Objective Language

Laura

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This thread has been split off from another topic and my post that follows was in response to a response to my remark that I neither read nor speak French. Here, I was making the point that if someone wishes to address me on this forum, they need to learn enough English to make themselves understood OR ask for help from one of the French speaking mods.



Ya'll keep in mind the following:

1) I spend up to 18 hours a day WORKING IN ENGLISH. I do not have the luxury of the time to devote to learning another language. I have several audio programs and use them occasionally when traveling to try to pick up a bit of French when I'm not immediately occupied in English, but I really do NOT have the "language gene."

2) I AM interested in linguistics and I do have a large French vocabulary, that is, I know a lot of words and what they mean, but I'll be damned if I'll contort my face and mouth or utilize phlegm in my throat as an adjunct to issue forth bizarre distortions of the sounds of perfectly good letters and syllables, or the total ignoring of entire syllables that, if one isn't supposed to pronounce them, why have them there?

3) My interest in linguistics extends to the psychological basis of language. French is a completely sexist language - and arbitrarily sexist to boot - and that deeply offends my sensibilities. Further, French profoundly restricts efficient and precise communication not to mention deliberately obviating some ideas altogether. There are many, many things you cannot say in French because the psychology of French simply does not allow it. And I've discussed this with French individuals who are also fluent in English and who find English a more expressive and logical language. Well, duh! Much of English is derived from French with a large dose of Germanic, the addition of new terms as needed (which English welcomes and accommodates easily while French does not by law!) and the stripping away of archaicisms.

4) My experience of FRANCE (not all individual French people) has been less than happy. That tends to make me look with some disfavor on a government that has actually legislated the demand for immigrants to speak French in order to be considered human, and has passed laws such that radio stations must play a higher percentage of French music than English. Geeze, everybody knows that English and American rock 'n roll is the best!

So, while I can converse with the butcher, the dentist, the doctor, sales clerks, etc, and I certainly have a good idea of conversations around me, I have no intention of participating in something of which I heartily - and for good reasons - disapprove.
 

Ekios

Jedi Master
:scared: ... hey ... was joking ... wow ... relax ... :scared:

Nowwww ... Just for the record M'am ... I am French ... but fluent enough in english to do some casual translations from time to time (from english to french to be honest, writing in english is sometimes very conflicting for me) so lets be very clear, you are f..g RIGHT about the restrictions of the french language !

I follow you on that at 200% and trust me I had some sleepless night because some very nice things said in english couldn't just be transcribed in French ... (was for the translation of a movie script ... a nightmare)

After that, I don't really get the sexist thing but this is probably because it is my native language, I will ask my beloved one about that during the trip for our today immigration meeting (detail given in order to agree with you on the last part of your tirade)

I didn't wanted to upset you here Laura and I thought it was clear that it was on a joking ton the first and the second time I mentioned it. I found it amusing, that is all :huh:

PS : about the rock'n roll ... beside the English & American one ... what do trully exist anyway ? ;D (Any recommendation ? :D )
 

Laura

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The sexist nature of French comes out in the gender of words. It is so freaking weird that I can barely wrap my head around it. Oh, yeah, I know pretty much when it is la or le, but it is - to me and other students of linguistics - evidence of deep psychological programming via language. I believe there is even an article or two about how gender use in language (making nouns masculine or feminine when they should be neuter) is a subtle way of controlling how people think about things. These articles may be in the forum or on sott, I don't remember which.
 

Ekios

Jedi Master
Ok, now, you ticked my curiosity !!
Smiley_Tiny_Studying.gif


PS : anyway, someone with an english accent doing mistakes with the le/la thing is the top of the cuteness ... oh ... well ... wait ... apparently it is the same when some French big mouth speaks English and do mistakes [that is from my beloved one... hahum]

Edit : about a sexist language, just try arabic for the fun ... I just got myself corrected for the 3451235time because I misspelled the masculin from the feminin .. :rolleyes:
 

truth seeker

The Living Force
Here's an article on Sott about gender and language for those interested:

http://www.sott.net/articles/show/241890-Gendered-Grammar-Linked-to-Global-Sexism
 

Ekios

Jedi Master
truth seeker said:
Here's an article on Sott about gender and language for those interested:

http://www.sott.net/articles/show/241890-Gendered-Grammar-Linked-to-Global-Sexism
Miam !! Thank you !! :)
 

loreta

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
I have the impression that every language is sexist because of the patriarchy. I love French, I think it is a rich and beautiful language. But I respect your point of vue, Laura. I love also English maybe more than French, I appreciate the non-genre in English and when you read authors like Virginia Woolf, wow. Spanish also is very sexist as a language. I will read the article in Sott.net. Thanks.
 

