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ERIC Number: ED508340
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Feb-14
Pages: 54
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 79
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: N/A
Language as Information and the World
Koga, Kant
Online Submission
Language attracts everyone on earth. That is because we have and use language. Although there are some minority languages that have limited expressions such as the lack of writing systems in "Aynu itak" and "Shona" languages, they can effectively express their emotion and thought with their languages. In addition, every human being can acquire their native language regardless of how difficult the linguistic structure of the language. Noam Chomsky (1965) pointed out that the language specific domain in the human brain, called "The Language Faculty," stimulates humans to acquire language. He also posited that the production of human language from the faculty comes as a consequence of natural human endowment that works innately in the human brain. On the other hand, Steven Pinker has a different view on the language faculty. He believes that biological adaptation affords humans the language faculty and it is truly instinctive, following Darwin's natural selection. These two different views give opportunity for researching why human language and its faculty exist in the human brain. Truly speaking, the major function of human language is to verbalize our thoughts and feelings to others and to the speakers or writers themselves. Therefore, language must contain "Information" and "Meaning". Generative semantics, as suggested by George Lakoff and other recent linguists, provides a sharp contrast with what Chomsky and Pinker claimed in their interpretive approach to language, which is well-known as Chomskyan linguistics. Although there appear to be some expressions in a particular language that have no meaning, or non-sense expressions, they must entail some meaning. For example, Chomsky's famous non-sense sentence "Colorless green ideas sleep furiously" does not seem to have any specific meaning because it is just non-sense, which Chomsky himself claims. But this sentence does express the meaning "nonsense", so it does contain the particular meaning "non-sense". On the basis of the argument, there is an assumption that every expression in any language existing in the world must have a specific meaning that we utilize in everyday life. This dissertation mainly focuses on the matter of "information" in language and how humans perceive and feel towards it from the natural world. I shall specially follow the idea of human "sensation" and "reflection," which was originally extrapolated by British empiricist philosopher John Locke (1632~1704). In the first chapter, I begin by evaluating Chomsky's revolutionary thought on linguistics that still affects current linguistics and even his opponents. In the second part of the chapter, some different theories of language structure proposed by Richard Hudson and other linguists will be evaluated and compared with Chomsky's generative grammar. In the second chapter and the third chapter, I will address two philosophical questions. First, I would like to focus on Humboldt's Problem that asks what are the knowledge and faculty of language. Doing research on this question has great importance for my studies of language, because I will focus on the inner sense of the English language which develops from the faculty of language in the human brain. Both Noam Chomsky and Steven Pinker have proposed theories on the faculty of language. Despite their efforts, there remain a lot of unresolved aspects to the faculty of language. I would like to further challenge this theme by taking a new syntactic approach called "Digital Construction Grammar." In doing so, I will observe how humans perceive the information they intake from the world around them. Language, for example, has many unique functions that respond to various stimuli from both humans and the world in which they live. Humboldt's Problem mainly asks about the relation between language creation and human nature such as functions of the mind in the brain. Social factors from the external world must also relate to human actions such as the creation of language. I will provide support for my theory with results of my research on English prepositions at University College London (2008) and Digital Hollywood University (2009) which reveals language structures strongly reflect their social and environmental background. The concluding remarks give some further explanation on my beliefs regarding the language faculty and offer possibilities for future studies in a wide range of academic realms. (Contains 2 diagrams.)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A