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Selected Books by Edmund Blair Bolles

  • Galileo's Commandment: 2500 Years of Great Science Writing
  • The Ice Finders: How a Poet, a Professor, and a Politician Discovered the Ice Age
  • Einstein Defiant: Genius vs Genius in the Quantum Revolution

« The Axioms of Language Evolution | Main | News of Babel's Dawn, The Book »



Tried to google "kuje ne" thinking it was some loanword I wasn't familiar with. Then I realized if you moved your right hand on the keyboard to the left one character...


I think its well-put that language is essentially a "cooperative sharing of perceptions." In the writing of a sentence, the writer attempts to convey a thought, in hopes that those word symbols will re-create that same thought in the reader's mind. As Fish and Bolles point out, this thought often takes the form of a given perceptual scenerio, and the actions that occur within this scenerio.

I also liked the point that words don't make sentences. Rather, it is the underlying thoughts/shared perceptions that drive the choosing of words, and the construction of sentences.

My view is that what ultimately drives the construction, or interpretation, of language (i.e. spoken or written word symbols) is memories. These memories are often generalized perceptual memories. For example, the sentence "The ball jumped up and bit Sally." makes no sense not because this is an incorrect gramatical construct, but because the image conveyed by this sentence does not match the reader's or writer's perceptual memories of the actions balls normally engage in.

My take on semantics generally is that word meaning is dependent largely upon the activation of the writer's, and then the reader's, perceptual memories. In other words, the rules of universal grammer (in my opinion) march to a stronger tune -- the rules of universal human experience (more specifically, a person's generalized perceptual memories).

I discuss this post on LAWnLinguistics.

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