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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

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Jerry Moore

Finally you reached the real core of the Second Signally System (where the term "Speech" need to be erased in favour of "Language"!).
Language and Mind is same entity, Blair, studied from perspectives of Linguistics or Psychology.
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BLOGGER: How then are we to explain Duke Ellington who thought in music or Albert Einstein who thought visually?

Jerry Moore

Exactly, Blair!
Art is integrated part of Language, one of its dimensions left from the more then million year routine of use triadic multimediality of pre-speech interactions (image, movement, sound – in their correspondence to - noun, verb, interjection).
“In linguistic terms: visual art (including architecture, landscaping, fashion and other graphical genres and elements of graphical presentation in mixed media) – represents an attempt of expression by means of nouns; performing art, dance, pantomime (including elements of movement determined by a technique of a given genre, mixed genres and media) – an attempt of expression by means of verbs; musical art in its diversity – by means of interjections. It is noteworthy that the original multimediality and language interactivity in the pre-speech period allows us to seek parallels with aspirations of the modern mass media and modern educational techniques to achieve the effect of multimediality and interactivity on the basis of the same triad components – graphics, movement, and sound – but expressed on a higher technological level. “

Uzza

To see how mind and language interact, it helps to know what at least one of them is, cf our friend Jerry with his idiosyncratic definitions.

With few exceptions, no one studied language prior to 1960, since they didn't know what language was, universally confusing it with its aural expression. Then William Stokoe, with far greater effect on the history of language studies than Chomsky will ever have, redefined the subject matter—in a way analogous to the change from Alchemy to Chemistry, or from Astrology to Astronomy

Now that we know languages are not simply aural but audiovisual, we no longer have an excuse to fumble blindly like our ancestors and ignore the visual components of every language. Studying the visual aspects can tell us how the mind works, and show us, literally, how linguistic structures evolve and change. I refer everyone to Susan Goldin-Meadow's classic reference Hearing Gesture, Harvard U, 2003.

Jerry Moore

Uzza -- "To see how mind and language interact, it helps to know what at least one of them is" - notion based on default opposition or established fact of existence of two separate entities.
In fact we cannot find example were healthy human has Mind and lacking Language or wise versa, or unhealthy one not having epileptic seizures due to limits of communicational stimulus (informational intakes or inability of expression) (very common condition for blind+deaf ppl).

You wrote: “the visual components of every language” – let me rephrase this - “the visual components of every language practices”. This way it sounds less risky, Uzza.

“Audiovisual” is the term which is cutting short tactile sensory channels (rich compensatory channels) and, as in case of S. Goldin-Meadow research, leaves the term “gesture” as a single well semantically identifiable act, which is, in fact, consist of graphical and motor components syntactically identifiable as Noun and Verb.
More you can find here: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1551315

Uzza

In fact we cannot find example were healthy human has Mind and lacking Language ...
I have repeatedly pointed out how we can and do find such examples, with references cited. This is not just wrong but insulting: deaf people are not autistic as you assumed on the other thread; nor do deaf-blind people have epileptic seizures.

You are using definitions of language and other terms that no one else in this conversation/blog is using. Goldin-Meadow's use of the term gesture is nothing like what you say it is, but is consistent with other leading researchers such as David McNeill and Adam Kendon.

I use the term audiovisual to stress that while some languages are purely visual, there are no purely aural languages. Nor are there any tactile languages. Though possible theoretically, and blind signers do use some tactile elements syntactically, social conditions that would allow such a language to develop do not occur.

The article you reference, with such laughable falsehoods as“the elements of sign language … differs radically from the structure of verbal language.” and “all sign languages are onomatopoetic”, can not be taken seriously.

Jerry Moore

"laughable falsehoods as “the elements of sign language … differs radically from the structure of verbal language.” and “all sign languages are onomatopoetic”..."

First idea belongs to Armstrong, Stokoe and Wilson.
Second notion belongs to McBride.
Your hysteric is counterproductive, Uzza. Thanks.

Uzza

It's Wilcox, not Wilson, and not Wicox as the article cites it. It's Sherman Wilcox
All three these authors have pretty much spent their careers showing that elements of signed and spoken language are not different.
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The elements are concepts—in terms of actions, actors, and relationships amongst them—that are associated with perceptual units, which are then combined, and the medium constrains how they can combine.

In a visual medium we can easily produce a single pantomimed action that expresses all these elements simultaneously, and a receiver can process it using no more than the perceptual resources that evolved to interpret our external world. Nothing linguistic required. Then, if these pantomimes are grammaticalized into a stable system, they can be analyzed as syntactic categories, e.g. nouns and verbs that we recognize as language.

