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Hidden Meanings in Words

PodlyPodly you unzipped me! it's all coming back! i don't like it!Registered User regular
edited December 2008 in Debate and/or Discourse
One word can have many meanings. We acknowledge this every day. When we say "I love chocolate ice cream" and "I love my wife," everyone understands that, while we are using the same word to express different ideas, we are in general announcing an affinity for the objects of our expressions. Some cultures would never do this. For instance, a polish speaker would say "ciebie" to his wife, but never to chocolate; they would more likely use something like adore.

It is well known that the Ancient Greeks did not have a single love, but many (philos, eros, agapia, etc) However, in Greek this is not commonly encountered. Rather, Ancient greek has relatively fewer words, and these words have myriad meanings. For example, the word pharmakon was used to mean: medicine, remedy, drug (the bad kind), love potion, magic spell, poison. (We get the word pharmacy from this word) In English, each of these words have different connotations: a remedy is a good thing, but drugs are bad for you; medicine heals you and poison kills you. The Greeks used a single word to convey all the possibilities that a pharmakon may have on the body.

The word pharmakon is not very involved in the English language. However, many Latin and Greek words are. Let us look at the word "case." It comes from the Latin word "casus" - a fall, falling, occasion, chance, rift, rupture, accident, fortune, fate, downfall, accident, violent death. The first appearance of the word in English, in 1225 according to the OED, was used in the sense of : a thing that befalls or happens to anyone." In 1300, it appears in the sense of "an instance or example of the occurrence or existence of a thing. In 1347, it was used to show a chance, hazard, hap. Down the line, in the mid-19th century, it was used to express an infatuation; a situation in which two people fall in love, as in "to have a case on" for someone.

Let us return to linguistics. The word "case" as a specific function in language. (From the OED.: [Latin casus, used to translate Gr. ptosis," "falling, fall", used by Aristotle to and divided, inflected, or extended form of the simple hotoma or rhema to the other tenses and moods of the verb, including also its interrogative form. The grammarians, following the stoics, restricted ptosis to nouns, and included the nom. under the designation. *In inflected languages, one of the varied forms of a substantiative, adjective, or pronoun, which expresses the varied relations in which it may stand to some other word in a sentence.

This example stands in the middle of the main definitions of "case." On the one hand, chance deals with the subjunctive mood: "case" is what may occur, "in case of fire"; on the other hand, it also deals with the actual state or position of matters, the facts - "it is the case that..." Does the linguistic definition of "case" deal with the simple chance falling of morphemes in the sentence, or are the morphemes there because it is the case of the sentence. Likewise, what do we mean when we talk about a court case. Is a case a deciding of the facts, as we lie to believe, or in the back of our minds do we hold the original meaning of chance and hap -- is a case a chance to play the fates and construct what happened? And what do we mean when we say that someone has a case? Doctors are pursuing the case of tuberculosis in a patient, or is the psychotherapist simply letting fall more injuries in the patients psyche?

I think that it is impossible to say that we can simply mean one thing. When we say "I love you," I would argue that we mean as much as we can, because it is impossible to find an exact definition for our feelings, to bring forth this being which we label beloved. When we speak of cases, we cannot truly differentiate between reality as it is: the cause and effect and the facts, and the randomness, hap, and befalling.

If this original meaning of casus is always being reached back to, it seems that this happens with most words as well. If the Greeks have broken down Love into its parts, yet we use one word to show the undefinable nature with it, can the same be done for English words? The Greek word histeme covered many words that we have in English today. 1. Causal, make stand; set up, set up the loom or raise the mast, raise buildings, statues, trophies in honor of 2. set place, of things or persons, 3. Bring to a standstill, stay, check, b. set on foot, stir up, c. set up; appoint, d. establish; institute, e. determine (in the sense of gignoai, knowing, establish what is true) f. fix by agreement, g. bring about, cause, 4. place in the balance, weigh, b. weigh out, pay, c. weigh the worth of a person, 5. (Passive) to be set up or placed; stand b. Frequently a stronger form of eimi -- to be; c. to take up an intellectual attitute, d. to stand in the face of danger; 6. to stand still, halt; to stand firm, 7. to be set up, uprigh; to be set up, erected, built, to be standing in the good and correct; moral 8. To arise, begin., 9. to have an erection

In the simple word stand, we se how standing is a sort of being, standing up, subsistent, standinf of ones accord, to begin a family or a country, (via ones standing erection) to establish ones legacy, to stand for all time, facing enemies, facing danger, paying people, paying ones worth, weighing ones worth, establishing what is right and good. When we think of any of these things, do we, by virtue of inheriting the intellectual legacy of the Greeks, always hold these ideas close together?

