Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Russell on language and cricket

To aid me in my effort to collect philosophical quotes related to cricket, John Sutton (aka kenelmdigby) has just sent me the following fantastic quote by Bertrand Russell:
Understanding language is...like understanding cricket: it is a matter of habits acquired in oneself and rightly presumed in others
The quote is from Leonard B Meyer, Emotion and Meaning in Music, Chicago UP 1956, p.39. Meyer himself points to Russell's Selected Papers, Modern Library, NY, Random House, p.358. Use that quote the next time you are in the company of those uninitiated to the pleasures of the Noble Game.


Blogger David Barry said...

I love it. Thanks Samir/John.

9:34 PM  
Blogger Jrod said...

I think I understand cricket, one day i should really learn a language, I'll start with English.

10:21 PM  
Blogger Samir Chopra said...

DB: You're welcome. Bertie had a way with words for sure.

JRod: Not a bad idea; sometimes it can go the other way..start with cricket, move on to English.

11:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

dunno if you've seen this article


1:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


1:48 AM  
Blogger Samir Chopra said...


Thanks very much for that link! Much appreciated. Ramu's views on cricket are definitely lyrically expressed.


5:42 AM  
Blogger straight point said...

start with cricket, move on to English...

atleast thats what poms seem to do...

6:15 AM  
Blogger Diorissi said...

Meyer is quoting Russell on language and cricket to make some intriguing claims about music. 'The operation of intelligence in listening to music [try - in watching (or, more plausibly, playing?) cricket] need never become self-conscious. We are continually behaving in an intelligent way, comprehending meanings and acting upon our perceptions, cognitions, and evaluations without ever making the meanings themselves the objects of our scrutiny'. What do you think of this - haven't even Warney or Sehwag occasionally made the meanings themselves the object of their scrutiny?

8:44 AM  
Blogger Samir Chopra said...

SP: I'm starting to get worried about their understanding of cricket!

Doris: Good to see you here! It does seems that in listening to music we might be engaging in a similar activity to that of playing cricket, yes. Both require the exercise of mental and physical faculties without us being able to articulate clearly what is going on - especially in such an embodied skill as that of a cricket player. I'm not sure that either Warne or Sehwag are quite capable of articulating some of their more ineffable moments. Both, interestingly, have been rated for their captaincy skills, though in both cases its for tactical nous rather than coaching skills.

10:20 AM  

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