Belinda wrote: ↑
Tue Feb 05, 2019 11:54 pm
I believe that most statements in any language are meaningless without experiences that are not linguistic. Specifically I mean any statement that is not about language itself. In a very real sense, for a large class of utterances, the meaning of the utterance cannot be found in the language itself. Rather other experiences exist that are associated with the utterance. That allows someone to know the meaning. Then, if they also know the meaning in a second language, the translation can be provided.
I think it is impossible to say in english what a word means in say Spanish (ignoring the eptymology), just by knowing the utterances capable in Spanish. There is no way to correlate it. That was why they *needed* the Rosetta stone. They knew one languages meaning. They had from the stone the correlation to the other language. From that they were able to decipher. Not saying that is the only way but it illustrates the problem.
With reference especially to your first paragraph above I understand it as language as part of human social behaviour.As human social behaviour the meaning of the utterance is social meaning.Social meanings refer to shared experiences which are not linguistic but are practical for instance the social group shares the knowledge of what food is in the fridge and when Jane gets the chocolate out of the fridge the others know that she will be getting a little fatter. Or when the farmer harnesses the horse in July the others know he's going to make hay. The prevailing ideology is seldom talked about and the actions 'speak louder than words'.
With reference to your second paragraph , when in Spain one will not understand the language until one has felt what it's like to be a Spaniard, for similar reasons. The Rosetta Stone is relevant only like some augmented dictionary unless it was used as a historical primary source.
I don't know if this is what you meant.
This thread refers to thinking.
There is a very deep, deep problem in the nature of thought in our culture that has to do with coincidence.
I had an experience while first studying Husserls book Ideas. In it he recommends suspending temporarily all consideration of what is and just pay attention to experiencing itself. Ok, fine. Seems like a innocent intellectual act that we all can do. I can think of my cell or my laptop and just decide to consider only my laptop. Admittedly that is thinking of one thing and not another but so... should be able to do that easily. However, I will relay to you exactly what happened and it was very surprising to me.
I was sitting on some steps in front of a "quad" at college looking at the grass lawn. I attempted to do what he recommended and ... wow...things changed. What I saw formed this phrase in my mind: "Wow, that is the greening of the green in the grass!" I was not just seeing the grass but seeing the meaning of greening aka green. What happened was not just intellectual, if by that we take the narrowest sense, something changed in how it *looked*. It was "greening" - not "green" - or rather the "green was greening". The languaging that occured changed and the experience I had of the grass, I previously would have only passingly noticed its color if at all and if someone would have asked me to go look and see what color the grass was a casual glance would have answered the fact that it was greeen. Nothing surprising. But this was. By languaging I mean the emergence of "wording"from "word" - before just word - after the "wording of the word" was evident. I was looking at the meaning of the green and it was the greening of the green in the grass (Ok back then I hadn't considered that green is not an objective property).
To make a very long story short this led to me understanding how a lot of art works and to some extent how mystical experience works. But it is a long story. Latter on, this same process occurred with ontology. In other words phenomenology applied to ontology not just nature.
Now I am saying nothing about how to judge all of this. The way I say it is "I am some kind of ape, and my ape brain did that". How we judge it intellectually will come in the future.
Now, there is a social aspect to language. That phrase in my mind at that time was socially induced. I was taught at an early age to flap my mouth and tongue as Searle would say and produce that utterance. Latter I was taught the alphabet and then was taught how to spell, read, and write. All of that was social. But all of that social stuff I now realized was based in original experiences of the meaning of the words. You see the green was not just the green of that grass. Rather it was the attachment of a kind of referring. This was an example of what people refer to when they say green and in me I was seeing the phenomenal basis of a certain ideation - natural in this case - the ideation of green and its meaning coming from an instance which was not completely it. The green in that grass was not all green. Green was in other placess that also greened.
I saw but understood meaning and it was attaching to phrases thought in my mind in socially induced English but you cannot reduce that experiencing to what was socially induced. I think the biological basis is there. You can't get the semantics of a language from its syntax. And, in some sense, syntax is what a language is. Verde is green in spanish but the green is the at least enough the same to say that verde is the correct translation of green and not of red.
Now that was grass. If you look at a face in anger or pain or joy or any of those exquisite states which our brains read, there too the process occurs. I believe - am almost certain but I am not a scientist - that this is instinctive cognition.
So, I do not see language as being limited to social behavior. The social aspects are there but there is, in a single organism alone, experiencing of meaning and that is necessary for the language to form and inherited instinctual cognition. A lot of this, I believe is inherited. Have you read "Gramatology" by Derida? I hear him in the back of my mind nodding and pointing out how that whole thing that happened occurred by me reading and trying to understand Husserl. He would say that was key and yes, that is social on a grand scale of writing.
So I think my behavior, my cognition, cannot be understood without deconstructing the social aspects. But when I do that I find aspects that are not social. My own optical pathways and color vision were involved.
If you think of it someone had, originally, to utter something with respect to green. Our language comes originally from individual experiencing. We can talk to ourselves.
If you look at a line drawing of a cube you will see changes that are not socially induced I think.
I don't think you have to know what it is to be a Spaniard to know or speak Spanish. You can learn the language yourself. We seem to store and retrieve information that way. Once I was working in Japan, staying at a hotel where you had to leave your key and ask for it by stating your room number. Mine was "San ju go" in Japanese or 35. I said "San ju go" over and over and over everytime I retrieved the key. After over a month an english speaking colleague asked me my room number. My first thought was "San ju go" which I said then realized he wanted English. It was amazing how long it took to come up with "thirty five" I did not immediately know it.
So it is a complex phenomenon. Neurology is required to fully understand it but will not give us the whole picture. Socially induced aspects but more than that. And "being a Spaniard" involves language I think. But there are more simple things happening in individuals.
You used "shared experiences". In some sense we "share experience" but in another sense we do not. We each have our own experiencing.
We are of Copernicus. In the future there will be a revolution in thought. The degree to which things like the collective unconscious of Jung will play well become clearer. Certainly there are very deep questions that deal with how fads pass like ripples on a lake through human cultures.