What comes first: ideas or words? The paradox of articulation | Aeon Essays

... (a) seemingly contradictory observation is that articulating our thoughts, in the hard cases, is a purposive activity that doesn’t simply consist in producing words mechanically, in a kneejerk way. The words that immediately come out of us when we are struck by our thoughts (eg, ‘How outrageous!’, ‘What a mess!’) might hardly reflect what [...]

What good writers do | OUPblog

Good writers exist somewhere in most organizations. When responding to complaints, they tend to do the same things and make it look deceptively easy: They assess the problem and decide what they want to achieve. They plan, which gives them a clear structure. In longer letters, they use subheadings. They use simple sentences (average 15–20 [...]

The Problem with the Way Scientists Study Reason – Facts So Romantic – Nautilus

Mercier and Sperber say that reason is a tool that evolved to solve particular problems related to communication, like evaluating information provided by others, convincing family or tribe members with arguments, and justifying one’s behavior to protect and improve one’s reputation in a complex social world. Their theory makes novel and testable hypotheses, like that [...]

Words Underway: Continental Philosophy of Language, // Reviews // Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews // University of Notre Dame

Culbertson is to be congratulated for a lucid, spirited, and masterfully executed defense of Continental philosophy of language. While we wait for an anthology reflecting this understudied area (an anthology would make a desirable sequel to this book), She has provided a helpful overview of key topics and texts, organizing them around a philosophically complex [...]

Guaraní – Can Indigenous Language Thrive in a Digital Age? – SAPIENS

Guaraní is unique for several reasons. It’s the only Indigenous language in the Americas spoken by a majority of the non-Indigenous population. It has also survived centuries of colonialism and repression. But beyond the streets or rural areas, Guaraní is conspicuously absent. Although written works in Guaraní exist from the 17th century forward, today it [...]

Bring—brought—brought | OUPblog

Soon after the previous gleanings (February 26, 2020) were posted, a correspondent asked me to clarify the situation with the “prefix” br– in breath and bring (see the post on breath for January 22, 2020). I mentioned this mysterious prefix in connection with Henry Cecil Wyld, who accepted its existence in bring but doubted its [...]

Muddy waters | OUPblog

... what happens when we begin to investigate the origin of the English word mud. Its immediate neighbors are plentiful. The first occurrences of mud in texts go back to the fourteenth century, and that is why it is believed to be a borrowing from Middle Dutch or Middle Low German, even though a word [...]

Grammar in Wonderland | OUPblog

Lewis Carroll was a mathematically-inclined poet who published Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland in 1865 and Through the Looking-Glass in 1872 as well a number of poems and math and logic texts. Last summer I saw an outdoor production of Alice in Wonderland and it reminded me of all the linguistics in the two books. Carroll touches on questions of [...]

Bread, Banana, Apple, Milk, Goodbye

Gloria Anzaldúa, in her book Borderlands/La Frontera, reminds us that “an Indian mask in an American museum is transported into an alien aesthetic system where what is missing is the presence of power invoked through performance ritual.” The mask’s meaning or the mask as meaning is vastly altered by its new context. Despite the lengthy [...]