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Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Language and Women's Place (A Personal Blog)

Some years ago, a buddy of mine whom I haven't seen for a long time, Robin Lakoff, published a book Language and Women's Place that made a number of claims about differences in how men and women talk that reflect differences in the statuses and roles of women in society [my characterization]. This book was not based on any actual research. They simply reflected her experiences as well as common stereotypes. Although the evidence supporting her views was anecdotal at best, this didn't stop Robin's book from being powerfully influential.

Another friend, Deborah Tannen some year's later wrote a book
You Just Don't Understand: Women and Men in Conversation which I critiqued chapter by chapter before publication, a fact which was acknowledged in her preface. In this book, Deborah argued that men and women have different speech styles reflecting differences in how boys and girls are raised and these different speech styles can result in men and women failing to understand each other. This book was also based on anecdotal evidence and some taped conversational data but this didn't stop it from being powerfully influential as well. In the several years after publication some 3 or 4 men came up to me complaining about how their wives had used the book as a weapon, demanding that they read it. The implication was that the failures in communication in the marriages was the man's fault. I complained to her in my critique that she was presenting a one-sided picture and she did try to even things out a bit. In general, howeverm Deborah has taken the position that when gender or ethnic or other differences lead to failures to communicate it reflects differences that result from how people are raised. It is my understanding that she took some heat for this from feminists for doing as much as she did by way of not laying blame on failures to communicate on men. The reality is that sciencewants objectivity and feminists don't.

There is some truth in both women's books but another friend, William O'Barr, has shown that men and women who enjoy equal statuses tend to talk in similar ways when in the some sorts of contexts, which falsified many of Lakoff's results at least to the extent of showing that they don't hold in every context. This would hardly be surprising considering that context always affects how we talk. Always.

Way back in 1962, Martin Joos wrote a paper called, “The five clocks”, which came out in The International Journal of American Linguistics in 1962, a paper that argued pretty persuasively that there are at least five speech styles that are employed in different contexts ranging from formulaic (the language of wedding vows, for instance) to formal (as when speaking with some dignitary at a formal gathering), consultative (the sort of talk one finds in business meetings), informal (how one might talk to an acquaintance on the phone), to intimate (how lovers and very close friends talk). I can't find my copy of this paper and am going by memory so don't hold Joos entirely responsible for what I have just written. In any event, as contexts become more formal, we find greater leveling of language differences whether these are gender based differences or dialectal differences.

O'Barr and his colleagues found this similarity in how men and women talk to be true, for instance, in how they talked when given testimony in court and concluded that men and women of equal social power will talk in similar ways. I once served as the outside examiner on a dissertation that showed that there were few differences between how male and female hosts of morning television talk shows spoke and how their guests spoke as well. One reasonable inference is that it is the speech context that is leading to the leveling of differences in how men and women talk. But, as I noted, these results argue less against the view that men and women have different speech styles and more for the view that the more formal speech is the fewer differences will be found -- that differences are leveled. Testifying in court and hosting and appearing on national television shows bring out a relatively formal, usually consultative, speech style. Anyone who has traveled to an English speaking country will note that the speech of the natives when talking to each other can sometimes seem not even to be a species of English it is so hard to understand but when talking to our touristic selves they magically become understandable because they (and we) move to more formal speech styles that tend to level the differences.

The work by Tannen, as I noted, has tended not to cast blame on speakers who have different speech styles whether the basis is gender or ethnicity or geographic in nature, just to cite a very few such bases. Boys and girls are raised differently and Tannen, a sociolinguist, noting this saw differences in how males and females talk as akin to cross-cultural differences, which, to a large degree seemed to let males off the hook for tending to try to dominate females by ignoring topics introduced by females, interrupting females more than males, and valuing the views of males over females. After all, boys are raised to be competitive and to dominate whomever they can. As feminists have noted this can't be right. Men can moderate their tendencies to dominate females if they try and should be chastised when they don't. Though I have always been very aggressive and therefore might have been (and maybe sometimes still am to some extent) one of the worst of the worst in regard to dominating whomever I could, I have spent a good deal of my life struggling to rid myself of these tendencies. Fortunately, my mother was a professional and when I went to Rice I learned to value intelligent women and these sorts of women are hard to push around. This was followed by being in graduate school and later in academic departments with very smart and accomplished women which discredited any assumptions I might have brought to adulthood bout male superiority. The last two experiences that helped me to change me was marrying a Phi Beta Kappa wife (an honor I was so far from reaching it is embarrassing) and finding that women students were much more pleasant to teach since they performed at a higher level than males in general.

Gender differences in speech style is a topic I have only a passing professional acquaintance with though I have dipped into the literature from time to time so I won't try to say much about the claims researchers into gender differences have made. I tend to think that the differences that do exist reflect differences in how males and females are raised but the less attractive features of male interactions with women need to be defended against by females to the point of kicking a little male butt when required. One thing is for sure -- any male who thinks males are superior to women in any way other than a few physical respects is laboring under a very unhelpful falsehood. It is in any man's interests to marry above himself intellectually. You will be much better entertained at home than you would be by marrying some bimbo with bit breasts.

I will conclude by noting a joke Rita Rudner used to tell. She said that women had once thought that they should marry older men since they are more mature but then women realized that men don't mature so they might as well marry a younger one. This is my all-time favorite joke.

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58 Comments:

Blogger J_G said...

Very good joke from Rita Rudner. I like her style she is very funny.

Men and women do speak very differently and that always has to be taken into account while attempting to communicate between the sexes.

I find it amazing that I can repeat the exact same words as a man and the man is taken seriously and I would be completely ignored. I have seen this with other women too.

Diplomatic language is set up so that people from the different countries can understand what is being communicated so there is hopefully no misunderstanding and is a study all to itself. I suppose women diplomats do have a more difficult time dealing with nations that consider women to be second class citizens.

I have traveled to other English speaking countries such as England, Scotland, and Ireland. I found it near impossible for me to understand what was being said by the people in London that use a "Cockney" dialect.

Women speak differently than men because they think differently and relate to things that men don't consider. It is the same with men, they can relate to things that are more physical in nature and women tend to relate to things that tend to be more emotional and less tangible to men but are just as important nonetheless.

I think this is one of the reasons men have a tendency to just disregard what a woman is saying to them with a "yes dear, ok dear" attitude. Sometimes it's deserved and I’ll be the first one to admit it.

I am glad there is such a difference between men and women.

12:18 PM

 
Blogger Language Guy said...

j_g, I have noticed that you are a person of very strong opinions in your comments but I don't see much evidence for them, as if your ideas are self-verifying. You might want to look in the scholarly literature on gender and language. You are putting out a bunch of stereotypes that are controversial to say the least. A claim like "women think differently from men" is way controversial. Are you trying to say that when a woman thinks about a scientific problem she thinks differently from how men think about it? I would hope not since it flies in the face of the facts. When women have a equal shot at doing scientific research, you can't tell the gender of a paper from the papers men and women write.

Interestingly, if you put a women's names on a set of papers and men's names on the same papers and present them to groups of people, invariably the papers with men's names are evaluated more highly. If you put all male or all female names on these papers you don't get the same results.

