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 Asunto: English only.
NotaPublicado: 27 May 2014, 20:24 
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English only.

Hi to you all.
This new thread is suggested by a purpose from Nil in another thread, "A abundancia de linguas, ¿boa ou mala?; that's, from Galician: "Languages abundance, good or bad?" There, Nil strongly supported the idea that only English would be the general official language in the world.
Here, at the Sofos Ágora forum, this new thread will explore and practice his vindication. No secret, nearly all people here speak Spanish and most of them aren't fluent in English.
Good for Nil's hypothesis! If in this thread we, generally Spanish-speakers, do produce an acceptable, understandable level in English and we do generate interesting philosophical thoughts, our thoughts would be easily understandable elsewhere. Therefore, English would be the definitive solution to language barrier in philosophy, and all philosophers should dialogue rightly in English, even in non-English speaking contexts, either in India or in Spain and Mexico. Because the initial lack of fluency would be surmountable, and we don't need to speak or write as Shakespeare or Salman Rushdie; this one is a famous contemporary Indian writer in English.
That's: let's abolish all another languages and let's use English only in philosophy and elsewhere!
Messages in this thread would be sent only in English, even to disagree with the core hypothesis here exposed and proposed.
Cheers, Alexandre Xavier Casanova Domingo, e-mail trigrupo @ yahoo . es (trigrupo at yahoo point es).


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 Asunto: Re: English only.
NotaPublicado: 27 May 2014, 21:38 
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This is a nice idea, but in some sense also awfully wrong and an absurd thing to do in an ethological way. I like this idea becouse it helps you realize that you can only handle what you have learned to handle, it's a question of knowing-how rather than knowing-what. Only if I am able to use the language can I make my point in regards to this matter that is internal to that experiencie (the english experiencie).

The conclusion I draw from this proposal (vindication of who?), however, is a negative one; in reducing philosophy to english speaking words in order to "ship philosophy in a consumible package ready to the masses", we are limiting the space to asociate concepts. What is a language if not a way of asociating signs producing semantic thoughts? To translate a text is an intent of bringing to life those same thoughts "in other way", or at least to evoque a similar one using other signs generated in other ways. There is no single process or logic that's underlying every language, Wittgenstein is clear about it. This "ways of thinking" that we call language are forms of life and present the problema of translation: can we make a cat out of a dog? We can understand cats in terms of dogs, but we are missing the cat experience.

A think that there are singularities proper to every language that cannot be translated, that's no problem when we need to comunicate things that we already understood. To philosophy is a disaster, she wants more languages to asociate thoughts, to be able to create more complex and robust concepts. She needs Latin and Greek in order to understand the genesis and history of who we think we are and then ask "what can we think in this conditions?". Philosophy needs French to understand what the hell is the cogito ("I think, therefore I am", that does it mean the "I think"? Angloamerican philosophy never understood it), she needs German to really play word-forming or word-bilding games (Heidegger would say "weltbildend", world-forming; only an "l" for the difference!).

If we try to translate concepts, we would miss the singularities. We can explain concepts or try to explain them in any language, why not chinese? Maybe lots of users "know-how" around the english language, that's what I don't like, it's too easy. Let's change english to chinese and think the consecuences.


P.D.: Go fuck yourselves, imperialist shit. Voy a hablar en argentino porque esto del ingles me cuesta un huevo y no sé como expresarme correctamente. Encima no tengo el diccionario en la spell checker plug-in del browser XD

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 Asunto: Re: English only.
NotaPublicado: 28 May 2014, 07:03 
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It is ceirtanly an interesting proposal, but I think that there are many problems concerning the abandon of all languages in favor of English, problems that can't be dismissed even if we can effectively communicate through Englsih in this forum (and I am sure that Alexandre already knows all this).

Martincito already made very important points. We just have to think about Greek, for example, or Latin. The word paideoumetha, greek, means by itself in english "We have been educated", that is not the same as "we were educated", that is clear in Greek. That alone shows us how different is to think in those languages. It is not only a matter of using the minimum possigble of words, I believe that there is a whole way of thinking that is very different in the use of the language only.