I think that a lot of this sounds far-fetched, but I think that it is also quite important and hard to prove otherwise. What do you guys think?

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    IncenjucarIncenjucar VChatter Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Honestly, I think the use of "love" in regards to objects is simply a matter of a hyperbolic claim that became a linguistic habit. We use words like "awesome" and such in a similar manner. The power of the words has simply been diluted.

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    PodlyPodly you unzipped me! it's all coming back! i don't like it!Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    So when a parent tells they're child that they love them, they are always hyperbolizing?

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    BamaBama Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Are children objects, Podly? I thought your counselor had gone over this with you.

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    IncenjucarIncenjucar VChatter Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited December 2008
    If that child is a piece of chocolate.

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    PodlyPodly you unzipped me! it's all coming back! i don't like it!Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Also, if you call someone a fag or a *****, words which have become heavily diluted, then can they just be chalked up to linguistic habit as well?

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    KalTorakKalTorak One way or another, they all end up in the Undercity.Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    Honestly, I think the use of "love" in regards to objects is simply a matter of a hyperbolic claim that became a linguistic habit. We use words like "awesome" and such in a similar manner. The power of the words has simply been diluted.

    This reminds me of that part in "The Giver" when the kid's friend is in the lunch line and says that "he's starving." Then he gets taken aside and lectured on how he's not starving, he's hungry.

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    IncenjucarIncenjucar VChatter Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Often, yes.

    English is a language with an incredible system of homonyms. "Love" can be en entire range of positive emotion, from "I would die for one kind word from thee!" to "I love fart jokes!"

    It's a highly contextual and relative language.

    --

    Kal: Yes. Like Cartman in Africa.

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    SamiSami Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    We speak with a language that speaks for itself. That's one of the biggest hurdles for radical(from the latin radix; root) humanists like myself to overcome. Every day people speak with lexicons that have the oppressive power structures we try to fight already coded in.

    For which the examples are myriad. Marriage and ownership, compassion in germanic vs. cyrillic languages, etc.

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    Nikolai!Nikolai! Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Language is generally a poor way to convey your feelings anyways, because you may feel so strongly that you can't quite find the words to convey those feelings. Maybe not in relation to farts, but definately towards a spouse or your family. Also words can be misconstrued and while you may mean well when you say something you find that you may end up insulting a person, especially when confronting language barriers.

    But you guys are right too, a lot of words have become diluted. A lot of words have changed completely. "I feel quite gay today" has a completely different meaning 50 years ago then it does today.

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    TofystedethTofystedeth Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Sami wrote: »
    We speak with a language that speaks for itself. That's one of the biggest hurdles for radical(from the latin radix; root) humanists like myself to overcome. Every day people speak with lexicons that have the oppressive power structures we try to fight already coded in.

    For which the examples are myriad. Marriage and ownership, compassion in germanic vs. cyrillic languages, etc.
    I doubt people are being oppressed by the word marriage, or compassion. Only word nerds know of these alternate meanings and "power structures."

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    IncenjucarIncenjucar VChatter Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Language is largely how we express what's going on in our heads. It's an imperfect communication, as our language does not conform precisely to our feelings, and other people use the same words in different ways. Words like "love" especially have thousands of homonyms. I love my sibling I love my parents I love my mate I love my children I love my neighbor I love my job I love my country I love my life I love Bilbo Baggins.

    Every instance of love there is a different definition with different degrees of relatedness.

    --

    And yeah, considering barely anyone in the population has a clue about etymology, using etymology to determine what people mean when they say something is ludicrous.

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    ElJeffeElJeffe Moderator, ClubPA mod
    edited December 2008
    I think people are able to compartmentalize a large number of meanings for a certain word without overlap. When I say my wife bears a child, I do not think a grizzly sprang from her loins, nor do I think her market is down. Similarly, I don't think that the various meanings of the word "love" get diluted by that word having many meanings.

