Re: [asa] What is life?

From: <mlucid@aol.com>
Date: Thu Oct 18 2007 - 02:42:32 EDT

No doubt I oversimplified the
Chomsky statement for my argument's sake, but the consensus of a common
structure to languages remains, I'm pretty sure.?

>>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.?

The interesting thing about language is that if you don't learn it by a
certain time you lose the window of opportunity.? Feral kids who are
retrieved after age 5 or 6 never can learn a language no matter how
hard you try to teach them.? Even instinct is not static.? I think the same
goes for a lot of emotional aspects of compassion in humans.? If a baby
doesn't get a certain bare minimum of touching or attention (or worse,
gets abused) I think that its psyche can get deprived of the window of
opportunity for associating certain base emotions with the stimulus of
other people and you get sociopaths in some cases.?

>>Still, apart from God, there is nothing that has any lasting meaning, language or not. It simply is.

Amen.?

-Mike
 

 

-----Original Message-----
From: dawsonzhu@aol.com
To: mlucid@aol.com; dfsiemensjr@juno.com
Cc: asa@calvin.edu
Sent: Wed, 17 Oct 2007 7:57 am
Subject: Re: [asa] What is life?

<<

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,?

Wayne

?

?

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Received on Thu Oct 18 02:43:53 2007

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