Symplectic Language Theory
For HORI Tatsuo, Footprint on the snow, 1946
Why do you think that language has structure?
_We have true-false problem since Greece had logic on language, Crete man tells himself a
liar. The situation suggests that if language has structure and we see the structure’s whole,
there is no more problem in the upper funny but radical story.
Do you mention that language has dimensions in it for preventing the confusion?
_Surely dimension is an important factor of structure. But language is a vast building in which
all the logisc and all the feelings are expressible for all the hope of human beings.
Then how the structure is built, do you imagine?
_I ever learned the history of Prague Linguistic Circle, in which the most important
hypothesis is said that language has function. Function is inevitably occurred following after
the completion of structure, I think.
Do you say that from the observation of language function is adequately acceptable for
_Yes, I think so.
Then on inner structure of language, what do you think?
_At first, language has meaning. But it was put aside by Prague Linguistic Circle as the
hardest problem on language for its ambiguity as MATHESIUS V. gave the famous lecture,
Latency of language phenomena, 1911. I attracted the theme, language has ambiguity.
Did you go to Prague?
_No. I only heard on PLC from CHINO Eiichi. He learned linguistics at Prague, from 1958 to
1967. He gave me the basis of linguistics after his returning to Tokyo. I first met him at
Tokyo 1969. I learned Russian at that time in the small class. He was young at 37, and I also
young too at 21.
You really respect CHINO.
_I remember him respectfully, but more frequently merrily, for his fantastic conversation to
the younger beginner, studying language from various fields, from art to classical languages
at the university.
On language, ambiguity is important?
_Undoubtedly. CHINO gave me the concept of asymmetric dualism of linguistic sign. The
paper was written by KARCEVSKIJ Sergej at 1929. Precisely to say, “Du dualisme
asymétrique du signe linguistique”, Travaux du Cercle Linguistique de Prague 1.
From ambiguity to structure, through what course did you choose?
_I took the road from the minimum unit of meaning that was extracted by WANG
Guowei‘s GUANTANG JILIN, the book was real youth of my life, for which I named <meaning
minimum> by reference of JAKOBSON Roman‘s concept <semantic minimum>. I dearly
remember CHINO’s warm advice “not to enter such a theme that are firstly treated by
WITTGENSTEIN-like person. We are not invited”, backing to the railway station from the
university, after his lecture on linguistics at early summer twilight.
<Meaning minimum> is your starting point, I recognized. After that, To where did you go?
_At first, from set theory. I ever learned it mainly from TAKEUCHI Gaishi‘s papers. Now I yet
like his approch to the mathematical object. And I, at that time, also came under the
influence of LÉVI-STRAUSS Claude.
That course was productive to you?
_It is a difficult question. For first step of my study, partly yes and mostly no.
Mostly no, for what?
_For me the most important is the relation between <meaning minimum>s. But set theory is
not efficient for that direction.
Is relation important?
_Back to MATHESIUS’s <latency> or KARCEVSKIJ’s <asymmetric duality>, there exists
relationship between one meaning and another meaning. For me, this relationship is not able
to be handled by my set theory’s level. But set theory is enough charming for its elemental
And where did you go to the next?
_Geometry. It is the most natural and fantastic approach by its freely intuitive methods.
Intuition is surely familiar. But selection is only done by such reason?
_I have not any other choices at considering my mathematical level then.
Geometry was respondent to your hope?
_Yes, absolutely yes. As people say that geometry is a heimat of mathematics, I really think
Geometry is more easily way to approach for you?
_Repeatedly say, I have not any choices at that time. Meeting with geometry, I often wrote
various figures containing topological ones, for instance at on the train to the town in which
mother is under medical care.
Such drawings can express language’s validity?
_Much interesting to express but the themes containing validity of language and so forth are
very hard to access.
_Relationship among language inside is far away beyond my amateurishly imaginary figures.
And after that?
_I came here, at my present mathematical situation as PENROSE Roger said in his book THE
ROAD TO REALITY, that mathematics is the most highly investigational way for the study of
universe. His confidence to mathematics is put up on my home page of sekinan.org.
Where do you stand now?
Why do you stand there?
_Also natural for me. And freely thinkable.
Freely thinkable, what imagine by that?
_Mathematics is radically free. Just like a wind at high lands, far-sighted and transparent.
_Yes,perfectly transparent. In contrast with language. Language is always having ambiguity.
Ambiguous language and transparent mathematics.
Many thanks today.
_It’s my pleasure.
Tokyo March 12, 2009