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The Crucible of ConsciousnessAn Integrated Theory of Mind and Brain$
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Zoltan Torey

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780262512848

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262512848.001.0001

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More about Language

More about Language

(p.76) (p.77) 4 More about Language
The Crucible of Consciousness

Zoltan Torey

Daniel C. Dennett

The MIT Press

This chapter begins with a definition of language as such: language is the coded and sequentially arranged transshipment of meaning; the internal handling and delivering of percepts to a recipient—a process that is analogous with the physical manipulation of objects. This chapter presents evidence showing that language is an internally grown motor skill and not the expression of an externally acquired syntactic algorithm. The grammar of a language, as is to be shown here, is the effect and not the cause of clear speech and performance of language. Grammar is defined as the stabilized product of repeated attempts at finding the verbal formulations that generate unambiguous meaning. Conforming to rules is not the criterion of correct language performance but unambiguity or perceptual clarity.

Keywords:   language, transshipment of meaning, motor skill, syntactic algorithm, clear speech, language performance, grammar, unambiguous meaning, perceptual clarity

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