Language, meaning and metaphysics

their Interdependence

Anil Mitra © March 2018—July 2018


Tentative contents

Resource documents and plan




Language, meaning and reason

Language and metaphysics

On perfect language


Tentative topics

Grammar, language, and metaphysics

On grammar

Natural languages

Formal languages


Some details of grammar


Words and phrases

Clauses and sentences

Other matters

Some thoughts on grammar and metaphysics

The origins of grammar


Language, meaning and metaphysics

Resource documents and plan


Some resources are concepts.doc (html); the way-main.doc (html); words, language, metaphysics.html; conceptual outline-essential.doc, (html) and related essays.


The main purpose is to understand language in itself (as far as possible) and its relations to reason and metaphysics. That is, how do language, reason, and metaphysics influence one another.

The section Grammar, language, and metaphysics has a foundation for this main purpose.


Use the main purpose to

1.     Organize the document

2.     Eliminate redundancy and irrelevant material

3.     Write the essence

Language, meaning and reason

Align with source documents.

Language and metaphysics

Even given considerations above, absent metaphysics, language must be indefinite. For language to be definite, the metaphysics must be definite. For language to be complete, metaphysics must be complete.

It can be argued that a sufficiently abstract metaphysics can be complete and definite. The purpose of mutual consideration of language and metaphysics includes.

1.     To show the interdependence.

2.     To develop language adequate to metaphysics.

3.     To explore consequences of metaphysics for language.

4.     To do this particularly for the perfect metaphysics (world and experience.html) of The Way of Being Website.

On perfect language

Consider the implications of the perfect metaphysics (world and experience.html), especially, the abstract-concrete continuum for language and meaning.


Tentative topics

Grammar, language, and metaphysics

On grammar

An elementary referential concept meaning is a concept – object dyad. An elementary or atomic referential linguistic meaning (ARLM and RLM) is a word – concept – object triad. A word – concept is a symbol. Thus an ARLM is a symbol – object.

This is fraught with simplification. Are their objects? Elementary objects? Does meaning change in context? Is sentence meaning built from atomic meanings? What meaning over and above the elementary does a sentence impart?

I gloss over this for now.

If a sentence imparts further meaning, it must be from the structure.

Recognizing different word functions and sentence structures is descriptive grammar; recognizing allowable ones is prescriptive; recognizing what may validly refer is metaphysical grammar; recognizing what does refer, is epistemological grammar; recognizing what references seem natural is psychological grammar; recognizing efficient and appealing reference is a matter of many things, including aesthetic grammar.

Let’s speak simply.

The possibility of reference in some world is logical grammar, the possibility of reference in a defined world is metaphysical grammar; the possibility of reference our world is natural grammar.

Natural languages

Natural languages. Perfect formalization of natural languages is essentially impossible. Elements of language (speech) include phonemes (unit sounds) which are either finite in number or defined recursively, categories, constructions, and particles (constructors and other determiners). The constructions include phoneme → word ® sentence ® compound sentence; and more. How are the various constructs demarcated—i.e. how is the distinction between one word or one sentence and the next recognized? Construct recognition by individuals familiar with the language is part of demarcation; the devices may include silences, lilt, emphasis, body language and more. The distinction, convenient if somewhat artificial, between categories and particles is that the number of elements in a category is large and may vary while the particles are few and relatively fixed (the degrees of which depend on the language, both in use and formally). The various elements may be defined independently of particular languages, i.e. transcendently; however, this is practically impossible due to the peculiarities of languages and the infinite number of constructions from even a finite number of phonemes. Consequently, which constructions belong to a particular language is defined by a combination of use and immanent formal rules. Words may be constructed from phonemes via stem words and from stem words, conjugation, pre-, in-, post-fix, and other devices. Phonemes, stem words, and the devices of construction may be listed in a lexicon (which, though formal, attempts to capture use). Sentences, which transcendently ‘make full sense’, are formally defined by constructions (and use). In written language a meaning free alphabet and set of phonemes are efficient and are among the signs; written language may have special symbols, e.g. stress, where such is not rendered by alphabet alone; punctuation has the function of demarcation; and capitalization may differentiate phonemes where such differentiation in speech is based in use and language intuition. Some words may have iconic meaning over and above the symbolic meaning in the lexicon (and use). Sentences acquire symbolic meaning via use and the rules of construction which model the real world to some degree. As a generalization but not as a rigid rule, words are signs whose meaning derives from association with a concept (the sign-concept is a symbol), and structured sentences acquire iconicity over and above that of its components by structure. The lexicon and the constructions allow that the empirical range of a language is not fully captured due to peculiarities, use, accident, and potential infinity; it aims at ‘good enough’ or better. Who or what constitute the ‘authority’ that determines the formalities? Ultimately, this is use. What determines the elements? While use is again important, the elements, especially categories and constructors and their kinds, are models, at least rough ones, of the world as ‘seen’ by a linguistic community. The categories include the old parts of speech: speech: noun and singular term, pronoun, adjective, determiner (article, demonstrative, possessive, quantifiers, numerals, distributive, and interrogative), verb, adverb, preposition, conjunction, copula, interjection, particle. For further information see the section some details of grammar below and part of speech (Wikipedia).

