Page 1 of 5 12345 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 69

Thread: Language and literature

  1. #1
    Regitted User Regit's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    In my lovely flat with my lovely plants ^^
    Posts
    252

    Language and literature

    There is a thread started earlier discussing the significance of the size of a vocabulary. It gave me a few questions. It seems to me that the development of language goes hand in hand with the development of scientific and cultural collectives belonging to that language and their literatures. Vice versa, it must also be that the growth of a language is fed by its bad usage. I want to ask: as it is arguable that the quality of a literature is a reflection of the quality of the vocabulary of its language, is the quality of the vocabulary of a language a reflection of how well it is employed and has been employed? I read that Shakespeare was credited for at least 1000 new words in the Oxford dictionary. Surely that is better for the English language than words invented by rappers and ...stuff . Or has the trend been changed?

    How does the good employment of a language affect its development?
    Remember the student interview story.

  2. #2
    Lady of Smilies Nightshade's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Now that would be telling it, wouldnt it?
    Posts
    13,715
    Blog Entries
    144
    What do you mean by
    How does the good employment of a language affect its development?
    Do you mean like the whats it called oh yes basterdisation of the English languge, ie words been given new meaning that is the opposite if not tottally unrelated to the tradional meaning until the tradional meaning is lost under the new one. Like with gay and queer ?
    Or do you mean that if languge is used violently the entire languge develops a violent trend that is reflected in the cultutre and vise versa ?
    My mission in life is to make YOU smile
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    "The time has come," the Walrus said,"To talk of many things:

    Forum Rules- You know you want to read 'em

    |Litnet Challange status = 5/260
    |currently reading

  3. #3
    Regitted User Regit's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    In my lovely flat with my lovely plants ^^
    Posts
    252
    Quote Originally Posted by Nightshade
    What do you mean by
    Do you mean like the whats it called oh yes basterdisation of the English languge, ie words been given new meaning that is the opposite if not totally unrelated to the tradional meaning until the tradional meaning is lost under the new one. Like with gay and queer?
    Yes, that's the examples of the bad usage that I was mentioning.

    Words can be given new meanings also through scientific usage, e.g. 'nationalism' means something different to political scientists as it does for people who do not study philosophy, or 'differentiation' means something very ...different to mathematicians. And I also meant to talk about new words being invented, which I can't think of an example, by great works of literature. In other words, about the way that I think a language should develop. Like the boom of literature and art of the Renaissance, or during the Napoleonic period; they bears the characteristics of the change of mood and attitude of the time. Is that a proof that a development in culture and science leads to a development in literature and, thus, language?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nightshade
    Or do you mean that if language is used violently the entire language develops a violent trend that is reflected in the culture and vice versa?
    Sorry Night, I don't quite know what you mean here.
    Remember the student interview story.

  4. #4
    Lady of Smilies Nightshade's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Now that would be telling it, wouldnt it?
    Posts
    13,715
    Blog Entries
    144
    Well say we say that a particular group of people say yobs ( apolgies if you are one this is a gross generalisation fo the sake of explaining ) anyway say we say these yobs have increisngly violent and aggressive behaviours in everything they do. basically there cultural norms begin to shift and even there languge becomes more aggressive and nasty.
    So languge is reflecting the social change.
    OR
    Languge becomes more aggressive as catharsis at first but gradually the acceptance of violence in languge lead sto the shifting of cultural norms and eventually this social group becomes more and more aggressive.
    that is languge leading to sociaql change.
    Ithink thats the idea behing PC-ness that is if we moderae languge and intolerance in languge eventually the implicated soical values and ideolgys associated with certain terms that you are no longer allowed to say will lead to a wider social shift of acceptance and less xenophobia.
    My mission in life is to make YOU smile
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    "The time has come," the Walrus said,"To talk of many things:

    Forum Rules- You know you want to read 'em

    |Litnet Challange status = 5/260
    |currently reading

  5. #5
    precious... subterranean's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    København for the present
    Posts
    6,516
    Blog Entries
    34
    Quote Originally Posted by Regit
    There is a thread started earlier discussing the significance of the size of a vocabulary. It gave me a few questions. It seems to me that the development of language goes hand in hand with the development of scientific and cultural collectives belonging to that language and their literatures. Vice versa, it must also be that the growth of a language is fed by its bad usage. I want to ask: as it is arguable that the quality of a literature is a reflection of the quality of the vocabulary of its language, is the quality of the vocabulary of a language a reflection of how well it is employed and has been employed? I read that Shakespeare was credited for at least 1000 new words in the Oxford dictionary. Surely that is better for the English language than words invented by rappers and ...stuff . Or has the trend been changed?

    How does the good employment of a language affect its development?
    Regit, you mentioned about quality, but then you gave Shakespeare 1000 words as example. I"m sure we agree that quality does not always mean quantity, so I'm assuming that you were saying that all those 1000 words are...good words?! And I don't really understand with what you mean by "words invented by rappers and...stuffs". I mean terms in study of rape or rapist, for example..., weren't they invented by say, experts in criminology or pyschologist or sociologist?

