Monash University
Thesis.pdf (1.44 MB)

On Connection

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posted on 2017-01-05, 03:01 authored by Van Polanen Petel, Humphrey P.
De Saussure (1916:35) held that the nature of language-systems consists in what they have in common with all other semiotic systems. This thesis aims to provide an answer. It starts with the ‘parts of speech’ and uses the verb-noun distinction to separate language into a calculus and a protocol. The Principle of Connection is proposed as a structure-forming capacity and defined as a fixed hierarchical mental structure. Language is defined as a ‘way of normalising meaning through signalling’. The linearity of language enforces three types of notational elements: those having no relation, one relation (either direction) and two relations (both directions). Quine’s (1960:83f) ‘quality space’ is combined with the Gestalt notion of figure-ground into a schematic semantics of perception based on the necessarycontingent and the intrinsic-extrinsic distinctions. The Principle of Connection is shown to be the logical operation AND with its operands evaluated as identical, similar, different or contrary. The schema translates into the ontological categories of Universal Grammar (UG) giving as possible types of lexeme: Identifier, Qualifier, Quantifier and Connective. The validity of the schema is verified successfully against the language of the Predicate Calculus (PC). The schema further expresses both the whole-of-parts and the part-of-a-whole perspective as well as the analytic and synthetic method. ‘Grammar’ is analysed through a discussion of the possible errors of protocol and grammar proper is shown to consist in the cultural variations of UG. The basic structure of English is found to be (Quantity) (Quality) Essence (Relation). An analysis of verbs is presented on the basis of the schema. Lastly, the prototypical connectives are given as IS, AND, BUT and OR and it is shown how all others are troponymic extensions in a radial network centred on these four.


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Languages, Cultures and Linguistics

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Master of Philosophy

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Faculty of Arts

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