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  #21  
Old 30.03.2013, 00:28
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Re: On Linguistics

I don't think that being able to speak foreign languages makes you a linguist. It's like the difference between IT and computer science. In both cases, the first is just about getting the job done and the second is about trying to understand the underlying structure.

My favorite linguistics book is "The Language Instinct" by Steven Pinker. He is an amazing popularizer and just plain brilliant. He uses jokes and our misreading of words to understand how our minds create and use language. Witty and thought provoking.
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Old 30.03.2013, 10:21
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Re: On Linguistics

Study linguistics and perhaps semiotics so that you can thoroughly enjoy literature.

What exactly is being discussed ?
I've lost the plot (as usual).
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  #23  
Old 30.03.2013, 18:24
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Re: On Linguistics

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I don't think that being able to speak foreign languages makes you a linguist. It's like the difference between IT and computer science. In both cases, the first is just about getting the job done and the second is about trying to understand the underlying structure.

My favorite linguistics book is "The Language Instinct" by Steven Pinker. He is an amazing popularizer and just plain brilliant. He uses jokes and our misreading of words to understand how our minds create and use language. Witty and thought provoking.
its a great book, the pinker. the term of linguist used to describe those who speak multiple languages is an old school usage of the word, though i find this usage of the term much more prevelant in europe than the u.s- linguistics is a relatively 'new' science and still holds a lot of confusion for many as to what exactly it is.

linguists dont have to speak to another language- though i would be hardpressed to find any linguistics program that allowed admitance without a good command of at least two languages. more they study how language works and why a language may follow one formula or another. pinker is a good example of understanding language as a cognitive process and chomsky is another good one for this. i did much of my studies and my thesis in language acquisition and evolutionary linguistics and spent way too much time delving into this and i still adore it although i'm sure it makes me less fun at parties

yes it reaches its hands into many other areas (psychology, sociology, even physics and other areas you may not expect) but that holds true with many other sciences. once you get into them you can roll around for years making connections- thats the fun of it. though is plenty of debate around linguistics vs sociolinguistics to name one.
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  #24  
Old 30.03.2013, 19:11
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Re: On Linguistics

I prefer to focus on semantics, rather than all areas of linguistics - and, sadly for those close to me, I tend to be a bit of a pedant.
Given my early computer gaming days, I also play with syntax, which is fun when teaching English to children as their second (or third, or fourth) language - and then teaching them poetry ...

A parent of one of my students lectures in English Linguistics at a Swiss university, which can at times make parent-teacher talks rather animated - but she's slowly learning how Stryne differs from British English.

On the topic of IT people and being trained or self-taught, two of the many friends I have in the industry have interesting tales.
One was in his second year of Computer Science at uni when a big media company accepting his application to manage their company's network. He eventually completed his degree, but clearly the skills he'd learned at the time were enough for his employer.
The other applied for a job that listed four specific programming languages that were required for the job. He lied outright and said he had x years experience in this language, y years in that (when he had never even looked at one of them) ... and when offered the job said he could start in two weeks. He spent those two weeks learning how to program in the newest language, which he'd heard of from a mate before he applied for the job, and his employer was, again, very happy with his work.
Both, of course, had a solid education in mathematics and 'played with' computers all through school, and the second had completed his Comp Engineering degree in software, so they did have a lot of training ...
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  #25  
Old 02.04.2013, 07:26
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Re: On Linguistics

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I know, but from my experience, more often than not they are. I am sorry, probably I am too much in favor of formal instruction. Of course, there are always exceptions.
I understand. I am a big advocate of formal edu, too, but tend not to see those two forms of learning as contradictory. Self teaching is needed in formal instruction, big time, and usually those who self teach often seek advice of mentors, friends or whoever they respect as authority in whatever they are learning, too. I think formal instruction is a fabulous shortcut, you get stuff delivered to your brain, while self teaching is hard, a lot of liberty gets one side tracked, things can be incomplete because often people do not have the oversight yet.

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oi, is this thread directed at me or wot??
No, this wasn't meant as a poke at you at all.. But stay, if you like the debate, for sure.

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I don't think that being able to speak foreign languages makes you a linguist.
I don't think so, either. But a linguist who knows languages has it easier, me thinks. Pinker is great, I have to read it again.

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Study linguistics and perhaps semiotics so that you can thoroughly enjoy literature.

What exactly is being discussed ?
I've lost the plot (as usual).
It's ok, it's fluid here.

Eco wrote a fab piece on lit interpretation and reading, Six walks in the fictional woods. Most of it one knows already, and applies when one reads, but it is so subconscious, it is nice to see it so clearly and well presented.

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I prefer to focus on semantics, rather than all areas of linguistics - and, sadly for those close to me, I tend to be a bit of a pedant.
I think people use the term pedant too loosely, when they just get irritated by what they see as hair splitting and all that.

