File spoon-archives/bhaskar.archive/bhaskar_2003/bhaskar.0312, message 197

Subject: RE: BHA: Missing posts
Date: Sun, 14 Dec 2003 20:54:09 -0500

Hi Carrol and everyone,

Beyond this, surely words have some practical purchase, although this can be
quite broad. Consequently practice -- i.e., engagement with reality outside
oneself and discourse -- puts limits on what words can mean, however
broadly. For example, the word "water" refers to what we normally mean by
it, and the adjective "wet" is closely related. "Wet" may have other uses
than referring strictly to water, such as modifying such nouns as kiss,
battery, or suit, and of course "wet" can modify many other nouns, such as
beer, whiskey, soda, tonic, gin, etc. all too familiar to this crowd ;)
Nonetheless, reality puts some limits on this. We're free to use "wet" to
modify other nouns, like book, name, color, atom, or star. Here the
adjective quickly loses its utility because reality does not bend to every
possible use of the word. Consequently, a linguistic community is unlikely
to adopt or to continue to employ such usages as "wet names."

Language does not exist apart from the material world or human practice
apart from language.

	Marsh Feldman

> -----Original Message-----
> From: owner-bhaskar-AT-lists.village.Virginia.EDU
> [mailto:owner-bhaskar-AT-lists.village.Virginia.EDU]On Behalf Of Carrol Cox
> Sent: Sunday, December 14, 2003 4:07 PM
> To: bhaskar-AT-lists.village.Virginia.EDU
> Subject: Re: BHA: Missing posts
> There is a small class of words, _probably_ but not certainly too small
> to be of theoretical importance -- Onomatopoeeia, which the OED defines
> as
> 1. The formation of a name or word by an imitation of the sound
> associated with the thing or action designated; this principle as a
> force in the formation of words in a language; echoism.
> In so far as this can be established as "a force in the formation of
> words," _all_ language is _not_ arbitrary, or not self-evidently so.
> I add the qualification because of such contrasts as
> cock-a-doodle doo
> and
> cocorico.
> And it would be hard to argue that "BOOM" is any less "natural" than
> "POOM."
> I have not the slightest idea if this is relevant to the current
> discussion. I leave that to others.
> Carrol
>      --- from list ---

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