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[Xmca-l] Re: no primitive language?



Larry--

Well, of course, Heidegger is another example of the evil men do living
after them. But to tell you the truth, I never understood the good that we
enterred with Heidegger's bones to begin with, and I particularly never
understood the stuff about barrel making and "artifact as tool" vs.
"artifact as object". I always just assumed it was part of his phony
idealization of German peasants, the fixation on "blood and soil" that made
him a Nazi. But I admit that this reading of it is not mine--it's from
Adorno ("The Jargon of Authenticity") and Habermas ("The Philosophical
Discourse of Modernity").

David Kellogg
Hankuk University of Foreign Studies

On 19 March 2015 at 07:00, Larry Purss <lpscholar2@gmail.com> wrote:

> David,
> I could not resist citing you one more time on your conclusion to Saussure:
>
> And getting linguistics right takes a lot more than just one life.
> Saussure "corrected" his brilliant work on historical linguistics by
> utterly turning his back on culture and on history, and in so doing
> invented twentieth century structuralism. In his defense, he did tell his
> wife and his students to burn the mansuscript of his General Course and not
> to publish it; Bally and Sechehaye disobeyed his dying wishes. As Larry's
> article suggests, he tried, too late, to correct his  correction.  And so
> the evil men do lives after them.
>
> David, it is this "reciprocal approach" captured in your commentary that I
> find fascinating.
>
> Now to return to the notion of "tool" and "sign" and "object".
>
> Heidegger has explored this "theme" with his understanding that a "tool"
> [such as a hammer] in its function AS "tool" disappears [or is concealed]
> within the "lived horizon of participating within worlds" He calls this
> "approach" "tool" as  "ready to hand".
>
> Heidigger, however, contrast this "approach" [as tools] to the "approach"
> of making "assertions about tools". THIS assertive mode where we point to
> the tool AS "object" creates a profound shift in how we participate in
> cultural-historical "worlds"  This moving away from understanding artifacts
> AS "tools" and towards approaching these same artifacts AS "objects" is the
> move to artifacts as being "on hand" [in contrast to ready to hand].
>
> Heidegger says there is a profound shift in the meaning of "as"
>
> The objective "as" and the existential-hermeneutical "as".
> If interested this came from page 138 of Richard Palmer's book
> [Hermeneutics].  Palmer reads hermeneutics as historical "responses" to
> previous works or projects. I am interested in Gadamer's "response to
> Heidegger"
>
> Larry
>
>
> On Sat, Dec 27, 2014 at 2:00 PM, David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com>
> wrote:
>
> > Verily, the good men do is oft interred with their bones....  Saussure
> > was a brilliant historical linguist, who made amazing contributions to
> the
> > reconstruction of proto-Indo-european, the language which ties our own
> > tongues to Sanskrit. As part of these contributions, he was faced with
> the
> > task of working out the vowel and consonant system of a language that
> > nobody had spoken for thousands of years. How did he do it?
> >
> > By inventing structuralism. He figured out, quite correctly, that in
> order
> > to be comprehensible, phonological systems had to have perceptible
> > oppositions. So if you had a high front vowel like "i" at one end of your
> > mouth you had to have a low back vowel like "ou" at the other end. By
> > working backwards from the sounds we use today, Saussure was able to
> > reconstruct a whole system of laryngeal contrasts that probably haven't
> > been used in two thousand years. Fifty years AFTER his death, Hittite
> texts
> > were discovered that show that his guess was probably right.
> >
> > Now, here's the mystery. After a brilliant career as a historical
> linguist,
> > Saussure suddenly declared war on history and decided to try to
> construct a
> > linguistics that was, rather like the extant ideas of mathematics, a
> purely
> > abstract and timeless system. Not ony sounds but also words and even
> > grammatical features like tense were to be understood in relation to each
> > other, not in relation to any actual human needs.
> >
