Monday, December 31, 2012


Preverbabble is a term I coined a few decades ago to refer to the brain’s (or more modestly, my brain’s) prelinguistic chatter, a sort of rhythmic stream of mostly nonsense syllables that occasionally forms itself into words. Mostly this happens outside of consciousness, but in certain states it is possible to perceive it directly. These states seem to involve a temporary displacement. Usually the verbalizing parts of the mind are controlled by the semantic parts; in this state the more motor/rhythmic parts get the upper hand. Kind of fun! Maybe this is where poetry comes from, but my own little musico-verbal engine seems to produce mostly nonsense and occasional unpublishble doggerel.

The closest representation I can think of is the language of Joyce’s Finnegans Wake, especially the “thunder words” such as:
Anyway, the term bubbled itself back into the foreground of consciousness today for some reason, and a quick check on Google revealed exactly zero uses of it, so I thought I might as well stake my claim to originating it.

And ... wishing everyone an orthogonal New Year!

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