I get stuck on it, too. I think debates on semantics are mainly question of logic and efficacy of communication than anything else. If you see communication as an algorithm, semantics makes sure the steps of the algorithm are followed smoothly, without much misunderstanding, loops, roundabout detours. That what is intended to be communicated is delivered within minimal noise (the noise is always there).

Poetry is great, it throws the loops in purposely, for esthetics, just to remind me life is not logical..I think poetry is in fact an antidote to pedantry, teaches how not to stick too much to convention. Makes the other hemisphere work which is always good for us. Hence the art bit in language musings.

I am just reading about symbols that later lose the link and become signs..I think people in fact work better with signs (arbitrary) than symbols (convention). I love etymology, makes French learning much easier for me, but I know from teaching ESL that most people are happy with a teacher saying "there is no logical explanation for this, just learn it, please".
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  #26  
Old 15.04.2013, 15:23
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Re: On Linguistics

MC, I thought you might enjoy this article - Why do people talk nonsense in public
Put an ordinary person in front of a microphone, and they start to talk in pompous clichés
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  #27  
Old 16.04.2013, 19:53
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Re: On Linguistics

It's very true, a good text, too.

Made me think of the speeches of Hitler and JFK I had to analyze, it was obvious they were not even so good at talking, it was not the actual speech that matter but how amazingly they delivered it. Their style, proxemics, tempo, they were masters at influencing people when they had them under their spell, and it did not have that much to do with the actual message they were passing on. It's interesting. Anyways, phraseology of political speech is fascinating. Clichés are boring, that's true but don't forget people want to hear them. Coded language and proudly belonging to those who can decode.

I think it is what we contribute to the speakers, and what speakers imagine as what we expect and want to hear, that make the speakers just talk out of their butts, sometimes. The heaviness of the moments.

When people speak in public at official moments, they think they have to speak certain way, in order to represent something.

We gotta do a couple of oral exams a year, in all levels of edu, just for the reason to learn to deliver a decent, unprepared and coherent speech (well, it was prepared, but one did not know which topic to wax on for 45 mins, out of 50 each exams). It's hesslich, though. If you stop, hesitate, loosen up the logic and sequence, have to respond to answers without speaking independently to keep to the point, don't illustrate as expected, they mark you down. Then one develops strategies to diffuse, divert, push attention in areas one is super solid in..Makes me laugh now, but remember the sweat.

Public speaking is an underappreciated, underrated art.
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  #28  
Old 16.04.2013, 19:59
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Re: On Linguistics

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Many linguists never study linguistics btw.
So what? I don't see the link.

The ability or will to speak multiple or many languages has little to do with the study of language itself.
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  #29  
Old 16.04.2013, 20:14
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Re: On Linguistics

to poorly borrow a line of thinking from Kesey - linguistics is the seismograph to the lightning rod that is the art of expression, and I have never understood why one would want to measure or otherwise attempt to explain what is a completely unmeasurable and unexplainable phenomenon.
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  #30  
Old 02.05.2013, 14:56
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Re: On Linguistics

I was thinking today about a few things, reading up the way we process symbols, signs, words, in general. Our will to communicate, in faith that we all are using words and understand them, in almost identical sense. It's a leap we do in faith. So, we show high tolerance for something abstract, something we cannot prove, etc. in every day communication.

Why does it work in language itself so well and not really in other situations, working on the same principle. Why don't we copy the same good faith in another mode we use for processing the way we perceive reality around. Why do believers just simply believe without being bugged to justify, and why are sceptics always demanded to prove, show evidence..when the language of believers will be completely different?
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  #31  
Old 08.05.2013, 18:36
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Re: On Linguistics

Hmm, 15 000-year-old words, anyone?

http://www.smh.com.au/technology/sci...507-2j506.html
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  #32  
Old 09.05.2013, 12:09
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Re: On Linguistics

What a great article, thanks. I have enjoyed History of L classes immensely, etymology was fun too, and Hist Grammar was a pain, we had to memorize all the changes and when they happened, but it's handy.

Nice to know worm is one of the grampa words..Hard to imagine it was one of the diet stables, beurk.

They mentioned if one said the particular term 16 times a day the word had a good chance to become one of the word that lasted to now..

What kind of words do you use now, 16 times a day.. And I don't mean verbal tics, or profanities. Work? Phone? I will think about it today.

What about your kids..I wonder what words will survive into the next few hundred years.
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  #33  
Old 09.05.2013, 16:33
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Re: On Linguistics

MC, do you do something professionally involving this? I'm curious to know if it's a passion in your personal life solely, or whether it also extends into something you are involved with professionally.
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  #34  
Old 09.05.2013, 16:39
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Re: On Linguistics

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MC, do you do something professionally involving this? I'm curious to know if it's a passion in your personal life solely, or whether it also extends into something you are involved with professionally.
Not sure if she can answer you at the moment. She's hit the 4% post cap.
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  #35  
Old 09.05.2013, 17:19
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Re: On Linguistics

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Not sure if she can answer you at the moment. She's hit the 4% post cap.
Ok ok, I will go and bake a strudel, instead.

