Reflections on Grammaticalization, Epiphenomena, etc....
cc at cds-web.net
cc at cds-web.net
Wed Mar 15 23:21:19 UTC 2006
Indeed, we see the immunological function of language everytime an antigen is
attacked by antibodies on this list.
Quoting jess tauber <phonosemantics at earthlink.net>:
> I'm not the first to suggest also that in many cases language is used
> as well to stop communications. All sorts of sociolinguistic
> phenomena help identify one as in- or out-member of a group (actually
> multidimensional grading). One doesn't necessarily want an enemy to
> know your plans (or have things changed radically re linguistic
> profiling since 9/11?), and its always good to be forewarned when
> some member of the riff-raff attempts to nose his way into the
> old-boy club.
> Perhaps language might be thought of as a social/technical regulatory
> system, with analogies not only at the genetic level, but also higher
> up, where other parts of the biochemical realm (such as hormones,
> growth factors, etc.) help to integrate or isolate multiple or
> individual compartments/components as needed. Even simple organisms
> such as sea anemonies can recognize each other chemically, as in- or
> out- group. And parasites must evade immune defenses in order to gain
> access to internal resources. The secret handshake can get you past
> the bouncer.
> As for MT, which along with NLAI got me interested in linguistics in
> the first place, my own take is that it is largely a positivistic
> reductionist mindset which is at fault for so many of the failed
> efforts, though giving due weight to the inertia created by
> establishment of powerful theoretical schools. Linguistics came very
> late to the 'scientific' table, and in some ways is still a party
> crasher (much as I am also ironically). Scott DeLancey's 'physics
> envy'. The ghost of Bloomfield haunts the hallowed halls, egged on by
> a gallery of dead Neogrammarian ancestors.
> But is some of this really possibly just symptomatic of the
> relationship linguistics (and increasingly most maturing fields)
> often has with funders, who don't want complex explanations as they
> stare at their watches and their eyes cross? A sort of evolutionary
> selection, where shiny, sparkly promises of simple and quick
> solutions to otherwise natty problems open the dollar floodgates?
> What kind of personal and political psychological makeup predisposes
> one to success in such an environment? How often does self-promoting,
> carefully groomed professional dynamic image prevail over substance
> and ability in the less appealing (and verbose) package?
> It is also interesting that the oversimplification of real complexity
> when dealing with outsiders has its inverse in the
> overcomplexification of simplicity in communications within the field
> itself to help create one's professional persona in the first place.
> A growing problem in many fields, blah blah blah.
> One tries to hope that things don't get as desperate for folks in MT
> as they must have been for that Korean stem-cell scientist who is in
> the news just now. Is it just a matter of time before somebody peers
> behind the curtain and sees the truth about Oz?
> Jess Tauber
> phonosemantics at earthlink.net
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