Dialogue, language, learning LO25326

From: AM de Lange (amdelange@gold.up.ac.za)
Date: 09/13/00

Replying to LO25314 --

Dear Organlearners,

Don Dwiggins <d.l.dwiggins@computer.org> writes:

>Toe, the logician J. L. Kuhns writes a paper giving a nice
>analysis of tenses in terms of three points in time:......

Greetings Dwig,

I wonder how many fellow learners have noticed that you immediately began
to practice the "toe" and "so" with your "Toe ... writes ...". It struck
me like a bolt of lightning, sending shivers down my spine and giving me
the goose flesh.

>It sounds to me as if "toe" and "so" do the work of R in the
>past and future, respectively.

They indeed do it!

>>Is it not tragic how we can destroy the most valuable
>>assets we have just to conform to what seems to be
>>more respectable?
>So, which is more respectable: a language that handles
>tenses using a clear, spare, logical mechanism, or one
>that uses excessively complex structures and vocabulary?

I laughed with delight at your sharp comment.

>>Here is a question. Can a written dialogue be the same
>>as a spoken dialogue?
> .... to which the entire body replied in one voice, "Vive la
>difference!" That's my initial reaction to the question,
>expressing a feeling that written language adds an essential
>richness to dialogue, without in any way diminishing the value
>of spoken language.

You are right, provided it "adds" and not "take over by claiming a stake".

>My next reaction is that At's recent discourses on the
>history of languages, with the frequent cross-effects of
>spoken and written languages -- on each other, on culture,
>and on the spiritual and material wealth of the people --
>says a lot more to this question than I can offer.

Dear Dwig, let us never forget that we each may have a vast body of tacit
knowledge. We cannot offer it unless we are able to articulate it. Some
like Fred Nichols say that we have tacit and implict knowledge -- the
implicit can be articulated whereas the tacit cannot. Which ever way we
look at the articulation of tacit or implicit knowledge, this articulation
is not as straight forward as we often believe.

We can indeed learn as individuals how to do it, but that requires an
earlier articulation of the "past and future of bifurcations" as guide.
But we can also do it as a Learning Organisation by using a discourse
which may call the LO-dialogue.

Since you create software, think of the following "gedanken" experiment.
You have created a main program, not too complex, to do something vitally
important for you. But in this main program you have to make for some or
other reason a call to another immensely complex program which takes much,
much, much longer (a factor up to a million times) to execute than your
main program. What do you think will happen? What will you do as
programmer when you find out that this "some or other reason" has nothing
else to do than stake a claim to your main program?

Your main program can be the spoken dialect, but it can also be a worker
with a specific task. The complex program called which stakes a claim can
be the written form of the dialogue, but it can also be the executive

The computer have replaced the printed book to a large extend as the
articulating medium. It has decreased the time needed to prepare and
commute language articulations immensely. Linguists who keep on relying
on paper based articulations to claim a stake on spoken langauges may soon
find out that the "bus has left them behind".

Dwig, I have another crazy question which keeps up popping in my head.
What is a langauge, the "sounds which I hear in my head", or the spoken
language, or the written language? In other words, is the speaking of a
language not also an articulation of the "inner language" like the writing
of the "inner language"? Enjoy seeking an answer to this question. I know
Winfried Dressler will because he is making exciting discoveries on this
very issue in another discipline.

With care and best wishes,


At de Lange <amdelange@gold.up.ac.za> Snailmail: A M de Lange Gold Fields Computer Centre Faculty of Science - University of Pretoria Pretoria 0001 - Rep of South Africa

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