This philosophy will explore the absolute relationship between human idea and their language. I never base my language philosophy on other ordinary language philosophers such as Chomsky, Foucault, and Derrida and so on. One of my reasons is that language is not separable from human mind. Saussure’s theory of lingua and parole has explored this case from many aspects. However, I didn’t find people like Saussure who explores the absolute relationship between mind and language; idea and language or what now I give the discourse a term “Ideolinguistics”.
Although I never base my thought in term of the nature of language to philosophers I mentioned above, I still agree with Determinism’s belief that human need language to think. Nevertheless, Determinism didn’t give any view of how do human think by utilizing language? This determinism’s belief is still similar as what Instrumentalism stated that human use language to express their idea. Both Determinism and Instrumentalism still have paradigm that language is a tool. Until this day, all linguists believe the same thing; that language is only a tool.
One question appears in my mind suddenly, is it true we have different language? American speaks in English, Arabian speaks with Arabic, and Indonesian speaks with Indonesian. Do we believe that English, Arabic and Indonesian are language? To my understanding, they are not language; just words.
Something that now people believe as language to my philosophy it is “the way” human realize “what in” his or her mind is. That is not language, because language is in your mind. We are, as human, using “human language” that is similar and universal for all. However, we are expressing our human language by using “our conventional words and grammar”. Word or vocabulary and grammar are conventional. Meanwhile, language is always internal and eternal; it is also natural. All lions have same way to communicate each other, because they do not need to build a culture or a convention. Human is different; human create and maintain culture and one of the culture items created and convened is word and grammar. However, language, as human language, is universal for all.
To make my exploration understandable I will still use the term of “language”, I realize that you will deal with some difficulties to accept this controversial paradigm. I will introduce to you many new terms that will be used by us later on. To make it easier here is the organization of our discourse today:
(1) Introduction (5) Implication
(2) Universal Human Language (6) Allusion
(3) Universal Human Idea (7) Acting Speech
(4) Ideolinguistics (8) Actuality and Possibility Package
We have through introduction session, now we will come to the next session “Universal Human Language”.
Universal Human Language
This brief explanation will be started by questioning “what is word?” this question is more complicated than someone ask you what is God. Why not? Because you will answer the question by using words; something is being asked to you. Word is always a name, and name is always word. Therefore, the answer is “name”
We, people, give things name. And things are consist of abstract, concrete, countable, uncountable and so on. It also can be noun, verb, adjective, and adverb and so on. It does not really matter what the things are. The matter is that everything has name, and it is word. Each thing is same in the world. Of course it depends on the kind of thing. The difference is not on the thing, but how we call it; what name we give to the thing. Giving name to thing is a conventional activity, it is an agreement. However, how we use the thing, how the thing appear to us, how we recognize the thing in the human world is normally and heavily the same. Our idea about thing is the same. Our concept about the thing is the same. But the name given to the thing must be different. It is really cultural and contextual bound.
English people say it “table”, by doing that the thing which is named “table” is recognizable. But the word “table” will not be recognizable by those who give the thing name “meja”. What does it means? It means that if the thing which is named “table” and “meja” is demonstrated directly to all people, the idea in people mind will be the same. People can recognize it easily. The different name given to the thing is not the case of language, but word. The case of language is the case of idea. When someone say “the table is expensive”, then you will think “he uses different language” of course not. He uses different words but the language in his idea is the same as you. Why do not you understand what he said? It is because you use different words. In other words, both of you are in the different convention.
There is a universal human language that without words people can communicate each other. Those are gesture and picture. People can communicate by “expressing the thing” purely and not use the name of thing. People in Egypt (in ancient time before) use picture and gesture to eternalize what happened in a certain time and now we call it hieroglyph. They make an embossed picture on the wall of pyramids; by doing that people who does not understand Egyptians will recognize the meaning of the sign easily. A deaf and mute people can communicate by using universal human language. We can say that “he cannot to hear and to speak to us” but we cannot say “he does not have language”. This kind of language is understandable by human in this world. Therefore, I believe that written and spoken word is not a primary language, but they are the secondary language. The primary is the universal one, those are gesture and picture. Why? Because gesture and picture directly refer to the things and people can recognize it directly. Meanwhile, words (whether it is written or spoken) are recognized through three processes (hearing, reflecting and translating).
Conclusion: words are not language. It is name and it just a voice that has meaning. Voice is used to make people able to recognize what is in our mind. Written word is the duplicate of spoken words. However, whether written or spoken word, just the secondary form of language. The universal and the primary one is gesture and picture.
Universal Human Idea
It was explained that gesture and picture is universally understood by wherever people. However, in fact that word helps us very much. People need each other in variety ways; sometimes directly and sometimes indirectly face-to-face. Therefore, people create agreement to name things in the world that will be used by certain community. That’s why every word in the world is different each other, because a word will be understood by certain people “who” have been involved in the community and understand the agreement made. Means that if you are using English, then you come to Indonesia, you should learn Indonesian words. The words learning process is the same as you are processing yourself to be a part of the word society. By this way, it can be said that what we call language is actually social words. When people communicate each other indirectly (in the case of time and place), people then utilize written words, recorded words and so forth.
