from          tuning      by david antin     pages     105 to     121
                        1984       new york   new directions      books
                                isbn number       0  8112    0894  x

                          ive called this talk
      and you probably have no very good idea of what im going to
     talk about     and it gave me a certain freedom from expectation
       as it gave to you    for it is part of my generosity and
     self indulgence     simultaneously     that what i will take for
    myself i will allow to others    which seems only fair
                                                           now i gave
     a title to this piece long before coming here    and    if the
      title i gave was not intended to offer you a very precise image
       of what i was going to do and if you see me fiddling with
     this tape recorder    its mainly because i have no very precise
    image of what im going to say     though i have a considerable
      notion of the terrain     into which i tend to move and
     the only way im going to find out whether it was worth doing
       or not     is when i hear what ive got     which has been
     my way of entrapping myself    and the reason ive chosen to
    entrap myself rather than to prepare in advance   a precise set
      of utterances    has been that i felt myself   ive written
        things    before this    in the natural vacuum that is the
      artificial hermetic closet that literature has been in for some
        time     and the problem     for me     is in the closet
       confronting a typewriter and no person     so that for me
        literature defined as literature    has no urgency     it has no
      need of address    there are too many things     no there are
       not too many things there are only a few things you may want
         to talk about but there are too many ways you could talk
     about them     and no urgency in which way you choose to talk
    about them    there are too many ways to proceed    too many
     possibilities for making well crafted objects    none of which
    seem particularly necessary
                                i dont think im unique in feeling the
     absence of urgency    in constructing a literary object    its
    in fact       i think a fairly recent aberration     the existence
    of literature     conceived in a tight framework     there is
       some sense of urgency out there     a passing police car
       they have an audience   they have an audience and a
        need    and they may respond to it badly    but they
    have their sense of urgency    the most exotic example i can
    think of      and the most striking example i can think of
      which i have thought about recently    and which is not
     something i want to spend a great deal of time thinking about
        here    is a kind of post napoleonic commitment    to
    producing an amazingly important object     balzac say
                                                           i dont
   really want to talk about balzac except that hes an example of
    incredible arrogance and ambition    with nothing to say a man
    goes into a closet in order to say it   a half baked kid decides
     to be a great writer   to be like napoleon to take over the 
    empire of letters     what would he do?    whatever was going
     to be great   what would be great?    classical tragedies
     that was what was great in paris    what else would be great
      in paris?    racine    what else?     he would write plays
     now its very difficult     you go with nothing in your 
    mind    in particular     except your own future greatness
     you go there   to paris    to write great plays    because
    thats where they write them    you go there    mainly to
      exercise your dominion    balzac is a good example   he
    couldnt speak    he had nothing to say
                                           coffee    black coffee
    was the answer     self intoxication late at night   what
     came out   presumably
                           ive never seen an autograph manuscript
     of balzac  and i dont know anybody who has      but ive seen
      early proof sheets
                          he obviously managed to achieve
        finally     utterance   a string of clichés   an incredible
      propulsion of garbage   an incredible group of commonplaces
    flowing one after another
                              but they flow     after endless
     cups of coffee     which      presumably finally killed him
    second proof sheet third proof sheet i never saw a second or
   third proof sheet     presumably i saw eleventh proof sheets
     or something of that order    theyre filled with literary
    high class     the flow of clichés the flow of platitudinous
     trash is interrupted primarily by   self conscious    reflexive
       high class prose    that enters into the flow    one thing
    was flowing and it was nonsense    but it was at least flowing
     after that    there were second thoughts     and third
       thoughts and fourth thoughts   balzac criticizing balzac
     getting smarter learning little bits and pieces of junk
      embedding a mosaic of   early 19th century   cleverness
       going    swedenborgianism     going sociology     going
     real worldism    going whatever     to take away the
   embarrassment of this fluent trash    which flowed all the way
     through unrealized and absurd clichéd scenes      followed
     largely by modifications that add respectability and slow down
    the pace of the prose     till finally   in what?    the
     22nd proof sheet we have the brokenbacked mosaic of a balzac
      novel     a monster
                          what we have is    a fluency of utterance
         and energy broken and restrained in a disastrous mosaic
     which is an image of what    an image of class an image
    of mentalism an image of whatever      it was the now nearly
    worthless currency of 19th century hip that had value then
      for that reason     that it was their currency    and there are
        strata in balzac  and all the strata appear together
    pressed in various sized fragments onto the surface of the
      text   a balzac novel is an archeological trove   its not so
    much a work    as it is a series of self conscious reflections on
    his inability to let his talk fall where it fell    because he
     wanted to be great 
                        its very bad to want to be great   because
      theres no reason in the world why you should be great  until
    the world decides that you are great      which is all that
     greatness consists of    now i didnt start from a critique
    of balzac and im not interested in laying balzac open to this
    critique   that could apply almost as well to so many other
      writers   but balzac is an enormously interesting case
     for the reason that he is so typical of the arrogance of
    literature   as a construction that will eventually claim to
     equal the career of a progressively accumulated intelligence
    that the world had just come to call science    and this new
   career would be something like a science    a quasi science of
     the real world
                    what "real world"    the world of common
      sense made to seem as if it was more than common sense?
