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'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


Gary Shannon <fiziwig@...>