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- To: BOOK_ARTS-L@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
- Subject: Re: semantics
- From: charles alexander <chax@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Fri, 5 Jun 1998 10:26:06 -0700
- Message-id: <199806051726.KAA17694@SUL-Server-2.Stanford.edu>
- Sender: "Book_Arts-L: On the web at http://www.dreamscape.com/pdverhey" <BOOK_ARTS-L@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
At 09:47 AM 6/5/98 -0700, you wrote:
>You write: "Language is a heavy thing, a specific thing, and a powerful
>Most effective when kept simple. This bit is obfuscating and sematically
>Write what you mean.
And language is a fleeting thing, a vague thing, a multidimensional thing,
too. It's one of the most useful and bedazzling 'things' the world has come
up with in these some-millions of years. I didn't write what is in
quotation marks above, but I don't find it particularly baffling, i.e.
"Language is a heavy thing"
OK, this part is really metaphorical. Language is matter, has weight, is
something which weighs on us, perhaps, and, as such, one must be careful
with it. I may not entirely agree with this (sometimes language is light,
unable to be kept down, and flies away), but I don't have trouble
"Language is a specific thing"
Language denotes fairly well, although Wittgenstein would have considerable
arguments with this, and with the ability of language to clearly define
anything. Still, we teach our students to use language as specifically as
they can, so that their meaning will be clearly conveyed to
readers/hearers. This isn't, I think, too difficult a concept.
"Language is a powerful thing"
Yes indeed. It has started wars, and ended them. It has brought
individuals, families, and countries together. And much more. Is there much
doubt about this?
So what's obfuscating about this? While semantically not all that
'specific,' I don't find it "sematically [sp.] obscure."
It's rather fun to be ruminating about this on the book arts list. And I
don't mean to offend anyone, rather just to enter into this bit about
language, something which I think is terribly difficult to define, to say
what it is or is not. It is so many things, and always, I think, rather
elusive. That's part of what makes it such a rich part of book arts and
artists' books, and often (but not always, of course) the most artistic
part of such works.
charles alexander :: poet and book artist :: chax@xxxxxxxxxxxx
chax press :: alexander writing/design/publishing
NOTE NEW URL FOR CHAX PRESS http://alexwritdespub.com/chax