There is also the problem of thinking in English only. Because, even if we certainly don't have the need to speak or write like the glorious Shakespeare or Rushdie (I liked his book, the Verses, haha), there is also problem that Martincito already adressed if we stay in philosophy with just English: We then found ourselves limited by our concepts in that language, we are to stay only with a few concepts expressed in certain english words that may or may not express the idea that we have in the best way, furthermore, these words that correspond to concepts can change the idea that we have in mind, they give us the ideas in a different way, different that the ideas that we can obtain of thinking the concept with a word in Spanish, Greek, Nahutal, etc, for example.

Anyway, I don't see viable the initial suggestion of the one-language. But I am sure that Alexandre already saw all this. Or maybe he has seen this but has seen beyond and has a different analysis of this all. That is yet to bee seen.

P.D.: ¡Cierto Martincito! ¡Abajo los imperialistas! ¡Váyanse a su casa, yanquis de mierda! El único Ingles bueno es el de Shakespeare, Marlowe y Johnson. Mentiras, jaja. Pero el inglés lo hallo mejor que el español para poemas, jaja.

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 Asunto: Re: English only.
NotaPublicado: 28 May 2014, 08:51 
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I don't know man, it seems to me a jibber jabber question. I mean, comes to my mind ideas like «pragmatic contradiction» since neither of us (who participate in this «fantasmaforia speaking») lives in the same country. Some interesting thing that i can pull out of the abyss is this: shit doesn't know anything about languages. But don't misunderstand me, i don't want to make a scene with any of you folks. What i mean is that a principle of aperture may act as «a priori» for us since the question of language comes in. «The Foreign» can act as a trascendental symbol of translatability: Is that so? Well, no matter how much you appeal to the recognition of your particularity or your originality, the same act of recognition supusses the relativity of your particularity. Otherwise a concept like «particularity» wouldn't be a «concept»: now we are talking, at this point comes in the question of «Particularity» as a philosophical question, at the same time that comes in the question of «philosphy's duties» about the idiomatic problem. I believe that the philosophy is at the same time the condition of possibility and impossibility of the treatment of this question. And this is because the concept has always been the element of universality, and of course this means that the concept betrays the segregationist leimotiv. So, what is a Philosophical language? Is this still a philosphical question?

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 Asunto: Re: English only.
NotaPublicado: 28 May 2014, 10:17 
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You are all making excuses. The only real reason why we shouldn't debate in English is because we aren't fluent enough in it.

We don't think only with the concepts we have words for. We create concepts constantly by combining others, and any modern language has enough of them for us to express anything.
It is even questionable that we think with words. How, then, could we explain the common phenomenon of having a word on the tip of the tongue?


Martincito escribió:
Voy a hablar en argentino

It appears to me that you were talking in spanish.


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 Asunto: Re: English only.
NotaPublicado: 28 May 2014, 15:24 
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Registrado: 10 Jun 2011, 21:52
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I don't remember vindicating anything, not even in my whole life, which means that I've probably vindicated something and forgot about it...

First of all, I would like to endorse the proposal, however I have a few concerns about the outcome of this and what could we conclude from it. I'll list them in several points to make it easier for everybody in this "philosophy for beginners in English".

