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[Xmca-l] Re: Vowels Are From Venus



David, why do you say Chinese language doesn't differentiate vowels and
consonants? In what way?

James

On 29 October 2017 at 00:27, David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com> wrote:

You notice that James gives us two antithetical couplets, each of four
> syllables (Chinese, like child protolanguage, doesn't differentiate vowels
> and consonants).
>
> 炉火纯青
> 出神入化
>
> Lú huǒ chún qīng  (the fire of the furnace burns a pure green hue)
> Chū shén rù huà (The god emerges and merges, comes out and goes in)
>
> I haven't actually rendered the feeling that a Chinese person feels on
> hearing these expressions,
> any more than the words "consummate" or "superb" communicate the thought.
>
> For one thing, my translation is too labored and literal; a a Chinese
> person doesn't analyze so literally and the imagery is largley
> "automatized" rather than visualized.
> For another, the four character line has a history that goes all the way
> back to the Book of Songs (11th C BCE) and all the way up to the
> antithetical couplets peasants put on their doorways as Spring Festival in
> the the countryside
>
> (But James is right: the idea of antithetical couplets is a kind of natural
> dialectic built into the Chinese language.
> Somedays, like today, I find it that it influences the way I write in
> English.)
>
> David Kellogg
>
>
>
> On Sun, Oct 29, 2017 at 6:21 AM, James Ma <jamesma320@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> > I often find it interesting to read David’s words, good and catalytic to
> > me.
> >
> > I’ve been working on the Peirce-Vygotsky project and Peirce’s idea of
> final
> > logical interpretant which I take to be a qualitative transformation,
> > perhaps equivalent to “a dialectical leap”. To me, this transformation is
> > not only attributable to an accrued quantitative change but also bears
> > itself the heritage of all the earlier qualitative changes. So, the
> > resultant final logical interpretant encapsulates both qualitative and
> > quantitative changes.
> >
> > By the way, on the face of it, “a dialectical leap” is a more congenial
> and
> > customary concept to most Chinese people (from Mainland) due to
> historical
> > reasons.
> >
> > In a stage drama, I agree with David that an actor’s privileged access
> is a
> > real problem for him. This privileged access will have to be calibrated
> or
> > attuned to a dialectical leap in such a way that the actor needs to make
> a
> > choice from the plenitude of signs that are constantly on the move both
> > consciously and subliminally. However, in the case of Peking opera, a
> > dialectical leap is far more complex since there is more to it. The actor
> > is involved in an organic combination of vocal performance, acrobatics
> and
> > dance etc. Perhaps, dialectical leap is not quite a right word to reflect
> > what is perceived as the essence of Peking opera: 炉火纯青 consummate, and
> 出神入化
> > superb.
> >
> > James
> >
> >
> > *James Ma*  *https://oxford.academia.edu/JamesMa
> > <https://oxford.academia.edu/JamesMa>   *
> >
> >
> > On 28 October 2017 at 00:26, David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com> wrote:
> >
> > > I've always been restless with the idea that language is a
> > self-organizing
> > > system, or that it has a "fractal" structure in the sense of
> > > the "self-similarity" we find in a fern leaf--the same structure at
> every
> > > level. I suppose my impatience is ideological: I believe language
> > > organization is semantically driven (and semantic structure is a
> > > realization/transformation of some of the structures found in
> contexts).
> > So
> > > I don't think that vowels and consonants organize themselves into
> > syllables
> > > without human intentions, nor do I think that syllables will form words
> > > unless somebody makes them do it. As for grammar, it seems to me that
> to
> > > expect that even the very limited grammar found in this paragraph you
> are
> > > reading should somehow be "thrown up" by the words I am using and their
> > > elective affinities is a little like expecting medieval cathedrals to
> be
> > > thrown up by the mutual attraction of the stones that compose them.
> > >
> > > Yes, I know. Consonants are what happen in the absence of vowels (at
> the
> > > ends of vowel phrases). Vowels are what happen at the ends of
> consonants.
> > > As soon as you have breath, vocal cord vibration, and a beginning and
> an
> > > end to it, you have the primitive structure (Optional Consonant)
> > Mandatory
> > > Vowel (Optioinal Consonant), and from this we can derive all the
> possible
> > > syllable structures of any language. You can do the same trick at any
> > level
> > > of language: If you have a morpheme like "work" or "play" you can add a
> > > bound morpheme to either end ("re~" and/or "~ed"),and if you have a
> > clause
> > > like "Work!" you can add a bound clause to either end ("If you are so
> > > willing~" and/or "so as to enrich yourselves!") and the existence of
> xmca
> > > itself shows how this principle works on units above the clause--Mike's
> > > last post is not really intelligible without my preceding one, and mine
> > is
> > > not really intelligible without James's, etc.
> > >
> > > But I'm not talking about the various forms of language, potential and
> > > real; these are of course the affordances of the stuff of which
> language
> > is
> > > made, just as the limits of what you can do on a canvas has something
> to
> > do
> > > with the consistency of the paint. I'm talking about what people
> actually
> > > do and not just what they may or might do. So for example when we look
> at
> > > "To be or not to be" or at the speeches we find in "Shajiabang" or
> even,
> > as
> > > Mike suggests, at the language of everyday life, we find that vowels
> tend
> > > to carry the feeling of what we say (that's why they are elongated
> > > in tonics and why they are directed in tonality). Consonants, on the
> > other
> > > hand, work better for the nuances of thinking. That's why we sing the
> > > vowels, but spell with consonants; why Ophelia says "Oh what a noble
> mind
> > > is here o'erthrone!" but Hamlet says "Nymph, in thy orisons be all my
> > sins
> > > remembered!". And so once again we find that feeling and thinking are
> > both
> > > linked and distinct, to say the which is surely to say no more and no
> > less
> > > than to say that they are joined/separated by a dialectical leap.
> > >
> > > David Kellogg
> > >
> >
>