A comparison of a linguistic and a humanities arts orientation

The Linguistic Orientation
• L is the common property of all humans.
• All humans possess L equally.
• Differences are due to variety.
• Variety results from naturally occurring variation.
• Varieties become socially dominant and others not so much.
• Literacy allowed the establishment of norms based on the socially dominant varieties.
• All varieties are used for artistic expression, often one variety serving as a vehicle specific to a form of art e.g. Southern English and country music.
• All varieties consist of the same elements i.e. there is no such thing as an impoverished L in terms of vocabulary, phonetics, structural features, etc.
• Vocabulary fits the culture carried by the L. Contact among peoples and L may augment vocabulary.
• Phonetics and structures can be affected by contact but less likely than vocabulary.
• Most changes in L are generated internally via well-studied and well-recognized processes.
• These processes are always at work so their is no such thing as an unchanging L.
• When a L loses its status as the first and native L of a population, it is labeled dead, meaning it no longer has native speakers.
• A current example of a dead L reviving is Hebrew. Otherwise, dead L are frozen except to the extent they continue being used and change only around the edges, especially in vocabulary.

The Humanities/Arts Orientation
• L is the expression of thought.
• Thoughts are not equal, nor are humans and therefore L is not equal.
• Deviations from the ideal do not have value.
• Deviations are due to natural flaws in humans – laziness, slovenliness, stupidity, ignorance.
• The best is selected out and into the ideal. Deviations can only be of a lower order of L.
• What is written has permanence and therefore should be the best. Deviations that find their way into writing have no value unless it serves a special purpose like Huck Finn’s speech.
• A L that hears a high culture is itself a high L. Indicators of being a high L are complexity, hypotaxis, standardization, lexical diversity, and others.
• The development of a L is directed by those we invest with authority. Their authority derives from their expertise and reputation as bearers of the culture.
• While it is obvious that L changes, without control and guidance, brakes, so to speak, the result will be linguistic anarchy.
• A mark of a high L is, as stated earlier, standardization and that implies at least a slowing down of these change processes. In this way, we might compensate for the changes as they arise.
• The only dead L we concern ourselves with are the classic L like Latin, Greek, Sanskrit, Chinese, Arabic that are recognized for their great literature.
• These classical L are fixed by virute of their being dead and idealized for the same reason. Moreover, by virtue of the great literature they bear, a sense of L superiority clings to them.
• Cultures create L and high cultures create high L. Cultures not considered high cultures per force do not have high L.

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