    Words are simply means of conveying ideas. I have a thought in my head, and I pick the word that most closely fits. The definition of "love" is only an approximation of how I feel for my wife, anyway. There is a collection of words that most closely fits my feelings, but even those are an approximation. At the end of the day, though, it is my feelings that determine the words I use, and not the other way around. Further, the manner by which one interprets how I feel is determined more by their own feelings, and not by my diction. If you say you love your wife, I don't think of "love" as applied to chocolate, "love" as used by Shakespeare, or a tennis player who needs to score some points. I think of the people I, myself, love. That's where I draw my parallels. Not from how society chooses to apply the word to random things.

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    ElJeffeElJeffe Moderator, ClubPA mod
    edited December 2008
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    And yeah, considering barely anyone in the population has a clue about etymology, using etymology to determine what people mean when they say something is ludicrous.

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    monikermoniker Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    Language is largely how we express what's going on in our heads. It's an imperfect communication, as our language does not conform precisely to our feelings, and other people use the same words in different ways.

    It's also a means of communication intended to convey your thoughts most clearly to the intended recipient (and any eavesdroppers hiding in the bushes) than to your own mind. I'm more verbose and know a lot more jargon in a couple of fields than my parents are thanks to schooling and the fact that I like to read. This could be detrimental for me every time that I get them on the phone, or I could not be a jackass.

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    PodlyPodly you unzipped me! it's all coming back! i don't like it!Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    Words are simply means of conveying ideas.

    By conveying, you are using it in the sense that you have thoughts which only exist in your head, and that words are these pre-established phonetic vehicles that you use to bring these abstract thoughts into a formal substance, correct?

    I have a thought in my head, and I pick the word that most closely fits.
    This is impossible we think in words. There are plenty of reasons to believe this. For starters -- how do thoughts get translated into words? Are thoughts this rumbling of obscured and shadowed abstract magma that boils from your unconscious? And who does the translating? Is there some objective ego in which a will exists, separate from my unconscious, in which I live away from my self? The notion of "picking" words is shoddy too. Lots of people shout out things when they are in the heat of the moment that they try to take back by saying "I didn't mean that" when they clearly did. Also, how do you think about things if you cannot name them or understand them in terms of combining things that we have a name for? This is almost impossible to do. (Not the almost)

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    PodlyPodly you unzipped me! it's all coming back! i don't like it!Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    And yeah, considering barely anyone in the population has a clue about etymology, using etymology to determine what people mean when they say something is ludicrous.

    I don't think know what they mean when they say things. I think that they assume that they know what they mean, and will try and defend it after the fact to maintain the illusion that they are a single, unified entity and that they can only mean a single thing.

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    Evil MultifariousEvil Multifarious Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    There's a debate over it, but based on a lot of very strange tribal cultures and linguistic systems: words determine the thoughts we have. Our capacity for thoughts does not precede our words. This isn't absolute, but the vast majority of ideas are only possible through pre-existing words. Language restricts the possibilities of thought (or rather, it only allows a certain variety of thoughts).

    Thus, if there is not a word or combination of words in your language for an idea or thought, you cannot have the idea or thought. Or, having that idea or thought is very difficult and requires breaking away from your system of thought or a powerful act of invention.

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    DuffelDuffel jacobkosh Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Well, according to the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis, our words (or more specifically, the way our language uses words to describe concepts) basically define the way we see the world because they're the only way that we have to describe it. Or, in other words, we see the world in ways that our words are able to describe.

    Personally, I've always been curious about "where the words come from". As we see in the rare cases of feral children, humans without words are basically 'dumb animals' in the original sense of that term. What exactly do they feel, and what thoughts do they have? We can't know.

    Plus, anybody who has ever tried to do any serious creative writing (or just went through a bad breakup) knows that words are, really, pretty inadequate when it comes to actually describing complex things such as ideas, emotions or states of being. Skillful writers can work around this using metaphor and tapping into collective experiences, but it's still a pretty blunt instrument.

    EDIT: Ooh, beat'd. Although I think I get a little credit for giving the idea's name.

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    ElJeffeElJeffe Moderator, ClubPA mod
    edited December 2008
    Podly wrote: »
    This is impossible we think in words. There are plenty of reasons to believe this. For starters -- how do thoughts get translated into words? Are thoughts this rumbling of obscured and shadowed abstract magma that boils from your unconscious? And who does the translating? Is there some objective ego in which a will exists, separate from my unconscious, in which I live away from my self? The notion of "picking" words is shoddy too. Lots of people shout out things when they are in the heat of the moment that they try to take back by saying "I didn't mean that" when they clearly did. Also, how do you think about things if you cannot name them or understand them in terms of combining things that we have a name for? This is almost impossible to do. (Not the almost)

    Pish posh. Have you never had a thought or idea that you couldn't quite explain because you couldn't find the words? This would be impossible if we only thought in words. Are you also saying that infants can't think until they learn words?

