Social Grammar

My hypothesis and theory is that a) there is such a thing as the development of “social grammar” accompanying language uptake, b) that it is part of the learning of a language and subsequent navigation of a related language culture, and c) it has gravitational sway on formulations associated with  perception and expression.

Basically: “Social Grammar” may be comprised of a set of rules a) governing relationships between symbols, beliefs about them, and related emotions, and b) serving to navigate cultural and social context in both perception (what is important to see) and expression (e.g., what is good to say; what is not; when; how; etc.).

What’s interesting in this proposed “detection” behavior is its placement in the uptake phase of natural language development, i.e., the idea that an infant picks up (“takes statistics”) on verbal inflection in such a way as to have pre-formed attitude and belief formula in advance of the acquisition of more sophisticated meaning.  If even from the womb (from the instant the ears become active) we hear, for example,  “Xanglies” pronounced bitterly, harshly, we may as we compile more information about “Xangley” have a bad feeling about Xangliness, whatever or whoever Xangley turns out to be.

This proposed base level behaviorism and building-block linguistic programming may have profound influence as the individual language-bound spirit becomes expressive, independent (seemingly), and mature.  The rule carried forward from the formulation “Xanglies bad” (“X” <–> negative valence) may have control of later perception, and, because it was set into the basic behavioral programming of a developing consciousness prior to its own expressive capability and later reasoning ability, it may be nearly impossible to reach and repair at later stages.  If true, it follows that a malevolent basic instruction formulated in infancy may serve as call to conflict and violence in later years.

In fact, we may flatter ourselves if we think that it’s more the oral and written literary traditions of cultures passed on to older minds that form our cause for the most absurd kinds of conflicts.

In this dismal view in which conflict devolves in part to social rules deduced by infants to facilitate their own survival-driven social communicating (i.e., social grammar), the fix may be in before the child shapes his first sentence.


This page is one of the more frequently accessed on my blog, so I’m inclined to add to it a link to a primary note differentiating between language-related programming and scripting, so done, and also remind that if the infant is helpless before the culture into which he happens to be born, the mother may not be, and as the mother imparts language to the infant as the dominant caretaker, more often than not, there’s hope through the mothers: one generation adapts; another internalizes; the next, for a while, imagines nothing else than that with which it grew up.

Evolutionary history offers up some spectacular wipe-outs, as with dinosaurs, and some ignominious moments (who put the arrow or spear to the last breeding woolly mammoth?), but it affords no evidence, so far, for regressive features.  We humans may have vestigial tail components, but we may not expect to grow tails anew, and so it may go with abstract and empathetic intelligence: we’re going to grow better as an entire species class — no point in being parochial master races or favored skin color: the machinery is fully interlaced and shared (sorry, bigoted purists of one sort or another); we’re going to manage better with ourselves and the earth, and not a little because that’s where our survival in total resides.

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