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In Search of a Living Language


Please read the re-writing of this article In Search of a Living Language (re-writing, September 2004)

When they begin a conversation, strangers always and before anything else seek and find a language that is intelligible to all the participants – or, to put it differently, they establish the definitions of certain words they use in communicating, and which combinations of those words are meaningful or meaningless. It doesn't matter whether the communication takes place in a language that is native to all the participants or not, but there have to be established definitions of at least a minimal number of meaningful linguistic constructions [1] and the meanings of individual words. Otherwise there can be no question of mutual understanding between parties, obviously. In so far as we are dealing with a process that is repeated regularly and has become habitual for all people -- the search for mutual understanding with other people through the medium of language is an action performed constantly by all of us – we can suppose that we are dealing with something that follows rules – with a law, and not with chance. Indeed, shouldn't something that is repeated always and everywhere , again and again, be taken to be a law of nature? So, what kind of law is it? The author has dedicated the following article to answering this question.

Slang…

Every area of human activity presupposes the existence of a specific means of communication – a single one for all the subjects of a given type of activity – which we will here refer to as slang . In other words, a slang is the sum total of the words and combinations of words that are used with strictly specific meanings in the context of any and all types of human activity.

The Reason…

Any geographically limited (now or in the past) group of people, united by a specialization in certain types of activity that are necessary to the physical and spiritual existence and development of those people, is the carrier of particular slangs ; where it is precisely the division of labour [2] that is the first cause for the necessary elaboration of many slangs as well as of a certain language that can unify them dialectically.

A Living Language…

In other words, a living language, as the author of the article defines it, is not just a mechanical composition of many slangs , but dialectically evolving rules for the pronunciation and writing of words [3] and orthographic rules for combining them into some structures.

The Logic of Language…

In spite of the dogmas of the positivist school, which has indisputably dominated the last century, the author looks upon the functional logic of a living, real language as a dialectical, rather than a formal, logic. As is well known, the three following laws of formal logic are considered to be universally accepted:

1. The Law of Existence . What is, is.
2. The Law of Contradiction . Something cannot at the same time be and not be.
3. The Law of the Exclusion of Contradiction . Something must either be, or not be.

In his article A Sketch Concerning the "New" Foundation of Science After Physics the author attempted to establish the theoretical foundation for the three laws of dialectical logic:

1. The Law of Existence . Something which really exists is always becoming something else, constantly changing in the process.
2. The Law of Contradiction . Something which really exists constantly strives to become that which it now isn't, while ceasing to be what it was.
3. The Law of the Exclusion of Oppositions . One does not contradict oneself: it's the reason to be the same. The One always contradicts the Oneself: it's the reason to change. [4]
In that same article the author demonstrates that if formal logic is the absolute logic of the immutability of the word "Is" -- the logic according to which something "Is" or "Is Not" – dialectical logic is the probabilistic logic of constant change in time – something can "Become" or "Not Become" that which it presently isn't.

Time…

Time, it seems, changes constantly – not in discrete lumps – and everything , including people, exists in time. This means that, if everything, according to the laws of Dialectics previously formulated by the author, always strives to become that which it wasn't, then one can justify the hypothesis that slangs , and the languages formed by them, are constantly changing. That is, both slangs and the languages dialectically created by them necessarily change, becoming that which they previously weren't – and this is a constant process. And isn't it a fact that languages change constantly? Isn't it a fact that both the pronunciation and the meaning of words, and even the rules of grammar, change? It's enough to read Shakespeare in the original, or the Bible in Old Russian, or even any newspaper from a number of years ago, to see this with one's own eyes. Thus we have a certain function, the constant function of the development of the total content of slangs . But if the progress of languages is really conditioned by dialectics, what does this look like?

An Interim Generalisation…

It is thus supposed that any language and all language-creating slangs are always and constantly changing in relation to the laws of dialectics, striving, as the author supposes, for the absolute minimal number of words necessary for the description of everything in change. That is, the function of change in any and all slangs , as well as in their dialectical sum - languages, strives towards a certain limit within a certain restricted interval: all areas of human activity sooner or later take on the characteristics of something finished and become canonical – having found, it appears, a finished slang , which is the sum of the words and word combinations habitual for that activity. But new spheres of human activity come into being, and their progress changes the seemingly unshakeable canons of all the others, allowing us to speak of the constancy of the function of language change.

