Friday, March 16, 2018

Fluff or Self-Reference

I would like to respond to my own post:

Specifically this:

    But no writer lives up to the standards that these theologians set up for us. These standards show how bad we are in explaining to our audience what we are trying to give them through our words. One is a good theologian, if he recognizes the limitations of us prose writers.

    I wrote the above in response from an article from Reformation21, a blog that is still on my list to the right, but I have not read it for a while. I remember being provoked to write the above in response to the demand to right well because our theology requires it. There is the idea that we should conform to certain standards, but there is also the idea of how we relate to our own standards. I would like to write about the latter, our own standards, rather than the former, other standards that we incorporate into our own ways of doing things.

    So I recognize that what I said about the above was written in defense of my own writing style, which varies from writer to writer. But what is style? Is a list of rules that writers should follow? Is it a Hemingway-esque way of keeping yourself under control by not talking about such rules? Such questions reveal the writer's influence on himself, which is covered in the Anxiety of Influence that Harold Bloom has promulgated throughout his books meant for the general public. And there is also the fact that I have left the misspelling of the word "writting" all these years. But 'style' is a way of speaking about how a particular writer writes.

    I would not like to describe 'styles of writing' but rather just show them to you, the reader. For example, if I was on a basketball court, and you asked me to describe, "How does one stargaze with a telescope during a starry night?", that would be an inappropriate question because I would be busy shooting the ball, maybe, and not be preoccupied rather by the Big Dipper, which would be off my radar at the time. So something like mechanics (grammar, spelling, and so on) is not 'style' because every writer has to obey those rules but they all follow them in different ways depending upon their skill-level.

   How you put together a sentence, which was the topic of a book that I have just read, depends upon your style as a writer. So when I bring up this topic, I feel that I am obligated as a writer to not just show you but to also tell you what that is. My style is that of the labyrinth process, which I have discussed before. I would like to say that I have no style and that I was influenced by no writers but that would be false. So the labyrinth method is writing something that references another work, like the above link to what I have wrote before. But I don't always follow that way because sometimes there are much better ways of writing than to reference someone else's work. But I cannot say that what I write is original with me.

  To conclude, the above paragraph about how theologians should recognize the limitations of writers is a disagreement between writing styles and not theology. I agree that prose should conform to certain standards but the way that they insist upon the correct way to write for Trinitarian-believers is not going to help you, if you decide to become a writer of sorts. It is helpful to suggest good mechanics but it is unhelpful to insist that my way of writing should be studied by all writers because of its conformity to the set style, which I am only aware of at a surface-level anyway.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

the View from Below

    If you have tried to find a way out of the mess, one first has to stop and tell you that it is, in fact, a mess, and perhaps lecture you about its history as well as its contemporary political scene, where the people have divided over whether to keep the mess or rather to overthrow it and set up a new mess.  Once that has been established, then one must justify one’s position on the mess by regurgitating without claiming that what you are putting forth is regurgitated drivel about your commitment to make the mess great again. Of course, once you have done that, others have marched overnight on your mess and have destroyed what you have worked on.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Done with Spring

    I started to pick up on Donne after the sequence with Shakespeare and then Milton. Sir Philip Sidney was considered, but I rather just read him than write about him because his work is so scarce compared to John Donne, who published a great deal more than Sidney in his lifetime. So I would like to copy down one of his poems and try to say something about it:

Elegy 6: Perfume

Though he had wont to search with glazed eyes,
As though he came to kill a cockatrice,
Though he have oft sworn, that he would remove
Thy beauty’s beauty, and food of our love,
Hope of his goods, if I with thee were seen,
Yet close and secret, as our souls, we have been.

    So I got the above from a website (the number elegy there is 4, but my source says 6) and then cross referenced that with my source, which is a compilation book of his major works. The above is not the whole poem but only a selection of it, and I think that it will do for our purposes here. So I would like to foreground the text by trying to get a sense of his circumstances or his current state of affairs. Also I just might read the above passage as well as the surrounding verses.

