Tower of Babel (was: RE: "semantic domain")

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Mon Jun 01 1998 - 06:42:13 EDT

At 4:49 AM -0400 6/01/98, Pete Phillips wrote:
>I wonder whether we will ever get to the heart of this. We're all talking
>different scripts - I am using cognitive linguistics, you
>psycholinguistics, others other linguistics. It's almost as if we need a
>universal translator to understand our own use of a common language!!! :>)

That is the burden, it appears, of the Genesis narrative of the Tower of
Babel. It has always seemed to me that the Tower of Babel is a magnificent
emblem of the modern University which might be better termed a
"pluriversity." And of course the tower is built with as much ivory as can
be incorporated into it. There are times when even B-Greek seems to
exemplify very well the problems of communication between those of us who
"live and move and have our being" in "semantic domains" that are at least
partially isolated from each other.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
Summer: 1647 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243 OR

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