    We think in thoughts. We use words to communicate those thoughts. To be brief, the bolded statement above is pretty much the case. When we think in words, it's because we instinctively translate thought to words because of a lifetime spent communicating. It doesn't mean the words come first. When I'm hungry, the notion of steak is the first thing to enter my mind, not the word "steak". At best, they arrive at the same time based on being so tightly linked. When something less concrete enters your head, though, it's not in word form. It's a picture, or - as you say - a rumbling of thought-magma.

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    RUNN1NGMANRUNN1NGMAN Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    This thread is a lot more fun if I pretend the OP is Data from The Next Generation.

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    PodlyPodly you unzipped me! it's all coming back! i don't like it!Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    Pish posh. Have you never had a thought or idea that you couldn't quite explain because you couldn't find the words? This would be impossible if we only thought in words. Are you also saying that infants can't think until they learn words?

    Indeed. You might not be able to find the word -- especially in English, because it's such a fractured language -- but you can find words. It just might take a looooooong time, or a word may need to evolve to take on the meaning which you seek, or a new word might need to be developed. We do this all the time in science and medicine.
    We think in thoughts.
    You're going to have a hard time expressing that one.

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    ElJeffeElJeffe Moderator, ClubPA mod
    edited December 2008
    RUNN1NGMAN wrote: »
    This thread is a lot more fun if I pretend the OP is Data from The Next Generation.

    Data was far less anal.
    <3<3<3 at Podly

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    Evil MultifariousEvil Multifarious Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    Podly wrote: »
    This is impossible we think in words. There are plenty of reasons to believe this. For starters -- how do thoughts get translated into words? Are thoughts this rumbling of obscured and shadowed abstract magma that boils from your unconscious? And who does the translating? Is there some objective ego in which a will exists, separate from my unconscious, in which I live away from my self? The notion of "picking" words is shoddy too. Lots of people shout out things when they are in the heat of the moment that they try to take back by saying "I didn't mean that" when they clearly did. Also, how do you think about things if you cannot name them or understand them in terms of combining things that we have a name for? This is almost impossible to do. (Not the almost)

    Pish posh. Have you never had a thought or idea that you couldn't quite explain because you couldn't find the words? This would be impossible if we only thought in words. Are you also saying that infants can't think until they learn words?

    We think in thoughts. We use words to communicate those thoughts. To be brief, the bolded statement above is pretty much the case. When we think in words, it's because we instinctively translate thought to words because of a lifetime spent communicating. It doesn't mean the words come first. When I'm hungry, the notion of steak is the first thing to enter my mind, not the word "steak".

    The idea is that the notion of steak is inseparable from the word "steak."

    Saying that we "think in words" is, I think, an oversimplification of the position that Podly is supporting. Words control and organize our thoughts and determine their form and procedure. Cultures without words for time do not have ideas of time, and it is impossible to convey that thought to them without those words.

    However, this language structure is flexible, shifting, and dynamic. Everything is implying other things, connected to other ideas, always referencing other ideas. On top of that, there are notions that are only half-connected to words or exist outside them; there are ideas in words that we can't find or don't remember. An idea you can't explain is either one that is marginalized by language, or one that exists in language but which you lack the tools to fully express. In a sense, you cannot fully have the thought until you find the word or words for it. It does not have a full existence until such time.

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    ElJeffeElJeffe Moderator, ClubPA mod
    edited December 2008
    Okay, I'm not quite sure what you're arguing, Podly. Are you saying that thoughts necessarily occur as words, or that thoughts don't necessarily occur as words, but as intangible things that we later express as words?

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    monikermoniker Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Podly wrote: »
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    I have a thought in my head, and I pick the word that most closely fits.
    This is impossible we think in words.

    There are times when I think in images. Particularly when I'm thinking about volumes or experiences that I had. 'That trip to Italy when I met my Uncle and his friend in Rome' communicates it, but poorly; because in my head I'm seeing the 3 of us eating gelato by the Pantheon with the sound and smell of a fountain I can't quite describe without looking it up.

