Re: electric meme bombs

From: Grant Callaghan (
Date: Sun 27 Oct 2002 - 22:23:05 GMT

  • Next message: Keith Henson: "Re: Standard definition"

    >From: "Van oost Kenneth" <>
    >To: <>
    >Subject: Re: electric meme bombs
    >Date: Sun, 27 Oct 2002 21:09:58 +0100
    > > > But is that, in the real sense of the word, a problem !?
    > > > Talking about the rain forest doesn 't mean we deny the existence of
    > > > other forest in the world !? Each forest has its name, place and
    > > > function in the total picture of what we see as nature, and IMO if I
    > > > talk about the trees which are standing in the neighbourhood where I
    > > > live I talk about specific trees, not about those trees of the
    > > > Amazone. So in that sense am I not talking about those in the
    > > > individualistic type/ token distinction !?
    > > You could not use words like 'tree' or 'forest'; they are type-words.
    > > True, you could use words like 'amazon' and 'tongass' to describe
    > > forests, and you might be able to remember all the different terms,
    > > there are not a plethora of forests (although it would then not be
    > > possible to use the word 'amazon' to describe the river); the major
    > > problem comes when you talk about individual trees. Imagine seven
    > > trees, each sprung from the same parent, growing in a grove. Each
    > > would have to have its own name, nonrelational to the others (eng,
    > > thran, volub, etc., etc.), and in fact, every tree on the planet would
    > > to be designated in such a nonrelational manner. Besides the problem
    > > of memorizing billions of words just to describe the trees, we would
    > > have the additional problem of having to view every tree (or a portrayal
    > > of it) in order to apply the proper name to each entity. To call such a
    > > linguistic system impossibly unwieldy is a massive understatement.
    >Joe, comes Chinese not close to what you propose here !?
    >After all, they use a lot of signs/ markers to express what they think,
    >feel or want to desicribe !?
    >If we say waterfall and we want to express that it is the Niagara Falls,
    >we would say something like ' a big waterfall '_ we use an adjective,
    >the word where it refers to, waterfall, remains the same.
    >In Chinese, for what I understand of it, people use a different sign
    >for each waterfall they want to describe or at least a combination of
    >some signs. What is expressed is not waterfall anymore, but ' a little
    >waterfall ', ' a big waterfall ', Niagara Falls, three different words...No
    The Chinese use names for things pretty much the same way we do. Anything large enough to have a name in English has a name in Chinese, But there is also a general term or two that refers to any or all waterfalls. The Hwang He is the Yellow River but a "he" (pronounced huh) is just a river. All rivers are "he"s but not all rivers contain the word river in their name. We might refer to the Mississippi River as just the Mississippi, but I've never heard the Hwang He referred to as just the Hwang. I have, however, heard it called just the "he," the river, as in "He crossed the river."



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