Re: Isn't E-Prime just using a sledgehammer to kill a fly?

Craig Presson (
Fri, 9 Jul 1999 13:40:41 -0700 (PDT)

Many times we make statements like "She is beautiful" mainly to see if others agree. "Is it just me, or is it hot in here?"

The difficulty of changing mental habits continues to amaze me. While I don't often evangelize for E-prime or anything like it, I find it a relatively cheap way to highlight a certain kind of inflexible and conventional thinking. So I don't see E-prime as an _alternative_ to developing our thinking, just as one tool among many.

By the way, Korzybski, the founder of g.s., thought E-prime missed the point. He had a great deal of theory built up about how the insights of g.s. could improve people and culture, and to him the issue of identification went much deeper than grammar. He wrote in his own idiom which takes most people a great deal of effort to understand. In this (only), he reminds me of Bucky Fuller.

Probably ferreting out certain incorrect identifications from speech just drives the problem underground. Every time I use an adjective, I make an opportunity for an unexamined identification. Another writer in the g.s. community averred that once you have given up the 'is of identity,' the next priority is to take a hard look at uses of the verb "to have."

I can understand the desire to scrap natural language and start over. Think we should have a serious look at lojban? It ought to appeal to this crowd - an opportunity to join a very small elite, that of fluent lojban speakers. So few understand us anyway ...


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