    I'm trying to be simple here, but I think the development of language are influence by both bad and good words used in that language. Somewhat there are somekind of balance within. But then, when the use of certain bad words beginning to increase, then I suppose, we need to see an outside factor because language is actually just one of the products of society/human civilization.

    (Oh, I Hope this is not another morning babbling of mine )
    Last edited by subterranean; 05-08-2006 at 09:24 PM.


    "there are people in the world so hungry that God can not appear to them except in the form of bread"

    Mahatma Gandhi

  6. #6
    The Eternal Fool Union Jack's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Seseame Street
    Posts
    113
    Certainly an extensive word bank produces "finer" pieces of lierature. Also, many people believe that languages with an increased sensitivity to subtle differences in verb difference, such as French, produce much finer literature. These people ( James Joyce was one of them) believe that english is constrictive and limited as far as what it can express. Thoughts?
    "I don't care what you believe in, just believe in it."
    Shepherd Book, Serenity.


    "The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts."
    -Bertrand Russell


    "The no-mind not-thinks no-thoughts about no-things"
    -The Buddha

  7. #7
    Both this thread and blp’s on advertising will hit the same barrier on this forum – the inability of many people to understand/acknowledge the extent to which the very fabric of our social being is woven from the ideological discourses of capitalism. Language is a living thing – it evolves almost organically and it’s pointless to insist on preserving the status quo by rejecting all forms of 'incorrect' usage. Yes, Shakespeare introduced many ‘new’ words and phrases into the language. He did so without the advantage of modern multi-national corporations. No writer today (with the possible exception of JK Rowling and her entourage of publicists) has the same capacity to spatter our language with newly minted expressions as these huge companies or the global machinery of modern media. So while I agree (to an extent) with those who say that language has the elasticity to accommodate new uses, the playing field is far from level. Nike can make far more people familiar with ‘Just Do It’ than you or I could. The most influential of all, though, is the Media (primarily western media). It positions us as consumers and makes certain ideas literally unthinkable. So I would say the development of mass media communication is having a significant effect on language and language use.
    Last edited by The Unnamable; 05-09-2006 at 07:28 AM.

  8. #8
    Registered User jackyyyy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    459
    Quote Originally Posted by The Unnamable
    So while I agree (to an extent) with those who say that language has the elasticity to accommodate new uses, the playing field is far from level. Nike can make far more people familiar with ‘Just Do It’ than you or I could. The most influential of all, though, is the Media (primarily western media). It positions us as consumers and makes certain ideas literally unthinkable. So I would say the development of mass media communication is having a significant effect on language and language use.
    Interesting to read up, and that we are headed back to your thread on word count. Those threads were not exhausted, just left hanging. Just on this topic of advertisers; tools come into a play a lot, and for the reasons we know, money - which also means ability. Nike was able to create 'Just Do It' with a slick sexy tv campaign. The phrase was around long before Nike syringed it. So, I agree, the more money, then more multi-media, the more impact, and the more likely a new word, phrase, book, movie will bite, and even a political notion will survive. Shakespeare was creative with themes, and marketing at the same time. Julius Ceasar was not an original idea, he plucked it, turned it, made it dramatic, pallatable and exciting to sell it. I wonder next... must marketing always be married to creativity if its to gain widespread acceptance, take its place.... just as new words tend to take hold in society if enough proportion of that population adopts it.
    Art is art.

  9. #9
    Registered User jackyyyy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    459
    Quote Originally Posted by Union Jack
    Certainly an extensive word bank produces "finer" pieces of lierature. Also, many people believe that languages with an increased sensitivity to subtle differences in verb difference, such as French, produce much finer literature. These people ( James Joyce was one of them) believe that english is constrictive and limited as far as what it can express. Thoughts?
    I think it fair to say, and mostly because of the threads here where its been discussed, level of expression is not necessarily increased with word count (tools) alone, though of course, it helps if it can be applied. An ability to use and adapt a lower word count can be more potent. Languages with a higher word count than English, due to being older languages and containing higher definition (finer, as you mentioned), only provide finer definition, while English can have several meanings attached to the same word - as an example. And again, as someone pointed out, some languages have an almost built-in mechanism for inventing new definition (words) on-the-fly. Another point, while 'a' writer may have a huge toolbox of vocobularly to draw on, his expressed expression is still limited by the capacity of his audience to actually understand him.
    Art is art.

  10. #10
    Registered User jackyyyy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    459
    Quote Originally Posted by Nightshade
    Well say we say that a particular group of people say yobs ( apolgies if you are one this is a gross generalisation fo the sake of explaining )
    Did you say, 'yobs' ?
    I am not wearing my Dennis the Menace shirt for no reason, ya know.
    Art is art.

