Thursday, February 24, 2011

What Language Means

Yesterday, Isaiah was studying the Chinese horoscope he received at school, when he read off the attributes to those born in the year of the horse. He told me it says I should be smart, and that yes, he believes me to be very smart. Then he said, "...and popular. Have you been popular, Momma?" I said, yes, absolutely. So he asked the natural question,

*sigh* Kids are great for the ego.

Here's an interesting explanation I've just read on language, while I'm researching for a presentation for school. Just wanted to share, because it's pretty profound stuff.

Language is the combination of semantics (vocabulary), syntax (form or structure of the language—tenses, word order, plurality, etc.), and pragmatics (how language is used to meet communication needs). Language has meaningful patterns. Language is arbitrary, its symbols agreed upon by its users. Language is symbolic. Users encode their life experiences into words or signs, then recipients decode the messages to understand the experience. Language is social and modified by experience. Language has grammar. These rules define relationships between words or signs and sentences. Language has meanings that go beyond dictionary meanings. Language is variable among individuals. Language evolves and changes over time. People communicate language through different forms and modalities. Speech, writing and signing are examples of different modalities. Language does not need to have a written form.

Monday, February 21, 2011

I've Got Something To Say!

I said I wasn't coming back till I had something to say, right?

Lats Friday, I got on a plane, and I flew to New Mexico to surprise my sister.

How's THAT for new and interesting?!

And yes, I said surprise. Through careful planning with her husband, she didn't know. I spent 2 and a half days with her and her amazing family. After all these years, nothing awkward, nothing missing. In fact, it was like having a piece of my heart restored. We talked non stop, morning until night. And her kids! They're great, funny, smart. It was hard for me to leave, and if I hadn't been rushing to my plane at the last minute, I'd have started to cry. Now that I'm home, it's hard to believe I was really there.