        or less than common sense?    the world of if A then B
    the truth table   its the plausible world of the marriage novel
     the plausible world of the money accumulating novel   the
   plausible world of the success story   its all plausible   but
     its plausible    but its plausible only afterwards   because
   before that what is it    its an opera or a fairy tale    because
     balzac writes   basically    a romance or an opera which he then
      subjects to a somewhat cynical critique    a 19th century
    critique of this romance   and the critique is called realism
                                              now theres a
      kind of comedy to this   because the critique is a kind of
    afterword   its as though balzac expects to be judged   why
     does he expect to be judged    its an interesting question
      he expects to be judged because hes going to have an object
    in front of the world and the world will have the leisure and
     the desire to examine it    once    and then examine it
      again    and then examine it again    and then again   and
   its as if he was back in school and he was preparing to face
     a board of examiners    and he was turning in his examination
    booklet that this board of examiners was going to scrutinize
      over and over slowly turning its pages to see if they pass
                                                    now theres one
     issue in a book    its that a book is always reinspectable
      when you recall a passage it is always the same    which is
    unlike talk    which you can also recall but is never the 
         same    and is never reinspectable    except in your
       memory     that is     you may believe that its the same
     but you have no certainty that its the same    and the talk
      goes out into the world and its gone    and its not worth
      any more    than anyones confidence in you   or confidence in
   their ability to perform the interpretive act     upon the discourse
        with you    because the discourse     is the one thing
       that youre sure of     theres a situation and you respond to it
                                                  now          this
    lust to produce this unassailable object     this examination
      passing book     is a common enough lust     and balzac is
       only an early example of the lust to produce such a thing
     and there is this book and it is produced as an object    which
      becomes an object of scrutiny    and if it passes this 
        examination it becomes an objet d'art    and you know its
     there and becomes precious    it becomes valued and winds up
    in libraries    a critical apparatus discusses this thing  as if
     it were more than the provisional activities of a man     the
      provisional talk of balzac in some situation    and balzac is a
   very interesting man in spite of the fact that it is a tissue of clichés
    that emerges from his mouth      because clichés are the
       commonplaces by which we begin a discourse     
                                                 there is no way to
       put down cliché   in the beginning   because if there was
      nothing in common in the utterances with which we addressed
       each other thered be no way that we could understand what we
    were saying     in some sense there is no adequate theory of how
      we understand what we say to each other    one of the most
      depressing things about the present attempts at knowledge
   is the array of formal machines we have for explaining how we
     know what we say    and how poorly they explain it
                                                          for a while
      i was involved in formal linguistics    chomskyan linguistics
       and i gave it up when it became apparent that chomskyan 
     linguistics promised no intelligent rationale for dealing with
        semantics    because all of chomskys proposals   and thats
     all they are is proposals    and all of roland barthes proposals
       suggest and sometimes even claim that the troops in back of
     them will soon come in and mop up all the details    in the
      beginning there is a brilliant proposal     and it has this form
                                                        there is a
    sudden flash of illumination that is quite brilliant and momentary
      and it is all dazzling virtuosity    you see we have this set
        of rules that will describe the fundamental basis for the 
      understanding of language by all of its speakers    now you
     may realize that these rules that were writing are in themselves
     provisional    the particular rules that were writing are to be
       sure only baby examples of the real rules    we are setting out
      to write rules that are part of the fundamental grammar and we
       happen to be using the real words of english to apply them to
      and this shouldnt really be done that way     because our rules
       apply to much more general formatives because you see we are
         really beginning by referring to a universal phonetics
       a universal phonetics is moderately well established    it
     begins to break down only at the neurological level    but there is
     a universal phonetics    a fundamental set of phonic classes that
    we have characterized by a set of features    these are universal
     features that we have derived in part from their manner of
       articulation    generation in the mouth say    and partially
        acoustical    features derived from the way they seem to sound