Thus natural languages weakly model the world, insofar as they are about modeling. For example verb-noun (predicate-subject) form models ‘process’; and such modeling is of course rough. Where greater precision is needed, natural language may allow special vocabularies and rules, as well as special constructs to model patterns; this is a source of scientific and metaphysical languages (science and metaphysics). Now language is a part of the world. In one of its functions it models the ‘real’ world. Thus truth is a concept that pertains to linguistic modeling—it may be called a meta-linguistic concept. It is found, in part by accident and part by experience, that there are relations among true sentences. This may be implicit or explicit and the explicit is the beginning of formal inference, especially deductive logic but also of the kind of inference found in science (which is not quite as usefully formalizable). That is, the logics and their languages emerge, given experience and reflection, from natural language. In this paragraph, a topic of concern has been formalization of language as in science and logic (and mathematics).

Formal languages

In formal languages, the possible constructs are set in advance by the lexicon and rules of construction. In syntactic terms this makes formal study possible which includes issues of completeness and consistency, when a set of inferential rules are appended. Meaning is possible in terms of model instances or by assigned meaning. The latter may be employed as a metaphysical system. Regarding metaphysics, perfection and completeness are possible for some abstract cases. However, ‘correspondence’ perfection is the exception and completeness probably beyond the realm of (human) possibility. But perhaps we can argue that full completeness of metaphysics is beyond the possibility of any limited Being. In this case—the immediate and pragmatic realm—even though correspondence-imperfect, may provide the best possible—perfect even though pragmatic—instrument for negotiating the universe defined by the abstract envelope. While improvement in the pragmatic realm remains desirable, as far as the universe is concerned the dual abstract-concrete system is perfect. In the narrative of The way of Being and related essays, the metaphysical universe is the actual universe.


The formal languages are not the only ‘special’ forms of language. Special kinds of meaning are emphasized and cultivated in literature and its special kinds, particularly poetry. The forms of such forms of language is more far more art than formalization and even where there is formalization it interacts with the artistic side and its purpose need not have to do with rationality or reason but with significant meaning, depiction of the world as human being relates or may relate to it, with evocation of feeling and empathy, and so on. The purpose to this brief paragraph is merely to point out the linguistic forms of literature and poetry but not to categorize or reduce. But it is worth emphasizing that where formal meaning is precise and useful but hopelessly incomplete in being in and negotiating the real, the art forms provide deep relations among individuals, societies, and the world. In these artistic forms, reference and modeling does and must use the evocative form of metaphor (but not to the exclusion of the more particular and precise forms). That however does not imply that metaphor is essentially imprecise for while the particular is a source of one kind of precision, abstraction is a source of other kinds—metaphysical and metaphorical.

Some details of grammar


Grammar is useful (1) in my study of language, logic and metaphysics, mathematics, and formal systems and (2) in my anticipated study of other languages (texts on languages often use grammar terms with which it will be useful to be familiar).