Human idea is universally similar in some terms. However, which will be explained here only the related one with the recognition of things and the relationship with the language. People recognize things in the world in the similar way. Knife to cut, scissor to cut, but people know how those things used in different way and different goal. It is because people have the same idea about those things.
Idea, in fact, is the result of recognition process. Human recognize sound by listening, color-shape-size by looking and touching, smell by smelling, function by using and so on. What was received will be recorded forever is the idea. Sometimes people define idea as something come suddenly to people mind. It is not one hundred percent true, because idea (Eidos, Greek) meant what can be seen or heard. People might mean the one come to their mind suddenly is the “mind-bridge” that bridging one idea to other idea. For instance, let us say that you are writing a narration and you lost something in your mind. Two next hours you see something and you know what will be written later on. The thing you saw was the mind-bridge that bridging your idea and makes it run again.
The differences exist in human idea from one to other human is that if the idea was constructed by the very personal experiences such as love, sad, happy and the mystical experience is involved in this category. Nevertheless, the idea that was constructed by surface-experience such as using things, looking and hearing things will be similar for every human in this world. That is why when you are talking with someone with different words, gesture or picture will give a very meaningful reference to him or her. This does not mean that we ignore the role of secondary language, this just explain which one the primary is and which one the secondary is. This also explain that every words used by people directly refer to their idea, not to the things they mean. We people do not interact with things named by words, but the words as the reconstruction of the things in our idea.
What I mean with the terms “Ideolinguistics” is that the central of language meaning is not in the reference of the language produced, but directly met in human mind. Idea is the direct reference of every word out by the speaker. Ideolinguistics also plays important role to direct hearer or addressee to guess the speaker idea. Ideolinguistics emphasizes on the belief that language is the reflection (mirror) of idea; and the reference of language is directly to idea. When people talk to you, do not be bothered by the things he mentioned because you will lose the real matter he or she wants to convey to you. The strategy is that you analyze the utterance by refer to his mean. The speaker wants you to know what he meant is. The speaker does not ask you to reflect the things he mentions in your imagination. Therefore, conversation between you and the speaker will be an inter-idea relationship. Here is the principle of cooperation in the conversation, do not interpret the speaker’s meaning too far but be cooperative with the speaker by focus on the speaker’s idea and not to things the speaker mentioning. To avoid a misunderstanding, Ideolinguistics suggest investigation by asking politely “what do you mean with…” or another expression.
The next important point in Ideolinguistics is that language and idea is a couple. They are not separable each other. What have been done by old pragmatics is the same as what have been done by grammaticism. That is, they operate language word by word, such as a surgeon operates a cancer. Unfortunately, they separate language by the idea of the language producer. Yes, I can accept it if that is just a process of investigate the meaning of word. However, an utterance’s meaning will only be understood in a certain context; and you cannot say that utterance’s meaning is determined by who produces the utterances, because meaning is resulted in an interpretation. And the interpreter is always addressee (hearer or reader). If you read some pragmatics books, the examples proposed in it just the speaker and in spoken form of language. Old pragmatics too ignores the addressee as the interpreter. Let alone, pragmatics is believed by Abrams as an approach that focuses on the addressee’s point of view. How paradox they are.
In a conversation, at least there are 6 context elements. They are: (1) The speaker’s idea, (2) The geographical, social, time and psychological setting, (3) The reader’s idea, (4) Theme, (5) Diction, (6) Shared conversation goal. Those elements of context can be explained briefly as follow:
Speaker’s and hearer’s idea is constructed apriorily or posteriorily and those will determine the form of idea. Settings will play a quite important role in direct ideas. Theme will color the conversation. Diction is a consideration for the addressee to determine the meaning or the reference. Shared goal will help both speaker and hearer to be cooperative during conversation.
In reading case, I do not agree what Barthes states as Depersonalization that ignores the implied author behind the text. Author as the subject producer should be existed every time the text is being read. A text is both static and dynamic. It is static in term of it strict structure and it is dynamic in terms of the time context. The reader should correlate the text with some terms such as the time the text produced and what the author wants to convey. Although it is a historical text, direct reference to the things mentioned is proscribed; the reader should refers the words to the speaker’s idea first and then to the things.
I will not explain more about Ideolinguistics supporting principles. What have been mentioned above are the most basic principles of Ideolinguistics. Just keep in mind that the central meaning of language is idea, not to the things that are named by using certain words. Language is the reflection of idea. Human interact with their idea, not to the things out side. In the next topic, we will discuss about some terms in Ideolinguistics.
Implication meant here are what speaker produces and what hearer can catch from speaker utterances (also between writer and reader). Directly, implication can be understood as something that have implied values, or something that implicates to other thing. Pragmatics believes that people always communicate with implicatures. However, if implicature is, as pragmatics defines, people compress meaning in utterances so that the amount of words will be lesser than message conveyed, but in our daily language experiences we do not make it; we utter as normally without special intention as defined by pragmatics implicature paradigm. If we intend to do that, our utterance must be “planned utterances”.
