12
   

Does an ‘individual’ word have meaning…?

 
 
imans
 
  -2  
Reply Thu 7 Feb, 2013 03:58 am
@MattDavis,
u r confusing superiority and inferiority dimensions while knowing that any is only absolutely, so confirmin that u r retarded

conscious has nothing to do with biting, what is totally absolutely individually existing has nothing to do with what is absolutely bc of else existence, so a simple reaction sense

u prove by urself words that u r never conscious then u r retarded as existin conscious form to use words as enough tool to mean anything u know
0 Replies
 
igm
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Feb, 2013 10:03 am
Thanks to everyone for your replies... plenty of food for thought! I don’t feel the need to reply at the moment... please continue.

How about ‘consciousness’, is this subject relevant? Every communication depends on a conscious perceiver of that 'inner language' or ‘outer verbal utterance’. Also the meaning of a word depends on a conscious memory of the past. So, can consciousness be ignored in this discussion?

Just some aspects that I'd be happy for anyone to post their thoughts on... thanks again!
Berty McJock
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Feb, 2013 10:09 am
Quote:
Does an ‘individual’ word have meaning…?


yes
igm
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Feb, 2013 10:18 am
@Berty McJock,
Berty McJock wrote:

Quote:
Does an ‘individual’ word have meaning…?


yes


Why?
Berty McJock
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Feb, 2013 10:20 am
@igm,
both my response, and yours prove it. one was a one word answer, the other a one word question and both were clearly understandable.
igm
 
  2  
Reply Thu 7 Feb, 2013 10:36 am
@Berty McJock,
Berty McJock wrote:

both my response, and yours prove it. one was a one word answer, the other a one word question and both were clearly understandable.

You have read my explanation of what the title to this topic actual means? It’s just below the title i.e. my question needs to be explained as the title doesn’t convey that. My apologies if you have read it.

Can you explain the proof? I believe we need to have others words or pictorial symbols in our memory to know the meaning of each of these single words. So any word in isolation is meaningless.

What does that say about a collection of meaningless words are they only true because of their dependence upon one another?

This is an open question to all. If you believe it is just a reiteration of my OP then just ignore it.
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Feb, 2013 10:39 am
@Berty McJock,
Quote:
Re: igm (Post 5246770)
both my response, and yours prove it. one was a one word answer, the other a one word question and both were clearly understandable.


GREAT response, Berty. I could hear it hitting the nail squarely on its head.
0 Replies
 
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Feb, 2013 10:46 am
It seems to me, igm, that using the reasoning you are using in the OP (to which you referred Berty)...would be like using the following reasoning:

Humans really do not exist, because each atom of the human body was once star-stuff...which itself was once a part of whatever it was that was the singularity that resulted in the Big Bang.

Yes...there is a genesis to everything...and the resultant whatever is the product of extension and progression from that initial thing...

...but to go from that to "therefore no individual word has a meaning (essentially) independent of that genesis and progression"...is a step too far IN MY HUMBLE OPINION.
0 Replies
 
Berty McJock
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Feb, 2013 10:47 am
well the FIRST word alone would have had meaning to the person uttering it, and probably no one else, but in conjunction with gestures and facial expression it would have transmitted (?) it's meaning, in a way that was understandable by A.N. Other.

so yes, in my opinion, it has meaning.

it depends what you mean by meaning...do you mean a strict definition? or the conveyance of an idea?

sorry for being a smartarse in my first post...i thought it was funny anyway Razz
0 Replies
 
Berty McJock
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Feb, 2013 10:53 am
@igm,
when a baby hears it's first word, it doesn't understand it. does this mean it has no meaning? the parent who uttered it certainly understood it.

there is a kind of paradox here. yes individual words have meaning, but there is also a form of recognition involved.

i dont speak chinese. that doesn't mean it's meaningless.

