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Theory of Language Acquisition & Communication
by Dr. Varanasi Ramabrahmam Bookmark and Share
 
The Theory of language acquisition and communication Language is the chief communication tool in day-to-day transactions and also in learning, understanding and imparting various kinds of knowledge, disciplines and skills. Maya which is also known as primordial sound, and its transformations understood in combination with the Sabdabrahma Siddhanta throws light on language learning and communication processes.

Sabdabrahma Siddhanta based on Upanishadic insight provides four modes of language communication and reception process; para - mode of awareness / purport /import /taatparya - pasyanti –mode of verb or sense or mood / artha - madhyama - mode of sentence (vaakya) - and vaikhari –mode of utterance in sound form (speech), which can be successfully used to understand human language acquisition, communication and usage processes.

Brahma Jnana: Vakyapadeeyam text endorses all the understanding of concept of mind and its functions of Vedanta school and describes, discusses and proposes insight relating to human language acquisition and communication. The following sloka from Brahma Kanda of Vakyapadeeeyam is the gist of what is cited above. I anaadi nidhanam brahma sabdatatvam yat aksharam vivartate arthabhaavena prakriyaa jagato yatah. This sloka states Brahma nityatvam and vivartanopadatvam (reversible becoming) of jagat as meanings/senses (artha) / urges / thoughts / feelings (bhava) /expressions/utterances -the arthabhavena prakriyaa- from Brahman. This means that from Brahman /Atman originate all essence, import, purport, sense, feelings/thoughts, utterances and the reverse of all these when being learnt/known during the acquisition and communication of all knowledge including language acquiring and communication abilities.

Sphota is upadana karana – material cause of jagat (in the form of all mental functions) which is a restatement of all that is discussed in Vedanta, the Advaita insight of Adi Sankara (Upanishadic Commentaries) and Vidyaranaya (Vedanta Panchadasi), in Vedanta. All this can be scientifically stated that, Atman or Brahman is the result of breathing process. Srestaprana, (most possibly O2, and the consequent rhythmic gaseous exchange taking place in the lungs) is given as the body (tanu) of Atman Vasista Ganapathi Muni. Atman is always in motion (yasya gamanam satatam tat atma – which moves incessantly is Atman) and is the result of breathing process and in modern scientific terms can be termed as a bio-oscillator / bio-maser / bio-laser issuing out pulses of mental (chit) energy. A period 10-1 of a second, the time required to pronounce a short syllable like ‘a’ is put forward as the time- period of this oscillator {It is interesting here to mention that the mental rhythms detected by the experiment by German scientist Hans Berger using EEG (electro-encephalogram) also have the same time- period of 10-1 sec}. Thus this insight proposes Atman or Brahman as a biomechanical oscillator of frequency in the infrasonic ( ~ 10 Hz) range.
 
Sphota Vada: The Vedanta model of Atman / Brahman and maya / pranavam perfectly suits, reflects and represents Sphota Vada beautifully. Maya, also known as pranavam, and its transformations understood in combination with the Sabdabrahma Siddhanta throws light on language learning and communication processes. The exposition in Vakyapadeeyam clearly informs atmachaitanyam (pravanam/chit sakti) itself is sphota. Thus sphota is Brahman or atman or chit sakti in content. Sphota is para vak, the consciousness/awareness as essence of utterances which precedes pasyanti, madhyama and vaikhari in the speaker / teacher and succeeds in listener / student / leaner and transforms itself to be these three vaks. Sphota originates in the Brahman of speaker to be upadana (material) and nimitta (instrumental) karana (cause) for both communication and acquisition of languages / disciplines / knowledge / skills and merges in the Brahman of the listener to give meaning / experience and oneness with what is said and heard/cognized. Though para vak nomenclature is later to Bhartruhari, it correctly and aptly fits in the scheme of explanation and understanding the process of language communication and acquisition in humans. This is available in the Brahma Kanda of Vakyapadeeyam (slokas 111 to 117) itself even though the term para vak is not used.

The gist of these slokas pertains to the stating of the existence of a subtle energy [termed as Jnaata (which is Atman/Brahman itself)] and its vivartanam- tirodhana purodhana yuta vartanam - backward / forward directed change - reversible becoming of sphota as jagat by prakriyabheda is very clearly put forward. Also para state is consciousness in Advaita (Aham-Aham series) phase and awareness in dvaita (Aham-idam series) phase (Aham=Atman/Brahman, idam=prapancham, jagat or viswam and corresponds to state of mental functions).

