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Price of Polyglottery - New Prof

 Language Learning Forum : Lessons in Polyglottery Post Reply
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Retinend
Triglot
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 Message 25 of 90
25 September 2013 at 12:00pm | IP Logged 
Well of course objective things can be said about languages, and Linguistics does
indeed do this.

We're all fascinated by language, but what IS a language? The theories within formal
Linguistics are the only serious answers available. They aren't well known in the wider
public, and the answers are often dismissed because people don't understand what worth
there is in the question. But that's normal in the history of science: things do not
seem puzzling until you stop taking them for granted. For example the Newtonian
revolution was the end of the presumption that all movement implied physical contact in
the manner of clockwork. Until then it was simply presumed that the physical world
(ignoring the metaphysical) behaved more or less like clockwork.

The understanding of language that Formal Syntacticians believe in is very estranged
from what a linguaphile and language-learner experiences, but so is the chemist's idea
of what "water" is when compared with a swimmer's. Of course, Linguistics is a younger
science than Chemistry but it proceeds by the same method of induction and deduction,
twinned with wider theory. No, none of the mechanisms of how linguistic stimulation is
comprehended is evident to your consciousness, but neither are the mechanisms of how
your brain comprehends visual stimulatation.

Here's the psychologist/ biologist Robert Sapolsky talking about language:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SIOQgY1tqrU
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tarvos
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 Message 26 of 90
25 September 2013 at 12:08pm | IP Logged 
Quote:
It could equally be asked of him, "if you love learning languages, why
aren't you interested in the scientific theories about what they objectively
are?" (If you're reading this, incidentally, I would very much be interested in
your answer.)


Because for my part, where they come from isn't that interesting. It is their
implications on the human world I care about. Whether they were invented by tree
gnomes, or are a product of long cultural human evolution doesn't really matter except
maybe to understand the origin of some phonetic changes.

What I care about is that they're the easiest tools in the toolbox to convey
information to other people for me. I want to talk to lots of people because I am a
generally social person. Where they come from is useful to understand the relationships
between certain related languages.

That linguistics is a science is true. But that's not really something that makes me
lose sleep at night. I'd use a pretty scientific (or more engineering) mentality to
solve problems anyways.
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Retinend
Triglot
Senior Member
SpainRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 2740 days ago

283 posts - 557 votes 
Speaks: English*, German, Spanish
Studies: Arabic (Written), French

 
 Message 28 of 90
25 September 2013 at 1:21pm | IP Logged 
You don't need to be interested in either the human world or the way human
beings work, of course. Look at the career of Noam Chomsky.

edit: I was replying to Tarvos. Erenko: I don't recall that Arguelles has
claimed that Polyglottery is a science. Are you sure?

Edited by Retinend on 25 September 2013 at 1:25pm

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Retinend
Triglot
Senior Member
SpainRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 2740 days ago

283 posts - 557 votes 
Speaks: English*, German, Spanish
Studies: Arabic (Written), French

 
 Message 30 of 90
25 September 2013 at 2:08pm | IP Logged 
My apologies, he does indeed say "science." But from the context it's clear that he's
not meaning it in the modern way, but more in the traditional sense of "science." In
the context of what he's saying he could have said "teachable," "Polyglottery is a
science" "Polyglottery is teachable."

Arguelles is using the word very pedantically without regard to its strong modern
connotations. This is from Etymonline.com:

Quote:
"what is known, knowledge (of something) acquired by study; information;" also
"assurance of knowledge, certitude, certainty," from Old French science "knowledge,
learning, application; corpus of human knowledge" (12c.), from Latin scientia
"knowledge, a knowing; expertness," from sciens (genitive scientis) "intelligent,
skilled," present participle of scire "to know," probably originally "to separate one
thing from another, to distinguish," related to scindere "to cut, divide," from PIE
root *skei- "to cut, to split" (cf. Greek skhizein "to split, rend, cleave," Gothic
skaidan, Old English sceadan "to divide, separate;" see shed (v.)).

From late 14c. in English as "book-learning," also "a particular branch of knowledge or
of learning;" also "skillfulness, cleverness; craftiness." From c.1400 as "experiential
knowledge;" also "a skill, handicraft; a trade." From late 14c. as "collective human
knowledge" (especially "that gained by systematic observation, experiment, and
reasoning). Modern (restricted) sense of "body of regular or methodical observations or
propositions concerning a particular subject or speculation" is attested from 1725; in
17c.-18c. this concept commonly was called philosophy. Sense of "non-arts studies" is
attested from 1670s.

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tarvos
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Studies: Greek, Modern Hebrew, Spanish, Portuguese, Czech, Korean, Esperanto, Finnish

 
 Message 31 of 90
25 September 2013 at 2:34pm | IP Logged 
I don't see why you can't structurally approach language learning the same way you do
history, psychology or organic chemistry... in fact, I wish more people did that.

Also, chemistry and other scientific disciplines are not capitalized in English.

In any case, like I've stated a hundred times now, I don't really have any beef with
the
content of his presentation. It's just the thing that would make me daydream and go sit
in a windowsill somewhere while thinking of hot chicks.

Quote:
You don't need to be interested in either the human world or the way human
beings work, of course. Look at the career of Noam Chomsky.


No, you don't. You can be a linguist and study purely linguistic phenomena. Arguelles
is right in saying that. There's nothing wrong with that. I'd just feel like I'd been
shut inside a very tight closet somewhere on the top of a very cold mountain in the
Himalayas though, so you'll forgive me for wanting a bit more fire and brimstone and
genuinely Cool Stuff?

Edited by tarvos on 25 September 2013 at 2:39pm

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Retinend
Triglot
Senior Member
SpainRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 2740 days ago

283 posts - 557 votes 
Speaks: English*, German, Spanish
Studies: Arabic (Written), French

 
 Message 32 of 90
25 September 2013 at 3:59pm | IP Logged 
Tarvos, you said:

"Because for my part, where they come from isn't that interesting. ... I want to talk to
lots of people because I am a generally social person."

To which I said that you were making a false dichotomy. I can't make heads or tails of
your response.


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