      or seem to sound to instruments devised to characterize certain
       aspects of the way they sound    to the human ear    anyway
     we have these features     which we may not entirely agree upon
       that nevertheless constitute the reservoir of the moderately
        well grounded universal phonetics    that are more or less
       agreed upon    and which the men in back of me are very busily
      in the process of working out the details of the agreement of
        and these are to be mapped by a set of phonological rules that
       have not been entirely formulated    but the men in back of
      me are about to finally formulate them into a systematic set that
        will provide for all the significant distinctions that are made
       among sound classes in all of the languages of the earth    that
      will allow us to map these distinctions into a set of formatives
        which you may be more familiar with when they are called
       morphemes    or even more colloquially     words     which
          are then mapped into sets of possible and distinguishable
       arrangements    we could call the syntax of the language
            and while these are also not yet quite worked out    quite
       satisfactorily     the men in back of me are busily working this
      out also    all we then have to do is map this entire system into
        a thorough and sufficiently abstract lexicon    that will contain
      all of the rules for relating the possible lexemes      words
        these formatives that point toward anything in the world
          to the range of their possible meanings    references and
       senses     which should all be found in this lexicon    also to
     be prepared by the people in back of me      some of whom have
        yet to be born
                       now they are working away at this    i suppose
     at m.i.t.   which is relatively close    or theyre working 
       away at it at the university of california perhaps    which is
     not so close to you but a lot closer to me
                                                 are they really?   are
      they really working away at it?     in what sense?    in what
     sense is it possible to write a systematic semantics?    in what
        sense do we understand language that we could write a
    fundamental and systematic semantics
                                         presumably we would use
       a feature theory because it worked so well in phonetics     or
     has almost worked so well in phonetics     and is about to work
      perfectly in phonetics      and      there would be for any word
    lexeme      sounds good       technical lexeme      high class
      twenty third proof sheet     lexeme     basically we ought to
     be able to reduce the lexicon     to a presumably finite set of
    lexemes      though there are problems in that    because at the
   same time that it will have to be finite it will have to be potentially
     nonfinite    because you can always coin new words     from
      old ones or parts of old ones or merely from new arrangements
         of phonemes    by a set of rules from the word generating
     system     which would have to be a part of the systematic lexicon
       this would be the word generating part of the lexicon and
     this set of words would presumably have new meanings different
        from the collection of old meanings    which they might
       well     so that as the world filled up with distinguishable
     new things or new states or new acts or modalities     the lexicon
       would have to fill up with new meanings to distinguish them
         but this is only the potentially nonfinite part of the lexicon
       what we would expect to find would be a finite if fairly large
     set of quite general or abstract features and some kind of rules
      for combining and partitioning these into all the words that have
    been and may have to come to be
                                    though this might sound overly
  ambitious even to a language scientist at m.i.t. or to a structuralist
    at the ecole des haute etudes     though there is no accounting
   for what would sound overly ambitious to them since there are 
     so many people standing in back of them working out just these
             still more modestly you might want to ask of this
    lexicon that it lay out at least a fairly compact set of features to
   generate the system of references and senses of a significant segment
     of the words currently used in a particular natural language
        like english
                     now how would they do this      by a feature 
      theory that proved so successful in phonetics
                                                     now the nucleus of
      the lexicon will consist of a set of features    and what kind
           of features will they be    you know they will be binary
        contrasting features    sets of opposing pairs    like hot and
      cold     or hard and soft     but much more abstract perhaps
         so they could apply to a great variety of words to some
    degree     and form a kind of feature system thesaurus of the
      language    and each feature would be two poles of a kind of
     axis    with one end positive and the other negative    or one
      end zero and the other one
                                 oddly enough it will resemble
        somewhat machine computer language      and that may
     surprise you      but it shouldnt be too surprising   because so
       many things now are analyzed in this way     which is clear and