According to another school of thought para is opined to originate at mooladhara (at the origin of spinal cord), pasyanti is formed in nabhi (navel), madhymaa in hrudaya (around physical heart region) and vaikahri at kantha (throat). These actually correspond to the evolution of physical form and shape of uttered sound-the vaikhari mode of language. Para vak becomes pasyanti and is in subtle form in buddhi (bodha-awareness) and this is what cognized by the listener. This will be in electrochemical form and originates in the brain. Brain signals are transmitted through spinal cord to the mooladhara and the physical sound form starts to take shape by combining with air (pranavayu) that is being breathed and culminates as audible sound in vocal chords transduced from electrochemical form to mechanical / sound form and is expressed by the movements of the cheeks, tongue, lips etc.,; all this is nomenclature for the physical evolution of uttered sound, vaikhari, whose origin is in the brain.

Dwaupadana sabdeshu….. sloka also informs that sphota is the real sabda which is different from audible sounds and itself by transforming (actually transducing-changing from one form of energy into another form of energy) - becomes various sounds represented by various letters by associating with the movements of vocal chords which in turn are manifested in the movements of cheeks, tongue, lips etc.  Sphota is thus synonymous with pravanavam and is the infrasonic form of sound energy pulses (frequency less than or equal to 20 Hz). This definition very well suits the traditional one that sphota is issued out, by veechi-taranga (just as air waves get transmitted) or kadamba-mukula (kadamba-flower bud blossoms) (a method of evolving and issuing out.) nyaya.

As is known, the very term ‘sphota’ means which is issued out. Further the silent nature of the sphota is both because it originates from silence (nature and physical form of Brahman-the infrasonic oscillator of frequency ~ 10 Hz). Sphota is praakruta dhvani (primordial sound, the pranavam) which reversibly transforms itself to make humans conscious, cognitive and communicative through language. Thus Sphota is physically infrasonic sound form and is responsible for all human mental functions both materially (upadana karana) and instrumentally (nimitta karana) Also according to Upanishads knowledge is of two kinds - (i) that acquired through the combined operation of sense organs, action organs and inner mental tools in the awareness of Atman (Maitra Jnana acquired knowledge-) and (ii) that is inherent / genetic/hormonal (Varuna Jnana).

All our acquisitions of knowledge come under Maitra Jnana and the in-built senses (iccha and artha saktis) - psychic energies manifesting desires and meanings/moods. urges, volitions, body and mental abilities, capabilities, nature etc., come under Varuna Jnana. Thus human knowledge is of two kinds: (i) acquired knowledge (through sense organs in tune with inner mental tools, which can be termed as biophysical and (ii) inherent or genetic knowledge and which is hormonal, which can be termed as biochemical Especially the instincts, urges, sense (meaning / understanding / insight / intuition / experience) are inbuilt biochemically in the organism. Both kinds of knowledge are activated and used in all the phases, cognitive states and functional states of mind.

Indian knowledge systems as described above also named mind with separate name for each of its functions-collectively as inner mental tools-antahakaranas. In both the kinds of acquiring and retrieving knowledge from iytside the body and within the body, sphota plays chief role. The order of energy transformations during cognition process or language acquisition or communication process is: - arthasakti (mental energy as meanings) in the form of biochemical energy inbuilt as iccha sakti (urge/desire/volition) - the pasyanti - mode becomes jnaana sakti, the madhyama mode and assumes electro-chemical form with the help of modulation process when artha sakti/ iccha sakti in subject-object free verb / meaning / sense form - changes to sentence form with subject and object and this further modulates/transduces (changes from one form of energy into another form) into kriya sakti, the vaikhari mode, the mechanical form as physical audible sounds and utterance.

Concept of Bhakti and Vibhakti: Bhakti defined as swa swaroopaanusandhanam bhaktirityabhidhiyate - tuning the mind to its origin and original form (Upanishads) or cheto vrittirupetya tisthati sadaa saa bhaitirityuchyate -the state in which the mind disengages itself from all vrittis (Sivanandalahari) - antahakarana parinamas (manasika gathi) - functioning state of mind - reversible transformations of inner mental tools-manas, buddhi, ahamkaram and chittam- and attains nivritti state (nirmala manasika sthiti) stays as that - is the normal or natural or ground –energy state of mind. This is the state of absence of mental functions - the two-way transformation of maya /pranavam / sphota and antahkarana This is the state of Atman or Brahman as tatpara or tatparya –state of purport/essence/import or rasa.  In this state the chidabhasa or virtual chit -energy maya/pranavam/sphota – does not transform into antahkaranas (no vivartanam takes place) and no antahkarana parinama takes place. This state is also known as suddha sattava guna state, which amounts to nirguna (no cognition- fullness of Self experience as peace, bliss, silence) state.

