Re: [asa] What is life?

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Date: Wed Oct 17 2007 - 08:57:07 EDT

It is interesting you mention language.? Noam Chomsky made a name for himself in proving that all humans have an common grammar across all languages.? The structure of language is inherent, like all our emotions, common across all cultures and societies (instinctive).? The specific symbols (words) of languages and the extra-verbal relationships between those symbols are different (conditioned, learned) one language to the next, but the structure is the same (instinctive).? We've always tried to imagine ourselves as dramatically different from the other animals, but we aren't.? All we are is animals with enormous capacity for conditioned responses (learning, reason).

Hmm, somehow, I still feel like?Noam didn't have to learn Japanese.? Chinese may sound way out
on a limb, and therefore appear to be more difficult. Actually, I still find it easier to invent sentences
in Chinese that are understandable, than many problems I have with Japanese saying the same
thing and having a lot more experience using it regularly.??Of course?reading is quite difficult for
any Asian languages using Chinese characters and cost a huge amount of resource to learn. So
there is a huge literary learning curve as well. But I still find?this Altaic language far less obvious
and intuitive.? There is a supposed?"grammar", but practically,?I've found many such constructions
are largely next to useless.?

Translation programs are really great?if you want?a?good guffaw.

I know I talk at?more of a practical level?as one who struggles with?such things.?Neither am
I any sort of gifted learner by a long shot.? There are plenty of people who pick this stuff up
much quicker.??

But to some extent,?whereas intellectualizing may?give the appearance of a?nice and clean?
and simple picture in the theory course; in the field, it seems a little more "nuanced" from those
convenient textbook examples. Years of battling with language learning?make me less willing
to say much about how I think it works.?

It does seem the tendency to learn language is rather instictive.?Such a tendency would
clearly reflect a selective advantage.? If you want to live, you have to talk.? Still, apart from
God, there is nothing that has any lasting meaning, language or not. It simply is.?

by Grace we proceed,?


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Received on Wed Oct 17 08:58:33 2007

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