  11. #11
    Voice of Chaos & Anarchy
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    In one of the branches of the multiverse, but I don't know which one.
    Posts
    6,729
    Blog Entries
    184
    Spoken language is organic. New items grow when they grow. Sometimes newly coined words catch on and sometimes they don't. I don't see anything wrong with new words, or new meanings for old words, of whatever sort, created by anyone, but that doesn't mean that I have to use the new words or meanings. I specifically rebel against some new definitions, beause they didn't produce a clearer understanding. One example is the redefining of "gender" to mean several things related to sexual identity. I rebel against it, because it requires an explanatory phrase to set the meaning in a particular situation; the explanatory phrase without the extraneous word would be preferable.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Regit
    I read that Shakespeare was credited for at least 1000 new words in the Oxford dictionary. Surely that is better for the English language than words invented by rappers and ...stuff . Or has the trend been changed?

    How does the good employment of a language affect its development?
    Why should the words created by Shakespeare be any better than the words created by a rapper? Or, as someone else pointed out, why is it bad to have derrogatory terms in a language?

    Language and therefore words do not and never have existed for aesthetic, intellectual, poetic, or philisophic reasons. Language has always existed and continues to exist as a means of communication. Anything else is a superfluous use, even if enlightening and pleasurable.

    To go back to the 'queer' and 'gay' example, if we are going to argue that an increasing number of words in a language improves its effectiveness and 'development' it is plain that using 'queer' to refer to a homosexual normally means both that someone is gay and that the person speaking of the individual dislikes homosexuals, whereas 'gay' simply states that the referred person is a homosexual and nothing else.

    The urge to purge the 'negative' or 'inelegant' words from our vocabulary is as great a mistake as to create new ones. I am not saying that these words should be used, but they were created to fulfill a purpose, and by better understanding these words, what they mean, who uses them, and how they came to be we understand our society better. Thus to assume that there is a 'good employment' of language is a mistake, rather there are only stylistic deployments of lanaguage.
    Last edited by SheykAbdullah; 05-09-2006 at 06:55 PM.
    In these days, old man, no one thinks in terms of human beings. Governments don't, so why should we? They talk of the people, the proletariat, and I talk of the mugs. It's the same thing. They have their five year plan and I have mine.-Harry Lime, The Third Man novella by Graham Greene

  13. #13
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    5
    There are several levels of language. Spoken language is different from written language. And then, you also have differences. A posh guy and a farmer won't speak and write the same. James Joyce's language is for example very rich but it's sometimes hard to understand. For Shakespeare, of course he invented lots of new words but nowadays his way of speaking is old english. Even the grammar is different.
    Rappers have their own words and things are like that. The language has to change because it's living, it's how people express themselves. New words appear and some other disappear, that's the rule of the language... otherwise we would all speak and write latin nowadays.

  14. #14
    Regitted User Regit's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    In my lovely flat with my lovely plants ^^
    Posts
    252
    Quote Originally Posted by subterranean
    I'm assuming that you were saying that all those 1000 words are...good words?! ?
    That's correct, as oppose to the bad words invented by other sources. I was contrasting between good and bad literature. By no mean a carefully thought out example, but it demonstrates the point well I think.

    Quote Originally Posted by subterranean
    And I don't really understand with what you mean by "words invented by rappers and...stuffs". I mean terms in study of rape or rapist, for example..., weren't they invented by say, experts in criminology or pyschologist or sociologist?
    I said rappers, not rapists. Rappers are performers of rap music. RAP=Rhythm And Poetry, but the poetry bit seems to have died. I don't mean to include all rap music; but I do look at most of the new stuffs very sceptically. Just an example of bad usage of language.
    Remember the student interview story.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by “SheykAbdullah”
    Why should the words created by Shakespeare be any better than the words created by a rapper? Or, as someone else pointed out, why is it bad to have derrogatory terms in a language?
    Is this any different from asking, “Why should words created by Shakespeare be any better than the words created by a semi-literate moron?” The words ‘created’ by Shakespeare are ‘better’ because he’s a better writer - he’s particularly skilled in their use.

    Obviously it depends on what you mean by ‘better’ but surely Shakespeare’s contributions have enriched the language and therefore broadened the range of expression available? Thanks to Shakespeare, our linguistic world is bigger. The limits of our language are the limits of our world.

    Quote Originally Posted by “SheykAbdullah”
    Language and therefore words do not and never have existed for aesthetic, intellectual, poetic, or philisophic reasons. Language has always existed and continues to exist as a means of communication. Anything else is a superfluous use, even if enlightening and pleasurable.
    I disagree. Firstly, I don’t understand why the aesthetic, intellectual, poetic or philosophic are considered unrelated to communication. Is all language merely functional and transactional? That’s a strange position for someone on a Literature Forum to adopt. Secondly, you seem to be implying that this basic, functional level is the core to which all other uses are added as mere ornament.

Page 1 of 5 12345 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Latin American Literature Recommendations
    By Rechka in forum General Literature
    Replies: 36
    Last Post: 09-10-2008, 04:20 PM
  2. One fish proved Islamic Monotheism
    By Gurrato Alaien in forum Religious Texts
    Replies: 20
    Last Post: 03-04-2006, 11:57 PM
  3. Literature in Medicine
    By Sancho in forum General Literature
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 06-04-2004, 12:46 PM
  4. Staid, Painful, Turgid Literature in the English Language
    By Robert E Lee in forum General Literature
    Replies: 21
    Last Post: 08-10-2003, 02:39 PM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •