, 2014 at 7:56 PM, Robert Lake

See highlighted phrase below :-).

Marx-Engels Correspondence 1893

Engels to Franz Mehring Abstract


Source: *Marx and Engels Correspondence*;

Publisher: International Publishers (1968);

First Published: *Gestamtausgabe*;

Translated: Donna Torr;

Transcribed: Sally



HTML Markup: Sally Ryan.


London, July 14, 1893

Today is my first opportunity to thank you for the *Lessing

were kind enough to send me. I did not want to reply with a

acknowledgment of receipt of the book but intended at the same
time to

you something about it, about its contents. Hence the delay.

I shall begin at the end -- the appendix on historical
materialism, in

you have described the main things excellently and for any

person convincingly. If I find anything to object to it is
that you

attribute more credit to me than I deserve, even if I count in

which I might possibly have found out for myself - in time -

with his more rapid *coup d'oeil* (grasp) and wider vision

more quickly. When one has the good fortune to work for forty
with a

man like Marx, one does not usually get the recognition one

deserves during his lifetime. Then if the greater man dies,

easily gets overrated, and this seems to me to be just my case

history will set all this right in the end and by that time

safely round the corner and know nothing more about anything.

Otherwise there is only one other point lacking, which,
and I

always failed to stress enough in our writings and in regard

are all equally guilty. That is to say, we all laid, and *were


the main emphasis, in the first place, on the *derivation* of

juridical and other ideological notions, and of actions

medium of these notions, from basic economic facts. But in so
doing we

neglected the formal side -- the ways and means by which these

etc., come about -- for the sake of the content. This has
given our

adversaries a welcome opportunity for misunderstandings, of

Barth is a striking example.

Ideology is a process accomplished by the so-called thinker

indeed, but with a false consciousness.

On Tue, Apr 1, 2014 at 9:24 PM, Martin John Packer


Wikipedia attributes the phase to Engels.


On Apr 1, 2014, at 8:13 PM, Douglas Williams


The term false consciousness is from Walter Benjamin in a


Siegfried Kracauer's Die Angestellten, drawing from Marx. The
idea in


is described in terms of alienation and estrangement from



https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1844/manuscripts/ labour.ht


From: Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net>

To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity"

Sent: Tuesday, April 1, 2014 5:14 PM

Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: vygotsky's theory and symbolic

Tom, so far as I know, the term "false consciousness" was

feminists in the 1970s and was never used by Marx, and I


concept is consistent with his ideas, as expressed in the

Feuerbach which you quoted, for example.


-------------------------------------------------------------------- --

*Andy Blunden*


Tom Richardson wrote:

... In the first place, it should be noted that Marx, like


Freud, believed that most of what men consciously think is

consciousness, is ideology and rationalization; that the


of man's actions are unconscious to him.

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