Friday, June 6, 2014

Language Note and Pronunciation Guide

Korzybski: A Biography (Free Online Edition) 
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Throughout this book, I’ve used “extensional devices”, linguistic techniques originated by Korzybski or his students which include indexing, dating, using etc., quotes, hyphens, using non-absolutistic terms and phrases (English Minus Absolutism), using non-elementalistic terms, avoiding the ‘is’ of predication and identity, etc. I explain these further in various parts of the text.

But since I use quotes quite often, I will explain here what I’m doing with them. As an extensional “safety device”, I’ve used single quote marks at times to indicate terms and phrases which in varying degrees require caution for general methodological reasons, e.g., ‘mind’, ‘meaning’, ‘space’ or ‘time’ used alone, etc. I’ve also used single quotes to sometimes mark off terms used metaphorically, playfully, etc. (Korzybski referred to single quotes used in these ways as "safety devices" not "scare quotes". As I remember Bob Pula once saying, "If you say something differently, you say something different.") Double quote marks indicate direct quotes from a named source (more extensive direct quotes are also indicated by text blocks). Double quotes also indicate terms or phrases used by someone but not necessarily indicating a direct quote. Within both single and double quotes, I endeavor to include only the exact material quoted—with just the original punctuation whenever possible.

In addition, Korzybski did not typically capitalize adjectives derived from proper names, such as “aristotelian”; I have followed this convention.

Regarding the two-word but unitary term “general semantics”, it refers to the applied general theory of evaluation (verbal and non-verbal) formulated by Korzybski. I abbreviate it with capital letters as “GS”. As in the phrase “a general-semantics approach”, when using the term as a modifier I use a hyphen (standard usage) to indicate its unitary nature.

Somewhat apologetically, I have chosen to spell Polish names and words without the special diacritical marks of the Polish language. Polish words generally have their stress on the next to last syllable. Otherwise, I’ll limit my Polish pronunciation guide to one name: Korzybski (KAWR – ZHIB' –SKEE). Pronounce ZH like the Z in azure.

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