Friday, August 21, 2009

The New Post

...go read the post before this one. Then read this one. Why? Because I am WAY to lazy to go use bloggers publishing options.

Okay you done? Actually I don't care.

So Language games! First some preliminary reading.

"2....Let us imagine a language ...The language is meant to serve for communication between a builder A and an assistant B. A is building with building-stones; there are blocks, pillars, slabs and beams. B has to pass the stones, and that in the order in which A needs them. For this purpose they use a language consisting of the words 'block', 'pillar', 'slab', 'beam'. A calls them out; --B brings the stone which he has learnt to bring at such-and-such a call. -- Conceive of this as a complete primitive language. "

"6. We could imagine that the language of (2) was the whole language of A and B; even the whole language of a tribe. The children are brought up to perform these actions, to use these words as they do so, and to react in this way to the words of others."

"7. In the practice of the use of language (2) one party calls out the words, the other acts on them. In instruction in the language the following process will occur: the learner names the objects; that is, he utters the word when the teacher points to the stone.--And there will be this still simpler exercise: the pupil repeats the words after the teacher--both of these being processes resembling language. We can also think of the whole process of using words in (2) as one of those games by means of which children learn their native language. I will call these games 'language-games' and will sometimes speak of a primitive language as a language-game.

And the processes of naming the stones and of repeating words after someone might also be called language-games. Think of much of the use of words in games like ring-a-ring-a-roses. "

Wittgenstein is neat. It also gets much much more complicated later on. Right now though we can all be good with that. Yeah? Well to bad that is all I could find off the interwebs at the moment. Those numbers at the start of each quote are actually in the text. He did that to make the whole thing easily cross reffrencable. You can see it happen in both 6&7 where he reffrences 2. It's neat he was dyslexic so he broke up his text like that to avoid tripping over himself like I am wont to do. He als does it because he is weird.

Language games is one of the foundational building blocks which I used to construct my ideas of both politics and the outer church. It is also the way I use to justify a lot of my ideas regarding the way we construct our value systems and moral beliefs. Language is how we communicate after all, not just with each other but also inside our own heads as well. When we think to ourselves we don't revert to some basic proto language that only works for ourselves, this is unfortunate and I think I might get started building one. No our own introspection is affected by language as well.

Alright all ready off to the point. If you aren't on board by now I'll catch you later. Lets start big and work our way down. At this historical moment the biggest, shineyest, example of one word meaning all sorts of diffrent things is nigger. Oh yeah. I don't really throw that word around to be big scary or shocking, but lets face it. This is the clearest example of what I am talking about ever.

Quick run down

Black on Black- Some of them disaproove of it, some of them don't care, but the offense is mild to moderate at worst.

White on White- Well if I walk past you and hear I will think you are stupid. It is generally used ironically...or as a synonym for dude.

Black on White- Not a good idea.

That's how language games work. Honestly, I would be better off with another Wittgenstein quote but it will do. Go back up to two. Stone has a diffrent meaning between builder assistent than it would between two people hanging out looking at pretty rocks. I illustrated this with nigger. I also chose nigger, because the word itself has a set of ideological values behind it. Black on black it is a source of something, speaking for black culture will just make me look like an idiot but if I had to hazard a guiss I would say that it is a source of identity for them.
When we go white on black it takes that source of identity and preverts it, it turns it ugly in the most profound way possible and makes that identity into a shameful thing. THats so strange too, that identity could be shameful.

Thing is that it connects together for much bigger ideas as well. Groups of people gather together based son something...lets say gaming. Within this gaming group words will take on certain meanings that they don't really have in out side world. Nuts I can't think of one at the moment but they do. So when one member of the gaming group mixes with another group and starts to throw the terms around to people who aren't familiar with it there will be confusion. The closter the word sounds like it actually means something the worst this disconnect will get.

Hyperreality is an excelent example. It sounds like it means something, realtiy that is so real that it becomes unreal. Or whatever you think it means in your head. Its cool. It is actually a theoretical term coined by Bauldillard in his book Simulacra and Simulation. It means something specific. When we take it, and run with it based on what we think it means we are creating a language game around it. When we take it to our friends we induct them into the language game, and this conitnues onwards. The original deinition isn't lost, it is just changed to a limited group of people.

We do this on a much larger scale with ideas.n Lets take... hmm... abortion. No I just erased a paragraph proving that abortion is a terible example. The rules to D20. Actually I just repeat myself by saying the same thing in the nigger section.

The problem here is that this is fundamental. It is also unique not only with every individual person, but also with every group of people that person interacts with. I think I am going to come back to this topic in a little bit.

What I am running into is the problem that people act diffrently in a group of people than alone. There is a certain vidication in knowing that next to you there are people who hold the same beliefs and that you two are playing the same language game when you speak to each other. Those who we choose to surround ourselves with have a much bigger impact on our actions than say a talking head in a box. We will take that talking head's words and we will convert it to our own. Or we will take our own rules and convert them to the talking heads. Either way. Okay yeah I need to come back to this one after some reading. There is more here I just need to get at it. I also want a pretzle.

1 comment:

evan said...

Nigger, I believe, was originally derogatory and used by slave owners towards slaves. Black on black usage originiated, I think, in a "taking back the word" form. It's supposed to be ironic when used that way.

Also, "language games" as you describe here was referred to as "jargon" in my technical writing class. I think that's a more accurate term. It is, in and of itself, jargon... and I am thus playing your language games.