|From:||Logical Language Group <lojbab@...>|
|Date:||Monday, November 9, 1998, 22:49|
>Lojbab wrote: "Linguistics is defined as the study of languages. Linguists
>reject the study of conlangs, therefore, conlangs are not languages."
>Medicine is the study of diseases. If medical researchers were to reject the
>study of cancer would that mean that cancer is not a disease?
I'm not sure that that is what the definition of "medicine" is - indeed,
whetehr "medicine" is a "study" at all, since we usually associate it with
what "doctors" do - i.e. treatment.
But if the experts of the field were to deny that cancer was a disease, then it
would indeed not be a disease.
To make the example realistic, "alcoholism" has existed since time immemorial.
But it is now considered a "disease" by the medical establishment, whereas
before it was something else, possibly a "moral failing". As such, the
entirety of societies attitude towards alcoholism has changed to some small
extent, and certainly the attitude of doctors towards it has changed
considerably. Likewise, there is ongoing debate about the legitimacy of the
syndrome called "ADHD" (Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder), but since
the doctors that produc the standards manual (called DSM-IV) label this a
disease, it is accepted by insurance companies, doctors, schools, etc. as
a legitmate disease. ADHD was originally thouygh to only affect kids, and there
were no real criteria diagniose the disease in adults, so it was by definition
NOT a disease in adults. More recently it has been accepted that adults can
have (or continue to have) ADD or ADHD, usually after having it as children,
and possibly not being disagnosed as children. gain, a good deal of policy
changed when the experts changed the meaning of teh term to include adults.
Turning to languages, the change in linguists attitudes towards sign language
by making it a legitmate object of study indeed "made it a language" where it
was previously not thought of as such, but rather as a code for English or
some other phenomenon. This has in turn changed the attitude of much of society
towards sign language, and certainly has encoureaged its learning (since in
many places, learning sign language now qualifies for the foreign language
requirement for a degree).
So yes, the experts define the words with far more force than everyday people.
Bob LeChevalier, President, The Logical Language Group, Inc.
2904 Beau Lane, Fairfax VA 22031-1303 USA 703-385-0273
Artificial language Loglan/Lojban: ftp.access.digex.net /pub/access/lojbab
or see Lojban WWW Server: href="http://xiron.pc.helsinki.fi/lojban/"
Order _The Complete Lojban Language_ - see our Web pages or ask me.