We’re all familiar with language. The bulk of us are also familiar with the experience of dialect: regional variations within a language. English in Dallas isn’t quite the same as English in Boston and English in Chicago isn’t identical to English in London. And English on this side of London isn’t the same as English on that side. And so forth. Shaw’s Pygmalion got comic mileage from the phenomenon, also eking wisdom from it. In graduate school, in English, I ran across the additional idea of idiolect: personal speaking characteristics. He says tomato (with a “long” A), she says tomato (with a “short” A), but Jenny says tomato: with a short A and accenting the first syllable.
Nearly everyone in a given region understands one pronunciation of the word. Most may yet understand the variant. Jenny’s family understands her usage, Jenny’s teacher tried but failed to beat it out of her … but some people, say in Japan, speaking what they understand to be “English,” do not understand Jenny’s “tomato.” Maybe the military want to hire her for radio code for exactly those reasons, but never mind that; follow this:
I’m taking the “idio” prefix and coining a new work with it: idiolang: a shortening of ideo-syncratic language. And I insist: evolution will not thrive without mutation; and no progress is possible without mutancy of language.
Where communication is taking place successfully, change will not be welcome, variants will be superfluous, non-morphemic. The phrase “the fixed stars” can have a long, clear life in a language group that lives in the Ptolemaic universe. But until the universe of the Ptolemy crumbles, and its language restrictions along with it, Kepler, Copernicus … Galileo, Newton … Darwin, Freud, Prigogine … can’t introduce corrections: can’t introduce even the idea of a correction. The churches of education will curse, will yank flight feathers from, all potentially dynamic diction.
Original teachers — like Bucky Fuller, like Korzybski (like pk) — must reinvent language: starting by honing a language initially private to themselves. Bucky attending Harvard speaking English. Bucky stopped speaking altogether, for years! When he resumed speaking he was speaking Fullerese: and new clarity was possible.
The problem is that the public mistakes Jesus’ new Jesus-Hebrew for old Hebrew. The mistake that old Hebrew is adequate to understand new Hebrew. The language of quantum physics is Not the language of classical physics. But the church of education controls more and more budgets. The Fortune Five Hundred strive to assure that no new universe will displace the universe which they control(led), stick pins in, destroy.