Ideolinguistics believes that implication in conversation occurs when we use metaphors or other figurative forms; or when we conduct an indirect speech. When we use a metaphor to convey a message, our utterance will be implicative utterance. Implicative utterance is utterance that contains indirect meaning or it indirectly refers the addressee to a certain reference. In our daily conversation, we more use explicative utterances that refer the addressee to the direct reference in our idea. The addressee will need a mostly similar inference to guess what we mean exactly.
Pragmatics gives example such as “I am so thirsty” the implication of the utterance is “I need a glass of water”. However, the direct meaning is the speaker wants the hearer know that he or she is thirsty. The utterance will be implicature if the speaker utters it by special intention. Nevertheless, if the speaker just utters it honestly, the hearer is hoped to be wise to get “something” from it indirectly; that is, the hearer should give the speaker a glass of water. The inference appear in the hearer ideas is a kind of awareness and not because the speaker intention. This case is more show the mutual-contextual understanding in conversation than the implicature. In connection to the implication, the utterance is not contained an implication at all; it is not an implicative utterance. The mutual understanding and contextual understanding play important role here.
Cooperation is one of the requirements for a successful conversation. Cooperation meant here is a mutual understanding between or among the communicators. Sometimes people use allusion in communication. Here, it is important to distinguish allusion from metaphor. If metaphor is word or phrase that is not meant literally such as “he is a snake” and it is also known as figurative language, allusion is a word or phrase that has indirect reference such as “what is nice to drink now?” the indirect reference in the utterance is depend on the context the utterance is uttered. If it is a warm situation, the reference can be something cold; if it is a cold situation the reference can be something hot. The utterance that contains allusion is known as allusive utterance.
Both the speaker and the hearer must be cooperative when make the conversation, particularly in term of using allusion. If there is not cooperation, there must be misunderstanding. In connection with Ideolinguistics principle, it must be understood that allusive utterance is directly referred to what the speaker want or need; it is directly to speaker’s idea not to the things that is predictable.
To create a correct inference, the hearer should re-ask to the speaker “what do you think?” or other kind of related utterance. In pragmatics, sometimes people use deictic to refer or demonstrate something. Deictic discourse divide deictic in some categories such as person deictic, spatial deictic and temporal deictic and so forth. Meanwhile, Ideolinguistics just defines allusion as indirect reference and explication as the direct reference. It is important to remind you that the direct reference of utterance is speaker’s idea.
The question for pragmatics regard to the concept and term of speech act is “who / what is the actor?” whether the speech maker or the speech itself, action will result reaction. Pragmatics believes that a speech act is said success if the speech maker’s expectation is attained. However, every speech act is said success if the speech act causes a reaction; whether or not the speech maker’s expectation is attained.
Speaker is actually acting or conduct an action by using utterance. It is indirectly looks like the speech which is acting. From other side, the hearer directly confront with the speech. Therefore, the term used in Ideolinguistics is acting speech.
People can do something such as creating and changing reality, direct people, provocation, direct people, persuade and prevent people, manage and govern people, by using speech. However, it does not mean that speech is the actor, but people who are addressee will be affected by the speech; it depends on the context and the authority of the speech maker. The intention of the speaker is what implicated in the speech and also is understood by the hearer. The acting speech will be said success if the hearer agree or do what is said, or if the hearer is affected or react the speech. The other principle of acting speech is still similar with the pragmatics principles of speech act.
Actuality and Possibility Package
This is the next core of the Ideolinguistics. Most of people utterance in daily conversation packs the reality. However, not all the reality is packaged in the conversation. The content of the utterance is actual content if it can be verified and in if it is not verified yet, it will be possibility. There is not something unverifiable. People understand “verify” if something can be proven. However, what is said by someone is existed in his or her idea. This term (verify) will confuse us. Therefore, Ideolinguistics suggest the actual and possible content or reference.
People, when utter something, there are some actual condition that are packaged in the utterances. For example someone said to you “I saw your brother in the market yesterday” the actual condition is that (1) your brother were not at home yesterday, (2) your brother went to the market, (3) someone saw your brother. The possible condition is that (1) your brother might buy something (2) your brother was together with other people, and other possibilities.
Pragmatics discusses this in the section of presupposition and entailment and it is believed that presupposition is belongs to the speaker. However, Ideolinguistics more believe that the addressee is who extracting or supposing the condition packaged in the speaker’s utterances. Speaker’s intention is limited on the entailment but the presupposition or the condition is guessed or unpacked by the hearer.
Those are the very basic principles of Ideolinguistics and there is more explanation. For further information, please see the articles: ideolinguistik and kritik pragmatik. Those articles are written in Indonesian, therefore it needs to be translated.
You can download the fulltext article of ideoliguistics here -=Download Ideolinguistics PDF=-
The other paradigm of Ideolinguistics was introduced by Mikhail Epstein, you can visit him by clicking here