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MacAllister
01-09-2007, 09:10 AM
I've had several requests for a room that was more about philosophy and theory behind language and writing--the AW Roundtable is a pretty nuts-n-bolts kind of room--so here you go!

And a big welcome to Colorado Guy, for agreeing to moderate here.

Cassidy
01-09-2007, 10:38 AM
great idea, i look forward to visiting this space. -cassidy

PeeDee
01-09-2007, 10:40 AM
Oh my goodness. I'm deeply intimidated just by the name of this room. And yet, and yet....I'll come back. How cool.

PeeDee
01-09-2007, 10:54 AM
I think I'll have to wait for someone to start a thread, though, because I'm entirely unsure what goes in this room exactly.

MacAllister
01-09-2007, 11:01 AM
That's the beauty of a room about theory and philosophy, Pete--it's actually much more flexible than one might think. Rhetoric, ethics, lit crit....go for it!

PeeDee
01-09-2007, 11:03 AM
What, all that stuff?

*boggles*

Now I have even less idea than I did a minute ago.

I will damn well think of something, though.

alleycat
01-09-2007, 11:40 AM
I'm with PeeDee on this one . . . I think I'll just wander away until my mail-order PhD comes in.

But, congratulations to Colorado Guy for the new position.

JennaGlatzer
01-09-2007, 11:54 AM
We can still belch and drop cookie crumbs in here, right? Right?

Welcome to modhood, Colorado Guy! You da man!

MacAllister
01-09-2007, 12:24 PM
Jenna, only if you share the cookies.

Birol
01-09-2007, 01:14 PM
Welcome Colorado Guy!

kristie911
01-09-2007, 02:43 PM
Rhetoric, ethics, lit crit....go for it!

ACK! Did someone mention ethics? Definitely not my type of room. I have no ethics.

MidnightMuse
01-09-2007, 07:10 PM
Perhaps we should discuss the ethics of cookie crumbs in a public place?

sunandshadow
01-10-2007, 12:24 AM
Yay! Finally a place to post my questions like 'what is an ending' and parts of my literary theory book for critique! ^_^

ChunkyC
01-10-2007, 11:34 PM
Congrats on your modship, CG!

(is this where we can discuss William F. Buckley's use of purplicity in language as a class delineator?)

C.bronco
01-10-2007, 11:38 PM
I hope so. Was ole Bill talking about Purple Prose, i.e. overly flowery, overdone writing?

ChunkyC
01-10-2007, 11:40 PM
Perhaps we should discuss the ethics of cookie crumbs in a public place?
For a second there, I thought you said ethnicity of cookie crumbs....

ChunkyC
01-10-2007, 11:42 PM
I hope so. Was ole Bill talking about Purple Prose, i.e. overly flowery, overdone writing?
No, that's just the way he talks. :)

ColoradoGuy
01-10-2007, 11:50 PM
(is this where we can discuss William F. Buckley's use of purplicity in language as a class delineator?)
Sure, as long as we can have some kind of sound feed/pod cast thing to capture that wonderful intonation of his -- an olive up each nostril, purple prosody all wonderfully spilling out his mouth.

C.bronco
01-10-2007, 11:57 PM
Someone's got to start this, then.
The fun began when early man started naming things. So someone comes up with "apple." (And I don't mean Gwyneth). Does it lead to further scrutiny of apples? Further speculation and theory? Looking at apples, we now differentiate among their properties. Now we have McIntosh, Granny Smith and Golden Delicious. I think language enhances our curiousity and observation.

ColoradoGuy
01-11-2007, 01:12 AM
Plus, to name a thing is to have power over it. Ask any dermatologist, who looks a blotchy, red rash all over your body and pronounces you have erythroderma universalis. There -- I named it -- now I control it. (I'm not kidding, by the way -- there is such a fancy name for being red all over.)

