[lit-ideas] Wittgenstein on "Form" ('the shape of a sound'?)

  • From: Jlsperanza@xxxxxxx
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Fri, 28 May 2004 13:06:44 EDT

Wittgenstein Goes Rough
We are considering various phrases Wittgenstein used in his writings to  
qualify what he had to say.
Notably: "roughly speaking". But also, "It may be said" -- and other  
idiomatic expressions.
In Philosophical Investigations he speaks of 'form':
The shape [form] of the chessman
[piece of the game = Spielfigur, i.e. the form of the chess  piece]
corresponds here to the sound or shape of  a
word.
R. Henninge invites us:
>Let's dwell on this first paragraph, in particular on the  correspondence
>between the form of a piece in a game and the sound or  Gestalt [form, shape]
>of a word, before we go on.
I would say that if you stick to _phonology_, one can say that the 'sound'  
of a word must also have a 'form'. (Phonology is all about the search for  
distinctive features that make up each definite 'phoneme' out of the gamut of  
phones). By writing 'sound or gestalt', Wittgenstein is suggesting that sounds  
have no shape? Perhaps they don't. Is 'shape' a _visual_ notion only? (I 
realise  it's _mainly_ visual, but can't we speak of 'shape' as it applies to 
_sounds_?  Maybe not!
(Note that musicians do use 'form' -- as in 'the sonata form'). 
In the Romance languages, 'formosa' can apply to _anything_ 'beautiful'  
(shapely) -- not just a visual thing, but maybe originally it was only a visual 
 
thing. I suppose the equivalent Greek idiom would be 'morphe'?
Cheers,
JL


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