Sattva guna, (awareness), Rajo guna (antahkarana mode) or Tamo guna – these gunas (knots – bindings of mind to object experiences/cognitions - (antahkaranama parinama - cognition of objective energy-form) are transformations of maya / pranavam / sphota, and reverse transformation of maya/pranavam/sphota and cessation of transformation maya/pranavam/sphota - the dvaita and advaita conscious states respectively-  taking place simultaneously, consecutively and alternately is the structure, form, function, state and essence of human cognitive, language acquisition and communication processes.

All this is also embedded into the following slokas of Brahma Kanda of Vakyapadeeyam. Paanineeya Siksha - Aatma buddhyaa sametyarthaan mano yunkte vivkshaya Manaha kaayaagnimaahanti sa preyarayati maaruthum Maarutastoorasi charan mandram janayati swaram Meaning: manas – the perceiving antahakarana - works together with Brahman/Atman (consciousness) and intellect (buddyaa) as reversible mechanical engery transformations (air wave transformations) and becomes swara – mechanical energy form - forming the basis for the utterance sound.

According to Sabdabrahma theory the human language communication process is a combination and quick successive forward and reversible transformations of four modes i.e., 

I. Speakerv/vTeacher:

Language communication:

(a) Pure Consciousness / Purport / Unoccupied Awareness (Meaningful Experience or Experienced Meaning- para)
(b) Understanding/ Experience/ Sense/ Mood/Volition/ Intuition (pasyanti)
(c) Perception/Thinking/Feeling (madhyama)
(d) Utterance /Expression (vaikhari)

II. Knower/ Listener/ Learner:

Language learning/acquisition and understanding:

(a) Knowing (through sense organs)- vaikhari
(b) Perception/Thinking - madhyama
(c) Understanding/ Experience/Sense/mood/Volition/Intuition -pasyanti
(d) Pure Consciousness/Purport (Meaningful Experience/ Experienced Meaning)/Unoccupied Awareness- para.

In this theory the advaita state - Jagrat Sushupti (wakeful sleep – consciousness / awareness without mind functioning]- proposed by Vedantins corresponds to para mode of language communication process. This is the tatparya (purport) or rasa (experienced meaning) state. This tatparya state is a state of awareness of experience of meanings. And in this awareness the untransformed maya is the flow of suddha vasanas. Pasyanti mode of language is the state of senses (of words/sentences) or artha sthiti or state of verb. The verb will be in a present continuous or infinite form without subject and object.

When an object energy-form, the tanmatra, [objective energy forms- optical-light (eye), mechanical (ear) -sound chemical (nose and tongue), mechanical, thermal (skin) a vishaya (cognized object) - ] is sensed through antahkaranas, this verb state becomes a state of sentence – bhava or thought. This state is known as madhyama mode of language -the vibhakti state of sentence or thought and is the modulated sphota (undergone vivartanam – reversible change). This modulated energy- form gets transformed into sound energy through vocal chords’ movement and is expressed /uttered. This is the vaikhari mode of language. All this happens in the speaker/teacher. This uttered sound-energy (the vaikhari mode of language) is picked up by the ears (sense organs) of the listener/learner and becomes sentence in the madhyama mode- the modulated sphota mode in conjugation with the antahkaranas (inner mental tools). This sentence-energy form in madhyama mode is in subject-verb-object (the triad-triputi) form. This mode of language gets demodulated (reverse transformation of sphota - the vivartanam in the reverse direction) into meaning, resulting in understanding/experience in the pasyanti mode- to a verb (sense), in present continuous or infinite form, the subject and object being dissolved in the sense of uttered /expressed sound.

