|SOME LINGUISTIC FUNCTIONS
When considering the work of Chomsky in terms
of linguistic functions, it allows us to
talk in terms of an innate capacity to understand
the functions themselves.
Nevertheless, the *recognition* that takes
place has to do with particular linguistic
grammatical forms. The functions themselves
are recognised as what animates the particular
grammatical forms but, at the same time,
the functions are always themselves seen
in terms of the particular grammatical forms.
In other words, we have a capacity to recognise
these broad functions within the structural
specifics of language, but which is only
activated upon exposure to these elements
of language in such a way that we never apprehend
them in a *pure* from.
Chomsky of course has something to say about
this, in terms of the capacity to distinguish
*noun phrases* from *verb phrases, * but
this view of the linguistic functions based
upon the noun/verb distinction, is ultimately
dictated by a concern with form, not function.
The *noun phrase* and *verb phrase* distinction
roughly corresponds to AIT's notion of the
Imbuant and the Informant, but this model
imposes a number of distinct limitations
that comparison with the AIT model brings
out. First, when examined in AIT terms, it
can be seen that Chomsky's identification
of the *verb phrase* conflates the Informant
function with the Processant function.
Although this is to some extent avoided within
logical terminology, which speaks of a *subject*
and a *predicate, * there still remains the
question of the actual functions at work
here, especially since once one accepts *subject*
and *predicate* as the basis, the only function
that is left to the Processant is that of
the *copula* -- the notion of *joining* the
subject to the predicate. The very basic
mistake here, as shown within the word *joining*
itself, is the assumption that something
like a *predicate* is possible without a
*copula. * But seen from an AITist perspective
of linguistic functions, it becomes clear
that the Processant function itself creates
the predicate, by allowing it to be semantically
separable from the subject.
The main point therefore is to develop a
notion of these three functions that analyses
them in terms of how they inter-relate, which
the *copula* model has manifestly failed
THE BASIC FUNCTIONS At first sight, the two
main functions are similar to the conception
of both the *noun phrase/verb phrase* and
the *subject/predicate* distinctions.
The first function is that of EXTANTAL IMBUANCE.
This roughly corresponds to both *noun phrase*
and *subject, * can be seen operating within
a word or phrase that, through the structure
of its utterance, refers to some particular
entity or occurrence. However, neither the
*noun phrase* or the *subject* conception
of this function adequately captures the
basic relation between reference and instantiation
that is at work here. That is to say, the
*referent* of this type of word or phrase
is instantiated in such a way that the Extantal
Imbuant linguistically effects its own referent.
This can be linked to my previous discussion
of words as the mark of the process of *distinguishing
as* or *identifying as. * The *distinction/identification*
process itself is essentially perceptual,
but the word allows us to assign a regularity
to it. This regularity is linked specifically
to the *as* part of *distinguishing as* or
*identifying as. * We use a word to bring
the particular distinction we are making
under other cases of having made similar
The utterance of the word instantiates whatever
falls under the particular distinction we
use the word to mark, in the sense that this
then becomes *psychologically extant. *
[The exact process by which this happens
is obviously something upon which a lot more
needs to be said.]
At the same time, this plays a role within
linguistic reference, inasmuch as the distinction
within which something is *distinguished
or identified AS, * may or not apply to a
particular entity. If someone said *cat*
when confronted by a dog, then the instantiation
does not match the actual entity, such that
there is no semantic correspondence between
the instantiation and the entity to which
it is applied.
[Wittgenstein's notion of *rules of use*
is useful here.]
The second function is that of MODAL INFORMANCY.
This roughly corresponds to the notion of
*predicate, * but only corresponds to that
of the *verb phrase* when taken in combination
with the third function that AIT recognises,
that of the MODAL PROCESSANT.
Although these two should be properly considered
as separate, it is useful to treat both of
them together, because of the close interdependency
of their functions. Or more accurately, the
main function of the Processant can be seen
as the enabling of Modal Informancy.
To reiterate, this function is missed by
the usual notion of the *copula, * since
the Processant function is not *to join*
the subject to the predicate, but rather
allows the predicate to be separable from
the subject which, as such, means that the
Processant literally allows predication.
The Modal Informant is where a mode or modes
of the existence not already made explicitly
extant within the Imbuant are introduced.
The mode or modes of existence can be either
of a temporary nature or some more specific
permanent condition. However, although these
do give whatever is stated by the Imbuant
a more specific character, state, or manner
etc., the mode or modes of existence of the
Informant are stated in a quite specific
way, such that they can be either apply or
not apply to it; i. e., they can be either
true or false of it.
In order to qualify as a sentence or proposition,
any string of words must consist of these
elements of Imbuant, Processant and Informant.
Or, rather, these three functions must be
at work in order that a string of words can
be a sentence or a proposition.
THE PROCESSANT FUNCTION
This can be seen as having two distinct aspects,
the first of which is MODAL INDICATION.