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    Wonder_HippieWonder_Hippie __BANNED USERS regular
    edited December 2008
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    Okay, I'm not quite sure what you're arguing, Podly. Are you saying that thoughts necessarily occur as words, or that thoughts don't necessarily occur as words, but as intangible things that we later express as words?

    Wait, I thought the consensus was that thoughts must occur as words. Hearing descriptions of Helen Keller pre-communicative capability are pretty enlightening on the subject.

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    PodlyPodly you unzipped me! it's all coming back! i don't like it!Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    Okay, I'm not quite sure what you're arguing, Podly. Are you saying that thoughts necessarily occur as words, or that thoughts don't necessarily occur as words, but as intangible things that we later express as words?

    I think that humans are beings which are the only beings which understand their ontological relation with the world; i.e., they do not simply see the objective world, but have an understanding of their subjective existential relatedness, the ropes that bind them and pull them towards the world. Perhaps words are a reaction to this. Humans seem to be driven by controlling things, increasing work, and establishing lines. (c.f. 'histemi" in the OP) Over time, humans become much, MUCH more involved with abstract things. Language, thus, becomes much more abstract.

    I think that we exist through our subjectivity, which is often exercised through an ego, self, or what-have-you. Thus, our brains do not process data in words, but that way in which we exist, our subjective experience, is completely tied to words. I see a chair and the word "chair" does not get pushed through my central nervous system, but my experiencing this gazing at the chair is inseparable from my mind experiencing the word "chair." It is impossible to see the chair and think of anything other than what I have always called chair. My mind does not see that chair and if I want to tell someone what I am thinking of I process the word chair. Rather, the word "chair" and the experiencing the chair occur synchronously and unified.

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    ElJeffeElJeffe Moderator, ClubPA mod
    edited December 2008
    However, this language structure is flexible, shifting, and dynamic. Everything is implying other things, connected to other ideas, always referencing other ideas. On top of that, there are notions that are only half-connected to words or exist outside them; there are ideas in words that we can't find or don't remember. An idea you can't explain is either one that is marginalized by language, or one that exists in language but which you lack the tools to fully express. In a sense, you cannot fully have the thought until you find the word or words for it. It does not have a full existence until such time.

    So what you're saying is that, when a human stumbles across a new thing for the first time, his brain automatically creates a word for it, and if it didn't, he wouldn't be able to fathom in? If I had never before seen a steak, or anything even resembling a steak, and I saw one, my mind would instantly create some equivalent to the word "steak" for internal usage?

    If this is the case, then I think we're quibbling over semantics. The "words" that we "think" in, then, are just an encoding of synapse-firings that happen to have a one-to-one correspondence with words or arrangements thereof.

    I think you're putting the cart before the horse, basically. People who don't have a concept of time aren't lacking it because they don't have the words for time. They don't have the words for time because they have no concept of it.

    It's trivially easy to describe anything at all with words. Just make some up. I hereby describe the collective feelings I have for my wife, tapioca, and new Zealand with the word "floogle". If ever asked to describe my feelings on those topics, I will simply reply with "floogle", and will express my sentiment with incredible efficiency. Of course, nobody will know what the fuck I'm talking about, because I just made up a word.

    Therein lies the trick. When you can't express yourself in words, it's not because the thought hasn't fully been realized and thus doesn't really exist, or whatever they hell you're getting at. It's because the manner in which your brain recognizes the concept has no direct correlation with a sequence of words intelligible to anyone else. "Floogle" doesn't mean shit, except to you. It's not about making up the words, it's about picking some sequence of common words that your chat-buddy will understand.

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    monikermoniker Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Podly wrote: »
    I think that we exist through our subjectivity, which is often exercised through an ego, self, or what-have-you. Thus, our brains do not process data in words, but that way in which we exist, our subjective experience, is completely tied to words. I see a chair and the word "chair" does not get pushed through my central nervous system, but my experiencing this gazing at the chair is inseparable from my mind experiencing the word "chair." It is impossible to see the chair and think of anything other than what I have always called chair. My mind does not see that chair and if I want to tell someone what I am thinking of I process the word chair. Rather, the word "chair" and the experiencing the chair occur synchronously and unified.

