Meaning and words

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gil...@hotmail.com

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Sep 14, 2004, 11:39:32 AM9/14/04
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Meaning and Text

People use words to communicate. We use words to communicate what we
try to say. Words express what we intend to say. What we intend to
say, and the words we use to say it, is not the same thing. What
people read as words might be two steps away from what we intended to
say initially. There is a constant gap in what we say, and what
people hear, because words or text only indirectly communicate
meaning.

Is this how it works? Or do we only communicate something, because we
have a word for it. I do not think so. We surely do not have to know
that a word such as BEAUTY exists for something to be beautiful.
Therefore, meaning comes before words, and words only describe what
was before.


regards
Gilbert Gerber

Susan Sez

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Sep 14, 2004, 10:26:53 PM9/14/04
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gil...@hotmail.com (GIL...@HOTMAIL.COM) wrote in message news:<41f08074.04091...@posting.google.com>...

> Meaning and Text
>
> People use words to communicate. We use words to communicate what we
> try to say. Words express what we intend to say. What we intend to
> say, and the words we use to say it, is not the same thing. What
> people read as words might be two steps away from what we intended to
> say initially. There is a constant gap in what we say, and what
> people hear, because words or text only indirectly communicate
> meaning.

Yes, since meaning is often dependent upon context, and words are
ultimately correlated to the unique memories / experiences of each
individual (even in the case of our reading dictionary definitions),
the intended meanings of everyday language will be relativistically
colored (or slightly, to moderately, to severely distorted by personal
idiosyncracies).

> Is this how it works? Or do we only communicate something, because we
> have a word for it. I do not think so. We surely do not have to know
> that a word such as BEAUTY exists for something to be beautiful.
> Therefore, meaning comes before words, and words only describe what
> was before.

It's claimed that some autistic people think primarily with images,
and studies of synesthesia patients suggest we may all have had our
senses "crossed-up" in the beginning. Thus, if these were indications
of more primeval modes of cogitation in earlier hominids or present
day animals, then the words composing the monologues within our minds
are compact symbols. Perhaps riding atop coalitions of image data and
that of other mental phenomena which we only vaguely experience, or
not at all (depending on the circumstances). And such storylines of
internal sense-data themselves being concomitant to yet another level
of electrochemical processes.

_

Meme warrior

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Sep 15, 2004, 3:15:02 PM9/15/04
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But we think in words, there are many conclusion I can't reach without
my inner voice telling me them.

Beauty never existed before we had a word for it, just a emotion
within ourselves that we liked, when we saw a object that was
geometrically pleasing.
Words and pictures are carriers of our thoughts, words will describe
for us that which we cannot visualize. Try to Imagine what a
person, blind from birth and without language, would think about.

gil...@hotmail.com

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Sep 16, 2004, 4:12:48 AM9/16/04
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hole_...@hotmail.com (Meme warrior) wrote in message

> But we think in words, there are many conclusion I can't reach without
> my inner voice telling me them.
>
> Beauty never existed before we had a word for it, just a emotion
> within ourselves that we liked, when we saw a object that was
> geometrically pleasing.
> Words and pictures are carriers of our thoughts, words will describe
> for us that which we cannot visualize. Try to Imagine what a
> person, blind from birth and without language, would think about.

Your example of a blind person only applies to the example I used.
Yes, a blind person cannot see beauty, but they can feel compassion
and neglect and the wind.

I do not think we think in word. Surly you feel happy before you knew
the word happy existed. Does it mean? We cannot think of a concept
unless we have a word for it? No. We invent things, and then give
words for it.

If what you say is true, then by omitting words we can change society.
For example, if you never tell a baby that the word anger (or similar
words) exists, then that person will never become angry. No

Or...

Maybe you are right. Primarily we only think in emotions, and then we
use words to describe it, but then the combination of words and
feelings, develop into more complex words. A self-generating cycle
evolves and we develop a language?

Even now, we try to use words to describe the origin of words.
Pre-historic man probably used words for many things before they had a
word for these words.

With regards
Gilbert Gerber


With regards
Gilbert Gerber

naz

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Sep 16, 2004, 6:14:40 AM9/16/04
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Hi Gilbert Gerber,

You have some very interesting points even though I had to read it a
couple of times to understand what exactly you were trying to say.

I never realy thought about it much until now. I am not a philosopher
and never studied or looked into philosophy. I totaly agree with you
as it is obvious that without meaning there would be no words

But I do have a question if you could be kind enough to answer:

If we don't have words how would we communicate? and without
communication how would new words form? (so in a way its a circle we
go around).

If you could possibly clarify how you would describe "Beauty" as I
feel beauty comes within not without. Also how would you know
something is beautifull if you didn't have words? P.S COME TO THINK
OF IT WHO INVENTED WORDS????


Naz

Susan Sez

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Sep 16, 2004, 11:43:26 AM9/16/04
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> hole_...@hotmail.com (Meme warrior) wrote in message

>Or.... Primarily we only think in emotions, and


> then we use words to describe it, but then the
> combination of words and feelings, develop into
> more complex words. A self-generating cycle
> evolves and we develop a language?

There's a "bifoldal" postulation out there that may hold a related
view. Advanced human thought could be the product of our language of
words and our innate language of emotions and mental sense-data
interacting with each other (like a kind of musical counterpoint
between two melodic lines).

And while words aren't necessary to contemplate some things, a culture
using a very restricted or specialized language might be either
limited or augmented by such when dealing with certain subjects or
activities. The once skeptically outcast ideas of Benjamin Lee Whorf
are enjoying a revival of sorts, especially with the recent study of
the Piraha tribe.

*From The Globe & Mall*: More than 60 years ago, amateur linguist
Benjamin Lee Whorf argued that learning a specific language determined
the nature and content of how you think. ..."The question is, is there
any case where not having words for something doesn't allow you to
think about it?" Prof. Gordon asked about the Piraha and the Whorfian
thesis. "I think this is a case for just that."
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20040820.wxnumbers20/BNStory/specialScienceandHealth/

*From New Scientist* ...Peter Gordon, the psychologist at Columbia
University in New York City who carried out the experiment, does not
claim that his finding holds for all kinds of thought. 'There are
certainly things that we can think about that we cannot talk about.
But for numbers I have shown that a limitation in language affects
cognition,' he says.
http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns99996303

She Explores The World Of Language and Thought
http://www.boston.com/news/globe/health_science/articles/2003/11/18/she_explores_the_world_of_language_and_thought/

_

gil...@hotmail.com

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Sep 16, 2004, 12:48:45 PM9/16/04
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mirc...@yahoo.co.uk (naz) wrote in message news:<dff866db.04091...@posting.google.com>...

> If you could possibly clarify how you would describe "Beauty" as I
> feel beauty comes within not without. Also how would you know
> something is beautifull if you didn't have words? P.S COME TO THINK
> OF IT WHO INVENTED WORDS????
> Naz


I am looking at the origin of words. I am saying that people can think
without using words. People think many things, which they do not have
the words for. We do use words to express some of these ideas, but the
words we use only symbolise what we try to say. The words only convey
the initial idea. The words are not the ideas.

I used the word, beauty, to explain this idea. Imagine you are looking
into a sunset, looking at a good-looking woman or man, colourful fruit
at a market stall, whatever. You will then find it pleasing to look at
those things. You will enjoy looking at those things. I assume that
you will find some of these things beautiful. The word Beautiful does
not do it justice, but it is hinting in the right direction.

An easier example, which is slightly different. We use the word sunset
for a sunset. Which came firs? The real thing came first, but we
invented a word (the word sunset) to symbolise an actual sunset.

With regards
Gilbert Gerber

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