Monday, September 21, 2009

Billie Fleming Introductory Blog Post


My name is Billie Taylor Fleming, that is who I am. There are many reasons for why I am taking this course, but the most important one would be that I need to go on to other courses in the PROW program as it is a prerequisite for many of them. I would say that I know basic grammar and composition. I have learned some interesting things along the way that have added to my colorful vocabulary of knowledge. My goals for this class are to learn. Just to soak up as much information that I can so that I will have the tools to be a better writer.

In the video "Steven Pinker on language and thought" Pinker elaborates on on many issues, all of them to do with language. Pinker talks about the different parts of speech, and how the english language is not very straight forward. So many phrases and words cannot be put one way, but in another configuration will work perfectly. He reflects on the "quirks" that make up our language, and how there are hidden meanings behind things. It is all in how you say something often times.

I do not believe that dictionaries are dead. I do not want to believe that dictionaries are dead. It does seem though that as the years go by the more colloquial our speech becomes. People talking in text speech is very strange for me. If you take a step back from the conversation and look at what is being said, we look like we are de-volving. And yes, I know that I might sound hypocritical because de-volving is not actually a word.

As to the question of language being a "window into human nature," I believe this to be so. The way we speak, what we say, and why we say it is a direct link into why we are the way we are. As we have come along through the ages and our language has grown from grunts and groans, to complex sentences, so has our ability to convey emotions. Social interactions revolve around language and the speaking of it in one form or another. Without language we would not be able to communicate, and that would not be a good thing, for communication is one of the most important aspects of human nature.

A chassis by definition is a frame of an automobile. When Steven Pinker says that "the verb is the chassis of the sentence," he means to say that the verb is the frame work that makes up the sentence. He posed a very strong argument in his speech on language and thought. I can say that I completely agree. The verb is the frame, the noun is the engine, and everything else is just makes it more interesting and pretty.

Andrew, Jennifer and Brent made a poster about verbs as parts of speech.

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_UZTWB4uNx2E/Sq7i8vas9JI/AAAAAAAAAVk/81KuTN_zqnw/s1600-h/verb.jpg

Read more about Steven Pinker at his website!

http://pinker.wjh.harvard.edu/about/index.html



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