Ekios

Jedi Master
Frankly, French is "chiant" to learn ... when I really started English I got amazed about how easy it was to compare and about how bigger were the possibility to express things :)

Anyway to make everybody ok : lets beat German ... that ain't no language, it is a throat sickness !! :lol: (Best regards from Alsace :D)
 

Cosmos

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Ekios said:
Frankly, French is "chiant" to learn ... when I really started English I got amazed about how easy it was to compare and about how bigger were the possibility to express things :)

Anyway to make everybody ok : lets beat German ... that ain't no language, it is a throat sickness !! :lol: (Best regards from Alsace :D)

hold on ! no disrespect to the german language !
Was soll man dazu noch sagen ? :halo:

:P ;D
 

Ekios

Jedi Master
Ach bitte mach mi net ch..a jetz ! ;) (I don't speak german, just my local adaptation :halo: anyway, kidding right !!!? :halo:)
 

loreta

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Ekios said:
Frankly, French is "chiant" to learn ... when I really started English I got amazed about how easy it was to compare and about how bigger were the possibility to express things :)

Really? Maybe you have never read great French writers or poets. French is very beautiful and also very complicated. Read Jean Prevert and you will see the beauty of French. :lol: Read Marguerite Yourcenar and you will learn how French can be a splendid language. :D Don't confound French with Parisians that they say they are very chiants. :evil:

Don't take me seriously! I will be able to do my siesta with no problem even if people think that French is an ugly language... :P
 

Pierre

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Kooky said:
questions aux cassiopeens:

1/Demander aux cassiopeans si ma decouverte est juste pour enoch et la formule de l'or qui est la suivante:
acide nitrique ionisé par rayon gamma selon le procéde de marcel violet de 1962( livre le secret des patriarches) + acide sulfurique+ argent+fer+cuivre+eau, le tout a faire chauffer a 600°. Et comme la symbolique de l'alchimie on va passer du noir au rouge.

You seem so convinced about your alchemical knowledge why ask the C's? Why don't you go ahead and produce gold? By the way, if you send us just a few kg of gold we might start believing your claims.

Kooky said:
2/ pourquoi la terre vue de l'espace ressemble a un puzzle de têtes de dinosaures ,de singes et d'animaux marins qui tous s'imbriquent admirablement?
3/ la chine, l'europe represente un caimen avec ses 4 pattes sa tete et sa queue. quelle relation y a t(il entre ce territoire et les lezards?
4/ En afrique le lac victoria forme l'oeil d'un dinosaure , est ce vrai?
5/ qui est la femme lionne que j'ai trouvée sur MARs sous forme de tete geante?

You don't have to ask the Cs, just check the wikipedia page about Rorchard test.
 

Ekios

Jedi Master
loreta said:
Ekios said:
Frankly, French is "chiant" to learn ... when I really started English I got amazed about how easy it was to compare and about how bigger were the possibility to express things :)

Really? Maybe you have never read great French writers or poets. French is very beautiful and also very complicated. Read Jean Prevert and you will see the beauty of French. :lol: Read Marguerite Yourcenar and you will learn how French can be a splendid language. :D Don't confound French with Parisians that they say they are very chiants. :evil:

Don't take me seriously! I will be able to do my siesta with no problem even if people think that French is an ugly language... :P
Your conclusion gave me a good laugh, have a nice siesta my friend :)

Belibaste said:
You seem so convinced about your alchemical knowledge why ask the C's? Why don't you go ahead and produce gold? By the way, if you send us just a few kg of gold we might start believing your claims.

You don't have to ask the Cs, just check the wikipedia page about Rorchard test.
The guy is banned and can't answer anymore ... so ... why ?
 

Laura

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loreta said:
Really? Maybe you have never read great French writers or poets. French is very beautiful and also very complicated. Read Jean Prevert and you will see the beauty of French. :lol: Read Marguerite Yourcenar and you will learn how French can be a splendid language. :D

It COULD be a lot more splendid. Problem is, it is frozen due to the transfer of the attitude of the ancient Romans to Gaul. In order to understand this, you have to know how the Roman upper classes thought about themselves. Keep in mind, that these people were the "corporations" of the ancient world. We know a lot about them because they wrote a lot of drivel. An excerpt from some stuff I've written recently:

Quintus Aurelius Symmachus, who lived in the second half of the 4th century, was a prolific writer. Seven speeches and over 900 letters penned by him have survived. Symmachus was entirely typical of his class, based on the information gleaned from these writings. He had numerous large estates scattered across central and southern Italy, Sicily, and North Africa. Some of his friends owned estates in Spain and southern Gaul as well. All of these estates belonging to these wealthy families represent “booty” apportioned out to the supporters of the victorious wars of Imperialism over the centuries. They were shuffled around a bit due to inheritance and marriage settlements, but basically, just as in our own day and time, the wealth was just accumulated and passed around among that 1.5% of the population, including a few “new blood” types who married into the ranks.

