Date: Sat, 15 Nov 1997 22:14:43 -0600
From: "Donald M. Lance" engdl[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]SHOWME.MISSOURI.EDU
Subject: Re: one as a pronoun?
... words ... in the final analysis
are merely oscillations of molecules
in a sound medium or marks on
Another way of looking at it (which I prefer) is that "in the final
analysis" words are mental representations in the minds of speakers of a
language--representations that link sound, grammar, and meaning. Why
emphasize phonologgy/orthography and ignore morphology, syntax, and meaning?
If there is no mind available to process the sound waves, what exists is
what I referred to. You're quite right, of course. I was intentionally
taking an extreme view. What if a lip-reading hearing-impaired or
non-hearing person processes the words that someone has said? And what if
a non-hearing person constructs words to be able to write down the content
of information received through signing? And there are many other what-if
(im)ponderables. In an oral interchange (or even written interchange) what
is the locus of 'the' or 'mountain' or 'say' as a word? It is likely that
somewhat or slightly different neural complexes "light up" in the brains of
producers and receivers as words are "interchanged," so where does that
leave us? Communing with angels on the head of a pin?