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  1. #21
    Tdol is online now Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: nature of English

    The way to test these theories would be to roll out some concrete versions of the basic rules and test them.

  2. #22
    DarrenTomlyn is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: nature of English

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    The way to test these theories would be to roll out some concrete versions of the basic rules and test them.
    Well - that's what my blog is about, and for - (in a limited manner).

    The specific problems I see at this time - confusion between a number of related words for what they represent, both in isolation and in relation to each other, (and the rest of the language) - would simply not exist in the manner that they do, were it not for ultimately confusing HOW the language is used for WHAT it represents.

    How we currently use the language, in order to describe the language itself, for the most basic types of information it is used to represent, is generally incomplete, inaccurate or just plain inconsistent.

    As I said, the basic rules of English grammar, deal with how words are used and the type of concept they represent. At this time, the relationship between the two is not fully recognised.

    In order to describe such a relationship, we've split our language up into types of word, based on how they are used. This gives us a number of different groups (width) within the taxonomic hierarchy of our language, within which all of our words can be placed (hopefully).

    The problem, is that we're not describing the basic concepts each group of word is used to represent, and therefore contain, in a consistent manner. This causes problems, not just vertically - for each word to be related to and by broader and narrower concepts, within the overall type, (armchair->chair->furniture->object->(tangible) thing) - but also horizontally, between different concepts, if using the same or similar words, ((a) hammer and (I) hammer, again, for example), and/or between different, but related, concepts, (e.g. agile and agility).

    The latter is especially problematic at this time. Words can be related for what they represent, independently of how they are used. Understanding how and why they are related, because of the different types of concept they represent, (the different groups they belong to), is not currently happening, because we're not describing such concepts in a manner that determines how they are, (or even allows them to be described as being), related.

    Why?

    Because we're concerned with HOW they are used, more than WHAT they represent, even though the latter is the only reason the former matters in the first place.

    EVERY type of word needs to be described not just for HOW they are used, but the basic concepts such words represent that cause them to be used in such a manner to begin with - (WHAT).

    This is where we are currently failing. Every English lesson, every (English) dictionary and every (English) encyclopaedia needs to be re-written in this manner. The basic concepts this language represents, need to be described in a manner that makes sense as the root of such a taxonomic hierarchy, which, in general, isn't happening.

    The words my blog is ultimately about, (game, puzzle, competition and art), is concerned with one type of concept the language is not currently perceived, recognised and understood to represent. This can only be happening if the focus is placed on how the words are used, instead of what type of concept they represent.

    (The type of word we call noun, has three types of word that are used in such a manner, representing three different concepts. At this time, only one of these concepts is described in a consistent manner - (using the word thing). The other two concepts that are used in the same manner, are currently problematic, because they are further related to, and even derived from, two other concepts, used as two other types of word. We do not currently describe these types of concept in a manner that is fully consistent with how the language is used, and therefore consistent with what it represents.

    The two further concepts that are used as nouns, represent applications of what words used as verbs and adjectives represent:

    Movement (noun) is used as an application of move (verb).
    Decision (noun) is used as an application of decide (verb).
    Competition (noun) is used as an application of compete (verb).

    Agility (noun) is used as an application of agile (adjective).
    Strength (noun) is used as an application of strong (adjective).
    Dexterity (noun) is used as an application of dexterous (adjective).

    Which means we need to describe both verb and adjective in a manner that not only describes the basic concepts words that are used in such a manner represent, but also allows such types of word used as nouns, to be described as applications thereof.

    The only description that makes any sense whatsoever for verb, is things that happen (a thing that happens). Unfortunately, at this time, we use words such as activity, occurrence, action or even event or state, ALL of which are nouns, representing applications of what verbs are supposed to be described as. Likewise, we have problems with describing the word adjective, aswell.

    The failure to describe such a type of noun is, in my opinion, the direct cause of the problems I see with the words game, puzzle, art and competition.

    The fact is, is that every type of word needs to be described for the both the type of concept they represent, and how they are used because of that, in a consistent manner, which is not currently happening).
    Last edited by DarrenTomlyn; 17-Apr-2012 at 04:35.

  3. #23
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    Default Re: nature of English

    Sorry Darren but I have to say that, after attempting to read your blog, and seeing that last post of yours, I have given up. Lot of words, no substance.

  4. #24
    Tdol is online now Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: nature of English

    I am sorry but I agree that this is not the breakthrough you see it as- the shortcomings you see in things like dictionaries are largely opinion and what you're proposing is not really going anywhere. Defining poetry as the work of a poet is simply a poor dictionary entry, but no dictionary claims to be anything other than a fallible work in progress. Some revolutionary theories cause revolutions, others don't. Elvis Costello criticised Kevin Rowland as a singer who was always going to tell us something but never got around to telling us anything- it was all listen to this, and I'm gonna tell you, but no message. Sorry to use old musicians as an example, and I plead age for this, but this is the feeling I get here- you keep telling me that everything's wrong about the state of English teaching/learning/storing today, but never get round to the solutions.

  5. #25
    DarrenTomlyn is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: nature of English

    This is about FAR more than just dictionaries - but only they (and encyclopedia's) are displaying the most visible and prominent symptoms. I'm willing to bet that how the language is taught in general also displays such symptoms... (If it didn't, then it would have been obvious how and why the dictionaries etc. are wrong long before now).

    When people are confusing definitions of words for how they are applied - breaking the very basic rule of the language that defines it as such - it should send up a very big (red) flag to anyone who has anything invested in its future, and current, teaching and use.

    This language cannot function without such a line existing between the two, beyond the relationship they obviously have. The only reason this is happening for the words game, art, puzzle, competition and story, is because people are not being taught and informed any better, like they should be, and that makes this a matter of linguistics.

    If you don't understand how not recognising and understanding what the basic concepts are that the language is used to represent, matters - then why bother with words such as noun, verb etc. in the first place?
    Last edited by DarrenTomlyn; 19-Apr-2012 at 14:31. Reason: grammar

  6. #26
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    Default Re: nature of English

    I think Tdol's words still apply - "... you keep telling me that everything's wrong about the state of English teaching/learning/storing today, but never get round to the solutions."

    Incidentally, there is no apostrophe before the final s in the plural form of 'encylopedia.'

  7. #27
    DarrenTomlyn is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: nature of English

    (That's what happens when I think I can type faster than I actually can - my fingers get ahead of my thoughts... :p ).

    Saying that EVERYTHING is wrong is obviously an exaggeration, (and putting words into my mouth), but getting the foundations right is always a good idea, because it's impossible to know all the effects it will have before it's been done - (look at Einstein's theory of relativity, for example - many things we're looking at today are possible only because of the foundations Einstein laid...). Understanding the cause and effect of language - (relativity?) - (which is what I'm looking at) - should be very important, yes?

    The fact that ANY problems are being caused by the lack of such a consistent foundation, should, as I said, send up a few red flags, let alone any specific obvious symptoms being displayed, (such as (in) dictionaries/encyclopedias).

    The fact that someone even questioned language as a matter of philosophy, (even though there is a branch of philosophy specifically for language), should tell you that not everyone truly understands the nature of linguistics itself, which is also possibly/probably part of the problem.

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