It is alleged that women can't and men can do mathematically intensive scientific research (especially mathematics itself) at a high level because women are right brain thinkers and men are left brain thinkers. That is a total load of crap. Women are often discouraged by parents and teachers (even women teachers) from going into science and mathematics and many women get the idea that they can't do it. Once that idea is learned then they cna't do science or math at a high level -- a self-fulfilling prophesy. Linguistics has never been burdened with that prejudice and women have flourished whether doing experimental phonetics ((which involves a lot of statistical work) or semantics (which is basically doing high level logic) or anything between.

1:20 PM

 
Blogger S.R. Deardorff said...

language pierces not only the mind, but the heart, with, at times, lightning strike consequences. ideas are the root of language use, one cannot use language without first formulating an idea or thought.

psychology has been my main area of interest for many years; and, though i make no effort to comment in an academic fashion, my heart is bound to many of the conclusions i've drawn from the research i've read. in terms of theory, allow me to make a rare reference to a man whose ideas deserve much more consideration that we normally give, thomas szaz.

thomas szaz is somewhat of a rebel in the world of psychological scholarship, starting when he published his theory on psychological disorders, which, basically states that:

all psychological and mental disorders are a product of personal, social, and political influence.

on first appearance, perhaps the summation appears preposterous. it's not. all individuals use language as a tool with which to define reality by labeling things, ideas, and people with symbols which are understood in meaning and used to communicate ideas.

why would it not be logical to conclude that some psychologists and psychiatrists are falsely labeling people, or categorizing people, in order to rationalize THEIR own false, or subjective, picture of reality?

if a psychologist concludes that someone who smokes pot every day is neurotic and needs therapy or medication, does this not justify the psychologist's false assumption that ALL pot smokers are lazy, useless stoners? is it impossible for ANY individual to smoke pot every day and be more productive than the psychologist themselves? what a vulgar stereotype.

i've smoked pot nearly every day for almost ten years. smoking grass during my senior year in high school never prevented me from reaching the honor roll, never prevented me from achieving the highest close ratio while working 70 hours per week selling vacuums, never prevented me from devoting 50 hours per week to my business on the side. how on earth could a stoner handle full time school, full time employment, AND a business all the same time? it flies in the face of all stereotypes. mind over matter, and character. yet, because our language defines people, quite often, with broad strokes of vague descriptions of behavior, i'm often PRE-JUDGED based on my appearance and "criminal" record.

we'll not get into the fact that marijuana is no more dangerous than alcohol and the fact that anyone who opposes marijuana legalization is a fascist hypocrite. we'll save that for later.

but, the reality is, this is another example of how we use language inappropriately in order to justify subjective beliefs regarding existence. the example i outlined before: the belief that God is a HE, is another fine example of how humans tend to use language inappropriately in orer to justify FALSE BELIEFS regarding the picture of reality they've painted in their minds. if a human maintains the UNPROVABLE, FALSE, BELIEF that God is a MAN; then, MAN, of course, is more than justified in concluding that MAN is superior to WOMAN; after all, God is a guy.

don't get me wrong, i'm not perfect; and, many of the flaws that i've sought to eliminate from my behavior originate from the inappropriate use of language and false beliefs that my parents and grandparents had while i was growing up. luckily, my nature is flaming with a burning desire for rebellion against falsehood; so, through my own efforts in playing the devil's advocate, despite my families ignorant ways, i never grew up to refer to black people as "niggers," or asians as "chinks," words which are intended to bring into reality, through language, the FALSE BELIEF that white people are greater than those of different color.

language is powerful, like a lightning strike to the mind; language is necessary, like blood to life. it is necessary to communicate feelings, thoughts, and our desires for life. unfortunately, it is also necessary to communicate what we believe to be "right," even when we're wrong; and, unfortunately, all those simple symbols are mentally associated with all our good and bad emotions; which means you no doubt feel negative emotions when someone tells you you're wrong, even if you're Hitler.

peace n whatnot,

sean

2:18 PM

 
Blogger S.R. Deardorff said...

oh...i forgot the answer to the problem:

this will all matter not when we finally come to understand and accept the FACT that each individual is an individual. this will matter not when we accept the FACT that each individual CANNOT be pigeon-holed. this problem will cease to exist when the greatest collection of hypocrites center government on freedom instead of controlled fascism.

when we institute a true democracy, all the problems will gradually fade away.

and, yes, that's a BEAUTIFUL subjective statement.

it all hinges on your ability to let go of your attempts to control everything.

peace,

sean

2:25 PM

 
Blogger J_G said...

I beg to differ that men and women think the same. Scientific study will also tell you that men and women use different portions of their brain when approaching the same issue, not to mention the hormonal differences that affect a way a person reacts to any given set of circumstances. Women can achieve the same goals as men intellectually but they approach it in a different manner and this is nature pure and simple. Call it whatever you like but it's not controversial to me, it's just the facts. Men for the most part have a physical advantage but if given the opportunity women can and do equal and sometimes exceed the intellectual capabilities of men.

2:38 PM

 
Blogger demondoll said...

LG, you make my brain hurt a little- I must like it. I keep coming back... thanks.

5:52 PM

 
Blogger S.R. Deardorff said...

Call it whatever you like but it's not controversial to me, it's just the facts.
=======
J_G...it's not controversial to you because you've been conditioned to accept the linguistic and emotional programming that stems from history's unjustly male dominated world.

think of the two, three, four year old girls during christmas next week-->>count how many receive their first introduction into what they "should" be by being "rewarded" for good behavior with strictly "female" things like barbie, dresses, etc...

look at time magazine's "people" of the year; bill and malinda gates and bono...notice the two males are in front while malinda is peering over their shoulders...

the variables that stimulate the same old "male dominated" stereotype are everywhere...if you refuse to accept the fact that each individual is an individual and not some conglomerate of traits that other people believe they should be, then you'll get over your false beliefs and see reality...

6:06 PM

 
Blogger S.R. Deardorff said...

allow me to clear that up:

study X shows that the "majority" of women use such and such part of the brain more so than the "majority" of men performing the same activities...

the conclusion that you would like to make is:

all women use such and such part of the brain more than all men performing the same activities.

this, is obviously false, but, necessary to support the more refined conclusion:

generally, women use such and such part of the brain more than men.

this conclusion does nothing to answer "why" that may be the case, it simply takes for granted the fact that everyone is different in order to justify stereotyping humans into different categories of behavior so that those in power can maintain some semblence of "order"

it would not be possible to maintain that power if everyone had to accept the fact that everyone is different-->>that might cause something like worldwide enlightenment and the end of all conflict...

the most pertinent conclusion missed by study X is the fact that:

constant efforts to inhibit freedom through behavioralist reward/punishment systems can alter brain chemistry so that behavior is more an autonomous unconscious reaction rather than the free choice of the human...

alas, conclusions like that shatter fragile realities closely connected to that whole "God" system that tells us exactly how each individual "should" be through linguistic ultimatums like:

"believe me and do as i say or experience torment and punishment for all eternity.."

consider that, then notice how EVERYONE, in some way, seeks to punish those who are not what the individual believes they "should" be. before you rebut, remember that punishment comes in many forms, broken down to basically mean the removal of good or the infliction of bad experience.

one study does not constitute fact..

in order to create facts, one must attempt to consider the most extreme variables on both sides of the research endeavor...most humans don't have the capacity to do this...

consider another recent study into DNA and it's workings that concluded:

each gene is like an on/off switch that can be turned on and off multiple times throughout the course of a person or things life; the fact is, based on this study, that every event that you experience in life has the potential to not only change your behavior through conscious decision making, but, also, the great potential to turn on or off various behaviors embedded in your DNA...

in other words:

if women were beat into submission and obedience for thousands of years; by the time we had the ability to scan their brain, their DNA would have already been changed to conform to the events experienced through all human existence...women are hard wired, predisposed to accept male superiority because DNA does, in fact, respond and change due to outside influences...

this is why, in a previous post, i hailed women for overcoming thousands of years of unjust, and inhuman conditioning in little over fifty years...because the freedom women have taken back is remarkable considering the short time period...

so, regardless of what you "think," remember, the next time you say ANYTHING that denies the FACT that EVERYONE is different, you're simply a slave to your master's ways.

