Emergence and epiphenomena (5)

Rob Freeman lists at chaoticlanguage.com
Tue Mar 7 01:27:54 UTC 2006

Hi Richard,

I'll give you the concise answers. If you want me to expand more on them I can 
do that too.

Give me some idea what kind of a perspective you are approaching the problem 
from and I can probably be more clear.

On Monday 06 March 2006 11:44, Cameron, Richard wrote:
> Hi folks, I find the following comments from Rob Freeman very interesting.
> "...you must also allow for the possibility of discontinuous change.
>  What evolves gradually is the corpus of usage. Grammar is in a state of
>  constant, discontinuous change. It is that which is responsible for the
>  novelty of syntax."
>     A question or two:
>     What do you mean by discontinuous change?

Something like what you get in a kaleidoscope. An instantaneous shift from one 
pattern to another.

>     How would you know that "Grammar is in a state of constant,
> discontinuous change."?

Discontinuous change from sentence to sentence. That is just syntax.

We have no other way of explaining syntax.

Also, multiple inconsistent grammars are what we see (even at a level of 
considerable abstraction from raw syntax.) The plethora of contradictory 
labelling systems with which linguistics is plagued suggest that perhaps no 
single complete system is to be found. (That the true system of language just 
finds one or other contradictory order from moment to moment.)


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