Again, this encapsulates why the Processant
function cannot be described in the traditional
sense as that of a "copula" for,
upon closer investigation, it does not strictly
perform any kind of "joining. "
This can be seen if one considers the difference
between "The tall man, " and "The
man is tall. " To some extent one could
say that in both "The man" is 'joined'
to "tall" but, in fact, these elements
are not so irrevocably joined in the latter
as in the former. In both cases, the man
has the individuated or specific mode of
existence "tall, " but only in
the second case is this mode of existence
specifically held forth as that which the
utterance points out. Thus a string of words
that does not contain a specific Processant
function cannot be said to contain a Modal
Informant. And in any string of words where
the Modal Processant appears, attention is
specifically drawn to the particularity of
the Modal Informant. Whether or not the mode
of existence is stated as temporarily or
permanently belonging to the Imbuant, it
is the indication of the Modal Informant
that provides the contextual point of the
The second aspect of the Processant function
is that of MODAL INTERROGATION.
The Modal Processant, in its role of modal
indication, functions such as to exhibit
a Modal Informant. And where a mode of existence
is thus exhibited, it can be examined and
hence challenged. A sentence or proposition
is distinguishable from other types of utterance,
inasmuch as it explicitly says something
(the Informant) about something (the Imbuant.)
But this something that is exhibited can
be detached from the Imbuant, inasmuch as
it is exhibited within the possibility of
not being a mode of existence of the Imbuant.
This aspect of the Processant can be seen
most clearly within the role it has within
question formation, within the way it allows
the sentence "The man is tall"
to be transformed into the question "Is
the man tall? " Here it can be seen
that the so-called copuletic function is
inferred from the fact that where a mode
of existence is displayed as a Modal Informant
of a particular Extantal Imbuant, it can
be effectively challenged as to its modal
informancy, and disjoined from the Imbuant
to which it is presented as pertaining. Thus
it is assumed that the possibility of this
disjunction arises out of a previous conjoining
of the Imbuant to an Informant, as opposed
to the indication function that AIT proposes.
But more importantly, the Processant function
introduces into the structure of language
the question of the veracity of utterances.
The cognitive possibility of 'truth' or 'falsehood'
is created out of this particular syntactic
structure. A proposition must make use of
the Processant function, which displays a
particular mode of existence. This again
can be seen if one considers the distinction
between "The tall man, " and "The
man is tall, " which both describe the
same modes of existence. The difference is
that the Processant allows these modes of
existence to be displayed in terms of a possible
correspondence wherein the Informant pertains
the Imbuant. Obviously, we can then test
this proposition, as to whether 'tall' does
indeed correspond to 'the man, ' but only
because this has been initiated into a separable
pertaining correspondence by the Processant.
It should of course be noted that there are
in fact two types of 'correspondence' simultaneously
at work here. The first we can call semantic
correspondence. Where someone points to a
dog and says, "Cat, " there is
no semantic correspondence between the referent
and the standard usage of this particular
word. The question of semantic correspondence
does not of course arise where the referent
is not physically present, which is precisely
the case where the referent is made manifest
through Extantal Imbuance. Nevertheless,
it is the distinction between the actually
perceived referent and that which is extantally
imbued which allows semantic non-correspondence
to be made manifest.
The second type of correspondence, which
we can call propositional correspondence,
is directly attributable to the Processant
function. Here, the semantic reference of
the Informant is separated from that of the
Imbuant in order to be related back to it.
This propositional correspondence itself
depends upon a semantic correspondence between
the Informant and a particular aspect of
that to which the Imbuant refers. If both
these semantic correspondences hold, then
the proposition itself can be said to be
true. Thus the Processant allows correspondence/non-correspondence
to be introduced into the formal structure
of language, in a way that goes beyond the
correct/incorrect use of words upon which
semantic correspondence alone depends.
NOTE and EXAMPLE It's very important to the
above analysis that the notion of *propositional
correspondence* is sharply distinguished
from that of *identity relations. *
as an example of the difference between semantic
and propositional correspondence, suppose
two people are standing and talking, and
in front of them is a man who is standing
still. If one of them simply says: "The
running man" (a phrase which consists
solely of an Imbuant,) the other is likely
to say: "Where? I don't see a running
man. " This is an example of the *semantic
correspondence* I was talking about above.
The instantiation of the Imbuant has no correspondence
to the particular entity that stands before
the two people.
[Note that although the Imbuant might be
said to be *descriptive* in this case, this
purely for the purpose of accurate reference.
Again, because this phrase consists entirely
of an Imbuant, it does not explicitly say
something (the Informant) about something
Anyway, returning to the above example, if
one of the two people says: "The man
is running, " the other is more likely
to say: "No, he's not running, he's
standing still. " So the second person
assumes that "The man" has semantic
correspondence with the man standing in front
of them, and can also see whether "running"
has semantic correspondence with the same
man. So now we have two semantic correspondences
that can be treated as separable. If BOTH
of these semantic correspondences hold, then
you agree with the sentence. If the first
holds, and the second doesn't then the sentence
[Note that *the second semantic correspondence*
is the Modal Informant. Or, rather, the whole
question of Modal Informancy
Note also that if the first had said: "The
woman is running" the second would be
likely respond in the same way as to "The
running man, " i. e., "Where? I
don't see a running woman. " Obviously,
it might be objected that "The running
man" itself could easily be answered
by "No, he's not running, he's standing
still. " But in this case something
like "The man is running" has been
assumed from "The running man, "
or, at least, there has been the same separation
of "The man" from "running"
that the Processant explicitly performs.