[Milton-L] Word and Thing

cbartonphd1 cbartonphd1 at verizon.net
Thu Oct 10 10:49:17 EDT 2013


Google it, Michael; essentially it meant that the name should be in harmony with the person or thing. See, for example,  www.cultural-china.com/chinaWH/html/en/43History878.html .

Best to all,

Carol Barton


Sent from my Galaxy S®III

-------- Original message --------
From: "J. Michael Gillum" <mgillum at ret.unca.edu> 
Date: 10/10/2013  10:09 AM  (GMT-05:00) 
To: John Milton Discussion List <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu> 
Subject: Re: [Milton-L] Word and Thing 
 
I had thought what Sprat and those guys wanted was only one word for each kind of thing (or matter, action, property, process)--a scientific vocabulary free of ambiguity and literary ornament. I don't think it had any connection with the idea of an Adamic language of essences--not that words can be intrinsically right, just that each word should have one clear agreed-upon meaning.

A sidebar--does anyone know what the Confucians meant by "rectification of names"?




On Wed, Oct 9, 2013 at 4:16 PM, Horace Jeffery Hodges <horacejeffery at gmail.com> wrote:
Prof. Martin Kuester sent me a copy of his book Milton's Prudent Ambiguities, which I read and briefly blogged upon:

http://gypsyscholarship.blogspot.kr/2013/10/professor-dr-martin-kuester-miltons.html

Reading it led me to an expression of something that has puzzled me:

I am especially interested in . . . what the seventeenth-century reformers of language meant by a direct correspondence between word and thing. (I note in passing that the Hebrew term davar means both "word" and "thing.") By "thing," did they mean something like a material object? Or rather anything at all? Whatever was meant, would the word for a thing be a name, i.e., a noun? I find this puzzling. While nouns might constitute the largest category among the parts of speech, they are a minority in most sentences. The previous sentence, for example, has only six nouns out of nineteen words -- and none of them, for that matter, naming material objects. Furthermore, words in a sentence have logical and grammatical relations to each other, a feature ignored by the reformers' emphasis upon the word-thing correspondence. 

I ask these questions in ignorance . . .

Jeffery Hodges

PS Prof. Kuester's book is available at Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Miltons-Prudent-Ambiguities-Words-Poetry/dp/0761845283

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