Words and phrases

A typical category is ‘noun’. A noun, adjective, or adverb phrase functions as a noun, adjective, or adverb.

Other kinds of phrases function differently. For example, a verb phrase consists of a verb together with any objects and other dependents; a prepositional phrase consists of a preposition together with its complement (and is therefore usually a type of adverb phrase); and a determiner phrase is a type of noun phrase containing a determiner.

Nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs readily accept new members—they are ‘open’ classes. The others are ‘closed’.


Some grammars do not describe interjections because they are not part of the clause and sentence structure of the language. However, they can form sentences ‘Ouch!’ (depending on the definition of ‘sentence’—one functional definition being a set of words that can be normally uttered between unforced breaks in speech; note that the occasion for such a definition is that it is seems impossible to formulate a prescriptive definition that will include all and only those word combinations that normal speakers speak and recognize as sentences).

Interjections are an open class.

Nouns, singular terms, and noun phrases

A noun typically denotes a person, place, thing, animal or idea. A noun phrase is a group of words that functions as a noun.

The ontological category is, roughly, the ‘entity’.

A singular term refers to a particular entity, e.g. Anil Mitra. This widespread notion is confused as terms do not refer. It is symbol-concepts that refer.


Determiners are words or phrases that precede a noun or noun phrase that express its reference in the context. Determiners include the articles (a or an, and the); demonstratives (this, that…); possessives (my, the cat’s); and quantifiers such as all, some, not one, many, three…; numerals; distributives (each, any), and interrogatives (which).

Determiners are required in many contexts: not ‘Boy hit ball’ but ‘The /a boy hit the / a ball.’.

The ontological functions include altering the specificity of the noun.

In some uses determiners are not required (the ‘zero’ determiner). Examples (a) ‘Tom is funny’ (implicit specification); but note ‘The Tom I know is good.’ (b) or ‘He is funny.’ ‘The he is funny’. (c) ‘Cats are felines’ (all members of a class). However ‘Most cats have four legs’ (most specifies: not all cats) and ‘The cats of Asia are awesome’ (not all cats). (c) In referring to unspecified numbers or amounts ‘There are cats in Asia’, ‘There is cattiness in Asia’; note ‘There are some cats in Asia.’ and ‘There is much cattiness in Asia.’ (d) With singular nouns in some common expressions ‘Yankee Doodle came to town’ (not the town) but note ‘Yankee Doodle did not come to this town’.


The pronouns constitute a small and closed class that function in place of nouns and noun phrases.

Personal pronouns—I (nominative), me (oblique), myself (reflexive), my (possessive determiner), mine (possessive). The nominative case declines as: 2nd person singular / plural—you; 3rd person singular—he, she, it; 1st person plural—we; 3rd person plural—they.

Demonstrative pronouns—this, that, these, those; e.g., ‘this is good’; these can all be used as determiners, e.g., ‘this cheese is good’; and can form pronominal expressions, e.g., this one.

Interrogative pronouns—who, what, which; ‘who’ has an oblique and possessive forms ‘whom’ and ‘whose’.

Relative pronouns—the main relative pronouns are who (and whom and whose), which, and that. Examples: ‘The man who came to dinner.’, ‘The car that was parked in the garage.’, ‘An idea whose time has come.’ (As a relative pronoun, ‘whose’ need not refer to a person.). Here is a proscribed use ‘The man what came to dinner.’.

There as a pronoun—‘There is a river’ has two interpretations (1) A river exists (there as pronoun) and (2) A river is in that place (‘there’ as an adverb).

Indefinite pronouns—pronouns that refer one or more unspecified entities. Example: no one / nothing, everyone / everything, someone / something, anyone / anything, you / one (as in ‘one / you should know that non attendance not allowed’.


The syntactic function of a verb is to convey action, process, occurrence, or state of being. The ontological / semantic function is the same: action, event, process, state.

