Chris and Lluis,

 

I’m not saying that humans do not have physical qualities that have evolved and 
are a pre-requisite to language.  You describe these in your post below as a 
“…genetic disposition towards certain types of linguistic forms.”.  This could 
include a range of frequencies that our vocal chords can generate and the range 
of frequencies that our ear can hear, as well as this “…bias in the brain…” 
that Chomsky probably refers to as ‘metalanguage’.

 

I believe your claim below that  “Chomsky does make a big distinction between 
the actual languages as spoken by people and the subsequent theories about that 
language made up by the people.” expresses the same idea as I meant when I 
differentiated between spoken language and grammar.

 

…Bill! 



 

From: Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com [mailto:zen_fo...@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of 
ChrisAustinLane
Sent: Tuesday, November 16, 2010 12:15 AM
To: Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com
Cc: <Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com>
Subject: Re: [Zen] Re: FW: Quote from St. Thomas Aquinas

 

  

The most interesting fact that Chomsky discovered is that children learning a 
language have a wide variety of possible mistakes that they never make. I don't 
recall the examples now, but every kids struggles to make certain tricky sounds 
and with subject verb agreement, but linguists have big sets of data from 
recording kids and have found patterns of error that are not once made. This 
evidence of a bias in the brain away from random generation of possible 
sentences is why some guess there is some genetic disposition towards certain 
types of linguistic forms. 

Chomsky does make a big distinction between the actual languages as spoken by 
people and the subsequent theories about that language made up by the people. 

Thanks,
Chris Austin-Lane
Sent from a cell phone

On Nov 15, 2010, at 8:27, <billsm...@hhs1963.org 
<mailto:BillSmart%40HHS1963.org> > wrote:

