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Being

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Being

Postby val » Sun Jul 03, 2011 9:45 am

I've only just tuned in to the thread on 'abstract' and 'concrete' rather too late to contribute there. But I thought of the word 'being' is this abstract or concrete
For example
'a human being' is one member of Homo sapiens so that suggests 'being' is concrete.
What about the phrase
' ..we live and move and have our being' (bible)?
'live' suggests existing, so 'being' must be something more - spirit? personality? essential self? so is this abstract?
We're getting into philosophy here!
Deacartes (I think) said 'cogito ergo sum' - 'I think therefore I am' but I don't think that gets us any further!
An interesting thing about the verb 'to be' is that it is irregular in English and certainly in Latin and French - is that true of all languages?
When early hominids first became aware of 'self' did 'I am' , 'you are' , 'he is' express the sense of individuality - we are different beings?
Discuss!
Val :roll:
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Re: Being

Postby Sue » Sun Jul 03, 2011 10:58 am

val wrote:I've only just tuned in to the thread on 'abstract' and 'concrete' rather too late to contribute there. But I thought of the word 'being' is this abstract or concrete
For example
'a human being' is one member of Homo sapiens so that suggests 'being' is concrete.

I think what you've got there is a gerundive - a part of a verb that's being used as a noun - and those tend to be abstract, don't they: spoiled in the telling, she experienced a seeing, they ate it at one sitting - none of these are things you could scoop up and carry in a bucket. Neither is the existence of a person.
An interesting thing about the verb 'to be' is that it is irregular in English and certainly in Latin and French - is that true of all languages?

One of my language books makes the interesting assertion that in both English and German "most of the verbs in common use are irregular ones." The most irregular change between first/second/third person and plurals (am/are/is, is/are), as well as between present and past forms (is/was, were). Some only change between present and past forms (eat, ate).
Dutch, Portuguese, Italian and Spanish vary too in the formation of the present and the past tenses of "to be". Interesting thought. Why is the verb "to be" but none of the uses of it include "I be, you be, he be" unless you're writing cod-Zummerzet dialect?
When early hominids first became aware of 'self' did 'I am' , 'you are' , 'he is' express the sense of individuality - we are different beings?
Discuss!
Val :roll:

Or a different attitude to the existence of the person/object? You would normally describe - say - a tree or a rock - in the third person, probably as a neutral object (in English "a tree" or "a rock" is not gender specific). But if you're directly addressing a person there is an interaction implied. And if you're talking about yourself you are totally involved. Just another thought!
Sue
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Writing should be as transparent as possible.
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Re: Being

Postby val » Sun Jul 03, 2011 5:08 pm

Well, a human being could be carried - in a very large bucket - on the front of a tractor maybe? (oh,no! health and safety!) :o
but I get the point of the gerundive - though even then ...
'eaten in one sitting ' a sitting is a group of people seated round a table ... so a ver y very large bucket ........ :lol:
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Re: Being

Postby softweir » Mon Jul 04, 2011 12:37 am

I thought "a sitting" meant something more like "a mealtime" or even "a meal". It was the occasion, not the people who took part in it. I wasn't aware of its sense as the group of people, maybe this is a newer usage derived from restaurant jargon?
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Re: Being

Postby val » Tue Jul 05, 2011 5:14 pm

If you have a lot of people to feed and you can't feed them all at once you arrange them in 'sittings' - not a new usage. When i was at school (round about the time of Noah :lol: ) we used to have various 'sittings' for our school dinners - the 1st sitting was the group of people who ate their dinner first (it was dinner in those days not lunch!)
I still don't know if it is concrete or abstract but it seems pretty concrete - though we weren't so obese in those days!
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