A verb is not generally marked by word form. The infinitive is the basic form of a verb, e.g. play or to play (bare and full infinitive). However, the suffixes –ate, –ise/ize, –fy frequently signify verbs formed (usually?) from nouns. Many verbs are formed by prefix: under-value, out-last, un-mask, over-take. And verbs can be formed from nouns and adjectives by conversion: snare, nose, dry, and calm.

The imperative is a grammatical mood that commands or requests. Subjunctive forms of verbs are typically used to express various states of unreality such as wish, emotion, possibility, judgment, opinion, necessity, or action that has not yet occurred.

The English modal verbs consist of the core modals can, could, may, might, must, shall, should, will, would, as well as ought (to), had better, and in some uses dare and need.

The copula be, along with the modal verbs and the other auxiliaries, form a distinct class, sometimes called “special verbs” or simply “auxiliaries”. These have different syntax from ordinary lexical verbs, especially in that they make their interrogative forms by plain  inversion with the subject, and their negative forms by adding not after the verb (could I ..? I could not ..).

A finite verb has a subject (express or implied) and can function as the root of an independent clause—one that can stand alone as a simple sentence and which, therefore, has subject and predicate. In English there must be just one finite verb at the root of each clause. Examples (finite, non-finite); the second example has one finite but many non-finite verbs. [I promise to do my homework.] ]He was believed to have been told to have himself examined.].

A non-finite verb is one that is not finite; primary cases are infinitives, participles, and gerunds. Infinitives—the base form of the verb, with or without introduction by the particle ‘to’, used as a non-finite verb; examples: [I want to sit here.] [I sit here.] These are non finite because ‘to sit here’ and ‘sit here’ (as used) are not independent clauses; the to sit form is the full infinitive and the sit form is the bare infinitive. A participle modifies a noun (phrase), e.g., for the infinitive to open: [The flower is opening up.] [The flower has opened up.] [The flower has been opened up.] are examples progressive active, perfect active, and passive participles respectively. A gerund is verb form that appears in positions usually occupied by nouns; in English a gerund has the same form as a progressive action participle; examples for the infinitive to open: [Opening books is exciting.] [I enjoy opening books.] [I am better than most at opening safes.] are examples of gerund as subject, object, and object of a preposition respectively.

Verb phrases

A verb together with its dependents, excluding its subject, may be identified as a verb phrase (although this concept is not acknowledged in all theories of grammar). A verb phrase headed by a finite verb may also be called a predicate.


An adjective is a ‘describing word’ whose main function is to qualify a noun or noun phrase. They cannot in general be identified by their form but often end with suffixes ‘al’, ‘ful’, ‘ic’, ‘ish’ and ‘ous’; or from other adjectives by a prefix: disloyal, unforgotten, irredeemable, overtired.

Adjectives can be used attributively [the big house] or predicatively [the house is big]. Some adjectives are restricted to one use or the other: [the drunken sailor] and [the sailor was drunk].


Many adjectives have comparative and superlative forms.

Adjective phrases

An adjective phrase usually has a single adjective as its head, to which modifiers and complements are added. Modifiers can be preceding adverb or adverb phrases [very warm; more than a little excited] or noun or quantitative phrases [fat-free, two-meter-long].

Complements may be prepositional phrases [angry at the scene], infinitive phrases [easy to pick up], content clauses [unsure where I am], phrases or clauses with ‘than’ after comparatives [smaller than I had imagined].

Some adjective phrases are formed entirely from non adjectives: [two-bedroom house], [a no-jeans policy].


Adverbs modify verbs and verb phrases. Right? No!. That’s not the whole truth. Adverbs can modify just about anything. And they can indicate relationships between clauses and sentences. Roughly, adverbs are words that modify verbs and words that do not fall under any other part of speech.

There is a ‘logical’ approach that asks what function does a certain position in a sentence perform? I’m not going to take this up; others have; the outcome is, no doubt, at most partial order.


Grammarians have difficulty classifying ‘not’. It may be its own category.

One approach to ‘not’ might be to recognize that when I say ‘The sun is shining.’ in declarative mood, it is implicit that I assert the truth of the sentence. Putting ‘Not’ in front of the declarative sentence says explicitly that I declare falsity of the sentence. Thus, does not ‘not’, in that function, have an necessarily semantic role?.