6:55 PM

 
Blogger L>T said...

I must come to j_g's defense a little bit. She (by what I've surmised) is A conservative, traditional type of person. Believing in family values & an orderly society. Nothing wrong w/that. But, when people come along & try to upset the apple-cart by throwing in all this stuff about how things are unbalanced, well, it's a bit unsettling.
Each one of us must work it out in their own mind.

On another note:
L.Guy, once again, you've given us something to think about, w/me it's the idea of diff. ways of talking [The Five Clocks, example & the gender, ethnicity, geographic example] I'll have to pay attention & see what I come up with in the world around me.

6:56 PM

 
Blogger SusieQ said...

LG, I may end up your poster girl regarding the point you made about women, math, and social conditioning and gender roles.

Every test I have ever taken has indicated that my spatial intelligence is extraordinary. This is supposed to be a male intelligence trait. But because of when I was born (1940)and where (small town in the Midwest) and the social conditioning I received as a consequence, my natural ability in math got meager attention except from a few people.

I attended a small private school for girls my first two years of high school. Algebra and Geometry were like toys to me. I took to these subjects like a duck to water. I could not understand why my fellow classmates were having such problems grasping the concepts. Oh, maybe it was because they were girls!

We did not have any gifted programs back then. But my math teacher (a nun), seeing what ability I had, gave me added work and let me teach the class now and then. That was about the end of my encouragement as I recall.

I transferred to a public school after the private school closed. There the boys were encouraged to take advanced math and the girls more Home Ec. classes. I signed up for advanced math when I transferred, but I felt out of place with all those boys and I dropped the course. I don't recall anyone begging me to stay.

After high school, my parents sent me to a small business college where the boys and girls were segregated according to their social roles I assume. The girls received secretarial training for 9 months. The boys took a two-year accounting program. The school was run by a woman though. I hated typing and shorthand with a passion, but I loved bookkeeping which is related to math.

Toward the end of my training, our bookkeeping teacher (the girls' teacher) decided to allow the girls to take a state accounting test along with the boys even though the girls would not receive any type of credit for it. It was a three hour test. I finished in 45 minutes way ahead of everyone else including the boys and I had a perfect score.

Most of my work experience has been secretarial in nature with a focus on bookkeeping. I know I could have done more with encouragement, guidance, and educational opportunity.

After secretarial training, I pursued more college on my own at my expense. There I was told that I ought to pursue an architectural engineering path due to my abilities. But I could not handle the cost of college, and college loans at that time were hard to come by. I dropped out of school and got married which I don't regret at all. I just wish there had been more opportunity for me and more encouragement.

I thought you might like to hear my story.

8:02 PM

 
Blogger Sean said...

"j_g, I have noticed that you are a person of very strong opinions in your comments but I don't see much evidence for them, as if your ideas are self-verifying."

Perfectly said, this is the problem in a sublime nutshell.

I can't bring myself to read any more post by you, j_g, they defy all sense, reason, and the very concept of intelligence and scholarship. My prediction is that this post will illicit some sort of insult from you about my own stupidity as a dismissal of my claim, but I hope that you can come up with something new, as your predictability has become truly tiresome.

Language Guy, your entries are wonderful, thank you for all your years of hard work and scholarship, and for passing both those on to the rest of us. I just wish more people had the capacity to understand what is actually being said.

9:01 PM

 
Blogger IbaDaiRon said...

LG, your very first line in this post again brings up the topic of the preconceptions associated with words and also reveals an interesting difference in our idiolects: I myself would probably never use "buddy" to refer to a female friend, however close. ("Pal", either, I suppose.)

In connection with the subject of self-verification (verifiction? verifabrication?), I see in that particular style of argumentation a confusion of the linguistic act with a creative one, as though saying a thing makes it so. This is understandable and forgivable; after all, practitioners are simply following the archetypal example of the Great Boojum in The Book with his(/her/its) Y'hî 'ôr! Fact by fiat...

10:30 PM

 
Blogger Language Guy said...

susieq, you have written the educational history of almost all women over most of the history of this country. Some get so co-opted by the system that they end up conservative defenders of it. This was true in spades during the Equal Rights Admendment era where conservative women fought bitterly against it. Why? Because they saw the feminist movement as a threat to them -- as invalidating their way of life, a way of life that involved acceptance of the roles men had dictated for them. Naturally, all of the legislatures that voted against adopting the ERA were dominated by men.

The fact that so many women have over the last 20-30 years become productive contributors to the work force (this would not include raising children) has helped the country advance economically. Countries like Japan that suppress women's ambitions don't take advantage of their full work force to the degree we and some other countries do.

8:29 AM

 
Blogger J_G said...

Sean, I am unpredictable as any person could be.If you think you know what I'm about, you don't and will never know.

I have to say though, pot has not helped your critical thinking. I have watched over my life, my friends destroy themselves and their minds as they smoke their life away. I too used to smoke but I matured and saw that it was a hinderance rather than a enhancer. You will look back and if you are as intelligent(I never noticed that) as you claim you will come to the same conclusion.I do not think pot is as much a danger as alcohol but it does have it's own destructive effect over time. I also don't believe that law enforcement should spend so much time on arresting pot smokers.

My opinions are just that, my opinion. They are based on my experiences and in the facts. If you disagree with me I am therefore correct in my assumptions about the people that post here. I would in fact be surprised if any of you would agree with me on anything.I would like to thank all of you for making this so interesting. Going over to the consevative blogs is boring. It's like preaching to the choir. At least here I am able to see and read what the other part of the country thinks :-)

Who said "Just just the facts Ma'am"?

10:24 AM

 
Blogger J_G said...

Oh yeah almost forgot Sean you are stupid. Does that meet the requirements? Good enough?

Merry Christmas or Happy whatever you celebrate.

10:29 AM

 
Blogger IbaDaiRon said...

Countries like Japan...

The disparity is still greater, but things are slowly improving over here as well.

11:10 AM

 
Blogger S.R. Deardorff said...

New World Order/American Revisionist Dictionary:

America-n- MY Country

Bigot-n- Anyone obstinately or intolerantly devoted to freedom.

Capitalism-n- MY God given right to leverage MY resources against you.

Democracy-n- The structure of government ignorant people believe we have here; a lie maintained to support Capitalism (see above)

Election-n- Event where people vote for the person believed to be most fit for limiting freedom; a contest where the best liar usually wins

Fraud-n- meaningless term used by people who should be flogged and quartered for questioning MY government.

Government-n- Concrete entity responsible for collecting and distributing citizen's resources in order to manifest MY God's will in concrete reality.

House of Representatives-n- large body of individuals who, more or less, also wish to make government (see above) the concrete manifestation of MY God's will for people.

Idiot-n- a human being who disagrees with ME.

