posted on Jul, 15 2013 @ 04:16 PM
reply to post by abeverage
Hello. Those are questions that need a lenghty answer. I will give you some hints, and then we can proceed with the details.
Most of the team at FL do agree with Chomsky's theory of Universal Grammar, but modulated with Hallidays' views on the role of sociocultural
influence. Our main criticism to Chomsky's theory is that he assumes all brains are the same, something that is not clear to us. Unless we have a
clear definition of what means 'a human brain'. For what concerns Hallidays' proposal, I would say that he assumes that sociocultural environment
affect equally on all individuals, something which I'm afraid I cannot agree. I feel that it is in the study of child language acquisition that some
answers can be found, but I strongly advocate for the study of language in extreme scenarios: coma, altered state of consciousness, stress,
schizophrenia, trance, autistic individuals, etc.
To know about matter, you need to apply high energies and actually break it into its essential components; similarly, to really know about language
you need to go to extreme situations: you need to 'torture' language itself. It is when you are close to a total collapse of language that language
reveals its secrets. That's my view.
Your question "Do you believe society influences language or does language program and influence society?" is quite difficult to answer. It is the
so-called Whorfian dilemma. I guess it is a two-way interaction. However, my view is that language is the only way we have to describe reality. As
language is part of that reality, you cannot simply rely on language to know reality: your conclusions will be limited by language itself. If you are
exposed to aspects of reality that language cannot describe properly, your knowledge about those aspects will be extremely limited.
A good example is quantum gravity (or just quantum mechanics). The math here is more powerful than language itself. You cannot describe properly the
Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen experiment or the quantum nonlocality. The sentence "The photon is in two places at the same time" means nothing if
expressed using natural language. The quantum world does not have "here" and "there". If you were to be reduced to the size of a photon, language
Cassini Diskus is an experiment to cope precisely with those scenarios in which language collapses. We noticed that each time you change the scale of
a problem, language should change accordingly. Otherwise, it proves useless as a means for communication.