The Limit…

In the aforementioned article A Sketch Concerning the "New" Foundation of Science After Physics the author demonstrates that formal logic is a limited instance of dialectical logic. On a more practical level this means that formal logic begins to be operative only where dialectical logic ceases to be – that is, in a situation where there is no change. In other words, the author supposes that formal logic can deal only and exclusively with abstractions – with that which, as the great Plato had already unarguably demonstrated, can be understood by all only without words , that is, which cannot be certainly defined by anyone using words that are understood in precisely the same way by all people, without exception. Plato's works bring one inescapably to such a conclusion. This means, as the author of the article concludes, that as soon as a human activity becomes canonized, and its slang takes on what appears to be a finished and definitely crystallized form, it ceases to operate in the terms of dialectical logic and begins to work with formal logic, ceasing to be, in strict terms, a slang . Indeed, how could formal and always-immutable abstractions be put in the words of a living language, which submits itself to the laws of change, the laws of dialectics, and not to formal logic – and vice versa? One can point out in passing that this is the real reason why the formal language sought by positivists over the last century is dead! Or, to say essentially the same thing, it is the reason why such a language is stillborn. One cannot use the terminology belonging to one system of logic to express the understandings obtained through the other.

Pythagoreans and Laconics…

The author holds to the teachings of the famous Pythagorean school, continued in the no less illustrious linguistic traditions of the Laconic rhetoricians, according to which it is only the minimalisation of necessary linguistic expressions that can lead one, as a final result, to truth. The author agrees that a law of the evolution of languages is the dialectical movement from the wordiness involved in describing the facts of a particular activity to the fitting of that description into a "simplified" abstraction "understandable" by all. After all, in accordance with the "sacred" canons of dialectical logic as they were already worked out by Hegel, the author sees abstractions as a result of the dialectical development of dialectical logic itself. The silence of the Pythagoreans, then, can be taken to be an absolute limit – absolute truth – and Laconic expressions to be the limit reached by a slang within a certain closed interval – an abstraction. This means…

Synonyms…

This means, in particular, that the existence of many synonyms of certain words in a language is due exclusively to people involved in some specific area of human activity adopting words that didn't yet exist in their slang but had been immanent until then in some other sphere(s) of human activity (or in some altogether different language), so that the new meanings of these words within the framework of a given slang find themselves reinforced as habitual for all people using the slang . Moreover, the author supposes that new words help minimalise the number of words and word combinations needed to express something – that is, they help the verbose description of facts come closer to abstraction.

LexiClone.com

The methodology created and patented by the author for creating a template of every person on the basis of texts [5] preferred and created by that person does no more than establish which slangs have been acquired by each person and made habitual for them, as a result of each person's life experience.

Subtext and Contexts…

This is done through the extraction of the predicative definitions that are most habitual for each person; where any definition made within the context of a living language is a predicative definition, not an abstraction. The context and subtext of a text are thus the most common word combinations from one or another slang used by each person, plus a certain individual subconscious filling: if there is a choice possible between several synonyms and/or specific word combinations, the ones that subconsciously express the subject's subconscious most fully are the ones that will be chosen.

Well…

Well, strictly speaking, that's all there is to say…




[1] Such as interjections, sentences, clauses.
[2] In this instance the author is using a terminology generally accepted within the context of Marxist theory.
[3] But only of the rules governing pronunciation and written form of words! For their meaning almost always becomes differentiated according to the many slangs that exist within the same language, as is the case for different word combinations within the context of the same slang .
[4] "...dialectic probes where philosophy seeks understanding, and sophistic is imagined to be science but is not really." Aristotle, "A new Aristotle reader", Prinston University Press, Princenton, 1995 [1004b,25].
"The logic of the world, which is shown in tautologies by the propositions of logic, is shown in equations by mathematics(6.22). A proposition of mathematics does not express a thought(6.21)." Wittgenstein L. "Tractatus Logico-philosophicus", Routledge Humanites Press International, Inc., London, 1988
[5] This means that any words, whether meaningful or meaningless (or even just one word) are a text. Any text can then be examined only in the context of the particular slang in which it was created.



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