I’ve mentioned my interests in metafiction and metadata. Today I get to spend eight hours learning about a metalanguage. I think I’m in love. I’ve been waiting/looking for a link between my information science pursuits and my linguistic passions; what do I find but the idea of languages describing languages. Yes, I realize that sounds redundant, but it’s not what you might think. A metalanguage is the very thing that brings out meaning from any text – imagine a novel, even a short 200-pager, without any descriptors like “chapter x” or “introduction” – imagine all 200 pages running together without any indication of where the text starts and the forwards end. Better yet, imagine reading a play without any indication of scene breaks, acts, or any information but the dialogue itself. Strip away all the stage directions and you would have an example of content without structure, or – a language without its metalanguage. (Note: I’m the first to admit that I’m new to this stuff, so if anyone has a better example or a correction, please fire away in the comments.)

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