[email protected]#k!! that's actually quite a hard question.

i'm gonna go with, all words have meaning. it's up to the individual to understand them.
0 Replies
 
Berty McJock
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Feb, 2013 11:41 am
i posted this on another thread. i was talking more about consciousness and individual perception, and how everyone physically sees things differently. i'm not going to pretend i know it all. this is how i understood it. i think it fits here. see what you think:

"our experiences of consciousness are different. through association we can recognise other peoples descriptions of their experience. e.g. someone tells you they saw an eagle. you visualise what you see as an eagle. language allows us to share experiences. i watched a BBC Horizon documentary, which i think is on their youtube channel, about colour. we ALL see colour differently, and some cultures are blind to some colours. there is an african tribe that cannot see blue, they see it as orange, or what each of us individually would call orange. i may be wrong about the exact colours. look for the documentary, it explains it better than i ever could lol. but that for me proves that each of us experience consciosness differently. individual personality also points in this direction."

if we each perceive the world in our own unique way, and communicate that through words, with which others can build a picture, then the words inherently have meaning, even if they need explaining, as they are what allow us to visualise someone elses experience. this would have started off as a very basic form of communication, which has evolved over time, but the essential building blocks of language, have to have meaning, or they are useless as descriptors. hope i made sense...i'm starting to confuse myself Razz
MattDavis
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Feb, 2013 05:14 pm
@Razzleg,
MattDavis wrote:
What the theory demonstrates however is not that words don't point to anything in reality. It demonstrates that words only point to things in reality. A proposition may be taken as being true (for instance by how well it matches with experience), but it is not proper to discuss "truth" as disembodied from a proposition. Truth must be grounded in something.

Razzleg wrote:
"Truth statements" do not only refer to themselves, they specifically refer to the wider contexts in which they have been made. "Truth" must be "verified" by a socially anchored method and in a socially recognized environment.
No "truth value" contains within itself the statement claiming to be the fact, except insofar as it it also attaches itself to the method and context of verification. "Truths" never contain a "why" or a "what", but by a "how".

I think we are NOT in disagreement.
Truth as a redundant concept was used as a shorthand for a much more lengthy treatment such as described here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Redundancy_theory_of_truth

Regarding the start of language:
I think that you have a much higher bar for what qualifies as language than I do. For example I don't think that a language necessarily must be able to handle non-concrete thinking.
Razzleg wrote:
Words do not only co-exist on the basis of their own existential strata, but on the basis of alternate or unavailable versions of their own (ontological) combinations, and yet, they only become affective as a isolated, gestural parody of their potential. They exist only insofar as they undermine themselves.

Do you have a reason for assuming a language must have a plurality of ways of expressing something?
vikorr
 
  2  
Reply Fri 8 Feb, 2013 05:50 pm
@igm,
Quote:
Every language started primordially (the language equivalent of the' big bang') with a sound (the first word), then different sounds stood for the 'parts of speech' that would come to describe that first word. Along with other symbols, signs and gestures, they all became interdependent but at the start was the first word just a meaningless sound?

Some words require explanation using other words, but in a primordeal sense, not all words require an explanation (using other words) - just agreement or acknowledgement (which doesn't require words).

If so...

If that (one / many) word (s) was meaningless in its primordial isolation, then is it the same for all words even now, when they are isolated from the signs, symbols, words and gestures that describe them?

You see the issue?

What does this say (if correct) about the concepts that rely on these words if each word in isolation is meaningless?

Err...this is incomplete : from the sender - aren't you using words to describe a concept that pre-exists in your mind? ...and from the receiver, you are relying on the words you (the sender) use holding a similar concept (in the receiver's mind)- something that we know is quite imperfect.


Are you including body language in this discussion? It's unclear.
Razzleg
 
  2  
Reply Sat 9 Feb, 2013 12:20 am
@MattDavis,
MattDavis wrote:

MattDavis wrote:
What the theory demonstrates however is not that words don't point to anything in reality. It demonstrates that words only point to things in reality. A proposition may be taken as being true (for instance by how well it matches with experience), but it is not proper to discuss "truth" as disembodied from a proposition. Truth must be grounded in something.

Razzleg wrote:
"Truth statements" do not only refer to themselves, they specifically refer to the wider contexts in which they have been made. "Truth" must be "verified" by a socially anchored method and in a socially recognized environment.
No "truth value" contains within itself the statement claiming to be the fact, except insofar as it it also attaches itself to the method and context of verification. "Truths" never contain a "why" or a "what", but by a "how".