> Lluis,
> 
> Just THIS! is before language. I assume what Chomsky is referring to as
> 'metalanguage' is just pattern recognition which is a function of our
> discriminating mind. When this function is applied to language I guess it
> could be called 'metalanguage' since it is an attribute that must be present
> to learn language. It would also make sense that this 'metalanguage' could
> be the foundation for grammar, although I still assert that grammar is an
> attempt to cram language into a nice, neat logical framework - and as we all
> know it doesn't actually fit very well. In any language there are a lot of
> exceptions to grammatical rules, and that is because the rules (logical
> structure) do not spring from the language itself, but are imposed upon it.
> 
> So I think, from the way you described Chomsky's theory of language and
> 'metalanguage', that I disagree.
> 
> I also disagree with your statement below that '...direct experience...is
> something that could not be communicated.' It certainly can be
> communicated, although language is not a very good medium for that precisely
> because most languages are dualistically-based.
> 
> I haven't read any Sufi tales, but from the way you described them they
> sound a lot like zen koans. And if that's the case they aren't meant to be
> 'understood' - they are meant to communicate direct experience. As you say
> later in the paragraph, 'No way to explain...When the moment arrives, it is
> there.'
> 
> ...Bill! 
> 
> From: Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com <mailto:Zen_Forum%40yahoogroups.com>  
> [mailto:Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com <mailto:Zen_Forum%40yahoogroups.com> ] On 
> Behalf
> Of Lluís Mendieta
> Sent: Monday, November 15, 2010 10:03 PM
> To: Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com <mailto:Zen_Forum%40yahoogroups.com> 
> Subject: Re: [Zen] Re: FW: Quote from St. Thomas Aquinas
> 
> 
> Hi, Bill
> 
> Well, I am just a chemist, not a linguist.
> But I have been teached the metalanguage theory of Chomsky: all languages
> have a subjacent grammar that brain understand, process and implement,
> making this way that children could produce perfect phrases that they have
> never heard before.
> So, the metalanguage exists before it is placed in the form of grammar.
> Grammar would be the verbalization of the metalanguage. Not after language.
> Just the language (or just this)
> 
> The direct experience I feel that is something that could not be
> communicated.
> Would be maybe like the sufi tales: if you do not understand them, they are
> not for you.
> You feel (even beeing dualistic, I know, but I could not place in other
> way), or you feel not.
> No way to explain. No way to shre. Whe moment arrives, is there.
> 
> Or maybe I am just a plain brick, very far from awareness
> 
> With best wishes
> 
> Lluís
> 
> P.D.: the non dualistic form of the haiku, at least in spanish 
> Rana
> Charco
> Chop!
> 
> would be the lazy westerner form of : there is a frog, and a pond, and the
> frog makes plop (or my mind works this way, at least)
> 
> ----- Original Message ----- 
> From: billsm...@hhs1963.org <mailto:BillSmart%40HHS1963.org>  
> To: Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com <mailto:Zen_Forum%40yahoogroups.com>  
> Sent: Monday, November 15, 2010 4:42 AM
> Subject: !QRE: [Zen] Re: FW: Quote from St. Thomas Aquinas
> 
> 
> Lluis,
> 
> I’m not saying that Westerners, in fact all humans that manifest a
> dualistic, discriminating mind, are tied to subject/object and verbs that
> describe action. That’s a given.
> 
> What I’m saying is that there are forms of English (and I suppose other
> languages) that are utterances free from subject/object/verb, that are not
> restricted by grammar.
> 
> In the example phrases I used below: ‘Hungry!’ and ‘Fire!’, YOU are the one
> who is interjecting the dualism. If I yell ‘Fire!’ or ‘Duck!’ you will
> first just equate the sound to DANGER and react BEFORE you mentally
> reconstruct and augment the sound to ‘I have observed a fire and want to be
> sure you are aware of it.’
> 
> Other non-exclamatory examples are in poetry, especially zen-inspired haikus
> such as Basho's famous haiku in which he attempted to communicate a DIRECT
> EXPERIENCE (Buddha Mind) he had. There are many attempts at translating
> this haiku, and the results show me whether or not the translator was
> translating with his/her discriminating mind or Buddha Mind:
> 
> ORIGINAL JAPANESE
> 
> Furu ike ya
> kawazu tobikomu
> mizu no oto (Basho)
> 
> DUALISTIC/DISCRIMINATING MIND TRANSLATION
> 
> There once was a curious frog
> Who sat by a pond on a log
> And, to see what resulted,
> In the pond catapulted
> With a water-noise heard round the bog. (Alfred H. Marks)
> 
> MIX OF DUALISTIC/DISCRIMINATING MIND AND BUDDHA MIND TRANSLATION
> 
> Into the ancient pond
> A frog jumps
> Water’s sound! (D.T. Suzuki)
> 
> BUDDHA MIND TRANSLATION
> 
> pond
> frog
> plop! (James Kirkup)
> 
> Remember when I posted about what I describe as 'zen talk' and 'talking
> about zen'? The first translation above is 'talking about an experience'.
> The second is a mix, and the third is 'experience talk' - or 'zen talk'.
> 
> The point is that language does have the ability to be used and to
> communicate non-dualistic (no subject/object/verb) experiences. Language
> evolved, not engineered. It is not appropriate to try to superimpose a
> logical structure on an evolved system. The grammatical rules that we
> associate with languages have been developed AFTER-THE-FACT, not CONCURRENT
> with the language. For example humans could speak and communicate very well
