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LINGUIST List 16.3359

Tue Nov 22 2005

Sum: Six Laws of Language and Linguistics in Draft

Editor for this issue: Amy Renaud <renaudlinguistlist.org>


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        1.    Alexander Gross, Six Laws of Language and Linguistics in Draft


Message 1: Six Laws of Language and Linguistics in Draft
Date: 18-Nov-2005
From: Alexander Gross <languagesprynet.com>
Subject: Six Laws of Language and Linguistics in Draft


Regarding disc:
http://www.sfs.nphil.uni-tuebingen.de/linguist/issues/16/16-2986.html

Thank you for posting ''Six Laws on Language and Linguistics in Draft
Form.'' Once more I am encouraged by reactions from my colleagues, as
summarized in what follows. My website host informs me that as a result
of your posting some 525 Linguistlist subscribers have found their way to
my first LACUS presentation ''Is Evidence Based Linguistics the Solution?
Is Voodoo Linguistics the Problem?'' since I posted here, many of them
visiting more than once. And during the same period of time about half
that number also made it to my second piece ''A Workshop in Evidence Based
Linguistics.''

Of private replies I have so far received six, all but one of them
favorable to the notions presented, and I am of course grateful to the six
of you who responded. They include a Russian linguist who at first
informed me that I was merely reiterating what many others had said before
but then on visiting my website became so enthuisastic that he has offered
to have the pieces published in Russia. A German linguist suggested some
slight stylistic changes, and I will include them in the next version.
Three other linguists offered generalized praise and encouragement, noting
that a critical stance towards much in mainstream linguistics is definitely
in order. The only unfavorable comment came from a colleague
who does not believe that the theory of Evolution is valid.

So far no one has responded on the Discussion forum, but perhaps there are
some reasons for this. The six laws are rather all-embracing and perhaps
leave not too much to disagree with, and a detailed response would call for
professional experience in the fields of physiology, diagnosis, cartography,
practical translation work, and translation studies, while the training
many linguists have received often centers on logic, philosophy,
psychology, and mathematics. And since the sixth law states that the basic
structural principle underlying language is not grammar but rather a
relatively error-prone, quick and dirty matching operation among sounds,
meanings, contexts, and collocations encountered by our developing brains,
this would mean a shift in the primary subject matter being studied by
linguists. These operations are eminently suitable for computer analysis,
which could over time produce many new insights into how we truly use
language and suggest strategems for improving many language-related
processes. I certainly apologize if any of this appears overstated, as it
is not my goal to upset current standards in linguistics. But basic laws
and measuring units have proven their worth as the
foundation for many other sciences, and I suspect this must become true of
our field as well if linguistics is ever to come closer to being a science.

This does not mean that these laws are perfect in their present form, and
once again, I welcome any further comments you may have. The first piece
is at:

http://languag2.home.sprynet.com/f/evidence.htm

the second at:

http://languag2.home.sprynet.com/f/evishop.htm

They can also both be accessed from the Linguistics menu of my main website at:

http://language.home.sprynet.com/

And the six laws are here on the Linguistlist discussion forum.

All the very best!

Alexander Gross

Linguistic Field(s): General Linguistics
Linguistic Theories


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