    unequivocal     and convenient for the machines which we now 
       have so many of   and which seem so reasonable now that we
       have so many people acclimated to working with these machines
          and it is of course easy to distinguish zero and one    the
     empty set and the full set    that it might seem simple    even
       reasonable to approach the lexicon this way     marking each
      lexeme as a bundle of features that are scored     zero when they
     are absent and one when theyre present    and say you only
         bother to mark features that are present    otherwise these
      features are absent
                          now lets take a pair of words     like
       "generous" and "thrifty" say    we could probably find an axis
     that ran through them    unfortunately we could find many more
        than one axis    but lets take an axis    an axis is a good
      word    it suggests so much     a kind of space through with
        it runs    a kind of semantic globe    domain?    hyperspace?
       anyway lets call it an axis    because this axis is like a line
     that will be determined by two points    like any other straight
       line     thats nice      straight lines are convenient and
      friendly from our days in geometry and they are all so nicely
       determined by two points    and these two points are its poles
         one at each end of the line    and one pole    lets say the 
        positive pole     is called "open"    and the negative pole
     the one on the other end of this axis line     is called "closed"
             "open"/"closed"    thats our feature    we call it "1"
          when its "open" and we call it "0" when its "closed"
                                                          ok    this
     is one of our features say and weve got two words we happen
       to want to deal with     "generous" and "thrifty"      now im
         sure you can see how easy it will all be     "generous" will be
      "open" and we will mark it "1" and "thrifty" will be "closed"
     and well mark it "zero"    what could be easier      unless you
        want to ask what happens to "stingy"      which might seem to
     lie a lot closer to the "closed" end of this axis of meaning
        closer to "zero" so to speak
                                     but what could that mean that
      a word could lie closer to the same axis than another     it could
     mean that we will have to find only pure opposites or antonyms
       lying at ends of feature axes     and that all the words in the
      system will have to be plotted by the intersection of various axes
       their spatial coordinates in some kind of hyperspace so that
       we know just how far off the axis of "closed" and "open"
        "generous" and "thrifty" may really be    and how close they lie
     to an axis of "big" and "small" for example     or "soft" and
               how many features will we need to map any lexeme
          how many features are there    is there a feature axis that
        can be constructed by drawing a line between any two words
       that can be regarded as opposites     seen from some point of
         view     will we have to connect      every word with every
      other word    in practice in principle     dollars and doughnuts
                                                   if not       will
       there be a finite set of such contrasts?    and how will we select
       them    and is this finite set potentially infinite?     will we
      have to have a rule system for feature construction as there is
         a system for word building?    and supposing this is so    will
       we be able to determine the distances     angular or other
         that separate words that are not opposites from the polar
      positions    that separate    "thrifty" from "generous" and
          "stingy"    which may happen to lie on an axis    and will we
      know if a word is intersected by more than two axial lines    for
         two lines determine a plane     and if whether the three or
       four or five lines lie in one or two or three different planes
         still its a terrific idea    if we have all of those people there
      in back of us working away    the way they always seem to be
     in the marvelous flashy and ultimately trivial proposals made by
    transformational grammarians and french structuralists
                                                            now trivial in
      what sense    for these are all glamorous proposals backed up
       by regiments of intelligence and diligence packing away facts
     all over the world and subordinating them to the wonderfully
   clear and commonsensical ideas   and yet    and yet how
      could you ever use them these great unclosing enterprises
        supported by equally unending granting institutions
                                                   i remember
     once commenting on the rather similar theory that i.a. richards
      held for language contrasts within something as commonplace
         as a poem    now richards held a fairly commonsensical
    notion that a poem was constructed of a series of utterances that
     you could consider as a series of pushes or pulls in one direction
       or another   which certainly had the advantage of being a 
     dynamic theory of a poem    but what he was offering was a
      kind of vector analysis of a poem    and this is very similar
      to a binary contrast analysis    because a vector is a directed