Symmachus and his friends justified their domination of the rest of the population because they were “better” than everyone else. In certain of his letters, Symmachus refers to the Senate as “the better part of humankind” which meant, not just the wealthiest, but the best in terms of morality and virtue. This, of course, justified their claim to greater wealth: they deserved it.

How did they get to be “better” than everyone else? It was really rather simple. They had to speak the right language with the right accents and know the right authors and be able to quote them on any and every occasion. Yes, that’s a simplistic explanation, but that really is all it amounted to. To be a “virtuous man” one had to study a very small number of literary texts intensely under the guidance of an expert in the language and literary interpretation, otherwise known as a grammarian. The accepted writings were those of Vergil, Cicero, Sallust and Terence. After you had mastered that, which could take quite a few years, you then graduated to the tutelage of a rhetor who would introduce a few more texts into the mix. Texts were studied line by line and every nuance of language and meaning was examined and discussed and probably memorized. Students were assigned to write about their everyday lives in the style of the various authors studied.

The reasoning behind this education system was that these texts were held to contain the canon of correct language and children had to learn the canonical vocabulary and the complex grammar with which to use that vocabulary, as well as the appropriate situations in which the words were applicable. Symmachus and his friends made the claim that by absorbing the contents of the authors they were required to study, they became so much better than other human beings that they literally believed that no one else on the planet equaled them. They firmly believed – and passed on the belief – that Latin grammar was a tool for developing a logical, precise, mind. If you couldn’t master the language, you couldn’t say what you meant or accurately describe anything. In other words, Latin grammar was the Roman equivalent of Formal Logic.

They were also convinced that the texts they revered were the accumulation of all that was needed to know about human behavior, both good and bad, and from those texts you would learn what to do and what not to do in any given situation. This idea was actually a twist on educational philosophy that had developed in classical Greece: that by pondering on a wide range of behaviors one could develop a wide range of intellect and emotions in oneself. One could not know pity, love, hate, without being enlightened and becoming truly human under the tutelage of the Latin grammarian. Symmachus and his friends not only spoke a superior language in superior accents, by their mastery of that language, they could feel things denied to others, and express things that were unknown to the uneducated masses and barbarians.

You will have noticed, I’m sure, that the curriculum was extremely narrow and the effect of this system turned Latin into a profoundly formal and limited mode of expression. The emphasis on language and the proper accents turned Latin into a cultural vice that held the Empire in an iron grip for centuries. As soon as a Roman opened his mouth, it was obvious whether or not he belonged to the elite class. And, being a member of the elite class meant that one had the responsibility to lead, to make and impose laws, to hold high office, to set an example of correct behavior in public. You had to learn to control yourself (via learning the language perfectly) before you could attempt to control others. But once you had learned this, and could do whatever you needed to do, basically without any emotional investment, then you had the right and duty to dominate others. The bottom line was: the Roman Elite shared a privileged culture and it was their duty to stick together. By means of their exclusive education and language, they were destined to lead mankind.

I don’t know what kinds of thought you are having after reading about the Roman education system and the beliefs of its elite class, but what it immediately reminded me of was what some psychologists are calling the “socially compensated psychopath.” A study in 2001 tells us:

Psychopathy, as originally conceived by Cleckley (1941), is not limited to engagement in illegal activities, but rather encompasses such personality characteristics as manipulativeness, insincerity, egocentricity, and lack of guilt - characteristics clearly present in criminals but also in spouses, parents, bosses, attorneys, politicians, and CEOs, to name but a few. (Bursten, 1973; Stewart, 1991). Our own examination of the prevalence of psychopathy within a university population suggested that perhaps 5% or more of this sample might be deemed psychopathic, although the vast majority of those will be male (more than 1/10 males versus approximately 1/100 females).

As such, psychopathy may be characterized ... as involving a tendency towards both dominance and coldness. Wiggins (1995) in summarizing numerous previous findings... indicates that such individuals are prone to anger and irritation and are willing to exploit others. They are arrogant, manipulative, cynical, exhibitionistic, sensation -seeking, Machiavellian, vindictive, and out for their own gain. With respect to their patterns of social exchange (Foa & Foa, 1974), they attribute love and status to themselves, seeing themselves as highly worthy and important, but prescribe neither love nor status to others, seeing them as unworthy and insignificant. This characterization is clearly consistent with the essence of psychopathy as commonly described.

