common practice


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Cinoc, who was then about fifty, pursued a curious profession. As he said himself, he was a "word-killer": he worked at keeping Larousse dictionaries up to date. But whilst other compilers sought out new words and meanings, his job was to make room for them by eliminating all the words and meanings that had fallen into disuse.
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In an earlier conversation I had about the sessions and in particular in relation to Thacker's quotation couple of very interesting points were made which I want to recall. The first one is that Thacker suggests that there is a distinction between the use of language: so there is ordinary use of language and the one that is more experimental and represented by avant-garde practices.
The second one, which also relates to the previous one, is that there seems to be also an assumption that there are people who are ruled by language, who, so to speak, live in it, and those who can influence its structures. This perhaps could be considered a problematic division, which might be interesting to discuss. And this notion of a 'word killer' is useful in this consideration?
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and also that there are those who know what it's parameters are, for example Cinoc has to "make room" for the new words and meanings... the room made is only as big as the book, which has implications for Internet - how can boundaries be drawn et
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But isnt there also a suggestion that the processing of disappearance, being-forgotten has been changed by the arrival of the lexicographer; that previously, in an age when language was part of the natural order of the world, its passing was part of the natural passing of things; but that the appearance of the lexicographer was also the appearance of the word-killer and so a change in the relation of language to the natural world? This is all very Foucauldian, but the Perec text seems heavily influenced by the Preface to The Order of Things...
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Of course projects that set out to archive the historical content of the internet would be protected from the vicissitudes of lexicography, right? It would be an enormous transtemporal dictionary-encyclopaedia. But that apparent escape from the codifications of language that the dictionary performs would then exist in some much wider but, presumably, also bounded and codified time-space.
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From Borges' The Library of Babel: "This thinker observed that all the books, no matter how diverse they might be, are made up of the same elements: the space, the period, the comma, the twenty-two letters of the alphabet. He also alleged a fact which travelers have confirmed: In the vast Library there are no two identical books. From these two incontrovertible premises he deduced that the Library is total and that its shelves register all the possible combinations of the twenty-odd orthographical symbols (a number which, though extremely vast, is not infinite): Everything: the minutely detailed history of the future, the archangels' autobiographies, the faithful catalogues of the Library, thousands and thousands of false catalogues, the demonstration of the fallacy of those catalogues, the demonstration of the fallacy of the true catalogue, the Gnostic gospel of Basilides, the commentary on that gospel, the commentary on the commentary on that gospel, the true story of your death, the translation of every book in all languages, the interpolations of every book in all books."
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"Yes. It's a code. Each letter is standing in for some other letter. And the beauty is, the whole thing works. I mean, somebody has taken a text, some kind of really big weird text, and substituted each letter for some other letter, and the whole thing comes out not only making sense, but also giving the impression of telling a story. Oh, the code is slightly flawed. The Unknown would appear to have spelling errors, to be a hypertext novel that is flawed . . . when in fact it's an amazingly perfect encoding of some other text."
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n practice any logical or formal system must run on some kind of pltform to aquire meaning wether a human brain or a digital computer.
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he had returned to taxonomic anonymity hundreds of varieties of cattle, species of birds, insects, and snakes, rather special sorts of fish, kinds of crustaceans, slightly dissimilar plants and particular breeds of vegetables and fruit
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This idea of returning something to anonymity is quite strange to me, especially with language. It seems to suggest that words have some prior and necessary existence, before they are so to speak discovered by the appearance of the concept which then makes the word visible.
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"This idea of returning something to anonymity is quite strange to me, especially with language." evokes for me covering something up again or interring it, cloaking it...but isn't it important to distinguish spoken language here from the written word...in terms of having a natural relationship between language and the world, since the written word, haven't there always been guardians of the word?
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"a mode of learning that thus is concerned with forgetting and unlearning" - thinking about that...may be some time...! :)
13
"Eureka" he said, "Stratton, come here, I want you."
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words like codes that activate memory, bringing meaning through the affective recognition. 'returned to anonimity' through 'fallen into disuse.', the use seems to bring the rule to teach. Experimental use of language would more probably bring them from anonymity. Killing the dictionnary.
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Who would know ever again what a vigigraphe was, "a type of telegraph consisting of watchtowers communicating with each other"?
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It seems there is a reference to the relationship between communication and codification. That in order and for the sake of convenience there is a standardization - which yes has a limit on how many words can be there to work - in turn perhaps this standardization of language also becomes a standardization of thought
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who can be a word killer?
is word killing anonymous/invisible?
is word killing the physical act of scrapping the word and its definition out of the dictionary?
how long does it take to kill the word? and who participates in this act?
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the prohibition of words leading to the disappearance of concepts
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scratch and sniff is all the rage apparently
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The Unknown is flawed, you said it yourself!"
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we're not flawed we are imperfect
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Is it more that complexity is applied to systems which may have a non-complex state, and is whether you think of language as a system...?
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The idea of the complexity of language is a symptom of thinking of human language as code.
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Too many words could be a threat for language in order to work
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