Reflections on Grammaticalization, Epiphenomena, etc....

Mark P. Line mark at
Wed Mar 15 19:28:40 UTC 2006

Alexander Gross wrote:
> Under these circumstances, it is not at all surprising that a far larger
> truth about language has gone largely unexamined during the same time
> period.
> Namely that language--any language, all language--may not truly be a
> system of communication at all but functions in large measure as a part
> of our biological defense system, intended not so much to inform us about
> the nature of reality but to blind us and protect us from that reality
> whenever it becomes necessary.

Perhaps not so much to blind and protect us, but to make reality[1]
intelligible (whatever the cost). Making reality intelligible does have
the common *side-effect* of blinding us to and protecting us from the
reality (or lack thereof) we ostensibly understand, but the distinction is
important enough to influence the quality of my nightly sleep.

(As an aside, I'd note the teleological demon that crept into Alexander's
language above: I don't think our biological defense system has any
"intended" functions; it just has the functions that it has.)

-- Mark

[1] Alternatively, to create that reality -- if you choose not to
postulate that there's a reality out there that could be made intelligible
in the first place.

Mark P. Line
San Antonio, TX

More information about the Funknet mailing list