    And how many lights are there?
    292px-Madred,_four_lights.jpg

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    ElJeffeElJeffe Moderator, ClubPA mod
    edited December 2008
    moniker wrote: »
    Podly wrote: »
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    I have a thought in my head, and I pick the word that most closely fits.
    This is impossible we think in words.

    There are times when I think in images. Particularly when I'm thinking about volumes or experiences that I had. 'That trip to Italy when I met my Uncle and his friend in Rome' communicates it, but poorly; because in my head I'm seeing the 3 of us eating gelato by the Pantheon with the sound and smell of a fountain I can't quite describe without looking it up.

    Ditto hearing a melody play in your head. I'm not thinking "C#-B-B-Gb-D-D", and I'm not thinking "la-dee-da-dee-dum," I'm thinking *Fur Elise* or whatnot.

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    Wonder_HippieWonder_Hippie __BANNED USERS regular
    edited December 2008
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    moniker wrote: »
    Podly wrote: »
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    I have a thought in my head, and I pick the word that most closely fits.
    This is impossible we think in words.

    There are times when I think in images. Particularly when I'm thinking about volumes or experiences that I had. 'That trip to Italy when I met my Uncle and his friend in Rome' communicates it, but poorly; because in my head I'm seeing the 3 of us eating gelato by the Pantheon with the sound and smell of a fountain I can't quite describe without looking it up.

    Ditto hearing a melody play in your head. I'm not thinking "C#-B-B-Gb-D-D", and I'm not thinking "la-dee-da-dee-dum," I'm thinking *Fur Elise* or whatnot.

    I uhh...

    I sing melodies back to myself in solfège.

    Regardless, cross-cultural memory tests where the schedule used is decidedly Western insinuates that having a word or words for something, pictured or not, increases your ability to remember it.

    Wonder_Hippie on
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    PodlyPodly you unzipped me! it's all coming back! i don't like it!Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    moniker wrote: »
    Podly wrote: »
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    I have a thought in my head, and I pick the word that most closely fits.
    This is impossible we think in words.

    There are times when I think in images. Particularly when I'm thinking about volumes or experiences that I had. 'That trip to Italy when I met my Uncle and his friend in Rome' communicates it, but poorly; because in my head I'm seeing the 3 of us eating gelato by the Pantheon with the sound and smell of a fountain I can't quite describe without looking it up.

    Ditto hearing a melody play in your head. I'm not thinking "C#-B-B-Gb-D-D", and I'm not thinking "la-dee-da-dee-dum," I'm thinking *Fur Elise* or whatnot.

    That's not actually "thought," in the sense that we are using it. That's more memory. And strict memory at that. You are recalling the decatone system that you have heard all your life. For instance, you would not be able to recall the semi-tones from a sitar unless you were VERY well acquainted with non-western scales.

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    monikermoniker Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Podly wrote: »
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    moniker wrote: »
    Podly wrote: »
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    I have a thought in my head, and I pick the word that most closely fits.
    This is impossible we think in words.

    There are times when I think in images. Particularly when I'm thinking about volumes or experiences that I had. 'That trip to Italy when I met my Uncle and his friend in Rome' communicates it, but poorly; because in my head I'm seeing the 3 of us eating gelato by the Pantheon with the sound and smell of a fountain I can't quite describe without looking it up.

    Ditto hearing a melody play in your head. I'm not thinking "C#-B-B-Gb-D-D", and I'm not thinking "la-dee-da-dee-dum," I'm thinking *Fur Elise* or whatnot.

    That's not actually "thought," in the sense that we are using it. That's more memory. And strict memory at that. You are recalling the decatone system that you have heard all your life. For instance, you would not be able to recall the semi-tones from a sitar unless you were VERY well acquainted with non-western scales.

    And when I'm imagining up forms from thin air on a site, that I actually tend to have difficulty transferring to hard dimensions, or descriptions of the space, for various reasons? Is that not 'thought' either?

    moniker on
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    PodlyPodly you unzipped me! it's all coming back! i don't like it!Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    moniker wrote: »
    Podly wrote: »
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    moniker wrote: »
    Podly wrote: »
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    I have a thought in my head, and I pick the word that most closely fits.
    This is impossible we think in words.

    There are times when I think in images. Particularly when I'm thinking about volumes or experiences that I had. 'That trip to Italy when I met my Uncle and his friend in Rome' communicates it, but poorly; because in my head I'm seeing the 3 of us eating gelato by the Pantheon with the sound and smell of a fountain I can't quite describe without looking it up.

