12
   

Does an ‘individual’ word have meaning…?

 
 
Razzleg
 
  2  
Reply Sat 9 Feb, 2013 01:45 am
@MattDavis,
MattDavis wrote:

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


See, this is another way in which our definitions of language differ. i do see you're big smile as a part of language.

Perhaps i recognize that toothy grin for what it is, an indicator of dis-honesty, or perhaps i don't. Either way, it is a little "packet of meaning" (in deference to the OP.) It is language that gives birth to lies. Given the broader social dimension of what i call a language v. a communication: a car salesman might consider a wide smile a social cue to trust him, but the social inferences lead us to distrust him.

Likewise, if i were to use a racial slur with you in confidence, that "says" a lot "linguistically" that i never meant to say. The social network is as important to my view of language as the use of individual words.
0 Replies
 
MattDavis
 
  1  
Reply Sat 9 Feb, 2013 02:10 am
@Razzleg,
Razzleg wrote:

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.

Razzleg wrote:
The social network is as important to my view of language as the use of individual words.

How then do you feel about formal logic?
Formal logic attempts to separate itself as much as possible from the "complexity of the existing social circumstance". Do you think that formal logic (if it is successful in its endeavor) can still be considered a language?
MattDavis
 
  1  
Reply Sat 9 Feb, 2013 02:13 am
@Ceili,
This is really interesting.
I wish it wasn't also such a tease.
Ceili wrote:
It was brilliant and I wish I could find it again.

I wish I could find it.
Any idea around what year you heard it?
Razzleg
 
  1  
Reply Sat 9 Feb, 2013 02:52 am
@MattDavis,
MattDavis wrote:

Razzleg wrote:

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.

How then do you feel about formal logic?
Formal logic attempts to separate itself as much as possible from the "complexity of the existing social circumstance". Do you think that formal logic (if it is successful in its endeavor) can still be considered a language?


Well, i've taken courses in symbolic logic, but that was quite some time ago. And to be quite honest, my grasp of it then was just enough to pass those courses...i don't feel that my understanding of the matter now would pass muster with someone competent in that field.

But (great big but), logic seems to me like a way, perhaps even the only internally coherent way, to make and find (and find and make) patterns within a given field of facts. However, i'm not certain that the formulae that belong exclusively to logic would be sufficient to comprise, or even develop, a language, as i define it.

That's, as it seems to me, one of the prime distinctions between logic and mathematics, as a system of regulatory functions --mathematics' functions arise as a side effect of apriori mathematical information, logic's functions are equipollent to its info. Logic seems the adverb and adjective to the socially weighted noun and verb --or perhaps vice versa. i'm not being intentionally vague, but the relationship between facts and logic lends itself to a certain amount of vaguery.

i'm not denying that those much better versed in logic than myself could have a meaningful exchange on the basis of a set of logical symbols, alone -- but what are they conversing about, beyond their ability to think alike about unnameables?

That may be an ignorant answer, and, ultimately, perhaps i'm better off just claiming ignorance regarding the question.

dither...dither...dither
MattDavis
 
  1  
Reply Sat 9 Feb, 2013 03:12 am
@Razzleg,
fair enough Smile
I would like to point out that logic also requires apriori assumptions (just like mathematics requires).
Which one might argue makes it fail in the endeavor of ungrounding itself from culture.
Yes. Formal logic alone cannot discuss "real life" (experiential knowledge). Does a candidate for language have to be able to discuss certain content to qualify?
0 Replies
 
igm
 
  1  
Reply Sat 9 Feb, 2013 11:45 am
@vikorr,
My title is in the form of a question... I'm looking for contributions... of any kind... and thanks for your post... interesting... and has caused me to reflect on my OP.
Ceili
 
  2  
Reply Sat 9 Feb, 2013 12:54 pm
@MattDavis,
Believe me, I've wracked my memory.. It was a late night show, mid 90's, 9:00 pmish or later.. Male host, soothing voice. Might have been CBC Radio Two. A 7 - 9 part series, the history of music, roots of music, language... I've searched through the archives to no avail. I've tried to locate it for years. No luck.
0 Replies
 
Berty McJock
 
  2  
Reply Sat 9 Feb, 2013 03:14 pm
@MattDavis,
i agree about second languages. i used to live in france, and by the time i left, i was thinking in both languages, in the same sentence. i aslo started dreaming in french. but i had no problem thinking of things in english that i learned in french. i was school age back then btw.
0 Replies
 
vikorr
 
  1  
Reply Sat 9 Feb, 2013 03:48 pm
@igm,
Quote:
My title is in the form of a question... I'm looking for contributions... of any kind... and thanks for your post... interesting... and has caused me to reflect on my OP.

I understood that your title is in the form a question - I was pointing out that the question has implications that are illogical....

....and will likely mislead (as the question usually directs the path of the answer). I think it is for this reason that you applied in your OP of the attributes of one/many to all.

The title should have been (according to what I think you are asking) 'Can an individual word have meaning?'
----------------------
Words by their nature only have the meaning we individuals associate with them (yes, the society may agree on meanings - which still varies from individual to individual - but the 'understanding' is done at an individual level).

Meanings are the associations we attach to anything - we can attach objects, concepts or emotions or any/all (and the oral explanation of any object / emotion is done conceptually)

Meaning in language has two halves - the words we attach to our meaning (concept / object / emotion ) (nominally as senders), and the meaning (concept / object / emotion) we attach to words (usually as receivers - but it is worth noting that we are also receivers of our own sendings and/or internal dialogue)

So when you ask the question 'can an individual word have meaning'...you need to clarify if you mean 'as from the sender' or 'as from the receiver'.