> > This turns out to explain the relationship of SOUNDING to WORDING quite
> > well. But as Larry points out (and as Vygotsky points out in his
> discussion
> > of why you can call a dog a cow and a cow a dog but you can't call a
> > blackbird a redwing and vice versa) it is a really terrible way to think
> > about the relationship of WORDING to MEANING. In other words,
> arbitrariness
> > is a good way to talk about phonology, and a terrible way to talk about
> > grammar. There's a very good reason why verbs have tenses and nouns have
> > plurals. You can do it the other way around if you really want (and in
> fact
> > English, unlike Korean, does have the annoying property of using "s" on
> > singular VERBS and then using 's' on plural NOUNS). But not so much and
> not
> > for long: the relationship of wording to meaning is just not conventional
> > in the way that the relationship of wording to sounding is.
> >
> > And that brings us back to Andy's question. We can argue, as Saussure
> did,
> > that there are certain sounds that are "primitive" (Saussure believed
> that
> > laryngeal sounds were energy consuming and died out as a result, and I
> > suppose you could make the same argument for click languages like
> > isiXhosa). But when we make this argument we should be clear that what we
> > are calling "primitive" is really the baroque--a kind of extravagance
> that
> > some societies choose to lavish on language and others prefer to expend
> on
> > furniture. It is much harder to argue that some words are more primitive
> > than others simply because wordings evolve in social settings (anybody
> who
> > has tried to cook Chinese food in an English speaking environment will
> tell
> > you that English, despite its very rich vocabulary for roasting, baking,
> > grilling, etc, is not a good language for frying , while Chinese is
> exactly
> > the opposite, and it's easy to imagine that our vocabulary would be
> rather
> > primitive for describing hunting conditions in the Kalahari). And at the
> > level of grammar, which is by its very nature systemic, this argument is
> > simply impossible.
> >
> > Here is the kernel of truth in Chomsky's idea that all languages, on an
> > abstract level, have the same grammar, and Derrida's comment that we all
> > speak only one language but the language we speak is not one. As Butzkamm
> > puts it, you learn language exactly once; it just takes your whole life
> to
> > get it right.
> >
> > And getting linguistics right takes a lot more than just one life.
> > Saussure "corrected" his brilliant work on historical linguistics by
> > utterly turning his back on culture and on history, and in so doing
> > invented twentieth century structuralism. In his defense, he did tell his
> > wife and his students to burn the mansuscript of his General Course and
> not
> > to publish it; Bally and Sechehaye disobeyed his dying wishes. As Larry's
> > article suggests, he tried, too late, to correct his  correction.  And so
> > the evil men do lives after them.
> >
> > David Kelllogg
> > Hankuk University of Foreign Studies
> >
> >
> > On 28 December 2014 at 05:23, <lpscholar2@gmail.com> wrote:
> >
> > > I wrote out a section of an article by Franson Manjali exploring the
> > > *social* and the *cognitive* in Saussure’s understanding of language.
> It
> > > may add to this conversation on the lexical and the grammatical aspects
> > of
> > > language. It is only one page I quoted but the article is fascinating
> > > exploring the themes of more and less arbitrary systems of language and
> > its
> > > regularity.
> > >
> > > Annalisa, the beginning of the article explores Saussure’s debt to the
> > > Vedic scholars of language.
> > >
> > >
> > > The article is published at [Texto! Volume XVll, number 3, (2012). I
> > could
> > > add more if others are interested, or the linguists among us could
> answer
> > > Franson Manjali reading of the *social*
> > >
> > > Larry
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > Sent from Windows Mail
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > From: Martin John Packer
> > > Sent: ‎Saturday‎, ‎December‎ ‎27‎, ‎2014 ‎3‎:‎57‎ ‎AM
> > > To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > David, I know you know more about this than I know....  but the debate
> > > today centers on the Pirahã, no? Do they have color terms? Do they have
