RE: A meme is...

From: Grant Callaghan (
Date: Thu 31 Oct 2002 - 15:58:35 GMT

  • Next message: "Re: Standard definition"

    > <That their particular form is not genetically required (that is,
    >they are not
    > > innate). The capacity to learn a language is part and parcel of the
    > > human condition, but the languages we do indeed learn are arbitrary
    > > human constructions. They could just as easily for us be other
    > > languages.>
    > >
    > The particular language one ends up speaking is arbitrary in one
    >sense, but not in the sense that is important in examining cultural
    >evolution. The particular language one speaks is culturally determined,
    >that's the point surely, and why a mental predisposition can't be enough
    >a definition of a meme.
    > The question then becomes how a particular language becomes dominant
    >over others within, say, a nation state. Such processes, it seems to me,
    >are not products of individuals' mental predispositions, but about social
    >factors, such as power struggles.
    > An example might be the Tindall english language version of the
    >bible, printed in the 16th century. Printed in the southern dialect of
    >english, this helped cement the southern dialect as the dominant version of
    >english, with many regional english dialects diminishing in strength as a
    >result of the (eventual) widespread dissemination of Tindall's version of
    >the bible, once it was authorised by Henry VIII.
    > Vincent

    The King James version of the bible also had a huge influence on the kind of English that came to be spoken in the U.S. Thousands of children grew up learning verses out of it. And we still have preachers in parts of the U.S. who think it was written by God himself and will not hesitate to tell you it's the Word of God and every word in it is God's Truth. I've never heard a good explanation, though, for why God wrote in English rather than Aramaic. ;-)>


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