    After reading the above, you would see that the "glazed eyes" behave in a way that Donne is suggesting that he is familiar with them. It used to be that these 'eyes' were set to kill a formidable opponent (cockatrice), but now they see the very opposite of what he is used to seeing. The eyes are that of a father-figure, which could be seen above these lines if you had the material.

    So part of understanding Donne is how he uses certain imagery to affect his audience. I would suggest that his verse teases out our understanding about his chosen subject up for discussion. You are not sure what is being presented even though concrete language is used to invoke an image, but you are drawn in by the familiar passage as if you have insider information about what is happening.  

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Lang vs Dialect

    I remember back a few years ago, I wrote about a constructed human language that I was keen on explaining to newcomers. Now, however, I am trying to bridge the gap between a specific language and what could be said about language as a whole. This process takes the abstract language of LL and complies a way of speaking about it. And because the language of LL is abstract, we need to start speaking in concrete language. The language of LL is philosophic, while human languages are practical. So in order to move out from the clouds and onto the earth, I would like to talk about the distinction between Lang on the one hand and Dialect on the other.

    First, there is Lang, which is the state of a perfect language as represented in a given grammar book. Let's talk about French. There is a perfect state of French only as it is described by a given community who knows the French language. This community would seek to preserve their lang by keeping polished records of the best French and would seek to distribute them through an educational system supported by the French government. Now I would like to suggest that this lang does not exist in the everyday speech in the streets of Paris, but it exists as idea promulgated by the service members of the French academy, which is a concrete example of how a lang might develop.

    Second, there is Dialect. For this concept, let us look at German, another foreign language I have attempted to learn. This is a good example because you have the division of Low and High German. High German is spoken in the south of Germany, while low German is spoken by some of the northerners. The reason that German is divided into High and Low is because of the geographic conditions of Germany. The region in the south of German is generally mountainous, while the north is generally flat land, so the division resulted from the geographic terrain. Location has a lot to do with how a language is spoken. 

    Thus, the language of LL is abstract, so we need to start talking about specific languages that show the Lang vs Dialect (LvD) distinction to understand LL from the perspective of the human, which is what ordinary languages describes. And French and German were good examples illustrating the difference of LvD, which is how to tell if a language is in its 'pure' form or if is in its 'dirty' form. Next I don't what I will write about. So I will probably just read a book and then you can read my review of it. I might talk about sentences and how to read them, so continue to try to grasp my meanings as I stream them to you.

Monday, March 12, 2018

the Center of the Heart

    The following will be a way of approaching culture from the discourse of LL by looking at some specific language examples of how people do things, which will be important to approach understanding LL. Okay, let us begin with English. And the example is that of giving. If you want to give your coworker a stapler, you would take the stapler with you and hand it to her. But you would also say, "Here is the stapler." And, hopefully, she would say, "Thanks!". So I have just described the process of giving in a real world example. The word 'give' designates the above action by summarizing all other related activities of giving by the word: 'give'. But a better way to put this is to say that the two-word compounded infinite verb is 'to give', which shows the above activity. Does not all of this seem obvious? Not to someone who just knows Spanish for example. That person would not have a complete understanding given that his primary language is Spanish because he would need English to understand ' to give'. So the objective has been met with one example, and others could be multiplied if I was willing to do so. But for now, let's summarize the two following ideas: one is that of spoken and written language and the other is situational communication such as giving a 'thumbs up' which cannot be analyzed by means of the phrase itself but by understanding how it is used in a situation.   

   I will leave the above paragraph unedited except for obvious spelling errors and added punctuation to show that a human process has taken place. Can a machine learn language? We speak of learning things like Java, Python, and C#, which are computer languages, however, these are not human languages because they lack situational content, which cannot be represented in their coding. If you are interested in those languages, there are other places, where you could learn those, but part of LL is the acquisition, which is messy and does not always look good on paper. We acquire lang haphazardly, but we take care of our dialect.  Lang is the ideal state of language where everything is perfect, while our dialect is how we use language in everyday situations. This distinction is important because it shows the difference between what should be and how things actually are. So maybe next time I will talk more about the difference between lang and dialect. And if you want to explore the distinction on your own, I recommend thinking about how the words you use are applied to everyday life situations.