Adverb phrases

An adverb phrase is a phrase that acts as a adverb in a sentence. One kind has an adverb head and modifiers and complements. Another kind is the prepositional phrase which consists of a preposition and its object, e.g. [in the pool, after two years].


A preposition is a word that characteristically expresses spatial, or temporal relations. Common English prepositions are: of, in, on, over, under, to, from, with, in front of, behind, opposite, by, before, after, during, through, in spite of or despite, between, and among.


Conjunctions express a variety of logical relations between items, phrases, clauses and sentences.

The principal coordinating conjunctions in English are and, or, and but, as well as nor, so, yet and for.

There are also correlative conjunctions, where as well as the basic conjunction, an additional element appears before the first of the items being linked. An example is either … or.

Subordinating conjunctions make relations between clauses, making the clause in which they appear into a subordinate clause. Example: [I went to work because I need money.].


A copula in a sentence or independent clause links subject to predicate (a subject complement). Examples: [The sky is blue.].

The English copular verb be has eight forms (more than any other English verb): be, am, is, are, being, was, were, been. Additional archaic forms include art, wast, wert, and occasionally beest (as a subjunctive).


From Grammatical Particle - Wikipedia.

“In modern grammar, a particle is a function word that must be associated with another word or phrase to impart meaning, i.e., does not have its own lexical definition. According to this definition, particles are a separate part of speech and are distinct from other classes of function words, such as articles, prepositions, conjunctions and adverbs. Languages vary widely in how much they use particles, some using them extensively and others more commonly using alternative devices such as prefixes/suffixes, inflection, auxiliary verbs and word order. Particles are typically words that encode grammatical categories (such as negation, mood, tense, or case), clitics, or fillers or (oral) discourse markers such as well, um, etc. Particles are never inflected.

“In English, Particle is a somewhat nebulous term for a variety of small words that do not conveniently fit into other classes of words. The Concise Oxford Companion to the English Language defines a particle as a "word that does not change its form through inflection and does not fit easily into the established system of parts of speech". The term includes the "adverbial particles" like up or out in verbal idioms (phrasal or prepositional verbs) such as "look up" or "knock out"; it is also used to include the "infinitival particle" to, the "negative particle" not, the "imperative particles" do and let, and sometimes "pragmatic particles" like oh and well. Another example is the word "so" in the adverb "so far".

Clauses and sentences

A simple sentence contains a subject and a predicate; it makes sense by itself. A standard form is SVO—subject, verb, object—e.g., The boy hit the ball. The subject is ‘The boy’, the verb is ‘hit’ and the object is ‘the ball’. The predicate is ‘hit the ball’—the verb phrase; it predicates the subject.

A typical sentence contains one independent clause and one or more dependent clauses; sentences may also be formed by linking sentences together using coordinating conjunctions. An independent clause can stand by itself as a sentence. Consider the example [I enjoyed the movie more than my friend did.] ‘I enjoyed the movie’ is the independent or main clause. ‘than my friend did’ is a dependent or subordinate clause—i.e., it augments the independent clause and it cannot stand by itself. A dependent clause is introduced by a dependent word, in this example a subordinating conjunction than which introduces the adverb clause ‘than my friend did’ which modifies the adverb more. A subordinating conjunction can introduce a noun clause, e.g. [I know that he likes me.].

Another type of dependent word is the dependent pronoun. Relative pronouns begin dependent clauses called relative clauses (these are a kind of dependent clause). E.g. [The only one of the seven dwarfs who does not have a beard is Dopey.] where the relative clause ‘who does not have a beard’ describes the pronoun ‘one’.

There is more to this but this is enough for my present purpose.

Other matters

This document is a simple resource to some standard issues. I’m not concerned about things such as:.

Prescriptive versus descriptive grammar

Prescriptive grammar is, roughly, what we were taught in school—this is how it should be even though it does not always satisfy the needs of description and even where convention has it stand over the needs of description.

