& Human Knowing - Thesaurus pilot project
way of arranging symbols, usually to express meaning.
A set of elements (pulses, gestures, signs, words, symbols, etc ) that can be combined through syntactical rules to form significant associations.
A combinatorial SYSTEM for arranging CHARACTERs into words and complex expressions subject to the CONSTRAINTs
of a syntax, a logic and a SEMANTICS
Principia Cybernetica (web)
way of arranging symbols, usually to express meaning. It may be a NATURAL
LANGUAGE like Chinese, English or Swahili that humans use to communicate
with one another, or a PROGRAMMING LANGUAGE in which programs are written
for a computer. (Arbib)
A combinatorial SYSTEM for arranging CHARACTERs into words and complex expressions subject to the CONSTRAINTs of a syntax, a logic and a SEMANTICS. A syntax rules out some combinations of characters as ungrammatical and designates the others as legitimate linguistic expressions. A logic orders the legitimate expressions implicationally and informationally. A semantics relates these expressions to the larger system of which a language is a part thus constraining the expressions according to what is appropriate in the non-linguistic CONTEXT of a situation (the larger system). The combinatorial properties of a language are responsible for the chosen expressions to carry INFORMATION relative to the expressions possible in a given context. The sharing of facilities to generate linguistic expressions (see GENERATIVE) and the ability to make comparisons within the system of possible expression brings linguistic COMMUNICATION to a logical level higher than communication without language. (Krippendorff)
has concentrated on the subject of linguistic interaction more so than
has Varela. This difference is significant enough that Varela (1989; also
Varela, Thompson & Rosch, 1991, p. 7, Figure 1.1) categorize Maturana
in terms of his linguistic leaning. The most concentrated and definitive
analyses of linguistic interaction from an autopoietic perspective are
therefore to be found in the writings of Maturana -- especially Maturana
At its most general level, Maturana characterizes natural language as "... the system of cooperative consensual interaction between organisms." (Maturana & Varela, 1980, p. 31) As such, language is reconsidered as connotative (as opposed to denotative), meaning that "... its function is to orient the orientee within his cognitive domain without regard for the cognitive domain of orienter." (Maturana & Varela, 1980, p. 32) The functional role of language, then, is "...the creation of a cooperative domain of interactions between speakers through the development of a common frame of reference, although each speaker acts exclusively within his cognitive domain..." (Maturana & Varela, 1980, p. 57) or "... the creation of a consensual domain of behavior between linguistically interacting systems through the development of a cooperative domain of interactions." (Maturana & Varela, 1980, p. 50)
Cf. languaging, connotation, cooperative domain of interactions, consensual domain, denotation, orientation
International Encyclopedia of Systems & Cybernetics
|1. A set
of elements (pulses, gestures, signs, words, symbols,
) that can be combined through syntactical rules to form significant
2. The subset of all the possible meaningful combinations that can be formed from a set of signs.
3. A set of signs with more or less commonly admitted, or coded values that can be used for communication of messages between senders and receivers.
[ ] In R. M. SNOW words: "Language cannot stand alone. It can only be understood in terms of a complex relationship with action" (1993, p. 146)
Moreover, any element becomes context dependent within the language, because it can be used in quite a number of different contexts and, just as an atom within a molecule, acquire a positional value.