When I think the word 'I' - it's meaning is clear to me. When someone else says the word 'I' - it's not so clear. Even when they point at me and say 'You' - the meaning is not necessarily as clear as it would sound...for what concepts/emotions have they attached to me (I know pretty much what object they've attached to me, unless they also have metaphorical objects in their mind when they look at me - eg. they see horns on my head and a pitchfork in my hand as they point at me and say 'you!')

Of course some words like 'an / in / at' are usually nonsensical by themselves. - to both the sender and receiver. These relate to communicating concepts (rather than objects).
Berty McJock
 
  1  
Reply Sat 9 Feb, 2013 04:06 pm
@vikorr,
but this doesn't mean individual words, on their own, with no context don't have meaning. the moment a word is created it takes a meaning. it cant exist without meaning or it isn't a word.

*edit: i'm trying to be a smartarse now, so don't read too much into this next statement.

by definition, words have meaning.
igm
 
  1  
Reply Sat 9 Feb, 2013 04:12 pm
@vikorr,
Thanks vikorr. I'm going to reflect on what you've said. I may ask you some questions based on your reply and ask if you'd attempt a response. Some things you've said are obviously correct but due to my probable lack of clarity in my OP it could be that I'll have to contemplate how to get the responses I'm looking for.

There's something about a word needing a concept and concepts needing words that doesn't feel quite right. If they both need each other which comes first? It could be other signs, signals, gestures, gesticulations etc. are the answer maybe even pictorial memories but... I'm not sure... I'll have to think about it and get back to you... thanks once again for your contribution.

If you have anything else to add perhaps about the' inner dialogue' and it’s connection with language and concepts then I’d like to hear what you have to say.
roger
 
  1  
Reply Sat 9 Feb, 2013 04:49 pm
@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.


Outstanding Answer!
igm
 
  1  
Reply Sat 9 Feb, 2013 05:08 pm
@roger,
roger wrote:

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.


Outstanding Answer!


Well show it then... give him a thumbs up!
0 Replies
 
vikorr
 
  1  
Reply Sat 9 Feb, 2013 06:14 pm
@Berty McJock,
Quote:
by definition, words have meaning.
I think, in context, the question is asked about 'meaning' that is understood.
Berty McJock
 
  1  
Reply Sat 9 Feb, 2013 06:21 pm
@vikorr,
i did say i was trying to be a smartarse saying that Razz
0 Replies
 
Berty McJock
 
  1  
Reply Sat 9 Feb, 2013 06:22 pm
@roger,
hehe cheers dude

0 Replies
 
vikorr
 
  3  
Reply Sat 9 Feb, 2013 06:35 pm
@igm,
Quote:
There's something about a word needing a concept and concepts needing words that doesn't feel quite right
That would be because, half of your statement, by itself, is incorrect. Concepts in your mind don't need words - unless you wish to communicate the concept.

I've often enough experienced the situation where : there is a concept in my mind that makes perfect sense to me, but communicating it is difficult, either because : the English language doesn't have words that properly explain the concepts I have in mind, or I can't recall the correct word. Of the two, the first difficulty is always the most interesting experience.

In relation to inner dialogue - concepts in your mind, can be modified / changed / clarified by the structure of your inner language (which is an extension of language itself)....remember that the words we use already have associated meanings in our mind...so if we choose to explain a concept using particular words - then all the meanings already associated (in our mind) with those words becomes associated with the concept we were trying to explain (unless of course, some other dialogue runs to counter that)

My personal belief is that : mind affects body and body affects mind. Most people accept that mind affects body...people are less clear on the reverse, yet there are a plethora of examples that show this : muscle memory, smile (even when you don't feel like it) and you feel better, tiredness affects peoples mind (so obvious when you think about it), people love dancing & singing for a reason (and it makes them feel good for a reason - which isn't just related to the body being active), fitness affects peoples ability to concentrate, people undertake 'training' for a reason, etc.

...that's all to point out (back to my first premise of the above paragraph) that not only do our words affect our inner dialogue, but so does every guesture (remember that guestures already have an associated meaning to you)...

...and I'm now of the belief - so does every posture and every motion we make (but that's another story)
Berty McJock
 
  1  
Reply Sat 9 Feb, 2013 06:44 pm
@vikorr,
Quote:
Concepts in your mind don't need words - unless you wish to communicate the concept.


and its at exactly this moment, the desire to communicate a thought, that the word is created, with meaning already assigned
0 Replies
 
igm
 
  1  
Reply Sun 10 Feb, 2013 07:32 am
@vikorr,
Interesting... I’ll have to think some more about all that you've said... especially about 'Concepts in your mind don't need words'; I'll stay 'open-minded' and reflect on it. Much of what you've said seems correct, on the face of it and I've already said (very) interesting.

Please post any additional thoughts you have that will add to the topic.. if you have time and you feel it would help.
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Sun 10 Feb, 2013 07:45 am
@igm,
Your reply to vikorr was one of the finest postings I've ever read of yours, igm. I congratulate you on it.
0 Replies
 
 

Related Topics

How can we be sure? - Discussion by Raishu-tensho
Proof of nonexistence of free will - Discussion by litewave
morals and ethics, how are they different? - Question by existential potential
Destroy My Belief System, Please! - Discussion by Thomas
Star Wars in Philosophy. - Discussion by Logicus
Existence of Everything. - Discussion by Logicus
Is it better to be feared or loved? - Discussion by Black King
 
Copyright © 2020 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.05 seconds on 10/25/2020 at 07:11:20