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Sunday 23 September 2007

Linguistics - Finance

We have a new section. We will post articles on Finance, Valuation and Investing written by friends and guests.

To kick off, Prasad contributed this very interesting article about Linguistics and Finance on Lollapalooza. With his permission, it is being reproduced here.


Some thoughts to share about, on the application of linguistics in finance. These are in no way any conclusions, but only thoughts to reflect upon. Please share your comments/ideas on the same.

Human "line of thought"(LOT) is divided into natural sciences, applied sciences, arts and humanity etc and many a times one "line of thought" (LOT) is enriched by findings from other "lines of thought". Such a division itself is difficult because of overlapping nature. Sometimes findings in one are found to be erroneous before taking into consideration the findings from other. Example: study of history is enriched by anthropology, evolution, biology etc; Even in the area of finance, we are applying insights from various fields like evolution, biology, chemistry, psychology etc. And there are many other such examples of inter-disciplinary dependancies. I have some thoughts to ponder upon regarding linguists and finance.

1. In Linguistics, one question posed often is "can we think with out language"? Isn't the existing knowledge bounded by the limitations of "language"? We may not always express correctly what we felt/thought. Actions resulted from thinking that we do with out associated words(language), are difficult to analyze further. We try to find situations where various mental models or their combinations have relevance in area of finance and life at large. People's awareness/understanding/susceptibility/application of mental models differ. In such cases, does't it get more dificult to find the right mental model/combination of models, compounded by the problem of actions resulted from thinking with out language, and analysis limited by language?

2. Many disciplines/sciences add new jargons, being limited by existing words. Does the innovation in the discipline (even finance) becomes limited by language constraint? Is it that "I cant express myself in words" a question to be limited to disciplines of arts, metaphysics etc?

3. Is the application of mental models/finding the right model limited by language as in case of study of history, with out inputs from paleontology/archealogy etc.Any such situations one noticed? Are such situations so rare that they don't demand further analysis with regard to applications in behavioural finance? Even if they are not rare, the fact that everyone is bounded by such limitations makes this discussion irrelevant?

I doubt even the above sentences are, limited by langauge as well as my ability to use language effectively. Please share your comments/ideas on the same.


P.S.: Wiki on Linguistics


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