C.bronco
01-11-2007, 03:45 AM
Like knowing the name of a demon in summoning. (Not that I do that, but I just read The Amulet of Samarkand). To paint a portrait, one has to notice every detail, see how the forms flow into eachother, find the light and shadow. We do that with words, therefore we must look closely.

jbal
01-11-2007, 05:02 AM
But language also has the capacity to limit our thoughts, no? To allow us to pigeonhole as a type of intellectual shorthand which might prevent our analyzing further? Sort of like racism, in the sense of intellectual laziness.

Man, that thought won't be popular with writers.

ColoradoGuy
01-11-2007, 05:07 AM
But language also has the capacity to limit our thoughts, no? To allow us to pigeonhole as a type of intellectual shorthand which might prevent our analyzing further? Sort of like racism, in the sense of intellectual laziness.
Definitely. Buzzwords and cliche occur on many levels, all of which are evidence of lazy thinking.

jbal
01-11-2007, 05:24 AM
I'm talking about words in general though. By nature they limit the abstract concepts they represent.

Birol
01-11-2007, 05:27 AM
How so?

ColoradoGuy
01-11-2007, 05:41 AM
I'm talking about words in general though. By nature they limit the abstract concepts they represent.
So I take you to mean that you don't think language is the very substance of abstract thought, its raw material.

jbal
01-11-2007, 10:15 AM
How so?
I just wrote a long explanation for this, and then erased it. When we name something, it limits it by excluding other concepts. EG when we say "apple" we are excluding other fruits, and buses, and dogs. So it limits our thought to the object named, right? But it's also serving as shorthand. When I say "apple", you think of an apple, but is it the same one? is yours green or red? Is it ripe? Does it have a stem. Hell, is it still on the tree? We haven't communicated much this way. But for someone to take a collection of my words and get the larger message that they send, that might be something abstract. So the words, when put together, are stronger than the sum of their parts. I hope this version makes more sense.

jbal
01-11-2007, 10:16 AM
So I take you to mean that you don't think language is the very substance of abstract thought, its raw material.
No, they are the substance of specific, concrete thought. To think beyond them and communicate the abstract ideas is the challenge of a writer, no? Or a poet I guess.

PeeDee
01-11-2007, 10:16 AM
.....what a really interesting idea, Jon. What a fun thing to toss around. I don't knwo if it's useful, but it's the sort of thing my imagination digs.

jbal
01-11-2007, 11:01 PM
So I take you to mean that you don't think language is the very substance of abstract thought, its raw material.
Language is the substance of communication, the limiter of abstract thought.

ColoradoGuy
01-11-2007, 11:41 PM
Language is the substance of communication, the limiter of abstract thought.
This is probably the place to bring in the Whorf-Sapir hypothesis, well summarized by Lisa in this post (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showpost.php?p=978535&postcount=638). The issue is to what extent language controls how we think.

jbal
01-12-2007, 01:38 AM
I didn't know there was a "hypothesis" surrounding this. Although I figured I wasn't the only one to ever think of it. I actually did a fairly long essay once in college on this very subject-the degree to which language shapes thought. I dopubt I still have it though. Thanks for the link CG.

kdnxdr
01-12-2007, 05:37 AM
As a person with no academic background, I would like to comment.

I believe that when we attempt to think and then express what we think, as humans, we venture sounds to represent what we think.

I believe that language is never static but always fluid and in a continuous state of transformation. However, it's fluidity is usually more like flowing lava than like a rolling river. It moves quickly when it's hot and new words are being forged and then slows as it cools and those words are disseminated across the culture(s). Then there is a cooled period where the new words are set into the language(s), until the next eruption.

I believe that words from first use to current use are linked. They are also webbed into networks of families (derivatives and same-concept spawn).

I believe that language was birthed as one salient language and after an initial intense fracture, that first language has continued to fracture and remix while maintaining a submerged template of itself.

Words are always multi-layered like an onion with varying levels of concrete and abstract all included in the same word.

A word is a treasure chest. A word smith is one who extracts the goods.

my 2.

kid