    Ditto hearing a melody play in your head. I'm not thinking "C#-B-B-Gb-D-D", and I'm not thinking "la-dee-da-dee-dum," I'm thinking *Fur Elise* or whatnot.

    That's not actually "thought," in the sense that we are using it. That's more memory. And strict memory at that. You are recalling the decatone system that you have heard all your life. For instance, you would not be able to recall the semi-tones from a sitar unless you were VERY well acquainted with non-western scales.

    And when I'm imagining up forms from thin air on a site, that I actually tend to have difficulty transferring to hard dimensions, or descriptions of the space, for various reasons? Is that not 'thought' either?

    I think so, but I know that I could never do that unless I went pillar here, a door here. Even with music, which I am much more familiar with, when I want to think of specific chord changes, I hear them, but simultaneously I think "ii-V change"

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    ElJeffeElJeffe Moderator, ClubPA mod
    edited December 2008
    Podly wrote: »
    That's not actually "thought," in the sense that we are using it. That's more memory. And strict memory at that. You are recalling the decatone system that you have heard all your life. For instance, you would not be able to recall the semi-tones from a sitar unless you were VERY well acquainted with non-western scales.

    Presumably moniker's memory of his trip would not count as thought either, yes? So basically we've defined thought as "things that require words"?

    ElJeffe on
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    ÆthelredÆthelred Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis has been shown to be mostly bollocks, which is a shame as it is intuitively really compelling. Linguistic determinism doesn't exist to much extent. Eskimos don't have that many words for snow. There's no culture without a conception of time - they wouldn't be able to function without it; the idea is self-evidently nonsense.

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    DrezDrez Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    I communicate, and think, in rebus form.

    Drez on
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    ElJeffeElJeffe Moderator, ClubPA mod
    edited December 2008
    Podly wrote: »
    I think so, but I know that I could never do that unless I went pillar here, a door here. Even with music, which I am much more familiar with, when I want to think of specific chord changes, I hear them, but simultaneously I think "ii-V change"

    See, I suck at the names of chords, yet I compose music anyway. And then I have to figure out how to pluck the guitar strings corresponding to what was playing in my head. I sure as hell don't think "C-major, C-major, A-minor".

    Similarly to what moniker described, when I wanted to build a 3D model of something, I had a picture in my head, and I had to figure out how to translate my mental picture into 3D vertex coordinates.

    ElJeffe on
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    Wonder_HippieWonder_Hippie __BANNED USERS regular
    edited December 2008
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    Podly wrote: »
    I think so, but I know that I could never do that unless I went pillar here, a door here. Even with music, which I am much more familiar with, when I want to think of specific chord changes, I hear them, but simultaneously I think "ii-V change"

    See, I suck at the names of chords, yet I compose music anyway. And then I have to figure out how to pluck the guitar strings corresponding to what was playing in my head. I sure as hell don't think "C-major, C-major, A-minor".

    Similarly to what moniker described, when I wanted to build a 3D model of something, I had a picture in my head, and I had to figure out how to translate my mental picture into 3D vertex coordinates.

    Unless you've got perfect pitch, thinking in chords isn't really comparable. It's usually just about the note within the scale.

    Wonder_Hippie on
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    monikermoniker Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Podly wrote: »
    moniker wrote: »
    And when I'm imagining up forms from thin air on a site, that I actually tend to have difficulty transferring to hard dimensions, or descriptions of the space, for various reasons? Is that not 'thought' either?

    I think so, but I know that I could never do that unless I went pillar here, a door here. Even with music, which I am much more familiar with, when I want to think of specific chord changes, I hear them, but simultaneously I think "ii-V change"

    That's more specific than you generally get in the beginning. Abstract forms, geometries, views, site conditions, aesthetic styles, &c. swirl around in the miasma on top of codes and structural/mechanical requirements that you are consciously aware of to make sure a load bearing floor line isn't eggshell thin. So while 5 rectangular prisms might be the word that describes what's going on in my head, it hardly conveys the Bauhaus. Nor should it, as graphic representations are worth several thousand words. So a box that's lifted up over a thing and separated from the other thing while being interconnected becomes
    11-xl.jpg

    And I can understand the forms of that perfectly without being able to really put it to words.

    moniker on
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