Tag Archives: language

“Whatever Is”: Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s Atheist Poem?

Something that people might not know about Charlotte Perkins Gilman, the 19th century author of the frequently assigned feminist short story, “The Yellow Wallpaper”, is that she was also a poet. In her lifetime she published well over 500 poems. … Continue reading

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Does Meaning Reside in Facts—or Our Descriptions of Those Facts?

I bet you can guess my vote. I think that our languages never perfectly correspond with the world “as it is” and so we derive our meanings from our eccentric descriptions of “the facts.” Here’s an example. Since the publication … Continue reading

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At Long Last, the Orwellian Language is OVER: Attorney General-nominee Eric Holder Says “Waterboarding is torture”

What a relief to hear honest language regarding what torture is. This today from the AP: It was the first topic discussed at [Attorney General nominee Eric] Holder’s confirmation hearing, and he made an unambiguous statement about its nature: “Waterboarding … Continue reading

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The Greatest Pearl of the Night Sky’s Tribe

Will there ever be a “final language” (I’m thinking in terms of a scientific one) that corresponds perfectly with the TRUTH of what all of reality IS? And should that language then be held up as “superior” to all other ways of … Continue reading

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What Are Languages For?

I agree with the philosopher Richard Rorty that languages are tools. And in the context to which these tools are applied, their value—including their truth value—can then be judged. You fly airplanes with scientific language, and you fly romances with poetic … Continue reading

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“Learning to read slowly and carefully”: On the Value of Literature in a Fast-Paced Internet World

With the MLA conference coming up in San Francisco, Inside Higher Ed quotes an MLA report on the importance of teaching literature to undergraduates:  “Sustained, deep engagements with literary works and literary language open perceptions of structure, texture, and the layering of meanings … Continue reading

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What Language Are You at Home In?: Richard Rorty and the Languages That We Speak

The philosopher Richard Rorty used to suggest that the way that a person talks about things should be thought of as a language. Thus there are people who, in addition to speaking, say, English, also communicate in such languages as: Reformed Calvinism Speak … Continue reading

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A Great Comedian You Might Not Know: Steven Wright

One of the most promising young comedians of the 1980s was Steven Wright, but he only put out one album: I Have a Pony. Roy of Hollywood, an iconic late night hippie FM radio DJ for KPFK in Los Angeles, used … Continue reading

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A Grammarian at Slate.Com Tries to Diagram a Muddled Sentence of Sarah Palin’s—And Fails

At Slate.com, a grammarian (Kitty Burns Florey) tries her hand at deciphering, through traditional diagramming, Sarah Palin’s peculiar way of putting together “sentences.” In the example below, Florey can’t do it: From the Charlie Gibson interview: “I know that John McCain will … Continue reading

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John Wayne Cast as Hamlet: A Great Joke About the Plays and Language of Shakespeare

On the DVD Looking for Richard (a documentary), Al Pacino tells a great joke that goes something like this (I’m paraphrasing): In a city stage production, John Wayne is cast as Hamlet. On the opening night, characteristically, Wayne struts about the … Continue reading

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