Reflex in Linguistics

Alfred Korzybsky

Science and Sanity: An Introduction to Non-Aristotelian Systems …


We can teach any one to repeat verbally, by heart, instructions for operating an automobile, a piano, or a typewriter; but no one could operate them satisfactorily by reflex-action after such verbal training alone. To operate effectively and skilfully any structural complex, we must become intimately familiar with its structural working through actual reflex-training, and only then can we expect the best results. In my experience, this is true with language, and, without the visual Structural Differential on which we can point our finger to the objective level and urge silence, such basic semantic reflex-training cannot properly be given.

If we ask a man: ‘Do you know how to drive a car?’, and he answers Yes, we assume that he has acquired the proper reflexes. If he answers ‘No, but I know about it’, he means that he has not acquired the proper reflexes, but that his ‘knowledge’ is on purely verbal levels, non-effective in application on non-verbal reflex-levels.


Reflex in linguistics?I was looking for what reflex meant in linguistics, but I didn’t find it here… can someone point me to the article? -Iopq 03:07, 13 November 2005 (UTC) this is showing nothing. If a sound or form A in a daughter language is described as a reflex of sound or form B in a parent language, then A is the sound or form that B became. For example, English initial "h" is a reflex of PIE kʷ. Does that help? 15:39, 15 February 2006 (UTC)

It would be nice if you could elaborate it on reflex (linguistics). Samohyl Jan 18:39, 15 February 2006 (UTC)

Iopq, do you mean like in reflexive verb or reflexive pronoun, perhaps? 00:56, 10 October 2007 (UTC)


The attested words that a form in the proto-language is reconstructed from are called reflexes.

More generally, a reflex is the known derivative of an earlier form which may or may not be known/attested. Reflexes of the same source are called cognates.


Sarcasm: A verbal reflex against stupidity.


(About the verbal reflex to the notion of‘infrastructure’)

In the past, if you mentioned the word "infrastructure", the verbal reflex would be: "physical". Infrastructure was roads, telephone lines, ports, airports and other very tangible country spanning things. Many things were added to this category as time went by, but they all preserved the tangibility requirements – even electricity and means of communication were measured by their physical manifestations: lines, poles, distances.

Today, we distinguish three additional categories of infrastructure which were unbeknownst to our forefathers: social, human and information infrastructure.

If the workforce is not educated, it will not be keen on the manipulation of data and symbols. It will buy less computers, use the Internet less, bank less and so on. This, in turn, will reduce the need for phone lines, office buildings and so on. There seems to be an "infrastructure multiplier".


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