    magnitude   a line of a certain magnitude moving in a particular
     direction    and what you mean by a magnitude is the force 
   of the utterance and the direction is the sense of the line    and
       that sounds reasonable enough
                                     and from that it might follow
      that a poem is a composition of forces    but unfortunately
    to deal with this    even in an uncomplicated way    you need
   to be able to specify certain things    whether all the statements
     utterances of the poem lie in a single plane    and if not how
      these planes are related to each other    and how these forces
    lines are measured off against a specified set of coordinates
   which is all that will allow you to measure them anyway    and
    what means you will take to compose all these
                                                   fortunately for
    richards he was not so thoroughgoing and seemed to suggest
   that all of these lines lay pretty much in one plane    that they
     were merely a matter of push and pull     one line or image for
   or against another    which sounds terrific unless you try to do
    it    so suppose we take a poem by auden say     and imagine
       he said "they lived in houses that were colloquial and blue"
                                                    we could
    probably say that "blue" lies closer to the pole of an axis called
  "concrete" and "colloquial" lies closer to its other pole "abstract"
     and that part of the energy of that line     its dialectic
      arises from the collision of these two differently directed
   adjectives directed at their "houses"    maybe    at least that
    axis makes some kind of sense to us    because    after all
      "blue" constitutes an experiential fact    it is an outcome of
       vision it marks their houses when we look at them    and
  "colloquial" well    its an overall judgment of the style in which
    they live    so it seems further from the physical reality
                                                   now there are
   other axes that run through "colloquial" and "blue"    probably
    too many to do this conveniently    and    presumably richards
     would never have undertaken this    without the help say
   of fodor and katz or a variety of other generative semanticians
    whose help richards probably never know he was about to receive
      and probably never would     except that i am in a generally
    helpful frame of mind and will provide it 
                                               now for the sake of the
     provisional convenience that is the universal characteristic
       of this approach let us pretend that these are the two most
      important features    that this is the axis that counts
                                                               so in
    what sense is "blue" concrete     only in the sense that you
      suppose "blue" to be some kind of physical phenomenon
    the name of a particular range of electromagnetic frequencies
     or the like    which it is not     or more naturally that it is
      the name of a physical experience   and that "colloquial" is a
       loose denomination for a kind of behavior   for a kind of act
    somewhere on the scale of deviation from a notion of "propriety"
       say or "formality"
                             all this seems quite obvious    and yet
      and yet even here    it is not so simple   for if blue is the
     name we give to a particular physical experience    a particular
    visual experience    an experience of looking    it is not the
   name of a single particular experience "blue"    it is more like
     the name of a class of experiences to which it applies somewhat
    loosely  as to a range of blues   and even there is it not so
       simple because this experience   this class of physical
      experiences to which this name properly applies is really only
     a part of an experience   or part of a part of an experience
       because it is very uncommon to experience color alone     in
      fact we have to learn than name "color"    which is seldom
     encountered alone to determine that there is a part of the visual
      experience that we can call "color"    and that within that
       experience or part of an experience    there is a set of
     alternatives that cover a range     or divide it into the colors
   we know
           so "blue" is a subset of the conception color and the
    conception "color" is a conceptual extraction we make from the
   experience of looking
                          for example you look around the room
     i look around the room     and youre wearing pants      that
     somebody might say are "blue" on some days of the week
        and they say "hes wearing blue jeans"      his pants are
     colloquial and blue
                         now "blue"        for an american
      a european    which is about the same thing here    is part
     of a vernacular color system with about 8 terms   you know
    nonspecialized     you say visual experience subset color subset
   nonspecialized    youve got red and blue and yellow and white
     and black and green and purple maybe    which is really seven
       and maybe brown and grey to throw in the two commonest
   tertiaries     and there you are and it adds up to nine    and
    you could be a sport and add orange    and it gives you ten
      common terms into which you can divide the whole world of
     color experience    more or less and in a nonspecialized way
      and what i mean by this is that they constitute a range in the
