Friday, March 15

Confusing language (1)

'When I picked up my Ford Escort at the service station after
some minor repairs, I paid by cheque as usual. A couple of
weeks later I came home from work to find my fiancée quite
upset. She gave me the silent treatment until I worked out
why she was so angry. She had noticed the cancelled cheque,
and the stub on which I’d written "Escort service".'

(Adapted from Reader's Digest.)

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Confusing language (2)

'What I have discovered is that the whole of language is structured to deal with the existential modalities of entities both real and reificational* -- and more importantly that the GRAMMATICAL DEVICES -- mode, case, pronominals, prepositions, adjectives, adverbs and all the rest of the interlocking and mutually interdependent grammatical categories are simply aspects of the codal mechanics of the lexical delivery systems that we use through the employment of language, to describe our own existential modality and the existential modalities of the other materia and nominative hypostatisations** with which we interact.' (91 words)

From 'Jud', a contributor to the Linguistics list today, on the subject of 'modal linguistic philosophy'. (The argument propounded at his web site,, is that 'to be' is not a verb, but a 'copula'. This proposition is 'the purpose of Analytical Indicant Theory' [AIT].)

Vocabulary notes

* To 'reify' is to regard (a person or abstract concept) as a material thing. 'Reification' is also used to mean 'depersonalisation', especially the kind Marx thought was due to capitalist industrialisation in which the worker is deemed to be the quantifiable labour factor in production, or as a commodity.
** To 'hypostatise' is to think of (a concept) as having concrete reality, to make it into or treat it as substantial.
(Sources: Longman's and OED.)