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Edward Sapir

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Were a language ever completely "grammatical" it would be a perfect engine of conceptual expression. Unfortunately, or luckily, no language is tyrannically consistent. All grammars leak.
--
Language (1921), p. 38

 
Edward Sapir

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As I understand, or as I hallucinate conceptual space, nearly all form in conceptual space is language, I might even say all the form in non-conceptual space is language, Iím not even sure of what the difference between physical space and conceptual space is anymore, in the interface. All form is language. The forms that we see, or imagine, or perceive, or whatever it is Remote Viewers are doing, in conceptual space are mindforms made from language, and by language I also mean images, sounds. We dress these basic ideas in language we can understand. Sometimes there are sizable errors of translation.

 
Alan Moore
 

Scientific language, which Korzybski used as his model of sane language, is almost exclusively extensional and denotative, or at least tries to be. The language of the mentally ill, most obviously "un-sane," is almost totally intensional and connotative. This is the language that does not correspond to anything "out there," and this is, in fact, how and perhaps even why the user is mentally ill. Korzybski's concern with keeping the conscious "connection" or correspondence between language and verifiable referents is, for all practical purposes, paralleled by the process of psychotherapy. In this process, which is largely "just talk," the purpose is to foster closer and more accurate correspondence between the patient's language and externally verifiable meanings.

 
Alfred Korzybski
 

A "new" language that differs from the rest of the crop by one or a couple features is proof positive that both what it came from and what it has become are mutations about to die. There are tens if not hundreds of thousands of such "languages" that people have invented over the years, for all sorts of weird purposes where they just could not use whatever language they were already using, could not extend it, and could not fathom how to modify its tools without making a whole new language. They never stopped to think about how horribly wasteful this is, they just went on to create yet another language called Dodo, the Titanic, Edsel, Kyoto-agreement Ö

 
Erik Naggum
 

Scientific language, which Korzybski used as his model of sane language, is almost exclusively extensional and denotative, or at least tries to be. The language of the mentally ill, most obviously "un-sane," is almost totally intensional and connotative. This is the language that does not correspond to anything "out there," and this is, in fact, how and perhaps even why the user is mentally ill. Korzybski's concern with keeping the conscious "connection" or correspondence between language and verifiable referents is, for all practical purposes, paralleled by the process of psychotherapy. In this process, which is largely "just talk," the purpose is to foster closer and more accurate correspondence between the patient's language and externally verifiable meanings. As a semanticist would say, the process of psychotherapy is aimed at shifting the patient's word choices from those having a highly intensional, connotative meanings to others carrying more denotative meanings. A person suffering from paranoid schizophrenia might use perfectly "correct" English in an unassailably "logical" way, but the problem with his language is that it does not correspond to anything "out there."

 
Neil Postman
 

Human beings do not live in the objective world alone, nor alone in the world of social activity as ordinarily understood, but are very much at the mercy of the particular language which has become the medium of expression for their society. It is quite an illusion to imagine that one adjusts to reality essentially without the use of language and that language is merely an incidental means of solving specific problems of communication or reflection. The fact of the matter is that the "real world" is to a large extent unconsciously built upon the language habits of the group. No two languages are ever sufficiently similar to be considered as representing the same social reality. The worlds in which different societies live are distinct worlds, not merely the same world with different labels attached ... We see and hear and otherwise experience very largely as we do because the language habits of our community predispose certain choices of interpretation.

 
Edward Sapir
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