« Oh Signifier, My Signifier. | Main | A Confusing bit of Theory »

Creator or Creature?

"... if the English phonemic system is the only one they know, listeners will quite automatically "hear" any language the same way, which means that they will miss some significant sounds when listening to a different language. So it would be as accurate to say that English has structured their hearing, has formed their perceptions. In this respect, surely, we are much less creators than we are creatures of "our" language." (Keesey 345)

So, we have to ask the question, how does what we percieve in language communicate itself to us? Do the sounds of words structure and form our perceptions, or is this taking it too extremes?

I think that all of these things have some influence in how we percieve differnet words and how we interpret text. Even when a person reads to themselves there is an inflection in the voice of the imagination, which "sounds" and "hears" the word as if it was spoken out loud. How do you think this fits into the structure and form? And are we more creatures than creators?

Comments (4)

Katie Vann:

I really liked your last question Mara. Especially since what we have been learning has pointed out that fact that as writers and readers, what we create has already been done in the past. I think it is also interesting how you looked at the sounds and how we hear a word or work. How it plays into what we create, I'm not completely sure.


Ok, so this may be way off base. I was thinking about your quote and I couldn't help but wonder if it could mean (or at least Keesey is trying to say?) that we all hear someone speaking in spanish or french differently because of the way we learn to hear words and sounds? You will probably think I'm nuts for saying that. But anyways, I think you make a great point though.


I think that anyone, no matter what their language, may miss significant sounds in a different language. In one of my education classes, we learned about phonemic awareness in children. It involves blending, segmentation, substitution, and the identity of phonemes. At a young age we are taught about the specific phonemes. I think we are creators and creatures of our language. The children are being taught the same phonemes so the teachers are being creatures of habit, but we are also creators by the accent of a person.

james lohr:

On this one i would have to agree with Keesey, we are much more created by the language we learn than we are creators of it. I know that even now when i speak german, i first think of the sentence in english, then rearrange it for german, then translate it in my head. When listening to german i know that i am missing out on certain things that those who grew up with the language understand. I imagined this as using sarcasm with a child, you as an adult understand it, but the child has not the ability to do so. However, to a certain extent we do create a certain portion of our language, the dictionaries add new words every year.

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)


This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on March 31, 2009 9:26 AM.

The previous post in this blog was Oh Signifier, My Signifier..

The next post in this blog is A Confusing bit of Theory.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.