Received: by alpheratz.cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk id UAA06149 (8.6.9/5.3[ref email@example.com] for cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk from firstname.lastname@example.org); Mon, 16 Apr 2001 20:42:03 +0100 From: <Zylogy@aol.com> Message-ID: <email@example.com> Date: Mon, 16 Apr 2001 15:38:03 EDT Subject: derivational history of the lexicon and reification of structure? To: firstname.lastname@example.org CC: Zylogy@aol.com Content-Type: multipart/alternative; boundary="part1_30.13724b64.280ca41b_boundary" Content-Disposition: Inline X-Mailer: AOL 6.0 for Windows US sub 10513 Sender: email@example.com Precedence: bulk Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="US-ASCII" Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
Hi. Been quiet a while, lurking. Been thinking a lot about the nature of the
lexicon as found in most languages. In most lexicons, there is a large body
of forms with a complex history in terms of both structure and meaning. Not
that there aren't also simplex forms, but in many languages these are a small
minority of the total. These would include ideophones and expressives.
Ideophones and expressives are not part of the lexicon proper as it is
usually understood by linguists. Forms are in constant flux, templatically
created and apparently as easily destroyed. There is something to be said for
parallelism with the virtual particles which form and fall back to the vacuum.
Ideophones are also extremely symmetrically organized as to sound structure
and parallel semantics. When these forms are reanalyzed into normal
vocabulary, as it appears happens at certain points in the linguistic
typological cycle, this symmetrical organization is lost. In fact, one might
see here a parallel to symmetry breaking in particle systems.
What is most interesting about all this is that multiple threads point in the
direction of the creation of a derivational history behind the staying power
of lexical items, especially one where inter-element boundaries are obscured.
One wonders whether similar derivational history is behind the stability of
particles in physics. Without such derivation, and the removal of the
structures which allowed the edifices to be erected in the first place, it is
too easy to simply reverse the process, and you get an equilibrium between
creation and destruction at a very low level.
So here is my question to the list membership: does such a derived system
then have a cognitive "life" of its own? Is reification a form of "memory"?-
a history of what went before, allowing intergenerational transfer not only
of basic information, but also of tried and true strategies, attitudes, etc.
I might be willing to posit that languages based on universals and
symmetrical patterning lack such history, and the living is day to day,
generation to generation. Do memeticists have any feelings about all this? I
understand that my particular interests are alien to most of you here, as is
linguistics proper (which shouldn't be). Anyway, hope to here some real
criticism here, not dead air.
This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Mon Apr 16 2001 - 20:45:07 BST