I think we are NOT in disagreement.
Truth as a redundant concept was used as a shorthand for a much more lengthy treatment such as described here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Redundancy_theory_of_truth


And i think you're right. My response was probably due to an over-hasty reading, but i was mistaken. i appreciate the gentle rebuke.

MattDavis wrote:

Regarding the start of language:
I think that you have a much higher bar for what qualifies as language than I do. For example I don't think that a language necessarily must be able to handle non-concrete thinking.
Razzleg wrote:
Words do not only co-exist on the basis of their own existential strata, but on the basis of alternate or unavailable versions of their own (ontological) combinations, and yet, they only become affective as a isolated, gestural parody of their potential. They exist only insofar as they undermine themselves.

Do you have a reason for assuming a language must have a plurality of ways of expressing something?


Nope, not really (and i'm not trying to be flippant, just honest.) The distinction between what i consider to be communication v. language is probably arbitrary. Thus, i will utilize a personal anecdote: One of my best friends has a two year old son. He's perfectly capable of telling me "color" when he wants me to use his crayons, and he can tell me to "sit" when he wants me to stay next to him. And if i say, "sit, what?" He says, "please!" But though we share a few words "in common", as well as a common "humanity", i don't think that we yet share a common language. His acclimation to that system is as yet incomplete. He just knows the noises to make to let me know what he wants. Although, he is much more adorable, a rabid dog would be just as capable of doing the same.

When i tell this adorable two year old that i can't "sit", that i have other things i have to do, he doesn't understand my words or intent-- he only understands that i am denying him his desired effect. This child and i communicate, but we do not share a language, yet.

By the same token, i have four dogs; i have lived with them long enough to "get" their personalities, their habits, and the way that they choose to communicate their desires, but aside from some rather primitive ways of expressing my own motives, i cannot talk to them -- except in so far as i anthropomorphize them (which i do occasionally, i confess.) While i think that i communicate with them, i do not imagine that we share a language.

Although i do not think that some language theorists would be comfortable with the comparison, the simplistic acts of communication i supply here are similar to what Wittgenstein would call "language-games". "Language-games" may be possible between diverse "peer groups" and even species, but the advent of "language" demands an excess of both those categories. It requires a social function exceeding mere personal interest and investment.

Overall, as far as language-usage goes, i regard myself as possessing only the slightest of degrees advantage over a ten year old child. i may have a few vocabulary advantages on her, but, by and large, we are equals. And, yet, though i think that they communicate, i think she is a not anywhere near languaging with her pet hamster.
MattDavis
 
  1  
Reply Sat 9 Feb, 2013 12:38 am
@Razzleg,
Razzleg wrote:
Overall, as far as language-usage goes, i regard myself as possessing only the slightest of degrees advantage over a ten year old child.
That is obviously not true!

I definitely see that we were disagreeing in what we refer to as language.
My definition was much looser than yours. Basically I was holding that any communication is language based if it involves a signal that is intentionally communicated.
So if you can recall way back to my proto-wolf example, baring teeth does not come into the sphere of language (as I was defining it) until members are doing the teeth baring intentionally to communicate. It is not yet language when savvy wolves just notice that bared teeth predict a coming attack.

From your perspective (I know you said it is probably arbitrary.):
At what point does a language game graduate to language?
MattDavis
 
  1  
Reply Sat 9 Feb, 2013 01:01 am
@Razzleg,
Incidentally,
by my definition of language much of what is commonly referred to as "body language" is not language.
For instance perhaps I think that smiling when I talk to you conveys that I am telling the truth. Smile
So when I lie to you I also smile. Very Happy
You as a savvy human being however may notice that when I smile while lying I overcompensate with a bigger than normal smile. Very Happy instead of Smile
I did not intend to communicate to you that I am lying. Very Happy
So this signal to you is not a part of language. Smile
MattDavis
 
