General Semantics (was: Evidence and proof)

RonButters at AOL.COM RonButters at AOL.COM
Tue Mar 6 19:53:52 UTC 2001

I think what the question is about is just what it says, "Most of the
problems of the world could be solved if people truly understood the nature
of language." This sounds to me like the General Semantics Movement,
beginning with Alfred Korzybski's SCIENCE AND SANITY (1933), S.I. Hayakawa's
LANGUAGE IN ACTION (1943), and Wendell Johnson's PEOPLE IN QUANDARIES (1946).
See also the journal ETC. Johnson taught a course in General Semantics for
years at the University of Iowa, where he developed a procedure for treating
severe stuttering using General Semantics. From the dust-jacket of PEOPLE IN
QUANDARIES: The Semantics of Personal Adjustment: "This book is a brilliantly
reasoned study of the ills of present-day society approached from the point
of view that most of our personal and social problems arise out of the nature
of the structure of language." (The original price of the hardback edition
was $3.00!)

In a message dated 3/4/01 4:53:55 PM, JJJRLandau writes:

<< In a message dated 03/04/2001 3:26:49 PM Eastern Standard Time,
RonButters at AOL.COM writes:

> In a message dated 3/3/2001 9:09:53 AM, fitzke at VOYAGER.NET writes:
>  << I have the idea it was
>  > Pei, but I have reread his books and can't find it, so perhaps not. It
>  > goes something like, Most of the problems of the world could be solved if
>  > people truly understood the nature of language. Anyone help? >>
>  Wendell Johnson?

I must have deleted the original message from fitzke at so I have to
respond only to the quotation above.  In Mario Pei's _The Story of Language_
(which I had as a high-school text) there is a least a full chapter
advocating the adoption of a single planet-wide universal language, with some
rather Utopian claims as to the benefits of such.  Is this what was meant?

      - Jim Landau >>

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