This, when meaningfully experienced in the awareness of para mode, is the purport or rasa or tatparya of the uttered word - Bliss, Being, Peace or Unoccupied Awareness , the normal or natural state of mind - i.e, the state of Self, Atman or Brahman. Thus chit-energy pulses, being issued out by Atman (Sat-Chit-Ananda) and after getting reflected in the medha as virtual or chit- energy (chidabhasa or maya or pranavam or sphota) pulses, first get modulated from this para / rasa / tatparya state by cognizing stored energies in potential (jada) form–in the form of subject-object- free verbs / senses, experiences, intuitions, understandings, urges, volitions through the antahkarna chittam to be transformed in to the mode of pasyanti; then again gets transformed into subject-verb-object state, the madhyama mode - by simultaneously cognizing the object energy-forms –vishayas, stored as potential energy (jada) forms – as idam, jagat or prapancham through the antahkarana, manas in the awareness of within – antarmukha dristi- as bhavas or thoughts.

Intellectual operations such as reasoning, decision making, take place in this awareness. When the antahkarana, manas is tuned to the object energy-forms (light-eye, sound-ear, chemical- tongue, nose and heat, mechanical-skin) through jnanendriyas –sense organs- then the awareness becomes bahirmukha dristi-awareness of without. This process (in expresser/teacher and the reverse of this process, (demodulation in listener/knower/learner) happen in human-beings while expressing/speaking or listening/learning - as transformation or reverse transformation respectively-together known as vivartanam- of maya/sphota and antahkarnas in conjugation with sense organs and action organs, karmendriyas.

Discussion about above modes of language acquisition and communication:

In the theory of language proposed by Sanskrit grammarians the advaita state - Jagrat Sushupti- corresponds to para mode of language acquisition and communication process. This is the purport or experienced meaning state. This state is a state of awareness of experience of meanings. And in this awareness the untransformed virtual mental reflection is the flow of pure experiences. Pasyanti mode of language is the state of sense (of words/sentences) or artha sthiti or state of verb. The verb will be in a present continuous or infinite form without subject and object attached. When an object energy-form is sensed through inner mental tools , this verb state becomes a state of sentence – feeling or thought. This state is known as madhyama mode of language -the state of sentence or thought and is the modulated form of virtual mental energy reflection. This modulated energy- form gets transformed into sound energy through vocal chords’ movement and is expressed /uttered. This is the vaikhari mode of language.

All this happens in the speaker/teacher. This uttered sound-energy (the vaikhari mode of language) is picked up by the ears (sense organs) of the listener/learner and becomes sentence in the madhyama mode- the modulated virtual mental energy form mode in conjugation with the inner mental tools. This sentence-energy form in madhyama mode is in subject-verb-object (the triad-triputi) form. This mode of language gets demodulated (reverse transformation of maya - the becoming in the reverse direction) into meaning, resulting in understanding/experience in the pasyanti mode- to a verb (sense), in present continuous or infinite form, the subject and object being dissolved in the sense of uttered /expressed sound. This, when meaningfully experienced in the awareness of para mode, is the purport or import of the uttered word- Bliss, Being, Peace or Unoccupied Awareness , the normal or natural state of mind - i.e, the state of Self, Atman or Brahman. Thus psychic energy (virtual mental energy reflection) pulses, being issued out by Atman [Sat-Chit-Ananda (Being-Pure Consciousness-Bliss)] and after getting reflected in the medha, (can be medulla oblongata or reticular formation?) as virtual or chit- energy (virtual mental energy reflection) pulses, first get modulated from this para / rasa / purport mode by cognizing stored energies in potential (jada) form–in the form of subject-object- free verbs/senses, experiences, intuitions, understandings, urges, volitions through the inner mental tool chittam to be transformed in to the mode of verb, mood, experience-pasyanti; then again gets transformed into sentence -subject-verb-object state, the madhyama mode - by simultaneously cognizing the object energy-forms – stored as potential energy (jada) forms – as inner mental world through the inner mental tool, manas in the awareness of within –- as feelings or thoughts.

Intellectual operations such as reasoning, decision making, take place in this awareness. When the inner mental tool, manas is tuned to the object energy-forms (light-eye, sound-ear, chemical- tongue, nose and heat, mechanical-skin) through–sense organs- then the awareness becomes -awareness of without. This process (in expresser/teacher and the reverse of this process, (demodulation in listener / knower / learner) happen in human-beings while expressing/speaking or listening/learning- as transformation or reverse transformation respectively-together known as reversible becoming- of maya and inner mental tools in conjugation with sense organs and action organs. Further the inner mental tool buddhi takes care of intellectual operations and other mental tool, ahamkaram takes care of self-consicousness. Both buddhi and ahamkaram are electro-chemical forms of mental energy reflection maya.

