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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Language—social and figurative—originated out of passion

According to Rousseau, language originated out of passion—not necessity—and was social and figurative before (and after) literal truth became a possibility seizable by name.

I paraphrase two mercifully short chapters in Rousseau's "Essay on the Origin of Languages which treats of Melody and Musical Imitation" [ca1749-55], as translated by J.H. Moran in On the Origin of Languages: Two Essays (U of Chicago, 1996) p11-13.