Now you’re Thinking
When you want to know how something works, you pull it apart and look at the bits, right?
Pharma has traditionally adopted the ‘pull-it-apart’ approach; dissection, bio-chemical analysis and psychotropic drugs.
I certainly have no intention of having my brain pulled apart.
Perhaps you’d like to offer yours?
So how does your brain think?
What does it use to construct thoughts and ideas?
Lev Vygotsky thought it was language.
He considered language to be the currency of reflective thought, and a peek into what someone like you might be thinking could be greatly enhanced by studying the language you use.
The linguist, Noam Chomski made a major contribution to our understanding of linguistics with his work on ‘Generative Grammar’. He drew a distinction between language competence, (Knowledge of the rules of language) and language performance. (Use of the language in real situations)
Since the 1960s Chomski’s work has led to the development of:
- Functional Grammar
- Relational Grammar
- Montague Grammar
- Network Grammar
- Realistic Grammar
- Case Grammar and
- Phrase Structure Grammar
It’s all very complicated.Icelandic Chief Snorri Sturluson wrote the first book on Grammar.
Here’s a part of his opening page.
I told you it was complicated didn’t I?
Now You’re Talking
However, the central question is : “How did your brain construct a broad knowledge system out of your limited experience and brief personal contact with the world?”
Chomsky hoped that by studying your faculty for language he could make a significant contribution to understanding the nature of the human mind. He made significant progress.
In the last few years things have changed dramatically.
growth of Social Media has generated a huge increase in the amount of language data available for linguists to study.
The growth of Social Media has been paralleled by the development of ‘smart’ software that can analyse huge amounts of data. Brain Imaging scans have certainly helped enormously, but there seems to be less and less utility for the test tube and the scalpel.
So we are much closer to mapping, understanding and more importantly, predicting the way our minds work.
And all that mainly by paying attention to what people are writing and saying to one another.
What have you been saying recently?
I can tell just what you’re thinking you know……
(Tomorrow's Post: Barbarism)