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Tuesday February 19th 2019Tim Candler9

 

    Trying to find the thing in the brain that strings words together enabling sentences to be understood has yet to reveal a pulsing life breathing golden egg. The idea was that if there was such a thing rules common to all languages could be derived, but until you actually find the golden egg that does this magic you can't really progress, and as a result many have concluded that something like grammar far from being an insight into how language works doesn't actually add much to an understanding of what language is or where it comes from, they go on to argue that something like grammar is better understood as a side effect of the processes in the brain that cause language to be possible.

 

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   It's a subtle difference, a more minimalist approach perhaps, but when you're looking for logical forms there's a flexibility in the brain that produces literally billions of possible logical forms and by logical we're not talking a language mathematics has yet learned to speak, rather we're talking the kind of logic many have come to fatalistically think of as just making stuff up as you go along. It's a distinction akin to the action/reaction experience many might be familiar with in obsessive tickle fishing for "Likes" from the Devil's algorithms on Facebook. In the end the tragedy of language is that it's about meaning, and don't worry pretty soon now we'll all be talking gibberish, but by golly it'll be meaningful gibberish.

 

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