Rule-List Fallacy

jess tauber phonosemantics at
Thu Jun 19 19:13:14 UTC 2008

Perhaps a look at the history of manufacturing could be useful. Mass production. Divergent parts and process standardization replacing convergent unique productions made out of whatever tailored to individuals, blueprints replacing master builders' mental images, standard training and specialization of the workforce versus apprenticeships and generalized skills, warehousing, etc. (and parallels in management, purchases/sales, advertizing?). Automation too.

Mass production revolutionized the economics, speed of production, interchangability, etc., but companies eventually learned that, given a choice, customers prefer the personal touch, not one-size-fits-all. How to balance needs versus wants, for both producer and consumer? Multiple but fixed choices? Where in the hierarchy from parts to wholes?

Looking across the spectrum of language types and their cyclic evolution might we see parallelisms to the above? 

And of course there are also bioinformatic parallels- genome vs. proteome, code vs. cellular memory, and all the interesting regulatory mechanisms mediating- also with different balance points depending on genetic 'type'.

Jess Tauber
phonosemantics at

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