LINGUIST List 10.168

Wed Feb 3 1999

Disc: Discipline Recognition

Editor for this issue: Jody Huellmantel <>


  1. Robert Fung, Re: 10.32, Disc: Discipline Recognition

Message 1: Re: 10.32, Disc: Discipline Recognition

Date: Mon, 01 Feb 1999 16:46:16 -0500
From: Robert Fung <>
Subject: Re: 10.32, Disc: Discipline Recognition

>Surely the term "Linguistics" is about as all encompassing as they
>come? It is a multi-disciplinary field which can comfortably keep
>mathematicians, computer-scientists, psychologists, philosophers,
>philologists, foreign-language learners and people from who knows how
>many other fields busy for years.

Is it so hard to recognize the physical world as a medium of its own
language. It mediates the comunications between sentient minds. But,
more than that it is the ultimate language itself. For what is held
up as proof in the court of laws? Not symbols, but physical
evidence. No higher level language is as specific in its meaning as
the objective world's "machine language".

Sapir-Whorf show us relativity, but this is more easily grounded in
Whorf's study of Hopi which leads us easily to the conclusion that the
older Hopi talked about events as if they were radio engineers. That
is, they are verbally in the "frequency-domain" while westerners or
tensed verb languages are in the "time-domain". Then too see how
Saussure's Synchronic and Diachronic analysis are these as well
respectively: spectral-domain vs. time-domai

Then know that there is a mathematical relationship between the
time-domain and frequency-domain called the Fourier transform and that
these two "domains" are called "functional spaces" and are also "dual

These are functionally different but equally valid kinds of "time". 
One is sequential, and the other is parallel or "windowed".

Add to this that the "Fourier Uncertainty" is called the "Heisenberg
Uncertainty" in quantum mechanics and you wind up relating to Quine's
Translation Indeterminacy.

The objective world has dualism, relativity, and self-reference,
uncertainty, built into it. It is not so hard to see that our
languages are divided on the representation of time in terms of tensed
and non-tensed grammars (Whorf and Saussure), physical relativity
(Sapir-Whorf), Uncertainty (Quine).


Norbert Weiner, Aldus Huxley, Michel Foucault all warn us that 
language may be used to control society. Does such power makes 
any knowledge of linguistics a threat to the political elite ? 

"... in a Free Nation where Slaves are not allow'd of, the surest 
wealth consists in a multitude of Laborious Poor; for ... without 
them there can be no enjoyment, and no Product of any Country could 
be valuable. To make the Society Happy and People Easy under the 
meanest Circumstances, it is requisite that great numbers of them 
should be Ignorant as well as Poor. Knowledge both enlarges and 
multiplies our Desires, and the fewer things a Man Wishes for, the 
more easily his Necessities may be supply'd."

(Bernard de Mandeville, 1714)
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