Jesus-n- name of a man who preached frogiveness and love; the man we tell people we worship while we trample their rights like a nazi and throw them in prison. the name invoked by Satan when he wishes for people to worship evil.

Klu Klux Klan-n- the group we'd like to head our government if there weren't so many colored people paying attention.

Land of the Free-n- expression used to conjure up feelings of pride in those without the mental capacity to define freedom. the land that shall be once we imprison or kill those who seek freedom or free living (see New World Order).

Manipulation-v- to act on rational self-interest in an effort to leverage and acquire resources (see capitalism above)

New World Order-n- The order we strive to create through the murder or imprisonment of anyone deemed unworthy of the heaven on earth we seek to create (see all definitions above, esp. Government, House of Representatives, Land of the Free, and Jesus)

Oppression-n- a form of manipulation, a tool of persuasion reserved for select individuals; the right to oppress others is a constitutional right delegated to any American willing to sacrifice life for Government and Capitalism (see Government and Capitalism above)

Pride-n- unjustified feeling of self-worth; postive feeling and/or emotion used to rationlize and condition evil behaviors associated with oppression; the emotion used to convince dolts that Satan's New World Order is worth fighting for (see Government and New World Order above)

Question-n- a thing not to be discussed.

Rights-n- those freedoms granted by MY God; all other claims to rights of life must be oppressed and damned to an eternity of hell for the sake of the New World Order (see all above).

Satan-n- God

Truth-n- Deception

United States-n- collection of smaller governments and smaller oppressors which are financially rewarded for their support of the New World Order.

Violence-n- necessary act of agression used to oppress the intelligent questioners; when done in the name of Jesus, violence is widely accepted; if the oppressed claim Jesus never used violence, let them know he will; as noted in Revelations, Jesus comes back to kill.

Washington-n- MY capitol of MY country

X-n- a letter

Yellow-n- color used on ribbons of war supporters in order to associate itself with courage and support of Government, as opposed to its traditional and true association with cowardice.

Zealot-n- anyone successfully programmed to accept the lies necessary to support the construction of the New World Order (see government, new world order, and land of the free).

============

thanx for reading,

this should be fun,

peace,

sean

12:18 PM

 
Blogger Sean said...

Well, predictably insane, yes. I'm not sure where you came up with the entire pot tirade. If you were shooting for unpredictable there, you hit it on the nose. But then fabrication can be unpredictable, and many people in this country have grown fond of it. Though it is unfortunately only unpredictable until people become tired of hearing "Wolf!!" I’m tired of it. I don't smoke pot and I'm not sure where you got the impression that I did. Maybe you have me mixed up with someone else. Maybe you're just mixed up.

As for opinions, you certainly have a right to yours. But you are also responsible for those opinions. There are consequences to every opinion you hold and if you don't want them questioned on their merits, or lack there of, you should keep them to yourself. We love to hold up the word “opinion” like a it were a shield from all debate, and it is anything but that. I have noticed most of you opinions seem to be based on conjecture and assumption over experience and fact, but perhaps that is merely a semantics problem, as the four get confused so often today.

Maybe the pot comments were more attempts at self-verifying statement, or some vague pot/kettle reference, but it was a wee bit ridiculous in any case. Happy Christmas!

To answer your question; Joe Friday, Dragnet. I’m amazed you didn’t know that....

12:21 PM

 
Blogger S.R. Deardorff said...

oh...btw...J_G...there never has been any REAL exchange of ideas with you; as Language Guy pointed out,

"your ideas are self-verifying."

Your opinions are not based on the facts as you claim; rather, you cite facts which tend to support your opinions and ignore facts that denounce your opinions.

you wrote:

"If you disagree with me I am therefore correct in my assumptions about the people that post here. I would in fact be surprised if any of you would agree with me on anything."

What EXACTLY are you saying here? What you've said implies:

1. You believe you're always right.

2. You believe your opinions ARE fact.

3. Everyone who posts here disagrees with you on everything.

4. You believe you are better than everyone who posts here.

5. You would be shocked if anyone here admitted that you're always right and, therefore, better than everyone here (I'd be surprised too).

Here's a new quote of mine, you're all free to copy and distribute so long as you credit my godly self!!! LOL...

"At the root of all conflict is the human desire to communicate the goodness of freedom; any attempt to communicate ideas which restrict freedom is diametrically opposed to the nature of goodness, freedom, and the desire of every human heart and expression of emotion and, therefore, evil."

peace n whatnot,

sean

12:36 PM

 
Blogger S.R. Deardorff said...

SEAN...

i'm the pot smoker...

i'm also a sean...

problem solved....

peace,

sean

12:37 PM

 
Blogger Hiperpoliglota said...

Hi!

Im Eugenio from Brazil and have just created my new blog abut languages.Please,go there and appreciate my work.
i will be back!

Eugenio

12:41 PM

 
Blogger Sean said...

Ahhhh, now it makes sense! A lack of careful observation led to the misunderstanding! Which then led to misinformed statements made as fact!! I’m sure it was just an opinion though, and not subject to the constraints of truth. I suspected as much, but my critical thinking skills had been dulled by your pot smoking...

12:55 PM

 
Blogger SusieQ said...

This to S.R. Deardorff.

Sean you say:
"think of the two, three, four year old girls during christmas next week-->>count how many receive their first introduction into what they "should" be by being "rewarded" for good behavior with strictly "female" things like barbie, dresses, etc..."

If you walk down the aisles of toys in stores today you will find all sorts of non-gender toys suitable for both girls and boys including dolls such as Elmo. Lots of educational toys are available today too.

Yes, we have aisles devoted to girls with an assortment of dolls and toy homemaking items. But is there something wrong with dolls?

Yes, we have aisles devoted to boys with an assortment of action figures, trucks, cars, etc.

I am not sure that we are pushing these gender-specific toys on our girls and boys in order to condition them though, or that the toy manufacturers are pushing them. In fact all the manufacturers are interested in is making money. They don't care what gender buys their toys, and they will answer the changing trends when they spot them. Maybe as parent and grandparents we are simply catering to children's expressed desires for certain toys like dolls and trucks....and Easy Bake Ovens.

Our granddaughter Rachel who is five wants an Easy Bake Oven for Christmas. Our grandson Ricky who is four wants one too. So, I bought each of them an Easy Bake Oven for Christmas, the Real Meal.

Now here comes the funny part which I am sure LG will appreciate. When I told my husband that little Ricky wanted an Easy Bake Oven for Christmas, he said, "I don't think that's appropriate for him." Well, I kicked some male butt when he said that and explained to him that little Ricky sees his dad cooking up gourmet dishes in the kitchen all the time. Old habits tend to die hard with my husband.

Now Easy Bake has come out with the non-gender oven called the Real Meal Oven. Sounds kind of masculine to me though, i.e. "Real Men don't eat/like quiche." as if to make this oven more palatable to whomever is buying it for a little boy.

Sean, little girls rarely wear dresses anymore except on special occasions. They wear jeans. But is there anything wrong with dresses? I certainly hope that men don't get the idea that when I am wearing a dress it means that I consider myself subservient to them. :-)

6:39 PM

 
Blogger J_G said...

Susie, The comments that I have read here so far about how women should think or speak seems to be coming from the men. Is it wrong for us to think as we do without the input of these males that are just pushing their agenda?

