LINGUIST List 8.1438

Tue Oct 7 1997

Qs: Predictability,Copy wanted,Realistic

Editor for this issue: Elaine Halleck <>

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  1. wzyem, predictability and redundancy
  2. wzyem, copy wanted
  3. wzyem, Realistic or idealistic

Message 1: predictability and redundancy

Date: Sun, 5 Oct 1997 17:31:48 +0800 (CST)
From: wzyem <>
Subject: predictability and redundancy

Roman Jakobson, E.Colin Cherry and Morris Halle maintain, in "Toward the
Logical Description of Language in their Phonemic Aspect" (Jakobson,
Selected Writings vol.1, 450), "Once this set (of distinctive features) is
determined, all other phonetic differences among morphemes or words of the
given language can be shown to be predictable and therefore redundant."
Could you illustrate the relation between "predictability" and
"redundancy"? If possible, I will furnish a summary.
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Message 2: copy wanted

Date: Sun, 5 Oct 1997 18:04:09 +0800 (CST)
From: wzyem <>
Subject: copy wanted

Now I am doing my master degree thesis. I need a copy of "Epilegomena to a
Theory of Language" by Sydney M. Lamb. It was published in "Romance
Philology 19" in 1966. Could anyone do me a favour? Thanks in advance.
Wang Zhenyu
Room 1056, Building 46
Peking University, Beijing
100871, China
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Message 3: Realistic or idealistic

Date: Sun, 5 Oct 1997 17:55:45 +0800 (CST)
From: wzyem <>
Subject: Realistic or idealistic

In "Modern Theories of Language -- the Empirical Challenge" (Duke UP,
1992) Morteza Mahmoudian mentions "I support the idea that Hjelmslev's
(1953) method could be called formalistic, idealistic. The danger is in
its formalism.(12).

It seems that Wolfgang Wildgen has a different understanding. In his
"Process, Image, and Meaning -- a realistic model of the meanings of
sentences and narrative texts" (John Benjamins Publishing Company, 1994),
he presents his idea this way:
"Hjelmslev's commnetary refers basically to expression
substance... . But the substance of content should be analyzed in a
parrallel fashion and Hjelmslev refers to inborn content categories and
sensory experiences. Metaphorical processes in meaning are examples of the
level of social evaluation. These remarks of Hjelmslev show that he
planned an analysis of content substance underlyiong linguistic analysis
proper. he explicitly introduces a stratified ontology based on an
evolutionary scale (physical environment, socio-biological organizaton,
mental organization in societal evaluation). I think that he was very
close to a REALISTIC posistion in semantics" (my capitalization).

Why is there such an opposition in the understanding of Hjelmslev's
theory? Could the authors state their ideas more clearly? What is your
understanding of Hjelmslev's theory and what is your comment on the
above-cited remarks, dear linguists on line?

I will write a summary if it is in my capacity.
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