Yet Another Graphomaniacs Compendium
Monday, March 25, 2002

The limits of my language.


In a conversation with Mish the Mouse she asserted that the famous quote attributed to
Ludwig Wittgenstein
was old fashioned and therefore obsolete. Well, it's obsolete like the Newtons Laws are obsolete. ie. not very unless you happen to be very small or
moing at a measurable fraction of the speed of light. Mish says that langage does not limit her: without language, she is herself: she percieves the same things. Which is interesting, as there a some definite observations about perception and language that I want to make in another post. I pointed to the accounts of the deaf pupils of The Abee De L'Epee in their pre-lingual state: they did not have any abstract concepts at all: they were aware of daily life and routines. If they are sad and others do not percieve it, how can they explain to others that they are sad and explain the reason for their unhappiness. How can you follow a chain of reasoning without a langage - is it even possible? One word or handshape follows another: giving us a chain of thoughts we can record and review in our own mind, and use to build internal models of ourselves and others that we are at least partially concious of. How can you describe a feeling or impression that your langauge has no words for? How does written language give an accurate representation of the size and motion of an object that can be given immediately in sign language? How does a signer express the graviational constant and it's associated law of gravitational motion that can be expressed elegantly in a single line of mathematics? Clearly languages have limits, but so do perceptions - but do the limits to our perception describe the limits of our langage? I have been playing with a few gedankenexperiments..of which, more anon..


Of course, linguistics will probably have researched these questions and left them for dead years ago, but they are fun to think about anyway


posted by John Connors at
Monday, March 25, 2002

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A miscellany of topics that intersest me: deaf culture, game design, politics as soap opera, the cyborg condition and the experience of learning to hear again. Other topics presented are speculative fiction and imaginary cities. There are appearences of snippets of work in progress, public rants, pointless posts and Mish the Mouse.




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