Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Noam Chomsky and Language and Politics (UPDATE 1)

UPDATE: Noam Chomsky's response added at end

I            ate all the grapes.
I did not eat all the grapes.
I did not eat     the grapes.

With language, different and even contradictory concepts can be related with relatively small changes in a sentence.

When Professor Chomsky reads the words of a politician or official, because of a natural and studied skill with the possibilities of what language can express, he is aware not only of what the politician said, but also with what was not said.

This crystallization of what was expressed makes it relatively easy to recognize when a politician isn't saying anything, or aren't saying much. When they aren't saying anything or much and yet they are talking about something, one can easily imagine it is because the politician or official's truth is being hidden.

UPDATE: Noam's Chomsky's response
Appreciate the kind words, but what I do in these domains is pretty simple-minded -- as is what everyone else does. It's not quantum physics. It takes a critical, open mind, ability to work hard, and a healthy skepticism about conventional doctrines. Nothing special about language that we don't all share.

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