Language and "Self-Expression" (2)

Salinas17 at Salinas17 at
Mon Apr 30 04:54:16 UTC 2007

In a message dated 4/29/07 11:35:06 AM, wilcox at writes:
<< Hmmm... 
"'Self-expression' means a form-to-meaning mapping that encodes information 
where the speaker had no intent to communicate with another."

Somehow, I can't quite imagine a musician or dancer saying such a thing. >>

Sherman - I think this use of the term "self-expression" is very different 
than the way it's commonly used these days.  

I believe (but am not sure) that Chomsky got the term from Descartes, who 
used it to refer to a non-communicative way to use language.  I also think that 
this use of "self-expression" for Descartes was in reference to the "internal 
dialogue" that he described in his famous Discourse and elsewhere.

In that sense it doesn't involve speech or any other kind of "external" 
communication.  It's basically "thinking" or talking to oneself in one's head, and 
not anything anyone else can share in.

Aya, I believe, is using self-expression to include vocalization or other 
public "access," if I understand him correctly.  I'm in no way saying that his 
definition is incorrect, but it seems to be different.

It may be worth noting that Descartes appears to give no indication whether 
he self-expressed in Latin or French.  He wrote in both languages.

Steve Long

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