Reflections cont'd

Mark P. Line mark at
Fri Mar 17 21:24:02 UTC 2006

Salinas17 at wrote:
> In response, I only can tenderly carmelize the teacher to whom you
> ventilated in the left column, weedlessly uncondensed.
> That's fine grammar but -- unless you are privileged to know something I
> don't -- it makes absolutely no sense.  One doesn't even have to raise
> observation to the level of discourse to suspect that there was no
> intention to do anything with this sentence but make it grammatical and
> that the words are random.

While that is presumably true in the context of a linguistics mailing
list, I doubt there's much evidence of the same kind of phenomenon in the
populations of mere mortals and their utterances that we purport to study.

> Grammar, naked and by itself, conveys little or no meaning at all, either
> to oneself ("cognitively") or to others, pragmatically.

Grammar, naked and by itself, exists in the same way as the sound of one
hand clapping exists. So you can claim anything at all to be true about it
as an abstraction of your own device, and nobody can say you're wrong.

> That tells us that grammar -- despite everything that you hear otherwise
> -- is not the core of language.

Some models of language have grammar as their core, while others do not.
Both kinds of model can be useful. I didn't know this was an issue here,

-- Mark

Mark P. Line
San Antonio, TX

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