The present investigation sought to answer some basic questions regarding the construct of psychopathy in non forensic settings... In so doing we have returned to Cleckley's (1941) original emphasis on psychopathy as a personality style not only among criminals, but also among successful individuals within the community.

What is clear from our findings is that (a) psychopathy measures have converged on a prototype of psychopathy that involves a combination of dominant and cold interpersonal characteristics; (b) psychopathy does occur in the community and at what might be a higher than expected rate; and (c) psychopathy appears to have little overlap with personality disorders aside from Antisocial Personality Disorder. ...

Clearly, where much more work is needed is in understanding what factors differentiate the abiding (although perhaps not moral-abiding) psychopath from the law-breaking psychopath; such research surely needs to make greater use of non forensic samples than has been customary in the past. {Salekin, Trobst, Krioukova, (2001)"Construct Validity of Psychopathy in a Community Sample: A Nomological Net Approach; Journal of Personality Disorders, 15(5), pp.425-441.}

Obviously, not every member of the ancient Roman elite was a psychopath, but what seems to be suggested in considering the matters above, is that the system was designed and set up by pathological individuals, possibly schizoidal psychopaths , and strictly maintained over hundreds of years by the ruthlessness of its imposition.

This attitude was transferred to Christianity via the Catholic Church when Constantine made Christianity the official religion of the empire and granted all kinds of tax breaks and loot only to those who converted. Naturally, a lot of members of the elite classes, the senatorial families, suddenly became Christians. And, as the Empire itself began to lose its grip, the senators-turned-bishops naturally took over the bureaucratic administration of local regions (often in service to barbarian overlords).

At the same time, the Church was a stairway for "social climbing" and Vulgar Latin was introduced into the mix by soldiers who climbed to the top and became the Imperial administrators and pals of military emperors. So, the elitist senatorial attitudes, Christianity, vulgar Latin, and power politics all mixed together to create France/French. It's not just a saying that France is the elder daughter of Rome. The saying usually is intended to refer to the church, but there's a lot more to it than that. And I'm sure that native French speakers will easily recognize the attitudes about "correct French" that are inculcated into them from infancy in the description of the Roman education system and their own beliefs about the superiority of their language.

Meanwhile, the article cited above notes:

our thoughts don't just shape our language. Our language may also shape our thoughts. For example, one 2009 study asked high-school students to read a passage in English, Spanish or French. English is a "natural gender" language, meaning that speakers use gender-specific pronouns, but nouns do not have gender. Spanish and French are "gendered" languages, in which nouns are assigned as masculine and feminine. In Spanish, for example "la fruita" (the fruit) is feminine, but "el dia" (daytime) is masculine.

Compared with the students who read the passages in English, those who read in gendered languages responded with higher levels of sexism to a questionnaire they took after the study. ...

On average, countries where gendered languages are spoken ranked lowest on the scale of gender equality, researchers reported in the journal Sex Roles. But surprisingly, genderless languages didn't fare as well as natural gender languages such as English (though they did fare better than gendered languages). ..."Being able to use gendered pronouns, things like 'he' or 'she,' and being able to modify the language could actually have a function," Prewitt-Freilino said.

Regarding the "shaping of thoughts", I was quite astonished to learn that in French, the word chercheur/euse can ONLY mean a professional person with higher degrees working in an institutional setting doing research, generally scientific.

In English, a researcher is "somebody who performs research, the search for knowledge or in general any systematic investigation to establish facts. Researchers can work in academic, industrial, government, or private institutions." They can be ordinary people with a passion for knowledge or someone hired to do a specific type of research and given that title, such as someone hired to do legal research for a law firm who is given instructions what to look for, put to work, and paid for being a researcher. It basically means "a digger upper of information" in a wide variety of contexts, but mostly someone who is dedicated to doing that in whatever field they have chosen.

As Ailen explains, someone like me can't attribute any real success or abilities to myself because I'll always be an amateur:

That's when it comes complicated, because you have to say "truth seeker" - "chercheur de vérité" - (and it sounds new agey or weird), or "we are a group of people who like to study different subjects" - "Nous sommes un groupe de personnes qui aimons étudier plusieurs sujets", etc.

The common options can be:
I study ("J'étudie") - and even then often people ask you where? at which university?, etc. It's like you can't be autodidactic!

Or
I am interested in ("je m'intéresse à...")

I do some research on ("je fais des recherches sur..."), NOT to be mixed up with "Je travaille dans la recherche" (which means I do official research, I'm a super duper researcher with a degree, again...)

I seem to be unable to define myself as a researcher in France because, according to French rules, I'm not and I find that insulting and offensive because I wouldn't be doing what I do if the "professionals" were doing a good job.
 
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