There are infinite concepts, but when one applies finite constraints to those concepts, one can accomplish miracles. This is the foundation of life as I perceive it. The constraints of words challenge us to think about the world a specific way in order to communicate what we are thinking and perceiving in order for it to make sense to those we are communicating with.
I think of communication as the transfer of knowledge between one or more sources (senders) and one or more sinks (recipients) through an agreed upon mechanism using a structure specific to the domain. I think of it like a boat floating down a river. The water is the carrier. The boat is the message structure, the boat's contents are the message, the riverbank is the language, and the ocean is the sink. The shape of the river represents the outside forces that work in tandem with the river to shape (modulate) the surrounding land (domain).
When I learn a new language, I first determine what's important to the domain in which that language was created. This provides context for understanding the basic structure and grammar of the language.
So far, I have limited myself to computer programming languages, but I would like to start learning human languages other than my native tongue.
I believe that you can more easily understand the world around you if you have language as a guide.
To me, a language has a core essence that must be felt before mastering its use. By discovering how to use the language, you learn more about the domain for which it was created.
This serves three purposes: learning the language, learning the domain, and manipulating the domain using the power of the language.
I think I will focus on studying poetry for each new language I attempt to learn. I believe that poetry is the essence of humanity, pared down to its minimal language representation. This means that the ideas of the author are captured in the most artistic, or even concise way. I have always had better success treating programming as an art rather than as an engineering discipline. If I don't have a human connection to the efforts that I pursue, then I feel I am not headed in the right direction. By studying the poetry of the culture that created the language in its native tongue, I believe it will be easier to understand the language because of our shared human experience.
I believe that my approach to this goes back to my upbringing. Whenever I asked my mother why a thing was so, she would always answer, "I don't know, why don't you find out?". I have spent my life finding out the answers to the questions that pop up in my mind. I am bombarded by ideas during almost every waking moment of my life. It's sometimes very debilitating because it makes it hard to focus on the current problem. I make an effort to maximize my productivity through the use of new tools (created by me and not created by me) so that I can finish the tasks associated with the previous ideas more quickly.
I found a program that will help teach me foreign languages in Virtual Reality. I'm going to give it a try. I may come back and post the results. If you don't hear from me again about the topic, assume that it's in my rotation.