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Occidental culture

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If a language has a high closeness - a high density - or a high frequency of related words (lexemes, sememes, morphemes), then it has also a high probabiltiy for being very creative in philosophy / science / technique/ etc., but if a language has a low closeness - a low density - or a low frequency of related words (lexemes, sememes, morphemes), then it has also a low probability for being very creative in philosophy / science / technique etc..

Each language has its own character because of its forms, its structures, its functions, its “laws”, its rules, its grammar and so on. But language in general has its own character because of its forms, its structures, its functions, its “laws”, its rules, its grammar and so on - just like - for example - mathematics and philosophy. You can hardly explain e.g. mathematical or linguistic forms, structures, functions, “laws”, rules, grammar by using e.g. physics or chemistry; and you can also hardly explain mathematical or linguistic forms, structures, functions, “laws”, rules, grammar by using e.g. psychology or sociology. But you can do it very well, very effectively, very successfully by using mathematics or linguistics.

So you can hardly explain what thoughts or words about by using psychology or sociology.


1) Grammar refers not only to linguistic systems, but also to mathematical systems, and to semiotic systems.
2) Grammar also refers to a language as a whole system, and to its history, to the contacts with other languages, to etymology / derivation.
3) Grammar refers to texts, sentences (=> syntax), referemes, representemes, sememes, words, lexemes, morphemes, phonemes, graphemes, and other forms, structures, and functions of language.

So words belong as well to a grammar as other language forms, structuers and functions.

So words lead to tendencies in thinking, different thoughts, and so on - not only because words belong to the grammar of a language, a linguistic system, but also because of their history, their etymology / derivation. If you have many related words, words of the same language, then you know their linguistical relaitionship, including their logical realtionship, very well. You can work with them very well and effectively. Foreign words must be translated, even then when they have belonged to your own language for many centuries. This foreign words have no or only little relationship to the words of your own language. And this has consequences, and not only linguistic consequences, but also logical consequences, thus philosophical consequences.

I am not saying that languages with many foreign words are generally not convenient for thinking, different thoughts, and so on, but languages with many foreign words are less convenient for thinking, different thoughts, and so on. This disadvantage can be compensated by borrowing more and more foreign words, but it can never be changed into an advantage. So „pure“ languages have an advantage compared with “mixed” languages. But remember before you think I would like to rail against the English language: In some cases - for example in the case of sememes and in the case of some syntactic structures and functions - the Englsih language is not so „mixed“ as it is in the other cases. So in some cases the English language is the most Germanic language of all Germanic languages and in other cases it is the less Germanic language of all Germanic languages

Linguistic forms, structures, functions influence thinking, thoughts, definitions, concepts, and so on. So linguistic influences philosophy, science, and so on. This influence is often underestimated, but you only have to remember or to think of a child who is asking in order to get knowledge. Speaking and thinking or information / language and science / philosophy are very closed to each other, work very closely with each other, so that one can say that they influence each other in two directions.


Language is more than sound, not merely or not primarily sound.


Animal “languages”are very different to human languages, and this fact has always been clear to scientists or philosophers. Animals use language in a too much different way than humans do. Language is not only a physiologic phenomenon, it is a lingiuistic system, and this linguistic system is typical for human beings. Human language is so very much different to animal “languages”, that both became two language systems during the evolution. Human language is primarily a very much single language, a language by itself, a language system on ist own.


Languag did not begin with sound, it began with soundless signs, with chemical signs.


Languages started with signs (cp. semiotic), the transition of semiotic signs to the first lingusitic signs was the beginning of the language in that sense we can use the word »language« very generally. The sound started later. Sound is not necessary for language, but an advantage, as all human languages indicate. Primitive animals do not need any sound for their language, they use a very primitive language, a chemical language.


If we want to talk about language seriously, we have to define the word “language” in order to prevent misunderstandings and unnecessary disputes. Language in general is very much more than human language, but human language is the greatest one. All the so-called “progress” of human beings is based on the language of human beings. It's just the human language which led to the difference between the ancestors of the human beings and the human beings. That was the beginning of human language, the larynge sank which caused a very complex phonetic sound, the brain grew in an exponential degree. So one can say that the phonetical sound was important for human beings (=> their language development) and for their very young children (=> their language acquisition) and also has been being important for very young children (=> their language acquisition). But phonetical sound was not important for the general language, because in the beginning of general language there were only chemical signs - at that time there was no possibility for any development of sound.


In any case:

One has to have electric transmitter, for example: nerves.

Without logic consciousness makes no sense because there must be a construction of a logical relationship for the consciousness, even also when it is merely an imagination. Without logic language makes also no sense. But what about logic? Does logic make sense without consciousness? No. Does logic make sense without language? Probably yes. A very primitive bacterium somehow “knows” what to do in order to survive, but probably does not need a language (note: language does not necessarily always mean „human language“, but also “language for all beings”).

Another consideration:

Luxury.

If we consider the principle „luxury“, we come to other results: in that case namely the language came perhaps first because the sense behind it was simply the luxury from which other phenomena arose, e.g. logic. So the grunt (as an example) has only a meaning behind it because of the luxury of grunts.

