Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Is Originary Language Recoverable?

If originary language were recoverable, I'd think it would be akin to music. Yet talking about music is a far cry from music in the heat of the moment. What can we really say about such a thing as originary language?

I'm always intrigued when philosophers turn toward poetic language, but never satisified. Imagine that the equation of originary language with poetry were true. Then the place to look for originary language is clearly with the poets. Did Pablo Neruda speak originary language? Allen Ginsberg? In each case the closest we can come to originary language is the poet's voice. If it's ridiculous to concieve of language without voices, in the manner of the great many who follow in the footsteps of de Saussure, is it not then equally ridiculous to let the voice stand as metonym for the whole of language? And isn't there an egregious violation of the poet implied in not reading his language as the voice of a poet?

One could argue that the interpretive act of uncovering originary language is in itself worthwhile, even if the ultimate goal will necessarily always remain elusive. The same argument could made about the search for swiss cheese. It's not very convincing. It suggests that originary language is neither here nor there, so a natural response would be why bother. Why bother? Perhaps because it upsets certain ideas about the Logos. Other than that, I couldn't really say.

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posted by Fido the Yak at 10:00 AM.


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