• Alex

Language, Thought, Feminism Musings

Here is an emergent, unfinished set of connections ... simplified from shape thought, into word thought and including some quotes that feel helpful in communicating the implications...

''Whatever is unnamed, undepicted in images, whatever is omitted from biography, censored in collections of letters, whatever is misnamed as something else, made difficult- to-come-by, whatever is buried in the memory by the collapse of meaning under an inadequate or lying language - this will become not merely unspoken, but unspeakable.' Adrienne Rich

Unspeakable. Unshareable.

From an autistic and neurodiversity perspective verbal language and cognition is inadequate and certainly inadequate in isolation. It is also exclusive and alienating, obliterating the communication of a vast range of inner meaning making and thought. For the hierarchy of verbal as the assumed, sole, best or most valuable means of expression and communication allows for a whole set of assumptions to be made about the other, simply because they do not communicate verbally. This is similar to the obliteration of diversity of language during colonisation and may also be a product of this obliteration; after all the first means of communication were tactile, audible, pictorial, scent and other sensory based symbols but were not words.

Originally humans (groups of) would have shared a sensory meaning making common with animals and other life systems. The evolution of spoken language confers the ability for humans to express their sensory experience in audible symbols... and the rest...

Depending on who is 'in power' (policing the language) these word sounds are either 'allowed' or 'not allowed' based presumably on whether or not they express ideas that suit the status quo. This creates a split between the speakable and the unspeakable. The meaningful and the meaningless. The idea, or symbol has become cut off from the shared sensory world and is used rather than as a tool to connect and communicate, as a tool to prevent change and assert power over, to reduce communication to a particular idea.

"Language' is a system of signs that serves as a means of communication and a means of formulating and expressing thoughts. It is conventional to identify signs in this definition as words. The error of mistaking the acoustic/written manifestation of language (reflected in speech) for language itself leads to the misconception that language is necessarily verbal."Olga Bogdashina

"For at least 30 years autistic people have been publishing information, trying to communicate the existence of the misinterpretations of their differences, without much professional notice. They are trying to explain something that most of us haveneverexperienced. That effort alone can be complex; in addition,they are trying to speak in the language form of typical non- autistics, not their own language. Many of them have had to learn to translate between the languages. Besides, the ideas are unconventionalto most of their audience." Olga Bogdashina

As a person whose primary experience is of words as shapes and colours, rhythms and patterns of energy (sound) I feel like there is a lot to be said for the how of language. Any thoughts?

"When we find ourselves among foreigners we do not assume they have nothing to say or that they cannot communicate. If we want to understand them and to establish communication with them, we have to learn their language or find an interpreter." Olga Bogdashina

(or gesticulate wildly - my addition!)


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