Those conservative women you spoke of LG, they were just conditioned by men and have no minds of their own, how presumptive and arrogant that statement is. You are not attempting the same thing by suggesting that only women with degrees and that were in favor of that lousy unworkable ammendment to the US Constitution called the ERA you mentioned can think for themself?

I can think very well on my own with out any man to tell me I have been conditioned. The men working for me now would have something to say about that. Some do actually believe I was conditioned, by Attila the Hun, Hun ;-(

Anyway you look at it fellas, women are quite different genetically , mentally, physically and we don't appreciate you thinking we should think as you think because we just don't. Those are the facts and if you don't or can't understand that then you will follow a long line of men that have not or will ever understand the OPPOSITE sex. What a bunch of well, men!

You're cute when you're angry Sean.

9:09 AM

 
Blogger L>T said...

L.Guy I thought the idea of 'communication failures, because of differences in gender or ethnic backgrounds,' (how a person is raised) interesting.
I mean, as we grow older we sometimes choose to stay in a mindset, for whatever reason.
I'd say an isolation, even.
This makes it harder to communicate w/anyone a bit different.
Openmindedness & really listening to what someone says, isn't all that easy when you've already made your mind up.
I don't think that men & women are generally encouraged to communicate w/an open mind.
If a person follows certain types of thinking & fiercely protects their opinions, how can they be openminded?
It's interesting to watch people go into self-preservation mode when they think their mindsets are under attack.

12:46 PM

 
Blogger Paul F. said...

L. Guy....thought provoking for sure.

S.R.D.....intriguing well laid out arguments.

J_G.....predictable and I'm sorry you feel that way.

1:25 PM

 
Anonymous pf said...

BTW, I don't agree with any of you people including L Guy, but that's OK because I still like the blog. Of course, I hardly ever agree with L Guy. I'm sure all of you could care less what my thoughts are, but I figured I'd just throw that out there. L Guy, if that is your all-time favorite joke then I must say that you have a unique sense of humor because it is just slightly amusing to me.

2:13 PM

 
Blogger SusieQ said...

J_G, my mother always said this of me: "She's independent. She has a mind of her own." Mother said that with pride, because she recongized the tremendous value associated with having a mind of one's own.

It is true. I have a mind of my own. I am not subject to group think. My mind is my sacred property just as my conscience is my sacred property.

Though I take under consideration the thoughts, opinions, and guidance of others, my mind belongs to me in the end and I will use it the way I see fit and will draw my own conclusions whether they be right or wrong. This is freedom.

I think what you are saying J_G. is that you have a mind of your own and that you wish others would respect that.

You have your reasons for thinking the way you do. I, for one, would like to know what those reasons are.

11:39 PM

 
Blogger IbaDaiRon said...

Actually, in that an opinion is "a personal belief or judgment that is not founded on proof or certainty" (WordNet 1.7), there need not be any reason. (Whether this equates to a lack of reason depends on the nature of the opinion in question.) If we concede that everyone is entitled to their opinion, then stating "That's my opinion, so there" becomes a valid (endgame) gambit in practical conversational terms, although not in logical argumentation. (And even in conversation it is interesting only so far as it provides a glimpse at the interior life of a particular individual. "That's nice; thanks for sharing" then becomes the only possible response. That or the initiation of a cycle of escalating defamations.)

Bombast away!

4:32 AM

 
Blogger IbaDaiRon said...

Please forgive the consecutive comments. As I begin this, it is a little before 2:00 AM on the 23rd, the Emperor's 72nd birthday.

The Japanese Imperial Family is interesting in connection with my earlier comment about attitudes changing over here. The next generation of Imperials (two sons and a daughter, the latter just recently married) has thus far failed to produce a male heir, leading to increasing discussion of the possibility of a female succeeding to the throne. The current laws and regulations stipulate a male successor, so clearing the way for a woman will require legislative action by the Diet.

I haven't seen any recent opinion poll results and so can't say what the general mood of the people is, but personally I hope that things will have changed enough in the next twenty to thirty years to allow little Princess Aiko to become the first Empress of Japan in well over a millennium.

12:10 PM

 
Blogger SusieQ said...

http://www.sciam.com/print_version.cfm?articleID=000363E3-1806-1264-980683414B7F0000

If you go to the above website of Scientific American magazine, you will find an interesting article dealing with the differences between the female and male brain.

A lot of research has been done in the past 5 to 10 years using noninvasive imaging techniques (PET and fMRI)which allow for looking at the brains of living subjects.

The sex of a person influences "many areas of cognition and behavior, including memory, emotion, vision, hearing, the processing of faces and the brain's response to stress hormones."

These studies are important because, for one thing, it will lead to the proper treatment according to sex of disorders like depression and schizophrenia.

Something that will help Sean Deardorff see things in a different light are the studies that have been done with children in their selection of toys.

There is no evidence to support the idea that women are incapable of "achieving academic distinction in math, physics, or engineering." But we knew that already. :-)

There is some evidence that the anatomical differences in the brains of females and males begin before birth due to the activity of the sex hormones. I find that very interesting.

I hope people here will take the time to read that article. It helped me to understand why J_G was able to say what she did with such confidence.

Merry Christmas to all of you. Or Happy Holidays. Take your pick.

12:15 AM

 
Blogger IbaDaiRon said...

Susieq, great link; thanks! Nice to see someone quote authoritative sources.

It helped me to understand why J_G was able to say what she did with such confidence.

It would have been more helpful if she had been the one to provide a link or reference. At least it would have convinced me that she some facts upon which she based her opinions. Of course her being right about genetic differences in brain structure and resultant behavior says nothing about whether any of her other opinions are right or wrong.

(And speaking of being wrong: I was in my last comment. The last empress thus far was GoSakuramachi, who reigned for nine years until 1771, when she abdicated in favor of her nephew, whose father had named her as successor until his son became old enough to ascend. So if Aiko is allowed to succeed, she will become the first Empress of Japan in something more like 250 years.)

7:08 AM

 
Blogger Language Guy said...

The issue SusieQ is, as you note, that the existence of differences in male and female brains may have zero educational implications. For years, it was said women couldn't do math or science as well as men and men are weaker in language skills than women. The problem with both claims is that they can be self-fulfilling, with women either shying away from math and science and engineering or comeing to the study of such fields with low confidence, which is a killer.

In generaly, while research into genetic differences between the sexes and races and the rest may seem to be worthy areas of study they are very dangerous. What if the government started using genetic info about gender differences or racial differences in determining who could get financial aid to study what subjects at what schools. This has already been done by teachers for a very long time via their grading policies (boys getting better grades than girls for essentially the same quality of work) and in encouraging kids to follow certain lines of study -- home ec vs physics for a female student, for instance.) Insurance companies are already using genetic info in determining who to write policies for.

Very early in my career, I decided to grade question by question while keeping out of view the identity of the students. I did this in an effort to avoid prejudices I might have formed about students from their class room behavior, their gender or race, and performances on past exams and to give me better consistency in grading each question. If you give 10 one paragraph essay questions and grade the exams one at a time, it is much harder to apply the same criteria in evaluating a given question across the board and to avoid prejudices than if you do what I did.

7:24 AM

 
Blogger J_G said...

the other sean said...I can't bring myself to read any more post by you, j_g, they defy all sense, reason, and the very concept of intelligence and scholarship.

Do you understand the meaning of those words, the other sean? I told you about men just repeating platitudes because they fit their ideas.