     sense that these names shouldnt cross   so you couldnt confuse
    blue with yellow say or red with blue or black or white or green
     and this is nonspecialized color in the sense that "vermilion" is
    not part of this system because there youre moving into
     specialized color
                       for example      i wouldnt say that those are
        turquoise pants    theyre not   but thats not why i wont
       say it    azure?   ultramarine?    think of the term
         "cerulean"    "he wore a pair of cerulean colloquial pants"
          "cerulean" is perhaps somewhat more concrete than "blue"
             or at least it seems so   but now "blue" is not so
       concrete anymore   because we have had to remove it by a
        process of conceptual abstraction    from an aspect of a visual
       experience   "color"    and its only within "color" that
       "blue" has any meaning at all    and "blue" occupies a space
      within this system   or by jakobsonian theory is one of a set
    of possible substituents that form the range of the color paradigm
                                                       in this system
     "cerulean"    if it is fitted into it    may come to occupy a
       narrow portion of the space occupied by "blue"    where it may
     come to serve as one of a set of possible substituents within the
           subparadigm "blue"   along with a whole set of other
        alternatives like "azure" "turquoise" "ultramarine" "prussian"
      "sky" "cyan" "royal" "navy" "powder" "baby" "midnight"
                                                              but i
     think not    they are not part of this system at all   just
      pressed up against it in a crush resulting from the collision of
    several other systems of color naming within the english
                but within the simple vernacular system of nine or ten
      colors the important thing is that there should be no crossing
       if it is blue it will not cross red or yellow or green
                                                              no   my
     wife and i have a difference of opinion every time we look at
    bluish green     or greenish blue     i always think its blue she
   always think its green    its true     she looks at a car     the
     car is driving in the street she says o look at that green car and
   i say     its blue      she says no no its green     i say no no
    its blue     really we dont argue about it at all    i have come
    to expect that when she sees a certain kind of car that i would
  call blue she will call it green as well as she knows that when i see
     that same car i will call it blue    though she calls that green
                                                      and that is a
      kind of language understanding too    that we speak       each
     of us    somewhat different color dialects and understand
    them both        though only using one ourselves
                                                      but    to the
      australian aborigine    an aranda say    among the aranda
     there is i take it   a different way of looking at all this    or at
      least a different way of talking about what we have just been
     looking at     for in aranda     in the vernacular aranda system
   as it existed in the 19th century    there were according to the
      people familiar with them      four      or actually five
     fundamental color terms    two blacks    white    red
      and one other term for all the rest    one black was purka
       used of charcoal    and the other was urupulla    which included
     brown and a fair range of greys    white was churungura
       red tutuka    and the other was tierga    the sky was tierga a
      green leaf was tierga   and yellow ocher was also tierga
                                                  now this is a
     very different system for talking about seeing than ours   one
     for red      and one for the range of blue yellow and green
                                                   i have no doubt
     that we could persuade any reasonable aranda gentleman or lady
    to distinguish between sky color leaf color and the color ocher
      and they could do this very handily   this gentleman or lady
       an aranda painter maybe    they could say that of course
     one was sky tierga the other was leaf tierga and the last was
    ocher tierga but that they were merely three different shades of
      the same color    tierga    that is    that they were all the
        same color but modified by some other aspect of vision that
      weve chosen to call "shade"    which would be somewhat similar
    to our "light" and "dark" or "deep" or "thin" or "saturated" or
     "not"    but we really wouldnt have any appropriate name for
   this feature of vision that we have just called "shade" but which
     applies to a somewhat different range of visual experiences
       because their word "color" would also not apply to quite the
     same visual experiences of looking as ours    or would apply in
       a different way    so their word "shade"     which would
      depend for its significance on their word "color"    as our word
       "shade" depends on our word "color"    would not be at all
      the same and we would simply not have any word for it that
    came conveniently to hand though we might very well know what
      they mean by it
                      and this leads to interesting conclusions
    because it seems that "blue" occupies a different semantic space