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MC, do you do something professionally involving this? I'm curious to know if it's a passion in your personal life solely, or whether it also extends into something you are involved with professionally.
Probably both, I am just musing here on some marginal questions that inspire me and I know some people here might think about, too..ideas that come up when going through books for my studies, having different debates over things or scanning through ideas that are hot back home, different talks in the teacher's lounge, etc. Diverse views are enriching, what people have brought here is really fascinating, too. We have some fab brainiacs, what's even better, they are funny, too.

I just spell like an amateur, since I come from a place too phonetic to shake off, and, my triple spell check is a hustle to switch.
I can be better when I apply myself or have more time.
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  #36  
Old 09.05.2013, 18:02
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Re: On Linguistics

Thank you for the explanation! I'm wondering where you are from, since there are a few references to it.

I think it's wonderful that you are so curious! I wish it was a more common trait.

There is a wonderful set of clips on youtube from RSA Animate, where they doodle along to talks and explanations of theories and opinions. Do you know them?
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  #37  
Old 09.05.2013, 18:36
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Re: On Linguistics

I speak swiss german (zuerich and know st gallen ) whaie ,zuerich ,fladde , st galle is Pie in english .This is the most important thing one has to know
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  #38  
Old 09.05.2013, 18:50
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Re: On Linguistics

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She's hit the 4% post crap.
fixed that for ya

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Thank you for the explanation! I'm wondering where you are from, since there are a few references to it.

I think it's wonderful that you are so curious! I wish it was a more common trait.

There is a wonderful set of clips on youtube from RSA Animate, where they doodle along to talks and explanations of theories and opinions. Do you know them?
Thank you.

It looks really interesting, I will feed my cell with it tonight. I just watched the Outrospection, that mentioned nurturing curiosity. I agree with you that it's important. One can reconnect to what one used to be, since all kids are naturally curious. Or, you can maintain it since you are a kid if you are brought up to know the value of curiosity and constant discovery and questioning. It did mention an empathic way to communicate, which is to expose yourself, make yourself more vulnerable in order to communicate more efficiently, and get to know the ideas of the other person before putting your ideas first. Debating is good.

You made me think about two inspirational moments I just had recently.

One was, I was discussing cultural mimicry with somebody. One can only really get to know another culture by stepping away from yours, and accepting a new culture's mimicry might be a way. Provided, one is not somebody really hung up on patriotism into an extreme extent. So, we might be trying to blend in and integrate, assimilate, not because we are afraid of being rejected by the locals, but because we would like to know what it is like to be a different culture. Get to know it. I actually realized that when talking about language acquisition, when one has to step away from her or his mother tongue, and relearn a little bit how to conceptualize again and in another language. I think to some extent you have to consciously block your mother tongue polluting your mind, since you are trying to absorb a new language. It does not mean losing one's identity, it's a fun challenge.

Another moment was..how engaged should one be, as a person. One prof who was working with immigrants in CA told me, years ago, that all teachers are automatically activists. Campaigners. A friend recently told me the same thing, though he is not a teacher, but gets socially involved heavy duty in all sorts of pressing issues. I have had troubles accepting the genuine motivation of all this, since I think people are driven by egotistic needs. But when you think about it, isn't it irrelevant how we get to the social changes, as long as we get there? So, maybe the ego pleasing stands are ok..I always felt that that kind of exposure is done out of vanity. And, back to language, it is often just rhetorics. Just a way to verbally present oneself. I am starting to see more logic in this, bravery..I think it does depend on what kind of language one choose to broadcasts one's ideas.
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  #39  
Old 09.05.2013, 19:03
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Re: On Linguistics

I was recently in Croatia and for my 2 day-trips, learned to greet and thank people in Croatian.

Then I went on to Slovenia and discovered that it was exactly the same 2 words. I had a great driver/guide for this short but intense day and he was able to educate me about the different ancient Slavic tribes that wandered into this area of Europe plus who came after they settled. This also answered my question as to why the green river was called Smaragd which I knew meant emerald which in turn made it obvious why the famous pastry of the alpine region was called cremeschnit.

Four words that I recognized got me a condensed history lesson which also connected a lot of random stuff that was stored in my brain.

Those Sissy films taught me much more than I ever realized.

P.S I want to go back to that part of the world.
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  #40  
Old 09.05.2013, 19:16
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Re: On Linguistics

It sounds like you had a wonderful trip, Oldhand, and a marvelous guide. Languages are important in our neck of the woods, it always somehow comes down to it..Maybe because our languages are so tiny in importance, globally. But knowing a Slavic language will somehow open up a door to a different way of seeing communication, since we roll differently, over there. Uncompetitive, somewhat principle driven, soul. Language back home, and communication, is dryer, though. Blunt.

Sissi, as the Austrian royal lady? I forgot who played her...Rommy Schneider?
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