Referring to the German scientist Paul Alsberg (cp. „Das Menschheitsrätsel“, 1922) the German philosopher Peter Sloterdijk once said (in: Geo - Wissen, September 1998, S. 43-47): “The human beings are descended from the throw” (translated by me) and “human beings have no coat / fur / hide / pett anymore because they are luxury beings” (translated by me), no beings of adaptation to their environment (cp. Darwin and Darwinism), but on the contrary: beings of alienation, of insulation (cp. isles and islands). Human language, human sexuality, human emotions ... etc. are possibly caused by luxury. But what about language in general then?


One of my fields of study has been linguistics (degree: Magister) and language acquisition and language development - both are not the same (!) - was the theme of my diploma thesis. Sound is one of the high leveled kinds of language, thus it was NOT the beginnig kind of language.


Chomsky is a Leibnizian, a Kantian, a Humboldtian. He says what G. Wilhelm Leibniz (1646-1716), Imanuel Kant (1724-1804) and F. Wilhelm C. C. F. von Humboldt (1767-1835) have said a very long time before him.

Leibniz, Wolff, Kant - that's the line from Leibniz to Kant (with some more philosophical„stations“ and persons between them, for example Martin Knutzen) which leads to many other lines, amongst others to Wilhelm von Humboldt. Why I am mentioning Wilhelm von Humboldt? Because of the fact that you mentioned Chomsky. Chomsky's linguistic theories are based on the philosophy and especially on the ideas of Leibniz and especially of Wilhelm von Humboldt (Neu-Idelaismus - New-Idealism). Generally it may be right to say that he is at first a Kantian, then a Leibnizian, and then a Humboldtian, but in some aspects (see above: linguistics) it is reverse: at first a Humboldtian, then a Leibnizian, and then a Kantian. Let's say he is a rationalist and idealist.


According to linguists language is more than merely a “sensing scheme” or a tool of behaviour. And I think the linguists are right. The function you mentioned are existent anyway. But according to many (not all!) technicians, or materialists, or behaviourists, there is nothing existent beyond their technical, or material, or behavioural “world”. And I think that's wrong.


There is an interdependence between language and logic. But which of both came first? Chomsky and Pinker say: “language”.


Language, language development, language acquisition ....

A) Language (a) in general and (b) in particular.

B) Language development (a) in general and (b) in particular.

C) Language acquisition (a) in general and (b) in particular.

D) Human language (a) in general and (b) in particular.

E) Human language development within (a) evolution and (b) history (especially of the different cultures).

F) Human language acquisition relating to the (a) first language and (b) second (foreign) language(s).

G) Future of language (A-F).

Explanation:

Aa) What language in general and actually means, also and especially according to philosophy / science.
Ab) What language in particular means, also and especially according to philosophy / science.
Ba) What language development in general and actually means,also and especially according to philosophy / science.
Bb) What language development in particular means, also and especially according to philosophy / science.
Ca) What language acquisition in general and actually means, also and especially according to philosophy / science.
Cb) What language acquisition in particular means, also and especially according to philosophy / science.
Da) What human language in general and actually means, also and especially according to philosophy / science.
Db) What human language in particular means, also and especially according to philosophy / science.
Ea) What human language development within evolution means, also and especially according to philosophy / science.
Eb) What human language development within history means, also and especially according to philosophy / science.
Fa) What human language acquisition relating to the first language means, also and especially according to philosophy / science.
Fb) What human language acquisition relating to the second (foreign) language(s) means, also and especially according to philosophy / science.
G) What the future of language means, also and especially according to philosophy / science.

So A), B), C) refer to the language in general and in particular, D), E), F) refer to human language (what we usually mean when we say “language”) as well in general and in particular as within evolution and history, and F) refers again to the language in general and in particular.


******

“S”, “NP”, “VP”, “PP”, “N”, “V”, “Prep”, “Det” and others are part of the synatx tree (diagramm, a.k.a. “phrase marker”) which belongs to Chomsky’s “Transformational Generative Grammar” (“TGG”).

** S = Sentence
NP = Noun Phrase
VP = Verbal Phrase
PP = Prepositional Phrase
N = Noun
V = Verb
Prep = Preposition
Det = Determiner

The resulting sentence could be: “The dog ate the bone”. Such a tree diagram is also called a phrase marker. They can be represented more conveniently in text form, (though the result is less easy to read); in this format the above sentence would be rendered as:
[S [NP [D The ] [N dog ] ] [VP [V ate ] [NP [D the ] [N bone ] ] ] ]


It is in fact impossible to show or even prove respectively disprove with physical means and methods what physics is; that is only possible with language and with philosophy. This is roughly that what Heidegger once said in an interview.


If you will “square the circle” someday, then those who have the power to determine or even dictate the relations between humans and their language, especially its semantics, will probably change the definition of “circle” and the definition of “square”.

**

But „someday never comes“, said John Fogerty (**).

Impossible?


What do you think about the future of the translators?


Language is the competence to form infinte linguistic terms with a finite inventory of linguistic forms. It has much to do with thoughts, mentality, conceptions, beliefs, imaginations, conventions, experiences, awareness, knowledge, information, communication ... and so on. It is such a complex system that one could say that machines could never reach this high competence that humans have. But is it not merely a question of time whether machines will be able to use language like humans do?


English is not a very good example when it comes to understand any of all kinds or the linguistic reference. There are languages with a grammar that shows clearly all kinds of reference between the linguistic forms because the linguistic deep structure is more noticeable / distinguishable in that languages than (for example) in the English language. The linguistic deep structure can be learned by machines as well as knowledge and experience.


Is translation a insurmountable problem for machines? Are machines not going to translate more effectively than humans?


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