  2  
Reply Sat 9 Feb, 2013 01:18 am
@Berty McJock,
I think what you are getting at is how having a language influences thought.
It has often been said that we think in our language. Many who study a second language may notice passing a threshold past which they no longer transcribe the second language into their first language, but are able to actually think in this new language. Studies have shown for a multilingual person that the experiences had while thinking in one language are somewhat independent of the experiences had while thinking in the other.
For instance, a native Mandarin Chinese speaker has English as a second language. He or she then studied engineering in an English speaking university. The engineer will probably experience difficulty in thinking about engineering in his/her native Chinese language.
MattDavis
 
  2  
Reply Sat 9 Feb, 2013 01:27 am
@igm,
igm wrote:
How about ‘consciousness’, is this subject relevant?

I think that 'consciousness' (a very vague and poorly defined concept) is somewhat relevant to my claim that language exist only when a signal is intentionally communicated.
As referred to in my recent comments to Razzleg:
http://able2know.org/topic/207665-2#post-5248120
http://able2know.org/topic/207665-2#post-5248123
0 Replies
 
Razzleg
 
  2  
Reply Sat 9 Feb, 2013 01:28 am
@MattDavis,
MattDavis wrote:

Razzleg wrote:
Overall, as far as language-usage goes, i regard myself as possessing only the slightest of degrees advantage over a ten year old child.
That is obviously not true!

I definitely see that we were disagreeing in what we refer to as language.
My definition was much looser than yours. Basically I was holding that any communication is language based if it involves a signal that is intentionally communicated.
So if you can recall way back to my proto-wolf example, baring teeth does not come into the sphere of language (as I was defining it) until members are doing the teeth baring intentionally to communicate. It is not yet language when savvy wolves just notice that bared teeth predict a coming attack.

From your perspective (I know you said it is probably arbitrary.):
At what point does a language game graduate to language?


Well, thanks; but i don't think of comparing myself to a ten year old as a personal dimunition of intelligence-- brain-activity wise, they are virtual geniuses in comparison to your average 35-year old. i envy their imagination and ability to absorb information.

Re: teeth-baring. i agree a mutual standard of signal and recognition/response is necessary for such an exchange to qualify as a system of communication/"language game". And that such systems of communication are integral to the development of a language, as i'd like to define it.

"At what point does a language game graduate to language?"

i'm not quite sure, to be honest. The real answer is undoubtedly buried in the irrecoverable annals of pre-history. On an entirely speculative level, though, i generally see it emerging during the nebulous period in which the non sequitur was regarded as a product of "communication" rather than a defect of it. Language is a symbol system consisting entirely of signals; but when that system is sufficiently integrated into, and supplements the complexity of, the existing social circumstance of the system's participants -- only then do i qualify it, however so arbitrarily, as a language.

Here's a stupid, easily contested metaphor: At one time, music was an historical series, each movement impacting and complimenting one another --but once "improvising" distinguished itself as a mode -- music wasn't just music, it was historical trend plus an errant element -- it was jazz.

By my extremely limited definition of language, language is jazz.
Ceili
 
  2  
Reply Sat 9 Feb, 2013 01:43 am
Years ago I heard a radiocumentary on CBC on the birth of language and the symbols used to convey language. It was brilliant and I wish I could find it again.
Regardless, the two distinct memories of the program were, and this sort of speaks to the wolves baring their teeth... the particular episode was on the vowels. Eeeeees it was speculated, the symbol is found in many scripts as it I and O... I can't remember the stuff about A and U, none the less, EEEEEs sound and resemble a monkey lifting it's arms above it's head and screeeeeeching. Iiiiis look like eyes and the sound and the eye symbol have a strong resemblance.
This is of course simplistic. But what was interesting is that for the most part, vowels are pretty similar sounding in every language and the symbols are almost universal. And the idea behind the program is that these symbols and sound are based in ancient relationships with nature, animals, the earth. They are not random creations but intimately tied with our surrounding.
Another program that I wish I could find again, is another series on the roots of music.
The first instrument was the drone, a buzz, the wind, running water, ohm.
The second the beat, heart beat, walking, tapping in time, clapping, drums.
The third (and maybe more - can't remember - I think it was a 7 part series) melody, the human voice, a bird song, laughter, humming, crying.
Again language, sounds, music, nature.. any way you slice it, language is most definitely affected by the creatures we came in contact with.
 

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