Is there a term
like “staircase wit”—for the brilliant stuff you come up with in the shower but forget by the time you’re dressed?
Would You Like Spaghetti or Lasagna for Dinner?
Chomskyan Linguist: I hope the kitchen doesn’t have another performance error like they did last week.
Q:hi! i found the source for that super-cool alphabets infographic you just posted, i included it when i reblogged the post :)
Thank you! I just wanted to make sure its author(s) would get properly quoted!
Today’s morphology is yesterday’s syntax
There is no escape from language
You know when you’re talking to someone and you notice something they said and you just, you know, make a small mental note on it? Or perhaps, if the person is a linguist or just approvable, even comment on it? Not because its wrong, but because it was interesting.
Socialising with linguists is like that, ‘cept everyone does it to everyone and it’s very socially accepted. Our study object, language, is ever present. There is no escaping.
I have a friend who is also a linguist, let’s call him “P”. He has also observed this behaviour of linguists commenting and talking about language all the time because the study object is ever present.
He likened it to a crocodile expert going to a zoo and standing next to the crocodile pit. The expert could try to not talk about the crocodile, and for a while maybe even succeed but.. then the crocodile would yawn, poop, eat, swim or do just about anything and the expert would start talking about the animal again. Because it is so fascinating.
For a linguist language is that crocodile and we’re chained to the crocodile pit. And it’s forever wagging its tail and pooping and jawing and - OH MY GOD WHAT IS THAT?!?!!! - doing something it’s never been observed to do before or just doing something perfectly normal and it’s AMAAAZING.
Perfectly amazing. All the time.
We can take an abstract idea in our head, like a hat, and then produce vibrations in the air with our vocal chords and other cavities and then, then when those vibrations reaches another humans air the tiny hairs in the head gets pushed around and then we interpret that as meaningful signals (vihart explains this better here) and reconstruct the meaning and than that idea IS IN ANOTHER PERSONS HEAD. Not identical, surely, because we can never fully understand anyone ever (see Heraclitus) but still, pretty effing close.
And to add to the amazingness we can also do this in other modalities, like hands and eyes.
A-L-L T-H-E T-I-M-E
we’re chained to the crocodile pit
That really sums up the experience :D
No escape ♡
Unlike physical fire, the cognitive fire of language did not exist before humans called it into being. We invented it. And every individual and culture in the history of our race places its own mark upon this tool. It is an invention that envelops all humans. It unites. It divides. It warms our hearts. It chills our souls. It envigorates our bodies and steels young men for battle. It gives us the greatest pleasure of all - focused and ordered thoughts. We are now Homo loquax, as Tom Wolfe likes to say - we are speaking primates. We are the only masters of this raging cognitive fire.