Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Funny dreamlet

Just in the middle of the morning nap I've seen a quirky dreamlet: I was browsing through a book which I've read recently (I cannot remember now clearly but it was either George Martin's "A Feast for Crows" or (more likely) Babel-17 of S.Delany... I am not 100% sure which one but those were the 2 latest books I've read), and suddenly, I've encountered a chapter written in Japanese, and some mathematical formulae later on. I knew in that dream that it was all readable and made sense, if only I would have understood all that stuff. Then I started waking up because suddenly I remembered that in the real book there was no such chapter. Funny experience though, and very amusing.

Yesterday I have been thinking about language-related issues. I've stumbled upon some interesting almanacs published by Cambridge Press, dedicated to the studies of language recognition and acquisition, etc., and how the language affects other aspects of human activity... this is something that really entices me a lot, I now realise. How many psychological aspects are encoded in the language(s) we learn?

There is a big web of everything that could be expressed with the language: objects, actions, properties of names, properties of actions, numbers, placeholders for objects and actions, emotional outbursts, and so on. Yet every language chooses its own set of primaries in this big web. If our memory starts with learning a language then our conscience is inevitably wound up around it. If the child forgets his first language and learns another one, what happens to his earlier memories then? How could we provide an adequate translation from one language into another and not to ruin subconscious associations that are created by the sound of words we are using, by the roots those words have, by the other words that are closely associated with the chosen words?

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