In the aural medium, the best we can do is associate a discrete sound unit with an actor, another discrete unit with the action, and add word order rules or yet another perceptual unit to clarify the semantic relation. At minimum, a noun, a verb, and a case marker. The aural medium requires multiple morphemes plus syntactic rules to express what the visual medium expresses in one unit, and only rarely can arrange all these elements into a directly grounded relationship with their referent (subject of the next post).

Jerry Moore

Uzza -- "we can easily produce a single pantomimed action (+ with emotional/or some else sound expression - /Jerry Moore/) that expresses all these elements simultaneously, and a receiver can process it using no more than the perceptual resources that evolved to interpret our external world. Nothing linguistic required." – sounds strange. From one hand, you are talking about purest act of conscious communication, which, lets say, depicturing hunting experience, but from other hand, you said – “Nothing linguistic required."

Please, Uzza, explain why? Why do you believe, that all “perceptual resources that evolved to interpret our external world” engaged in expression and in understanding of some pantomimed action are radically different from Speech Language perception/expression?

"The aural medium requires multiple morphemes plus syntactic" – it doesn’t at all, but it can. The same way like gestural medium can (sign language) or even graphical medium could evolutionary transformed from body paintings to hieroglyphs and to writing we use.

Uzza

Sure. To communicate the idea of [looking at] something , a person without language would mime a movement from their eye to the object, building on the metaphor of something moving from point A to point B (think of the game Charades). The receiver doesn't require language to interpret this, only an understanding of shapes and movement, and the iconic/indexical relations amongst eyes and viewed objects. In a visual medium this is easy; with sound, not so much.

In grammatical terms, the path movement of their hand is the verb, the end point is the object, and the start point is the subject. The pantomime can even express the Indirect Object: for the idea of [giving], you'd hold your hand differently for a coffee cup than for a sheet of paper. However, subjects and objects, verbs and nouns, these are grammatical categories, which can't exist before there's some grammar. Here, even though it contains multiple “morphemes”, and expresses all the “syntax” of a complex sentence, all we have is a single undifferentiated unit with no linguistic structure.

To create a language, children would analyze such a unit, extract a single morpheme, e.g. the Indirect Object handshape, and insert that morpheme into other units, thereby forming the regular paradigms that make up a system of grammar. To use that system linguistically, they could reverse the start and end points to produce a sentence “you-look at-me”, or they could sign “look at-that cup” (eyegaze directed towards the recipient completes the speech triangle). The final forms they adopt might even produce a sentence that looks exactly like the mimed gesture, but it undeniably would be language by virtue of its membership in the system of grammatical structure.

Jerry Moore

We are standing so far apart in our views for a quite simple reason: for you Language is system of signs and only, I am trying to observe it as the physiological ability to understand and express relation to reality as well (ability to sign systematisation). Unfortunately, we have only one word “language” we suppose to share somehow. Even in this case, I noticed, you are treating this term by tossing it from semiotic system to biology. Phrases ‘mime a movement’, ‘building on the metaphor’, ‘interpret’, ‘understanding’ you refer to justify absence of Language (your - ‘a person without language’).
According to definition of Second Signal System, ‘a person without language’ is the absurd. Please, Uzza, pay attention to this well-established fact.
Your “grammatical categories … can't exist before there's some grammar” can be opposed by notion “grammar can't exist before there's some grammatical categories” and can’t justify speech-stricture-centric approach to the issue. At the same time it is highlighting biological nature of uniquely human ability and singularly of Language-Mind category. Let me again stress the fact that each medium governed by its own sign system/structure/gramma, where our verbal language is one of those systems, and they can’t be successfully analysed by simple application of rules of one medium to another.
In regard to language acquisition by children, I stay on the position of the evolutionary stages reflection in early child development. In our case chain is – development of the basic human composition of sensory system, multimedian expression and perception (at the first communicative stage) and then commonly/culturally accepted way of communication (which is speech language with its rules and tendencies in 99,5% of modern cases). In this developmental chain - Language (biological ability) builds itself up and became functional at one step before its fully vocal manifestation (speech).

Jerry Moore

“To create a language, children would analyze such a unit, extract a single morpheme, e.g. the Indirect Object handshape, and insert that morpheme into other units, thereby forming the regular paradigms that make up a system of grammar.”
This is good example of the very common trap, were motor-reflection of speech processing (modern human physiology) is trying to hijack and embed psycholinguistic process existed for ages in another forms of media, well before vocal apparatus full development.
In my point of view, you are trying to describe mediamorphism of gestural and vocal media with their syntactic structure (noun, verb, interjection) to verbal medium with its own more advanced syntactic system. But not the Language acquisition as such.

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