'mouth noises' bad? [was: Re: YAPT]
|From:||Thomas R. Wier <trwier@...>|
|Date:||Tuesday, January 4, 2005, 17:43|
Gary Shannon wrote:
> More evidence for my contention that the exact nature
> of mouth noises is probably the least important aspect
> of language. Just listen to a four way conversation
> between people from Syndey, Bombay, Boston and South
> Carolina and you'll notice that they all understand
> each other just fine even though they have practically
> no mouth noises in common.
The list has discussed this claim before, and I don't think
those of us (like me) who disagreed with the claim ever got
a sensible and objective answer for why this should be so.
I mean, one could just as well argue that in a language like
German case is entirely superfluous, since word order is
(normally) pretty predictable, or that word order in a
language like Dyirbal is superfluous, since all the NPs have
explicit case-marking telling you who did what to whom.
It's one thing to say "I dislike this facet of grammar-creation
more than some other", since that's a matter of aesthetics, and
beauty is in the eye of the beholder. It's very different thing
to say "My dislike of this facet of grammar-creation has objective
grounds for being so".
Thomas Wier "I find it useful to meet my subjects personally,
Dept. of Linguistics because our secret police don't get it right
University of Chicago half the time." -- octogenarian Sheikh Zayed of
1010 E. 59th Street Abu Dhabi, to a French reporter.
Chicago, IL 60637