I just have only four words that are like dragging fingernails across the blackboard to men coming from a woman "I told you so".

Anti-discrimination laws are being adjusted and extended to apply to insurance companies too, screeeeeeeeeeeech!

Research into improving women's health and lives cannot stop because of ridiculous reasons. It has been denied for too many years by men.

Thank you Susie, please don't identify yourself to be agreeing with me. That was information that is available to anyone that has a sense of reason, and understands the very concept of intelligence and scholarship.

10:22 AM

 
Blogger Annie said...

"It is my understanding that she took some heat for this from feminists for doing as much as she did by way of not laying blame on failures to communicate on men. The reality is that science wants objectivity and feminists don't."

Amen! Take personal responsibility in interactions with others and it's hard to play the blame game. Thanks for this interesting blog. I'm not a big comment blogger, but I do read and have very appreciative thoughts.

Happy Solstice and Merry Christmas!
TinkLecuyer

10:41 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In fact, I'm chiming in here to disagree with the statement that "science wants objectivity and feminists don't." Speaking of coure as a scientist and a feminist, I happen to want objectivity in both areas! You can easily begin to quality that statement by saying that "most scientists want objectivity and most feminists don't..." but then...well, I don't know most scientists--nor most feminists. So maybe with such a statement we are still making huge sweeping generalizations--not just about feminists either!

I happen, at the moment, to be in a unique situation where I am teaching English as a second language to a group of highly motivated, very intelligent women and men. Because I see English in use for the first time among people who are very successful in navigating a non-English speaking culture, I get to see how another culture impacts English. It's curious that the acquisition of English grammar and idioms for example, is not dependent on gender--nor is the confidence with which they are employed by speakers.

However, men appear to feel much more comfortable than women in taking up class time and space and my attention. Women hold back in class--but when they do speak, they are often more fluent than their male counterparts. What that suggests to me is that women work behind the scenes to be successful at their studies. Men demand attention in class but generally don't seem to work as hard at the task when they aren't getting the immediate gratification of in-class feedback (or "petting" as I have come to call it). Women don't demand the same kind of immediate feedback (though I focus very conscientiously on providing the same kind of "petting" to both genders), but will work behind the scenes to acquire and practice-and ultimately that puts them ahead of the men.

Ah, it's always an interesting discussion--and I appreciate the Rudner joke and the admonition to men to marry an intelligent woman an not one whose primary mental attribute is a pair of big breasts. Doesn't matter so much to me, of course. Not because I'm not a man, but because in fact, just as I am that rare mix of scientist and feminist, I also happen to be an intelligent woman with very large breasts!

Eat your heart out, Language Guy!

3:29 PM

 
Blogger SusieQ said...

LG, I understand what you are saying about claims that involve genetic differences between the sexes and how these can be self-fulling. I understand what you are saying about discrimination and prejudice.

But there are solutions (laws and education) to these problems other than foregoing studies that compare the differences between the genders, races, ethnic groups and so on. There are many health reasons for engaging in these studies.

We have an epidemic today of autism. We don't know where this is coming from whether it is environonmental or what. It appears that as much as 80% of the children who have ASD are boys. This is likely due to the hormonal difference between boys and girls.

I don't have a link, but I can direct you to a book Evidence of Harm written by David Kirby. It is about the possible connection between autism and mercury in vaccines. In it the author writes about the hormonal reasons for why more boys than girls suffer with ASD.

The same thing is true with ADD and ADHD in that more boys suffer with these disorders than girls.

These health problems have an educational implication for the children (mostly boys) involved.

I have a special needs grandson with, among other things, a learning disorder. He is in the process of being tested for it. I have another grandson who has been diagnosed with ADD. This is why I am somewhat familiar with autism, ADD, and ADHD.

12:46 AM

 
Blogger S.R. Deardorff said...

susieq...j_g...and such...

i never said there were not biological differences in the brains of men and women...

i'm saying it is perfectly reasonable to conclude that thousands of years of physical and mental abuse and oppression would cause the brain to adjust for the sake of survival, thus, gradually causing changes in the biology of the human being, from actual neural pathways down to the DNA; our most neanderthal/primate behaviors are still engrained in our nature to this day; it is by changing our environment through the evolution of thought and reasoning that we come to change our natures.

as with any time in existence; this is the most exciting time to be alive-->>right now, this moment.

it is exciting because we are exchanging information so quickly; gathering and expounding upon knowledge so much, that we are witnessing the beginnings of a psychological paradigm shift from the old stale paternally dominated world of manipulation, power, control, and deception to a more balanced approach that will see the manifestation of true justice, true freedom, true democracy, peace, and harmony...

and that...

would be a beautiful thing; surely, that type of environment would eventually change our biological makeup, brain chemistry AND DNA (<<--no wordlplay intended).....

peace,

sean

2:59 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

culture may move quickly, but there is little evidence for the idea that nature--natural selection--moves as quickly as you suggest. the differences that you point out, i believe, are cultural.

as far as the increase in ADD, autism, and other, similar maladies, i don't wonder if this are largely attributable to a human impact on the environment. this would make those changes to brain chemistry again the result of cultural practices. however, even though the brain's chemistry is altered, it doesn't follow that there is an underlying change to the DNA involved, so there is no long-term selection involved. that is to say that (in my scenario), if we cleaned up the environment, we'd return to the previous levels of autism and ADD, etc.

3:45 AM

 
Blogger IbaDaiRon said...

I agree with Anonymous; "thousands of years" is insufficient to have caused "brain adjustments for survival" across the entire human population. (The assumption that "physical and mental abuse and oppression" of women has occurred over a similar period of time, or over the entire history of human existence, is also highly questionable.) Gender-determined differences in behavior are seen throughout the animal kingdom, indicating that they have been around for something on the order of hundreds of millions of years. (The article linked to by Susieq mentions vervet monkeys as near relatives; the ancestors of our nearest relatives, chimpanzees, are now thought to have diverged from our ancestors between five and seven million years ago, meaning that even more human-like behaviors are considerably older than thousands of years.)

Basically what we are seeing is a conflict between millions of years of evolved instinct and a few thousand years of "civilized" culture. Unless we take the wagon by the reins and begin to actively mold our own genetic make-up (and please understand that I am as against such manipulation as many, if not most, of you probably are...not on moral grounds [there's nothing sacred in the current version of our DNA], but simply because we don't yet know enough), this conflict is going to be with us for what, another few hundred thousand years or so...the time it will take evolution to catch up.

6:29 AM

 
Blogger J_G said...

No Matter the case, we should all do our best to use the resources we have and will discover to improve the lives of all and it should include everyone.

Have a Happy Holiday to everyone.

11:03 AM

 
Blogger L>T said...

i think there will always be a male/female issue, after all there are diff. but, humans do have the capacity for higher consciencness.
I think we could learn to value our diff. & rejoice in our common humanity.
I think most of us who read this post are conscientious people, who want to do what's right by every one.
A higher consciencness is not gained by keeping our pet prejudices, mindset, etc...
Or pointing out other peoples prejudices, etc..
But by examining & being honest w/ourselves.
I think LG made the point about 'Scientists being more objective then feminists' was because that when you subscribe to a certain mindset, it's very hard to be objective.
It's the nature of these things, like feminism & well, 'isms' in general.