  1. This is not English. This is Spanish and Spanish grammar using English words. Check it out. For any native the sentences written here would look alien as hell, and if you translate them to Spanish (word by word) you will find a somewhat elocuent and verbose prose. This means that:
    • If we kept on this, which we won't due to the theory of the minimum-effort, we would probably get more bad habits than proper English.
    • If more people did this, English would be transformed. Have in mind that there are many people doing exactly this (speaking English with a Spanish background), e.g. in the South of USA, there is also a strong Spanish immigration in Europe. This is something that is happening and will continue.
  2. The philosophical quality in the forum posts is dubious in Spanish, maybe not the best situation to make an experiment like this one.
  3. Even if we don't need an artistic proficiency in English (comparable to Shakespeare's), we certainly need a good technical level in English to express complex (philosophical) concepts with precision. The precision required for complex and abstract concepts is the reason why some old words (from greek) are still preserved as part of the vocabulary that a philosopher should be able to handle.
  4. Again, the law of minimum-effort suggests us not to take any action. I don't believe in linguistic activism. Convergence is unavoidable, resistance is futile, nevertheless, promoting convergence is about as likely to have an impact as fighting it, unless done from the government, i.e. making language courses mandatory (but the impact doesn't get to be any strong either).
  5. For communication at this moment, the more languages the better. An important point to achieve great success for any writer that decides to write a book today is having the book translated to as many languages as possible. The more languages people can speak the easier they will find information, usually English is a superset (e.g. in wikipedia) but for Spain related news, Spanish is the language to use. This is a problem, and having a single language is the solution, but certainly this cannot be enforced it has to happen naturally. We find, however, that many different governments actively fight against it and we can see that the convergence can be slowed down to a great extent with the power that a government holds, specially considering that a fast convergence would require a lot of effort, and we must not forget the law of minimum effort. I guess that's why Martincito gave up so soon, which makes an excellent point.

To sum up, I would like to endorse the proposal in an ideal world, but I can't fully endorse it considering the current situation. I can only suggest you to improve your English, and if debating in English with other Spanish speaking guys helps you (because what we see here is Spanish grammar) then go ahead and enjoy. From my perspective, English isn't something to seek for, it's basically there, everywhere, if you have interest on something (anything) then go for it and English will in most cases pop out as the best language for it. There are many examples: wikipedia, coursera, youtube, TED talks,... I couldn't find FullMetal Alchemist: Brotherhood in Spanish, so I'm watching it in English. Spanish dubbing for Mass Effect? Keep dreaming... I personally get very confused when the characters talk in English and the subtitles are in Spanish, so I chose English subtitles for Mass Effect.

You don't need to run into English, nor rush into it, you can simply walk through it up to having a level that is good enough to do what you want to do, in a natural way, assuming there is something you want to do. All you have to do is accepting it and stop taking any actions to avoid it, because English is already pretty much everywhere. It's really that simple, keep calm and go on.

Siflun escribió:
Martincito escribió:
Voy a hablar en argentino

It appears to me that you were talking in spanish.


No lo confundás, boludo.

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 Asunto: Re: English only.
NotaPublicado: 28 May 2014, 18:46 
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Some of us aren't able to speak correctly (grammatically speaking) even in Spanish, why it is a problem now?

Don't get me wrong, the more language we are able to manage the better, for philosophy or in life in general. Also there are English words or concepts that can't be understood or doesn't have a way of translating the context, like for example "Interface". It's not the same as "Intercara" thinking in the face to face experience; what is a face, should I ask Levinas? The face of the other? What is an Interface in relation to a face to face experience? I don't know how to ask this question in any other language. There is a feeling in the "interface" word that would be lost in any translation.

I guess the same happens with all languages, that's why we should broader our horizon of words instead of limiting ourselves to one language alone. I'll take this experiment like a good exercise, like running or stretching, like some kind of physical work to get better muscle. We should also speak aloud what we write, so our real muscles would join the experience of "other way of thinking". That's how I see the matter.

But what can we debate here? Our grammar or some things that are difficult to think with other words? I say we should seize the opportunity to work this concepts that are binded to a particular language, like the Interface concept. What do you think?

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 Asunto: Re: English only.
NotaPublicado: 28 May 2014, 23:20 
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 Asunto: Re: English only.
NotaPublicado: 29 May 2014, 01:23 
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Not the best example ever, "interfaz" and "faz" are two perfectly Spanish words...

There are some things that are lost in translation, like some puns, but what is lost is always artistic, not semantic. All semantics can be expressed in a few sentences, and then conveyed again as a (possibly foreign) word.

About the bad grammar or the lack thereof, it's not necessarily a problem (but an annoyance), I simply wanted to point that out, a quick reminder.

BTW: the etymology and morphology are sometimes interesting, e.g. re-mind-er.

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 Asunto: Re: English only.
NotaPublicado: 29 May 2014, 03:57 
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