Tacit Knowledge LO20384

AM de Lange (amdelange@gold.up.ac.za)
Fri, 15 Jan 1999 10:57:21 +0200

Replying to LO20349 --

Dear Organlearners,

Sergio Albano <sergio_albano@ciudad.com.ar> writes:

>In spanish the verb TO KNOW has two differents means.
>TO KNOW SOMETHING (articulated-) and TO KNOW
>SOMETHING without articulated words. This is the sense
>of SABER-
>In french is the same : CONNAISANCE - SAVOIR.

Greetings Sergio,

I am surprised that Spanish and French (seem to) make such a clear

In my own mother tongue Afrikaans we also have two main words among many
others, but few speakers pay attention to the distinction. The one verb is
"ken". It is etymologically related to the English "know" and the German
"kennen". It is used like the "know" in English to refer collectively to
all sorts of knowledge ("kennis" in Afrikaans). The other verb is "weet".
It is etymologically related to the English "weasand" and the German
"wissen". It is sometimes used like "cognize" and "comprehend" in English
to refer to articulated learning. Thus the Afrikaans word for science is
"wetenskap" and not "kennisskap". However, few people make a clear
distinction between "ken" and "weet".

The word "weasand" is very interesting. It is another word for "throat"
via the Anglo-Saxon heritage of English. It explains why the "weet" of
Afrikaans refers to articulated learning, i.e "throated learning". The
"weasand" is related to the proto-Germanic word "weasan" which means
creature. We still have the word "wese" in Afrikaans. The word "wese" is
rich in meanings like being, creature, face, countenance, looks,
appearance, nature, character, substance and expression

>The question is the followed:
>How can I get this difference in english ? It is possible?

Sergio, we will have to wait for our English speaking fellow learners
to speak up. In my own writings I usually avoid the verb "know". It is
because I distinguish between four levels of knowledge: experential,
tacit, formal and sapient. Since any one emerges from its predecessor
in the order listed, I would have liked to have specific names for the
emergent acts
experential => tacit
tacit => formal
formal => sapient.
But like Wittgenstein or Heidegger I experience how language puts me
in a cage.

I know for sure that the less people understand the difference between
"tacit knowlede" and "formalised knowledge", the less they will try to
distinguish between the two in terms of verbs.

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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