12:24 PM

 
Blogger uninterlaced said...

men and women speak a little differently??? well, duh . . . guess what? EVERYONE speaks differently. there is no absolute common ground ANYWHERE to provide a benchmark for language or thinking for that matter.

its important to realize that language is in perpetual evolution. each individual regardless of sex is equally lost as the next.

men have quite a bit of power over women. this is the nature of differences between the sexes. not brains or language or anything else. just power. men abuse it, women take it. whats the big mystery?

its a travesty for humanity that things are this way especially when we collectively know better, however this way they are nonetheless.

2:11 AM

 
Blogger S.R. Deardorff said...

to anonymous: are you hugh? what you wrote makes no logical or rational sense; it's simply false...it's even more scatterbrained than some of my most emotional rants...

here, eat this, it wasn't the original article i read, but it will suffice:

http://www.scienceagogo.com/news/20030421210938data_trunc_sys.shtml


IbaDaiRon said...

I agree with Anonymous; "thousands of years" is insufficient to have caused "brain adjustments for survival" across the entire human population. (The assumption that "physical and mental abuse and oppression" of women has occurred over a similar period of time, or over the entire history of human existence, is also highly questionable.)

==????===
again, simply false...

why must everything be so sweeping? obviously, not all cultures throughout history have oppressed women; actually, many african and indian tribes are examples of matriarchal societies that were, in fact, just as advanced as any other cultures until caucasians killed and enslaved them in hordes...

ibadfads;lkdj, or whatever, also wrote:

"(The article linked to by Susieq mentions vervet monkeys as near relatives; the ancestors of our nearest relatives, chimpanzees, are now thought to have diverged from our ancestors between five and seven million years ago, meaning that even more human-like behaviors are considerably older than thousands of years.)"
===???===

thank you for supporting the conclusion of science which i espoused earlier...though you describe pre-human behaviors as "human like," you readily admit that there was actually millions of years of evolution that caused changes in DNA...

this does NOT mean that rapid changes in DNA never happen; nor does it mean that DNA must "catch up" to our thinking in order to manifest a more quality reality...it may be that we must first think of a better way, then act the better way, then our DNA changes so that the better way is the natural way...but we have no right to make claims as to the expediency with which this happens...

at any rate, time for bed...

and, remember,

freedom can exist without the existence of love, but love cannot exist without the existence of freedom.

peace,

sean

4:17 AM

 
Blogger IbaDaiRon said...

ibadfads;lkdj, or whatever

I've just been trying to cobble together a lucid explanation of the difference between Lamarckian and (neo-)Darwinian evolution (briefly, individual experience/environment do not change DNA unless they involve mutagenic factors such as radiation or chemicals; experience may change individual brain structure, but not the genes in that individual's gametes and therefore such changes are not passed on) but keep coming back to the above and asking myself, why bother?

Mike, your blog is every bit as interesting and thought-provoking as your classes at OSU were. I think I'll stick to reading just your posts from now on. As I wrote before, in awe but not envy.

8:50 AM

 
Blogger Language Guy said...

Wow, thanks. When did you take a course from me? What course? Do you have a name?

You are right. No envy. Be better than me.

8:58 AM

 
Blogger S.R. Deardorff said...

ibakl;sjfd said:

"I think I'll stick to reading just your posts from now on."
====
nice exposition of willed ignorance...

you act or speak, this is an external stimuli.
the human brain responds to external stimuli by sending various CHEMICALS throughout neural pathways, CAUSING the body to react to the external stimuli, CAUSING the brain to send CHEMICAL messages throughout the rest of the body in order to manifest action.

all these events, all external stimuli, through a dominoe effect, of sorts, end up effecting the cells, genes, and DNA throughout the brain and body=fact.

research has shown that the very act of DNA replication (also known as "making babies.") causes genetic mutations because the replication process itself is NOT perfect; research has also shown that DNA has the ability to correct itself under the appropriate circumstances (i.o.w. in the right environment)...

your analysis of the facts disregards the fact that EVERY event in experience (every moment, every nano-second of existence constitutes an experience) is CAUSING CHEMICAL reactions to occur in the brain and throughout the body; in essence, while we live we are constantly evolving; perhaps the changes are nearly undetectable, however, that does not mean that there is no effect; it certainly does not change or denounce the FACT that DNA is constantly changing on some level...

the root of the disagreement here is your lack of understanding regarding the meaning of the words you choose as well as your refusal to contemplate the whole picture side by side with the most minute details of the picture...

perhaps more time at OSU is needed?

no, don't do that...hell, you can get the same education for $5.00 in late fees at the public library; better yet, you can get the same education online for free...

you can't cobble together any explanation of your conclusion because your conclusion stems from shallow analysis and is, again, to reiterate, simply false...

i would guess, from a psychological standpoint, that your attempts to produce false conclusions stem from your desire for innocence; stem from your refusal to accept responsibility for the FACT that all actions effect those around you on a very profound level-->>don't get me wrong, i'm by no means perfect; but, at least i'm aware of the fact that the actions i choose are constantly effecting others around me right down to their DNA and brain structure...it's what motivates me to make conscious efforts to change for the better...

fantastic link for those who still read the comments section:

http://www.dnaftb.org/dnaftb/27/concept/index.html

ibadklfajoaisfdj:

i don't need you to explain the differences between the two theories, i already accept and understand the fact that both contain flaws=just like everything else in existence...

one final note on the rate of mutation:

it varies in every individual organism, each individual human (and thing) has the potential for extraordinarily slow as well as extraordinarily quick mutation rates...the idea of an "average" can be useful to help us understand the most common trends; however, the idea of an "average" often leads us to forget the FACT that every individual organism is slightly different=in fact, it is because every organism's differences that we have the concept of "average" to begin with; any judgment centered around the idea of an "average," is inherently flawed, shallow, and biased.

peace out n shit!

sean

4:11 PM

 
Blogger IbaDaiRon said...

As a Taiwanese friend of mine at OSU used to say, "Oh, it's like you saw my whole life!" In your amazingly insightful psychological analysis of me, Sean (I'm really glad your name is short, little chance of mistyping it...never mind the whole copy-paste thing), you forgot to mention my tendency to pick at scabs before they heal, which is what brought me back here. (I've already publicly confessed to the whole troll-baiting foible; one day I'll learn!) Anyway, we could have avoided a lot of misunderstanding (and possibly most of your unpleasantness?) if I had realized that you subscribe to the theory of genetic memory. My bad. If we admit that as a possibility, then sure, everything you have written on this topic is true and I am wrong.

Anyway, Mike/LG, my apologies for not having replied to your questions sooner. My Blogger profile page gives my real name, but I understand if you don't remember me; I finished my MA in 1986, but halfway through had already answered the siren call from next door in EALL, so my presence in the Linguistics Department was shadowy for the most part. I came to Japan in '87 and have been here since. I'm currently teaching English composition and introductory syntax at Ibaraki University (IbaDai, hence the user name). I remember your Pragmatics class best; I think maybe you were at the peak of your language and advertising research then? Anyway, your real life examples were a refreshing change from the chromatically bizarre things with odd REM patterns, etc., they were offering elsewhere. I credit you for the perspective that kept me from wandering down the road toward abstract syntax and model theoretic semantics (shudder).

By the way, the "awe but not envy" referred not to you personally but to an earlier comment of mine regarding certain members of your coterie of commenters. If I had meant you, it would have been "continuing awe and envy" (the latter re your home on the Darby...always had a thing for creeks and ponds).