Descriptive grammar has two concerns (a) what people say and (b) what elements of speech are necessary (and sufficient) to convey meaning (usually literal).

An example

The phrases ‘0.25 miles’, ‘2 miles’, ‘a quarter of a mile’, and ‘one mile’ all sound right.

If the function of mile versus miles is to determine singular vs. plural, then why ‘0.25 miles’?.

Another function of the ‘plural’ form is to distinguish part and whole. But this is not done consistently.

Some thoughts on grammar and metaphysics

1.     Grammar incorporates metaphysics.

2.     It also has or tends to metaphysical arbitrariness and baggage.

3.     Some of the metaphysical arbitrariness concerns what is emphasized in a particular culture. Some baggage is concerned with social class and fashion.

4.     Excessively fixed grammar is sometimes a sign of stagnation, and may result in too much energy being devoted to minutiae and too much intellectual energy being misdirected.

5.     Apparently times of great creative flux in language are associated with fluidity of various grammatical and related forms.

6.     A significant source of modern fixity is mass education, democratization of language, and—though fixed form is not unimportant—to the delusion that fixity results in clarity. More fixity has diminishing return and, beyond a certain point, diminishes the creativity of a culture. And it is far from grammar alone that is the source of clear versus unclear expression.

Further simple thoughts

7.     Periods or full stops—are often irrelevant: in numbered lists within a paragraph, at paragraph ends and other places.

8.     Capitalization—given the use of periods, capitalization at the beginning of a sentence is unnecessary and is easily confused with other uses of capitalization.

9.     Grammatical form—experiment with the arbitrary parameters such as particular manifestations of subject-predicate form. Experiment with alternative forms.

The origins of grammar

How are origins useful to understanding? Origins help show the adaptations e.g. of language, mind and world; and of the parts of language and may show what aspects are not adaptations.

1.     Given language.

2.     Thinking and communicating about the world are among the uses of language.

3.     Some essences of the world will be captured by some aspects of language.

4.     An approximate theory: words mirror simple things and actions, word combinations (sentences) mirror complex things, actions, relationships, interactions….

5.     The ‘theory’ is also rough in its use of the idea of mirroring; the ‘mirror’ is neither flat nor polished… .

The ‘mirror’ metaphor is inadequate even as qualified. Here is a more complete account. Cognition –the perceptual form concept sometimes called the concept-object– is both net and non-congruent with the thing; (conventional i.e. linear and not extended) language is (the result of) a mapping from the concept to the linear form; generally the concept is of a higher dimension –spatially– than that of the linear form – exceptions include the case of a spatially linear and discrete object and linear language itself; thus there is loss of information in linear-linguistic representation; in other words language is rarely literal and mostly figurative –perhaps metaphorical– except for as is to be seen; when speaker or writer and listener or reader ‘own’ the same context speaker-writer image may evoke an equivalent or similar image in listener-reader and in this sense linear-language may be literal in a varied and colorful world; however when there is no common context (even in the case of a writer later reading or a speaker later recollecting his or her own words) linear-language is figurative and falls short of ideal when identity –equivalence– is desired but productive of richness and variety of imagination when desired for expression or creative purpose. Mathematics and descriptive aspects of the world that are reducible to mathematics e.g. theoretical physics are, perhaps, literal in the restrictive sense. Written language probably lends itself better to literal communication in this sense because it is permanently open to inspection and because accompanying context is diminished. Poetry (perhaps) achieves multi-dimensional communication via a (nearly) one-dimensional medium (the multi-dimensionality is not merely spatial but includes affect).

6.     A complete grammar (word and word combination forms) would require a complete ‘picture’ of the world and its possibilities (metaphysics).

7.     Lacking a complete picture, a grammar might be practically complete for a phase of the world e.g. aspects of nature and human society.

8.     The same actual form may have different sentence forms in different languages (this is because sentence form and world form are different in kind –dimension– and mirroring relationships must be conventional to some extent).

9.     And there is therefore arbitrariness in sentence and word form; but this arbitrariness is from language to language.

10. Within a given language, precisely because of the arbitrariness, elimination of (some) arbitrariness is effective (for thought and speech).                                                                              (A).