       to use our old formalist conception of word meaning     a
     different semantic space than our word "blue" and that not only
     that    their conception of "color" probably has a different
       spatial configuration in the semantic domain of aranda looking
     than our notion "color"
                             what interesting effects this should have
    upon an aranda critic of a fauve painting    an aranda critic of
      a fauvist painting    what a terrible idea    because it is
     virtually a certainty that where a fauve painter would have placed
    blues and greens next to each other with deliberate assertiveness
       an aranda would not see two colors placed edge to edge    just
     one color    the aranda critic would surely reduce the fauve
        color system to a smaller numbered system with wider ranges
      so it would come to pass that a painting which consists of five
     colors for us could consist of three for an aranda    an aranda
      painter    hes looking at a different painting    provided that
        what hes looking at is the color   it will be an entirely
      different painting because the space will be partitioned entirely
   differently within the world of color     this semantic space
                                                    it seems then
    from this analysis    that blue is a very abstract term that it is
      very far from being the name of a concrete physical experience
      but it is based on a very elaborate system of inferences and
     abstractions    and that the physical act of seeing intersects
       with a socially preserved    historically developed    set of
    partitioning devices    that will facilitate us and hinder us
     selectively in our seeing    and so blue   lies very close to the
   abstraction pole of the feature axis concrete/abstract    when
     it is seen from this point of view    which is a consideration
      when youre considering how close something seems to be to
     something else        and even then we dont know how close
                                                     but forget that
       how close      the question that is more important is where
      we are standing
                      im standing    were standing    youre
     standing somewhere facing somewhere in this semantic space
      if there is such a thing as semantic space we are standing in it
      because there is no looking without standing    sitting?
     somewhere with your eyes looking out of the front of your head
   and not behind it
                       now youre standing somewhere and im
     standing somewhere in semantic space    and theyre not the
 same place    because i find it hard to imagine us all or any of us
     standing in precisely the same place even in semantic space
      now supposing from where im standing "blue" looks pretty
     close to abstract    and from where youre standing it looks
    pretty close to concrete     i can imagine your position and you
   can imagine mine      how can we each get to imagine the others
     position    how come i can imagine your position as well
     as mine?     how do you get to imagine my position as well as
           if auden had written this poem in which he said "their
     houses were colloquial and blue" we would feel that "blue" was
      intended to be a concrete term    that from audens position in
    semantic space "blue" looked fairly close to the pole marked
  concrete   that it was intended to be a concrete term    a
    primitive term perhaps such as one familiar to the experience
   of children one of the five hundred basic words of english or
  1000    and that colloquial is not such a term    belongs to
   the social world of adults or linguists or university graduates
     and therefore abstract
                            now how do we do this  come to
    understand each other?    now this may be a bad term    to
   understand    but let us use it for the moment    because we
  will know what we mean by it here     now anyone who is going
  to have a theory of language will have to have a theory of how we
   use it to come to understand each other     how we come to an
   understanding    how we may not be at an understanding when
     we begin to talk and how we may arrive at an understanding
    when we are through    or something of the sort
                                                     they dont
   have to have merely a grammar    they have to know to what the
  grammar applies   and when to apply it that way    or the
   grammar is a fairly meaningless construct if you cant propose some
  set of rules   though thats a bad term rules    some system for
    orienting ourselves to understand other  peoples uses of
  language    what they are saying and its relation to some kind
   of practice   you don't understand their language   you and an
      aranda cannot have a conversation at all until you somehow
      learn what an aranda uses those words for    and under what
                now theres no grammar in the world that can provide
     for that    nor is there any theory of grammar that will do
    that for you    nor is there any theory of language that will
   do that for you
                   now the reason i chose to talk about tuning
      i was proposing    a way of looking at how we understand
     things    how we come to understand things     come to an
   understanding    with each other about things    through
  language    has something to do with a notion    process
    i would like to call tuning
                                        . . .