A Dialogue on Linguistic Creativity

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Debaprasad Bandyopadhyay

দেবপ্রসাদ বন্দ্যোপাধ্যায়

 Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata

This paper is an abridged transcript of an imagined dialogue between Prof. Pro-Chomsky (PC) and Mr. Anti- Chomsky (AC). AC’s point of departure from Chomskian innateness hypothesis was mainly guided by Rolland Barthes, M. Foucault, and J. Kristeva. AC has risen following points in connection with the Chomskian innateness hypothesis:

1. From where does the ideal speaking subject speak? Where is the locus of ideal speaking subject? What is about the history of such ideal speaking subject? Does the outside influence in formation of inside LAD? What happens to transcendental Cogito (as postulated in Cartesian Linguistics), when it is subjected to the outside sociality? (Here I am inkling towards Psychoanalysis — to the construct of “psyche” rather than that of cogito as I am emphasizing on the society-psyche interface).

2. PC, out of his Cartesian anxiety, considers body as a machine. He deploys technical metaphors (e.g., The terms like “Computation’, “array” “interface”, “parser “etc or operations like “COMMAND”, “SATISFY”, “SPELL OUT”) for explaining human body. These are not metaphors or case of displacement only, but a case of metonymic transformation of human body as these technical metaphors condense the scope of human potentiality. Does human body follow algorithm only? Do we not have extra-/non-algorithmic cognitive ability? (AC’s point is that Cognitive Domain is not algorithmic only.)

3. Chomskian syntax analyzes the algorithm of “normal” “well-formed” sentences only. Apart from the exclusion of institution-body correlation in the Chomskian hypothesis, this very construction of “natural language” (e.g., the well-constructed written sentences) mercilessly marginalizes the language of so-called non-“natural” madness or folly. How do we know the differences between normal way of speaking and abnormal way of speaking? This question was initiated by Foucault (1968) to beg the premise of Cartesian cogito. Chomsky, who is like an old-fashioned physicist, is interested in VIBGYOR. However, in the domain of Art (where infinite sets of colors are illuminating) and literature, there is a proliferation of “deviations” from “normal standard” (as constructed by the Ideological State Apparatuses) and without such “deviations” no work of art or literature is possible. Is this domain of Art and Literature, a domain of unreason or madness or is it un-scientific?

4. According to AC, Chomskian syntax is an anotomo-bio-political tool for knowing the docile body of the speaking subject. The will to know the body(especially cognitive domain) of the speaking subject leads to the will to power over the docile body of the stable subject, who is objectified at the moment of deployment of syntactic tools. Thus, the subjectification of discipline of Linguistics (an enlightenment project) is possible.

About Debaprasad Bandyopadhyay

Debaprasad Bandyopdhyay (b. 1965), through his 25 years journey in the realm of institutionalized academics did 27 different types of works, which are someway different from the earlier paradigms or, one might say that those works are not only mere reproductions of his inherited institutionalized cultural capital or a mimicry of a colonially imposed model that leads to intellectual anorexia or rather a type falsification of earlier paradigms. However, that might be not only a lofty claim but it also hid the fact that all our information and knowledge are socially accumulated knowledge that was, it is matter of regret, posed as private property through the sign © and the wisdom is rarely available. Bandyopadhyay’s works and projects are the products of his social milieu. Bandyopadhyay is a local sub-altern public sphere academician, who avoids the technical intelligentsia (followers of Sahib’s models and they are not committed to the persons who are accommodating surplus work-time to them by performing surplus labour) or inorganic intellectuals and thus fails to be a part of academic tribe and its subsequent socialization process. Of course, that socialization process does not lead to legendary Socratic dialogue. He is also a political activist though he has not affiliated to any political parties as he was always talking about the corporatization of political parties within the money-sign-based democratic system. He is a regular participant in TV and radio talk-shows and documentary films, street-corners’ talks and International seminars on socio-political, psychological, linguistic, environmental and economic issues. He also writes editorial columns in newspapers. He is also a part of parallel academics as it is found in West Bengal’s Little Magazine Movement, though that was not counted as the part his academic pursuit by his parent institute. His parent institute justifiably does not believe in the domain of parallel academics as this unorganized sector does not directly contribute in the transactions of formal/organized print capitalist eco-enemy paper-publication. Though the dissemination of knowledge is also observed in this space of these parallel academics as all these writings in public sphere simultaneously influence the classroom-discourse and some of them are translated into English, French and Italian. Not only that, Bandyopadhyay also sought engagement with the people, who, by supplying their surplus labour, are sustaining his livelihood. Bandyopadhyay, a linguist by training and a Ph.D.-holder (1996), a junior lecturer (1999-2011) in an autonomous central government institute in India, tries his best for those from he has received and is receiving the manifestation of surplus labour by executing some self-funded projects on economic issues in West Bengal, India. Recently he has got a consolation promotion to the post of Assistant Professor. He has done following 27 research works: 1. Crippled Creativity: An inquiry into language, psyche, society: 2. VALENCY OF BANGLA VERB AND PROBLEM OF COMPOUND VERBS: 3. Archaeology of Bangla Grammar : 4. CAN COMPUTER SPEAK? 5. FUZZY LOGICAL EXPRESSION IN BANGLA : 6. FOLKLORE AND FOLK-LANGUAGE: MYTH OR REALITY? 7. HISTORICISM IN THE DISCOURSE OF BANGLA LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE 8. ABHABA, ECP, DELETION AND TRACE 9. SVATVA OR MY-NESS AND ECONOMIC ENTITLEMEMT 10. TRANSLATION STUDIES 11. MASCULINITY STUDIES 12. YAYATI & BABAR COMPLEX 13. SOCIO-ECONOMIC SURVEYS IN AGRICULTURE AND INDUSTRY IN WEST BENGAL 14. CONCEPT OF BODY IN INDIAN PHILOSOPHY AND ARCHITECTURE 15. THE CONCEPT OF ERROR (KHYATI) IN MAD-(WO)MEN’S LANGUAGE 16. THE CONCEPT OF PERCEPTUAL TIME AND GRAMMATICAL TIME IN BANGLA 17. BANGLA CALLIGRAPHY, LANGUAGE ART AND LINGUISTIC PEDAGOGY 18. WO(L)D SPACES: NON-EXISTENCE OF WORDS 19. ANEKANTA METHODS 20. SILENCEME: SILENT OTHER IN LINGUISTICS 21. IMAGINED BOUDARIES AND PRE-COLONIAL INDIAN IMAGI-NATION 22. MAKING OF THE INDIAN PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENCE 23. SEGMENTING THE SUPRASEGMENTALS : MUSICKING IN SPEAKING 24. INTERPRETING GENETIC STRUCTURE BY DEPLOYING LINGUISTIC STRUCTURE 25. GLOTTOPOLITICS OF LINGUISTIC SUBALTERNITY OR AN AGENDA FOR PLANNING FROM BELOW 26. SEMIOTICS OF PHOTOGRAPHY 27. SOCIOLOGY OF CONTEMPORARY ACADEMICS
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