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Re: [xmca] Language, meaning and culture.
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- Subject: Re: [xmca] Language, meaning and culture.
- From: Joseph Gilbert <email@example.com>
- Date: Sun, 2 Aug 2009 20:54:48 -0700
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Andy, Thanks for replying.
It is my understanding that the doctrine among linguists is that
since different words are used to refer to the same things in
different languages, there must be no absolute, universal
relationship between the sounds of words and their "meaning", that
meaning being the things to which they refer. Therefore, linguists
generally hold that the relationship between sound and meaning is
"arbitrary". If we look at relationship between sound and internal
emotive state, a new panorama opens up and we see that there is a
direct and deep relationship between sound a meaning, that meaning
being the emotive states that vocal sounds emanate from and create.
That we are affected by the sounds we vocally produce provides us
with the raw material for a system of assigning meaning to things
simply by naming them. We have nothing other than the affects on us
of our words with which to collectively ascertain the affects on us
of the things that make up our world. We feel the affects of our
vocal sounds internally, intuitively, intimately and with
consistency, and all of us who speak the same language share the same
basic perception of how we are affected by the things of our world.
We process this basic consensus world view through the lens of our
own unique self images.
One can sense the affect of any vocal sound on one by vocalizing
that sound repeatedly while sensing what emotive state/feeling state
that sounds stimulates/suggests. Try the sound of the letter, "R",
"rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr". Or the sound of the letter, "M", "mmmmmmmmmmmm".
Do these sounds conjure up/ suggest any particular state of being?
Try the "A" sound and the the "D" sound. I went through the alphabet,
from a to z when I first discovered this phenomena and is appeared to
me that the sequence of sounds represented by our phonetic alphabet
tells a story. I'd like to know if you discern a story in that
sequence. If so, a story of what?
It may be helpful to note that before the progenitors of we humans
used vocal sounds as words to refer to things outside of ourselves,
we used them to convey emotional states to one another as other
social and somewhat social species do.
On Aug 2, 2009, at 7:59 PM, Andy Blunden wrote:
Joseph, welcome to xmca.
I am no linguist Joseph, but I gathered from reading Saussure that
linguists in his day (100 years ago) did "look for relationships
between sounds and things" because he argued against that idea. But
surely, no linguist has looked at it that way in recent times. Who
do you have in mind? And surely the idea of sounds relating to
emotive states is more relevant to the animal kingdom than culture.
Or am I misunderstanding you?
Joseph Gilbert wrote:
Is our intellectual activity driven by a quest for answers to
specific questions, or is it more like a game or sport we engage
in for the sake of participating in society? What questions do we
ask? I wanted to know why people behave destructively, as they
do. I allowed that question to exist for many years until the
answer became clear. It related to culture.
When we use words, we are making a statement about whatever
things we name. By referring to things vocally, we are, virtually,
informing ourselves of the affect/meaning of those things. The
sounds we utter correlate to emotive states, which we experience
subliminally. Consequently, we associate those emotive-feeling
states with the things to which the sounds refer.
Linguists have been looking for relationships between the
sounds of words and the things to which they refer, and have been,
for the most part, frustrated by that search. Vocal sounds relate
primarily to emotive-feeling states, and only secondarily to the
things to which our words refer. Are we able to discover to what
emotive states each of our vocal sounds refer?
If we would change our human behavior, which is often
misidentified as "human nature", we must address the cultural
values, the unquestioned givens by which we perceive our world.
These givens, these values, our culture, is a result of our language.
I would like to share more of this with youall if you want to
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Andy Blunden (Erythrós Press and Media) http://www.erythrospress.com/
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