11. This does not explain the elimination of all arbitrariness –to the extent that the forms of language are fixed– and it does not explain the variety of forms of a given language since the variety varies among languages.

12. That certain forms sound ‘right’ and others sound ‘wrong’ may be built in to biological potential (for A to work.) That there is arbitrariness but not complete arbitrariness in what may sound right or wrong seems reasonable. The incomplete arbitrariness may serve as explanation for what is common among languages and the partial arbitrariness may serve as explanation for what is variable                                                                              (B).

13. Likewise the ability to set forms.

14. Oversetting of forms is more effective than under-setting and unless optimal degree of form is known, oversetting is likely for practical completeness (there may be other ‘reasons’ for oversetting that have no connection to optimal elaboration of grammatical form).

15. Because of (B) all familiar grammatical forms (necessary or otherwise) seem ‘correct;’ and unfamiliar forms seem ‘incorrect’.

16. Why then is there not a universal language? Or, why is one language not universal?.

17. Perhaps due to isolation and isolating (group bonding) functions of language (even if there were a universal origin).

18. Global communication contributes to larger groups of people speaking the ‘same’ language; conversely, larger groups may be more effectively served by greater uniformity.

19. Universal education, especially education in ‘mechanics’ of grammar but not its logic and necessities and its arbitrary and changeable factors, makes change in time slower; and despite these advantages, slave (adherence to form, resistance to variation without understanding) mentality is also a result; (does education enhance or limit slave attitudes?)

20. Changing reality, especially social arrangements and constructs and cultural constructs including aesthetics are enhanced by changing linguistic possibilities and forms.

21. A balance between form and change is good or desirable.

22. The connection between what is thought to be desirable and what happens is tenuous because of ‘inertia’ and because what is thought to be desirable may have no organic connection to actual forces of change.

23. It is a mistake to think that all variability has been eliminated even though one might think this from the extent of grammatical forms that are formally taught.

24. What is formally taught (probably) allows more freedom than I may imagine (something to be thought about; but it is clear that what is formally taught varies from formal authority to formal authority, from place to place…).

25. In fact (among speakers and writers) there is freedom; that there is no freedom and any knowledge of how much form versus freedom there is partakes of illusion; that there is no illusion is illusory; all such illusions are encouraged by enculturation and made possible by biology; it is conventional, though not merely conventional, that there is no freedom or illusion.

26. It is in such freedom more likely than in codifying new form that change that is necessary to vitality (cultural form and content where, roughly, form corresponds to art and content to knowledge) comes about; freedom is necessary even if one does not think there is or should be any because without it there would be no change or adaptation to external change and possibility; and because without it we would not have arrived at where we are – there would be no beginning and no arrival.

27. Freedom and form are necessary; and logically necessary (well almost; in an indeterministic world there is a possibility of form without freedom but the probability appears to approach zero) and each has a ‘freeing’ (creating) manifestation, a conventional manifestation, and a slave manifestation; hypothesis: slave to freedom requires balance of form and freedom.

28. Existence of freedom will not altogether free an individual from psychosocial necessities of form; existence of form does not deliver eternal (unchanging) perfection. In an adaptive model of change, selection would occur according to what is adaptive from among spontaneous and random –the meaning of random here is that there is no necessary connection between the actual changes and adaptation– changes among speakers. (I use ‘speakers’ rather than ‘users’ to emphasize that the production of language is not separate from use even though there may be institutional and formal separations whose propagation is amplified, etched in psyche, in universal education in the service –perhaps– of efficiency and maintained through hegemony. Here, by hegemony I refer, simply, to forms of control that are maintained, not by force, but convincing the individual that the controls are good.) This brings up the question of Darwinism in cultural (including linguistic) change. A middle ground response might be that an adaptive model forms a rough envelope to actual change which remains roughly but not exclusively within adaptive boundaries. Within this envelope there is much play (whose engines are accident, playfulness and creativity) and, perhaps, occasional micro-adaptation. Play, creative power, cultivation and accident are among the engines of change.