|From:||William Frank <williamf.frank@xxxxxxxxx>|
|Date:||Sat, 3 Aug 2013 09:19:10 -0400|
In support of Michael B's position, and in opposition to Patrick C's, |
To say, "let us solve the base problem first", as Patrick does, assumes that it is clear that this *is* the most basic problem. Maybe the problem has not been well understood.
It is an unverified presupposition, one that has some evidence against it, I believe, that a human communication is constructed additively from its parts. Rather, there seems to be a simultaneous interpreting of the parts and understanding of the whole, where the whole, and the context, including physical gestures, help us figure out what parts must have been intended, thus helping us in turn get a better sense of the whole. This happens not only at the level of world and sentence meanings, but also at the level of interpreting sounds as phonemes. When you think to figure out what word someone must have meant, this seems to be what you are doing.
Especially if accepting this presupposition requires drawing a sharp line between poetry and "emotionally evocative language" and 'cooperative communication". There is no such sharp line. It is because of this that languages evolve, and that people understand, ,the first time they hear it, new senses of words produced by the linguistically creative groups in a society.
For example, if I say "Michael eats new technologies for breakfast", you could understand this even if you have never heard this metaphor before. The first time you heard such a thing you would have no doubt as to its meaning. This is not poetry, but is its kin, as is all speech. And, to ask you to expand it into 'standard' English, a long and boring replacement would be required. So, I might have said the above for entirely cooperative purposes, not to be "intentionally vague."
Of course, language depends on shared meaning, but it is the tie between the **complete utterances*** of people, and the circumstances in which they have been made and understood, that creates this shared meaning, not the learning of individual words in isolation.
The meanings of words, and different senses of the same word, are also not nicely demarcated from each other. Instead, these meaning are often gradients that are noticed only when the distance between two points is great enough, creating what some call a 'different' sense, and can be blended in a variety of ways. It is this that makes language actually a game that people play. Communicating with people means getting the hang of this game.
[To state this most extremely, I see the rejection of this game view of language as another part of the rejection of human nature, and its eplacement by computer nature, (along, for example, with the view that logics that are not decidable as meaningless or 'useless'), and so ultimately as part of the oppression of people by computers and their servants.]
On Fri, Aug 2, 2013 at 10:38 AM, Patrick Cassidy <pat@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
That is my current focus. People
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