Looking forward to your next post,

Ron

12:44 AM

 
Blogger Copernicus Now said...

Hi L_G,

You mentioned Deborah Tannen's book "You Just Don't Understand". That was one of my favorite books. It opened up a whole new way of thinking for me.

I think it's fair to say that some of what she said helped change the way I understand women. And much of her ideas applied not just to understanding the opposite sex, but to understanding other people in general. I couldn't resist doing a post on my own site. I hope you will consider it worth checking.

My post is entitled Deborah Tannen was right: I Just Didn't Understand.

Thank you for your post.

12:55 AM

 
Blogger S.R. Deardorff said...

ibadairon,

it was not my intent to be unpleasant, nor do i necessarily subscribe to any particular theory on anything; instead, i consider the spectrum of possibilities and attempt to draw objective conclusions based on logic, always taking into account the anomolies in light of the tendencies...i believe most theorists/thinkers rely too heavily on averages and the present state of affairs to draw truly objective conclusions regarding knowledge gathered...gather up the details of the now and the history of, pick your topic, then toss the details up into the future, step back, and create a logically realistic picture that accounts for all things minor and all things major; or, at least, as much as can be known about said things....generally speaking....

i brought up psych not as an attempt to degrade you, but to offer up explanation; as far as i'm concerned, the things i said were neither good nor bad, they just were what they were...

our brains are responsible for filtering reality and it is the field of psychology that can best explain away the filters and get to the heart of the matter of miscommunication...

peace n whatnot,

sean

6:02 AM

 
Blogger IbaDaiRon said...

OK...so with whom am I discoursing now?

I mean, I haven't watched the movie for a few years so forgive me if I'm a big foggy on the plot details, but is this before or after you spit pea soup, spin your head around and do the naughty with the crucifix?

Seriously though...OK. I personally have always held that the analysis of different epistemologies is best left as the province of its traditional practitioners the philosophers. It has been suggested that this conclusion follows from the assumption that deterministic factors suffice to account for any perceived underlying abstract order but, clearly, any purportedly descriptively adequate explanation of reality should be regarded as suspect at best. To provide a consistent ontological structure for all that we think we perceive, most of the metaphysical speculations of modern philosophy would have to be tossed out for their failure to readily tolerate any sort of serious scrutiny.

Peas...why not!

Actually, I was kinda getting into the degradation bit. Wink wink, nudge nudge, knowharramean? ; )

6:49 AM

 
Blogger S.R. Deardorff said...

ROFLMAO!!!

wow; funny. ibadairon, if you follow any of the previous posts on the site, you'll notice that i have a tendency to spew emotionally charged arguments first, then, i usually calm down and refine the communication to a less abrasive representation of thought...

imagine this convo between us at the end of a grungey bar with two empty pitchers and broken peanut shells all around--we get to where we were with your last post, "wink wink nudge nudge..." and i smile, drop my head a little, and nod in agreement, "sorry man, you know me, i'm an emotional little bugger...how 'bout a shot of johnny walker?"

lol...berberp...

your last post reminded me of a snippet from the introduction of wittgenstein's tractatus, written by russell:

"There are various problems as regards language. First, there is the problem what actually occurs in our minds when we use language with the intention of meaning something by it; this problem belongs to psychology. Secondly, there is the problem as to what is the relation subsisting between thoughts, words, or sentences, and that which they refer to or mean; this problem belongs to epistemology."

Even when i first read that, i thought to myself, "the two are intrinsic qualities of the other..." and, i still believe that, at least, i believe they are inseperable for now because our foundations of knowledge dramatically effect our thoughts/behaviors/speech and our neurobiological makeup effects how we react to incoming information (knowledge), with the most important relation, i believe, being the emotional connections associated with various symbols of fact and/or proposed knowledge.

i've long understood the cynicism regarding ontological theory, in general; and, believe that cynicism is directly related to our emotional attatchments to that which we perceive as reality; hence, the vehement rejection of such seemingly arrogant claims regarding the nature of being...

i don't believe, however, that most metaphysical speculations need to be tossed out in order to provide an accurate description of the human's nature of being; actually, i believe that the diversity of metaphysical speculations is the most pertinent evidence we have to prove or begin to explain the nature of being...again, just belief here, but, i believe that our nature is not necessarily to seek survival, rather, something like a perceived "perfect" survival.

of course, everyone has a slightly different perception of what constitutes perfection; hence, the conflict; and, hence the lack of tolerance towards any type of scrutiny; to seriously consider such scrutiny would be the equivalent of considering the idea that our perception of reality is completely wrong...and that, is hard to do.

as far as who should practice such endeavors; to me, it matters not...i think our incessant desire to "order" things usually distracts us from reality, and, in some respects, can cause the different perceptions of reality...

or; the problem could simply be that i refuse specialization for a broad base of knowledge, contrary to the demands of american culture and much to the chagrin of a society constantly trying to change me into an "orderly" being.

hehe...

in conclusion, in order to foster understanding, i was a psych major before being booted out of the university, am an avid reader of all things (psych, soc, hist, phil, you name it, i read it, my "library" is filled with textbooks, mostly)...perhaps if i had made it back into college by now, my arguments here would be more ordered and precise; but, because i've no need nor desire to focus my arguments on one particular field of study, they all become interwoven and tangled up into some hard to follow thoughts.

in closing; i don't mind the fact that i can get somewhat abrasive in online conversations. it motivates action and allows me to observe the cause and effect of such behaviors, which, in the end, affords me valuable information regarding how to improve my theories as well as how they are communicated-->>just in case i don't die before getting back into college...

and, lastly, if anyone thinks it's a shame that my mind is not being used in a university setting, send me money...lol...and i'll gladly go back!

alas, i'm long winded again, and, you're probably sick of reading; so,

peace!

sean

p.s. shit! good thing i "previewed" that post; i wanted to add that i recently began reading "Why God Won't Go Away," by Newberg, D'Aquili, and Rause. it reflects on the neurobiological effects of religion/religious practices on the body and mind...extraordinarily interesting research, highly advised; and, i think that the "fresh" field of "neurotheology" could very well, as the authors conclude, help us understand the universal aspects of metaphysics...peace!

1:37 PM

 
Blogger S.R. Deardorff said...

OH...and for anyone wondering how that was pertinent to the original post by LG...

there is still a large section of the population that, in their minds, conceives of a "perfect" reality where women are subservient to men; and, they struggle still, to this day, to create that picture of reality in concrete form. They're just getting more subversive about it, more subtle...

that's all.

sean

1:45 PM

 
Blogger Suzanne E. McCarthy said...

Hi Mike,

Thanks for some great posts.

I also want to thank you for being the first to encourage me with my blog. I still have an almost entirely male blogging community. However, I believe that this is cultural and has nothing to do with some inherent difference in male and female brains. (I am a pretty average female) The notion that men's and women's brains are basically different is just the same kind of nonsense that leads people to believe that reading in
Chinese is different in essential nature from reading in English. There is lots of so-called scientific evidence for that also but it pays to be skeptical of most of it.

I enjoy Deborah Tannen's work but have aways understood it to be some kind of anecdotal infotainment. The topic of sex/gender differences generates unlimited interest so why not write about it.

BTW I did write about Cherokee and it was a big hit but I never did construct a glossary.

11:56 PM

 
Blogger Farouche Exegete said...

Seems to me Tannen missed the language disparity issue and Haden Elgin nailed it--power differential between speakers.

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