This is the essence or gist of human cognitive process and language acquisition and communication process as envisaged by the Upanishads and the advaita philosophy together with Sabdabrahma Siddhanta in terms of vivartanam (modulation and demodulation of psychic energy). Thus this simple model of integrated psychology (the science on mind and mental functions) and language communication process when compared with the radio broadcasting and reception processes (modulation and demodulation), depicts the model of human cognitive process involving energy transofrmations. This model provides necessary soft-ware while constructing machines which can perform human mental tasks which can be used in the disciplines of cognitive sciences and natural language comprehension branch of artificial intelligence.

Sources for this article:
1.Bhartruhari, Vakyapadeeyam, .Telugu Akadami, Hyderabad (1974).
2.Vaasishta Ganapati Muni., Viswa Mimamsa, Kavyakanta Bharathi, Anakapalli (1982)..
3.Vaasishta Ganapati Muni, Uma Sahasram, Sri Sai Shyam Trust, Nandyal (1994)..
4.Adian, E .D, Matthews, B.H.C., The Berger rhythm: potential changes from the occipital lobes in man, Brain, 57, (1934) 355-85.
5.Ramabrahmam, V., The physical structure and function of mind: A modern scientific translation of Advaita philosophy with implications and application to cognitive sciences and natural language comprehension, Paper presented at national seminar on Sanskrit in the Modern Context conducted by Department of Sanskrit Studies and the School of humanities, University of Hyderabad between11-13, February (2008).
6. Ramabrahmam, V., Concept of mind in yoga sutras and vedanta panchadasi: A comparison, Paper presented at Patanjaluiyam, tetradic national seminar on Bharatiya Scientific Heritage Patanjaliyam-Kautilyiyam-Parasshariyam-Bharadvajiyam (Exploration into the interface os Spiritual, Social, Agricultural and Engineering Sciences) held at SDM College, Ujjire-Dharmastlala, Mangalore, 13th-16th May, (2008).
7. Ramabrahmam, V., The infrasonics of human cognition and communication, Paper presented at Bharadvajiyam tetradic national seminar on Bharatiya Scientific Heritage Patanjaliyam-Kautilyiyam-Parasshariyam-Bharadvajiyam (Exploration into the interface os Spiritual, Social, Agricultural and Engineering Sciences) held at SDM College, Ujjire-Dharmastlala, Mangalore, 13th-16th May, (2008).
8. Ramanuja Tatacharya, N.S., Sabdabodhameemamsa- An Inquiry into Indian Theories of Verbal Cognition Part I - The Sentences and its Significance Institut Francais De Pondichery, Pondicherry - Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan, New Delhi (2005).
9. Ramanuja Tatacharya, N.S., Sabdabodhameemamsa-An Inquiry into Indian Theories of Verbal Cognition Part II - Case Terminations and their Significance Institut Francais De Pondichery, Pondicherry - Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan, New Delhi (2006).
10. Subbarao, V., The philosophy of a Sentence and its parts, Munshiram Manoharlal, New Delhi (1969).
11. Ramabrahmam, V, Being and Becoming: A Physics and Upanishadic awareness of time and thought process, Ludus Vitalis, International Journal of Philosophy of Life Sciences, Vol. XIII, Number 24, 2005, pp.139-152.
12. Ramabrahmam, V., The Science of human consciousness, Ludus Vitalis, International Journal of Philosophy of Life Sciences, Vol. XV, Number 27, 2007, pp. 127-142.
13. Ramabrahmam, V., The infrasonics and electronics of bionics, Proceedings of Presentations at International Conference on Photonics, Nano-technology and Computer Applications (ICOPNAC- 2009), 25-28 February 2009 held at Center for Research and Development, PRIST UNIVERSITY, West Campus, Trichy Main Road, Vallam, Tanjavur- 613 403, Tamilnadu, INDIA, Volume II, (2009) 20-39.
14. Ramabrahmam, V.,The accusto-mechanotronics of human language acquisition and communication (in press)
26-Jun-2012
More by :  Dr. Varanasi Ramabrahmam
 
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Article Comment Thanks for very informative paper,sir.Regards.
T.S.Chandra Mouli
06/28/2012
 
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