Autistic Songs

Alan Griswold

 

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Meta-Language as a Misuse of the Tool

Since all occurrences of human language manifest as physically immediate artifacts (visible and tactile gestures, sound vibrations in the air, marks on a page, etc.), language itself can be recursively represented by further expression of language. Representing language is no different in kind than representing knives and rocks and stairs. But a complete doubling back of language upon itself, alluring like a forbidden fruit, is too often done without sensible purpose.

The normal purpose of language is to make use of a biologically immediate artifact to represent something not biologically immediate. But when language represents language, it becomes the use of a biologically immediate artifact to represent something already biologically immediate, and thus confusion easily abounds. Far too often, meta-language betrays a misuse—and a misunderstanding—of the tool.


Copyright © 2011 by Alan Griswold
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