miércoles, 23 de marzo de 2016



It's strange how things I have taken for granted in Spanish, Swedish, etc. sound rare in English. Despite the fact that I use them in my English idiolect (my own use of language) exactly in the same way as in Spanish, Swedish, etc.
Such as the use of Linnaean taxonomy (which is exclusively scientific/technical in English) to classify the animal and plant kingdoms in the vernacular/street/fairytale/children's language.
Or my use of "acquaintance," alone or in the to-a-born-and-bred-Anglophone-strange-sounding collocation "friends and acquaintances," which sounds also pretty strange in the English vernacular.
My English idiolect is actually more of a "Foreignish," i.e. you can figure out that it is a "foreigner" to the Anglo worldview, who is speaking/writing. The languages I first learned, such as Spanish or Swedish (my mother tongue and father tongue, literally), rely far more on technical/scientific vocabulary, which is international, in their vernacular language of the street, storybooks/fairytales...
To the born and bred Anglophone Average Jo/e, "mammal" or "acquaintance" are so called inkhorn terms. The controversy already arose during the Age of Enlightenment (a sinister clickation on the collocation "inkhorn terms" will direct you towards the Wikipedia article on this linguistic phenomenon [i.e. left click on the link to read an explanation on Wikipedia]). In fact, the Inkhorn Debate dates all the way to the times of Shakespeare and the King James Bible.
In Spanish, "conocido" or "mamífero" are vernacular, ditto their Swedish, German, etc. counterparts. Again, all of these languages have, more or less, a 1:1 correspondence of one word per meaning/word sense, and very little ambiguity. Such a 1:1 correspondence, which is my ideal and also emerges in my strange-, pedantic-, and eccentric-sounding English idiolect (AKA "Sandra's Foreignish"), is known as a bijection. The wonderful, radiant, by me adored property of being 1:1 corresponding (like one word for each concept, one sound for each letter or digraph or trigraph...) is scientifically described by the adjective injective. Again, sinister clickage on the underlined terms will direct you towards their respective Wikipedia article.
You see, don't go to bed without something new in your head! That's why I completely adore many-member lexical sets such as ranks or cycles: a "Friday" will always be a Friday, a "lieutenant" will always be a lieutenant, ditto "November," or "five," or any other member of such sets. These strategies are INJECTIVE and INCLUSIVE. And INTERNATIONAL. And those are three impressive I terms to be reckoned with.
international, inclusive strategies, that are as little ambiguous as possible and provide analytical inclusiveness

These many-member lexical sets are classified into:
1) Cycles (non-serially ordered): springtime-summer-autumn-winter, Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday-Friday-Saturday-Sunday, the months, the zodiac... They're all ordered in terms of successivity. Unlike scales and ranks, cycles do not have extremes (circle vs. line), every member is ordered between two others. The fact that there is a conventional first and last member (springtime-winter, Monday-Sunday, Aries-Pisces, January-December) does not detract from their cyclicality.
2) Scales (serially ordered): temperatures (scorching hot, searing/blazing hot, hot, warm, lukewarm... down to absolute zero) or shades of colours (sky, cyan, cobalt, Prussian, navy...)
3) Ranks (serially ordered): like the ranks of the military (Commander-In-Chief, Field Marshal, four-star General, three-star General... down to private/ranker) or those of the Catholic Church (Pope, cardinal, archbishop...), or examination marks (usually marked with numbers, can also be letters). Numerals themselves also constitute a rank (one, two, three, four, five...), with the interesting property that they are an infinite set of lexically complex expressions (1999: try saying it as a year AND THEN as a number!).

Scholars agree that these sets form a category termed many-member sets, characterized by multiple incompatibilities, into which all of them (seasons, months, star signs, military ranks...) fall. Let's take the date of today for an example... If it's winter, it can't be springtime. If it's February, it can't be August. If it's a Thursday, it can't be a Tuesday.
These words are related by means of a semantic link: a sense relation holding between lexical items that are focal points on a semantic continuum.

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