I don’t know whether I should have the ego I do, or whether it is too much or too little. It’s not the sort of thing one can figure out isolated within one’s own head. The Graduate Record Examination said “90th Percentile – Verbal” (something like that), but then I don’t see any novel or even collection of short stories bearing my name at Amazon.
At the risk, confirmed, of having the bad manners to quote myself, the blog section I call “From The Awesome Conversation” provides me a way of sharing in a more easily retrieved fashion — I’m not sure more permanent — a few words inspired by Facebook chatyping.
For the background referenced on this post, I highly recommend two volumes by linguist Dan Everett: Don’t Sleep, There Are Snakes and Language: The Cultural Tool. These two describe human behavior absent the fog of cultural Chauvanism. They are works both of sturdiest scientific merit as well as an expression of — not that I’m certain their author would agree with this — a deep love and thoughtfulness in regard to humanity.
“Why we never accept our shortcomings and put all the blame on others . . . .”
Perhaps the invention and transmission of a language, which is as much the soul of a culture as it is natural for humans to possess, includes along with lexicon and functional grammar a full program, if you will, constituting a “social grammar”: the way one person will speak with another, the way thousands will speak to thousands, and the way generations will transmit and recapitulate themselves across time.
I have read that “One scholar is more powerful against the devil than one thousand worshippers,” and that may be so, for if one spends a little time with linguist Dan Everett, the idea that cultures have more behaviors, dreams, ethics, etiquette, and perceptions in common than not will (speaking colloquially) go out the window. in nature, we’re a wild species, and it may be the presence of isolated tribes (the earth hosts yet a few of those plus some “uncontacted peoples”) and transitional communities that tell how much of the accidental may be involved in the construction of every culture, its values, its social norms, and, relevant to the comment quoted and comments before it, the way it speaks.
The “Why we never accept . . .” question involves an answer that tells a history. Whatever that linguistic history may be, it can be an end point (“and this is where we are and will stay”) or it can serve as a starting point (“that is where we were and we are not there anymore”).
Conflict drivers may be many and part of a complex and violent machinery, but cultural discomfort and disagreement devolve to language-anchored percepts.
Probably, when I start typing down terms, I’ll have in mind a simple challengeable premise about culture, and it’s funny one: “Language behavior in uptake and establishment of lexicon, functional grammar, and social grammar is predictable; however, the cultural result — the invention of the language culture itself — is wondrously accidental.”