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"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more



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Discussion Details




Title: Re: 18.197 An Intelligent Man's Answer...
Submitter: Alexander Gross
Description: Grounding Linguistics in Two Major Modalities

Although I've been reading works on linguistics for almost sixty years,
this is the first time during fifty of those years that I have once again
begun to feel slightly optimistic about the future of our field. I found
Alex Kravchenko's two recent contributions here most welcome, as well as
recent messages pointing both to Dalrymple's article and to Codrescu's NPR
interview.

May I offer what may be my own latest contribution to this trend, if indeed
it be one. It is something I just completed as part of a recently received
commission and represents my best attempt so far to bring together and
synthesize the three major passions of my life: Linguistics, Theatre, and
Translation. You'll find it at:

http://language.home.sprynet.com/theatdex/weiss2.htm#ling

This URL should take you to the portion of the piece dealing with
Linguistics, but some of you might also want to scroll backwards and see
the sections on theatre and translation as well. It seems to me that
linguistics today is so airy and disembodied from most real language
phenomena that it can only profit from additional grounding in two such
powerful and coequal linguistic modalities as translation and theatre.
Further evidence for this statement can be found in the text and references
of the article itself.

I find it hard to imagine how some of our colleagues may be reacting to
this recent spate of criticism, and I can't help wondering if some of those
who are not steadfastly ignoring it may not be, after five decades in the
arms of Van Winkle's Narcolepsy, coming abruptly awake and rubbing their
eyes in utter disbelief, as they mutter: ''You mean, it's not just grammar
after all...?''

In any case, I look forward to whatever your comments and criticisms may
prove to be.

All the best to linguists everywhere!

alex

------------------------------
References:

Andrei Codrescu: The Human Art of Translation, NPR, December 14, 2006,
audible online at:
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6626808

Theodore Dalrymple, The Gift of Language, City Journal, Autumn, 2006,
available online at:
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6626808 />
Date Posted: 22-Jan-2007
Linguistic Field(s): Computational Linguistics
General Linguistics
Translation
History of Linguistics
Cognitive Science
LL Issue: 18.229
Posted: 22-Jan-2007

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