> before anyone ever decided to categorize words into nouns, verbs, subjects
> and objects. All this grammar is imposed upon language in an attempt to
> 'understand' language. 'Understand' always means 'impose a logical
> structure'.
> 
> ...Bill!
> 
> From: Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com <mailto:Zen_Forum%40yahoogroups.com>  
> [mailto:Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com <mailto:Zen_Forum%40yahoogroups.com> ] On 
> Behalf
> Of Lluís Mendieta
> Sent: Sunday, November 14, 2010 4:42 PM
> To: Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com <mailto:Zen_Forum%40yahoogroups.com> 
> Subject: Re: [Zen] Re: FW: Quote from St. Thomas Aquinas
> 
> 
> Hi, Bill
> 
> Hungry! has also an implied subject: I am hungry!
> 
> Fire! has also one, "it" : It is in fire! (although could be also "there is
> a fire!" and that would be impersonal, I suppose)
> Ugghhhhh!
> Y only know true impersonals (no subject ) in spanish, catalan and french
> 
> On vende .....
> Se vende botellas ("se venden botellas" is a pasiva refleja, not a true
> impersonal.... That drived me crazy in Bacchaloreat....)
> 
> Seems that westerners are tied to sujects and verbs.
> 
> With best wishes
> 
> Lluís
> ----- Original Message ----- 
> From: billsm...@hhs1963.org <mailto:BillSmart%40HHS1963.org>  
> To: Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com <mailto:Zen_Forum%40yahoogroups.com>  
> Sent: Sunday, November 14, 2010 3:39 AM
> Subject: RE: [Zen] Re: FW: Quote from St. Thomas Aquinas
> 
> 
> Lluis,
> 
> In the example I used ‘Hungry?’ you are correct that the subject (you) is
> implied probably because it is a question. How about ‘Hungry!’; or better
> yet ‘Fire!’?. In the case of ‘Fire!’ there is no subject/object implied –
> just ‘Fire!’, Just THIS!
> 
> It’s interesting to learn that Finnish has a lot of words to define
> relationships.
> 
> …Bill!
> 
> From: Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com <mailto:Zen_Forum%40yahoogroups.com>  
> [mailto:Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com <mailto:Zen_Forum%40yahoogroups.com> ] On 
> Behalf
> Of Lluís Mendieta
> Sent: Saturday, November 13, 2010 4:06 PM
> To: Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com <mailto:Zen_Forum%40yahoogroups.com> 
> Subject: Re: [Zen] Re: FW: Quote from St. Thomas Aquinas
> 
> 
> Hi, Bill
> 
> I beg to differ in two non zen questions
> -Hungry? has the subject implicit. You do not place it, but it is implied.
> The werb in spanish or catalan would be also implicit, so, I suppose same
> in english.
> 
> -finnish is a westerner language. And they have a lot of words to design the
> relationship within family.
> 
> With best wishes
> 
> Lluís
> 
> 
> ----- Original Message ----- 
> From: billsm...@hhs1963.org <mailto:BillSmart%40HHS1963.org>  
> To: Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com <mailto:Zen_Forum%40yahoogroups.com>  
> Sent: Saturday, November 13, 2010 8:09 AM
> Subject: RE: [Zen] Re: FW: Quote from St. Thomas Aquinas
> 
> 
> Anthony,
> 
> I know Thai’s drop subject and sometimes even object all the time, but I
> thought it was just because they, like Westerners, are lazy.
> 
> For example, I could ask you: ‘Are you hungry?’, or I could just ask by
> saying: ‘Hungry?’ (with a rising tone). That's just laziness, or being
> casual in your speech.
> 
> I do think language does reveal the different values of culture. For
> example in Thai there are only 3 tenses: past, present and future; whereas
> there are many, many adjectives and pronouns that are used to specifically
> identify the speaker's relationship with the one addressed. In English
> there are many (27?) verb tenses and very few special pronouns. This I
> think shows that Westerner's value time more than Asians; whereas Asians put
> more importance on personal relationships than time.
> 
> ...Bill!
> 
> From: Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com <mailto:Zen_Forum%40yahoogroups.com>  
> [mailto:Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com <mailto:Zen_Forum%40yahoogroups.com> ] On 
> Behalf
> 
> __________ Information from ESET NOD32 Antivirus, version of virus signature
> database 5618 (20101114) __________
> 
> The message was checked by ESET NOD32 Antivirus.
> 
> http://www.eset.com
> 
> __________ Information from ESET NOD32 Antivirus, version of virus signature
> database 5618 (20101114) __________
> 
> The message was checked by ESET NOD32 Antivirus.
> 
> http://www.eset.com
> 
> __________ Information from ESET NOD32 Antivirus, version of virus signature
> database 5619 (20101114) __________
> 
> The message was checked by ESET NOD32 Antivirus.
> 
> http://www.eset.com
> 
> 
> __________ Information from ESET NOD32 Antivirus, version of virus signature
> database 5619 (20101114) __________
> 
> The message was checked by ESET NOD32 Antivirus.
> 
> http://www.eset.com
> 
> 
> 
> 
> __________ Information from ESET NOD32 Antivirus, version of virus signature
> database 5621 (20101115) __________
> 
> The message was checked by ESET NOD32 Antivirus.
> 
> http://www.eset.com
> 
> 
> __________ Information from ESET NOD32 Antivirus, version of virus signature
> database 5621 (20101115) __________
> 
> The message was checked by ESET NOD32 Antivirus.
> 
> http://www.eset.com
> 
> 
> 
> 
> ------------------------------------
> 
> Current Book Discussion: any Zen book that you recently have read or are 
> reading! Talk about it today!Yahoo! Groups Links
> 
> 
> 





__________ Information from ESET NOD32 Antivirus, version of virus signature 
database 5622 (20101115) __________

The message was checked by ESET NOD32 Antivirus.

http://www.eset.com

Reply via email to