From RationalWiki
Jump to: navigation, search
Icon language.svg

This Language related article has been awarded BRONZE status for quality. It's getting there, but could be better with improvement. See RationalWiki:Article rating for more information.


I'm trying to think of the pseudoscience link. Non verbal communication perhaps?--BobSpring is sprung! 17:01, 1 February 2011 (UTC)

I'm pretty sure there's a wide variety of language related quackery, but It's the evolutionary aspect I'll be putting my focus on though. it's conveniently related to my thesis. There's also the potential to discuss the subjective nature of language in political discourse, but it was mainly the first one that made me decide an article on language was definitely on mission. --Danfly (talk) 17:20, 1 February 2011 (UTC)
George Lakoff's Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things: What Categories Reveal about the Mind (Chicago 1987) points at work disproving the validity of classical theories of truth (as a correspondence of language with "the real world.") I don't remember it making much mention of rhetorical uses of language, though, which is where political discourse would sit. Certainly many logical fallacies rely on (the abuse of) language for their casuistic effectiveness. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 18:49, 1 February 2011 (UTC)

"Evolution of laguange"[edit]

I removed the line suggesting that "most linguists" do not think animal "language" is related to human language. I've not only never heard that, it goes directly against the standard evo model that language does not just "appear out of the blue" with our mapping systems, but must come from more primitive mapping systems found not only in our closest living ancestors but also a wealth of new information that is creeping in about crows, elephants and dolphins specifically.--Sun mowse.pngEn attendant Godot 14:29, 23 June 2011 (UTC)

I added a couple paragraphs about the genetic basis for the language faculty based on my foggy memories of a course a few years ago. Please fix if I'm mistaken; I assume that certain people here know much more about this than I, but I can expand on this a bit somewhere if nobody else wants to. It's perhaps a bit out of place in the "creationism" section -- a page on media reports about a "Language gene" and related topics might be useful. --MarkGall (talk) 16:09, 24 June 2011 (UTC)
I don't think there was ever a line suggesting that 'most' linguists do not think animal language is related to human language. I assume you are referring to this sentence though: while the term 'animal language' is used, MANY linguists do not consider the underlying processes of any other form of animal communication to be related to human language. You can find linguists with that point of view here , here and here. Furthermore, the suggestion that the underlying processes are unrelated does not mean that they can't be traced way back to an original 'signaling gene', but that they are structurally distinct and different approaches may have evolved independently. Even systems that seem to share a number of significant traits could be the result of convergent rather than linear evolution. That said, I really don't have a problem with your edit. I just dislike how you represented it here. Your work on this article has been great so far. --Danfly (talk) 20:01, 26 June 2011 (UTC)

Lakoff - grins[edit]

I hated him. but not cause of his theories. for a guy entrenched in language, I figured his writing style would be richer. WFDT was 400 pages of me wanting to bash he and Johnson every night. That said, what i was trying to communicate about "clearly" was not the kinds of subtality of meaning and intruded meaning of L&J, but more the idea that the distinction between language and just "primitive gestures" you might make when visiting a foreign country and not speaking their language. The symbol must have some agreement of use by the community. (by the way, my emphesis is on Deaf communication, and much of the direction I write from on language are the new studies that suggest the building blocks of language might well have appeared before spoken language, due to the nature of how we actually think. which has been radically changed by talking to native signers about what is happening in their minds at they "think".)--Sun mowse.pngEn attendant Godot 14:40, 23 June 2011 (UTC)

WFDT was my introduction to him. Somebody mentioned it on a fiddling forum; she had to read it for some uni course or other. Odd, since her concentration was Irish traditional music, studying with Siobhan Peoples, but I digress... I managed to wade through the whole thing, retaining the odd bit here and there. Kindly allow me to scratch around in my beard and proclaim that in my day, the only equipment a linguist needed was a lot of shoe boxes filled with index cards.
I imagine it is tough to strike a balance between listing dry but nuanced particulars and grand thrilling novel generalizations. Just now I am almost done with The Political Mind: Why You Can't Understand 21st-Century American Politics with an 18th-Century Brain, which I plan to pass along to a kid who is interning in the mayor's office before going off to college in the fall. I think she can make use of it; smart and proactive, this one fought for, and won, the right to pitch on the boys' hardball team in high school.
Political Mind has less of the yawnsome particulars, but enough to give the reader a sense that the author does indeed have some empirical backup for what he says. I believe it is a must-read for anyone as distressed as moi about the success of the authoritarian "conservative" message machine in recent years, and looking for countervailing strategies. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 15:14, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
I'm not sure how "Old" old is, but I spent the better part of my graduate studies goign through my profs um - what are they called - tick cards for a computer? punch cards? where he'd some how encoded all of this data about a particular lakota conversation onto these thousands of cards for stasticial study. (guess who got to do the statistical study when it was converted to our unix). But i'm in that "where is the card catalogue?" and "what do you mean you don't keep Science Citation Index in hard form" school myself.
Anyhow, I'm still taken aback that both George and Noam got into such heavy political theory in the last 10 years. I've wanted to read either of them, but I'm so not into politics, that i don't pick up anything either has written in the modern era. bad Me. bad bad Me. --Sun mowse.pngEn attendant Godot 15:19, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
We called em punch cards (or IBM cards) in the 1960s, and used magic markers to draw diagonal lines across the top of decks we didn't want scrambled. I don't think the cards in the shoe boxes had any holes in them; just scribbled notes, atoms of info, if you will. I still like paper for maps, but good luck finding any good ones any more. Searchable electronic data is a real time-saver, though. Or does it enable time-wasting? не знаю is Russian for je ne sais pas which means bilmiyorum. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 15:48, 23 June 2011 (UTC)

Point of the article[edit]

This article doesn't really seem focused or, as it stands right now, very RWish. I'm wondering what kinds of things about language (besides stuff that already has separate articles) matter at RW, that we can use to give focus or direction to this article. Pink mowse.pngGodotSome would use a tautology to describe it ("The way things are done around here is the wa 02:56, 28 November 2011 (UTC)


Unless somebody strenuously objects, I'd propose to remove most of the articles about slogans and buzzwords from the category, and keep it only for articles about language or linguistics. - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 04:20, 13 January 2014 (UTC)

Translation impossible?[edit]

  • No piece of writing, especially a poetic or abstract writing, can ever be rendered into another language (or even culture) without errors, assumptions and compromises.

I get what this is trying to say, but this seems floridly overstated. Certainly some sentiments like "my aunt's pen is on the table" can be translated with no significant loss of data, even into languages that use different grammatical structures (calamus materteræ meæ stat in mensa / 我姑姑的筆在桌子上). There is of course a sliding scale, and literary texts inevitably lose something. This does not make translation absolutely impossible, though. - Smerdis of Tlön, LOAD "*", 8, 1. 03:06, 4 July 2017 (UTC)