Cyberspace and the Social Reality

It is man and human groups – as producers and shapers of languages and the social reality – that should be at the heart of the study of language. Without humans and their groups, there is no language or social reality. Language is never an agent or actor in matters linguistic, but only its creators and users are, that is, humans and their groups.

Social reality

Continue reading “Cyberspace and the Social Reality”

Advertisements

Can Economics or Linguistics Be Scientific?

Natural sciences are ‘scientific,’ meaning that they delve into the (ontologically objective) material reality, the existence of which is independent of human will. The social sciences can never be scientific in the same sense, because their field of research is the (always ontologically subjective) social reality that is generated by humans and fully dependent on human will. Ergo, economics cannot be a science, because human views and decisions on the exchange of goods change unpredictably, that is, how and when human groups concerned want. In the case of linguistics, this discipline can be scientific at the level of probing into language as the biological capacity for speech. As such it is a product of biological evolution and part of the (ontologically objective) material reality. However, when dealing with Einzelsprachen (or languages, as actualizations of the biological capacity for speech, actualizations produced and maintained by human groups), the linguist cannot hope to achieve scientific exactness or discover scientific in its character laws, because Einzelsprachen are part of the social reality. It is humans and their groups alone who decide on how Einzelsprachen are shaped. As such Einzelsprachen are (ontologically subjective, imagined) actualizations of the (ontologically objective, material, biological) capacity for speech, that is, language.

When Did History Begin?

Traditionally, the emergence of history is connected to the appearance of writing. But such a view is highly biased in favor of literate societies, or in political terms, in favor of the imperialist West that dominated most of the world between the 16th and 20th centuries. Should one really stick to this definition, it would compel one to admit that non-literate indigenous societies had no history in the Americas before the 16th century, in Australia prior to the turn of the 18th century, or across most of sub-Saharan Africa before the 1880s, that is, until European ‘colonizers / civilizers’ arrived there. However, in Europe itself, the vast majority of the population (peasantry, serfs) could not read or write well until the turn of the 20th century. But no one seriously proposes that European history belongs only to the nobility and their descendants.

Altamira Cave

Continue reading “When Did History Begin?”

What is a Unit of History?

The traditional Eurocentric opinion maintains that some human groups have more history than others. Usually, these ‘haves’ are from the West, while the ‘have-nots’ are identified as located in the non-Western areas. In essence, it is just a variation on the topic of the ‘inherent superiority’ of the West and its ‘white’ (‘Aryan,’ or now ‘Caucasian’) race over the rest of humanity. But what is history from the quantitative perspective? The raw material of history is the past, or more exactly the human past. This kind of past is none other but the social reality produced and maintained by humans and their groups through stories about themselves and on relations among one another. The life span of humans being on average the same, and the level of their interaction with others likewise, each person contributes to and participates in the social reality to more or less the same degree. Ergo, on average, each person produces a similar ‘amount’ of the past. Hence, the overall ‘size’ of history in the case of different human groups directly depends on the number of their members. In the more populous parts of the world there is potentially more history than elsewhere.

Does Africa have history?

Continue reading “What is a Unit of History?”

On the Open-Ended (Never-Ending) Character (Nature) of Language Politics

Once I aspired to compose a dictionary of language politics, but then I understood that as languages are constructed by people, functions are conferred or imposed on languages by humans and their groups, as well. Apart of the nowadays  usual fare of national, official, state or constitutional languages; such ones as ancestral, interethnic or indigenous languages make an appearance, too. Basically, as many symbolical or function statuses may be attached to languages as humans and their groups desire or find necessary. Hence, the potential variety is endless, limited only by human imagination and the sheer number of human groups.

Continue reading “On the Open-Ended (Never-Ending) Character (Nature) of Language Politics”

Basic Competency in Cyrillic – the EU’s Third Official Alphabet

With the 2007 accession of Bulgaria to the European Union (EU), Cyrillic became another official alphabet in the EU, alongside the most widespread Latin (Roman) script and the Greek alphabet, largely limited to Cyprus and Greece themselves.

The EU is increasingly a common space of economy, social relations culture, research and politics. In Bulgaria, Cyprus and Greece population at large acquires a high competence in the Latin script in order to be able to read road signs with place names and other basic notices elsewhere in Europe, and also to learn other European languages. In other EU countries, especially the old Fifteen, a basic knowledge of the Greek script, allowing for reading road signs with place names and basic notices is widespread.

The Euro banknote with the name of the currency in the three scripts: Latin, Greek and Cyrillic alphabets
The Cyrillic acronym of the European Central Bank in Bulgarian

Continue reading “Basic Competency in Cyrillic – the EU’s Third Official Alphabet”