The Crash Course

Laurie Miller's Thoughts

The Crash Course

Language Beginnings: Proto-Elements

September 22nd, 2014 · 1 Comment · Uncategorized

While I cannot seem to track down the idea online, it is stuck in my head that in Metaphors We Live By (1980) George Lakoff and Mark Johnson discuss the base reasons language developed in humans: to communicate in the abstract events that happened, are happening or will/might happen. Elemental to such communication is the identification of basic conceptions: 

  • who or what
  • did or is
  • what
  • to whom or what

giving the basic concepts of:

  • “doer”
  • action or state
  • “result”
  • “receiver”

and thus the syntactic concepts of:

  • subject
  • verb
  • object
    • direct –> receiver of the action
    • indirect –> [to whom/what] or [where] ; the “what” or “where” of the action that affects the receiver.

Connected to this is the argument that the need to abstractly express “doing” is potentially more salient than the matter of who or what did it and who or what “received” the effect of the action, thus making verbs more significant than nouns.

I suppose the easiest what to confirm that these ideas where first introduced to me by Lakoff & Johnson is to re-read Metaphors We Live By. Alas, Peggy is back in my life…I know I dug the book up within the last year, so I guess it is time to find it the the “upper layers” of my home “library” and dive in.


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