> > > number terms? Do they have recursion?
> > >
> > > Martin
> > >
> > > On Dec 27, 2014, at 5:35 AM, David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com>
> wrote:
> > >
> > > > Well, of course Carol's really right, Andy. We need to say what we
> mean
> > > by
> > > > primitive. Does it mean that the language is historically young? In
> > that
> > > > case, the most primitive language is probably modern Hebrew. Does it
> > mean
> > > > that the language is grammatically simple? Which aspect of the
> grammar?
> > > >
> > > > Let's take case, since this is Vygotsky's model for linguistic
> > complexity
> > > > in the Lectures. Annaluisa will tell you about Sanskrit's eight
> cases;
> > > > modern Tamil has seven; Greek and Latin had about six. Tsez, in the
> > > > mountains of the Caucasus, has 64 cases (mostly locatives).
> > > >
> > > > English is probably the most primitive languages in the world from
> this
> > > > point of view; it has a distinction between "I" and "me" and "he" and
> > > "him"
> > > > but that's about it.
> > > >
> > > > David Kellogg
> > > > Hankuk University of Foreign Studies
> > > >
> > > >
> > > >
> > > >
> > > >
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > On 27 December 2014 at 19:14, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net>
> wrote:
> > > >
> > > >> Thanks, Carol. :)
> > > >> I am OK from here then.
> > > >> Much appreciated.
> > > >> Andy
> > > >>
> > ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> > > >> *Andy Blunden*
> > > >> http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
> > > >>
> > > >>
> > > >> Carol Macdonald wrote:
> > > >>
> > > >>> Syntax, semantics. pragmatics, phonology, discourse orientation:
> they
> > > >>> just give their own version of these aspects.
> > > >>>
> > > >>> On 27 December 2014 at 12:10, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net
> > <mailto:
> > > >>> ablunden@mira.net>> wrote:
> > > >>>
> > > >>>    Thanks, Carol.
> > > >>>    Can those "key characteristics" be given in a few lines?
> > > >>>    Andy
> > > >>>    ------------------------------------------------------------
> > > >>> ------------
> > > >>>    *Andy Blunden*
> > > >>>    http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
> > > >>>    <http://home.pacific.net.au/%7Eandy/>
> > > >>>
> > > >>>
> > > >>>    Carol Macdonald wrote:
> > > >>>
> > > >>>        Andy
> > > >>>
> > > >>>        It's true.  Languages all share key characteristics.
> > > >>>
> > > >>>        Carol
> > > >>>
> > > >>>        On 27 December 2014 at 12:02, Andy Blunden <
> ablunden@mira.net
> > > >>>        <mailto:ablunden@mira.net> <mailto:ablunden@mira.net
> > > >>>        <mailto:ablunden@mira.net>>> wrote:
> > > >>>
> > > >>>            I have heard, and I believe it to be the case, that
> there
> > > >>>        is no
> > > >>>            such thing as a "primitive language."
> > > >>>            I am not talking about the "language" of children raised
> > in
> > > >>>            isolation, or the "home sign" of deaf children, I mean
> > > >>>        among the
> > > >>>            languages of actual historical peoples.
> > > >>>            I would just appreciate that if this is wrong, could
> > > >>>        someone on
> > > >>>            this list who knows about this kind of thing disabuse
> me.
> > > >>>            Otherwise I will assume this to be factual.
> > > >>>
> > > >>>            Thanks
> > > >>>            Andy
> > > >>>            --            ------------------------------
> > > >>> ------------------------------------------
> > > >>>            *Andy Blunden*
> > > >>>            http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
> > > >>>        <http://home.pacific.net.au/%7Eandy/>
> > > >>>            <http://home.pacific.net.au/%7Eandy/>
> > > >>>
> > > >>>
> > > >>>
> > > >>>        --         Carol A  Macdonald Ph D (Edin)
> > > >>>        Developmental psycholinguist
> > > >>>        Academic, Researcher,  and Editor Honorary Research Fellow:
> > > >>>        Department of Linguistics, Unisa
> > > >>>
> > > >>>
> > > >>>
> > > >>>
> > > >>>
> > > >>> --
> > > >>> Carol A  Macdonald Ph D (Edin)
> > > >>> Developmental psycholinguist
> > > >>> Academic, Researcher,  and Editor Honorary Research Fellow:
> > Department
> > > of
> > > >>> Linguistics, Unisa
> > > >>>
> > > >>>
> > > >>>
> > > >>>
> > > >>
> >
>