Nancy Gish wrote:
> I'm not at all clear why you see this as a questionable conversation
> since it has to do with fundamental issues of linguistics,
Yes, often weird beginnings generate useful endings -- i.e., the idea of
the pre-verbal in a poem strikes me as simply bizarre, but you are right
it did lead to some more interesting issues.
but I agree
> with your claims here about the conventional status of word and meaning
> and the centrality of context or syntax. Diana will have to say what
> she meant by the words she cites, but symbolizing the pre-verbal seems
> rather like an oxymoron to me.
Perhaps. One can have pre-verbal in film or tv: I vaguely remember a
scene in some movie or tv drama that was structured by farts from one
of the characters. Also, my hearing is poor and when watching TV I turn
on the close captioning -- hence every so often I will read at the
bottom of the screen "sigh" (when I hear no sigh) or other labelling of
sound effects which I hadn't heard. Such mere sounds have to be turned
into cognitive content, however, by either viewer or the characters
themselves before they actually form part of the work. The first word of
Browning's "Soliloquy" does seem to gesture towards a 'something' in the
friar that he never does articulate.
I wouldn't push the point too hard; I was playing around with what might
conceivably be misconstrued as pre-verbal in a verbal construct, and
"symbolizing the pre-verbal" seemed to me the closest I could come.