I think a lot in terms of analogies. The shape or structure of something can resemble something else and if they work in the similar ways one structure can be used to understand a second. I’ve been exploring food science lately and the analogy of the protein molecule and the verb seemed to stand out to me repeatedly as I learned how these molecules function in cooking. They just kept reminding me of how verbs work in a sentence.
I’m thinking about this analogy in terms of cooking. Sugars and fats don’t do a whole lot compared to what happens with protein. They’re mostly just stored energy (something like semantic content waiting to manipulated by the predicate). Much of the action when you’re cooking something comes from how protein molecules link up to other food molecules. When proteins are heated they unfold exposing more charged atoms to other food particles in the mix, and these newly exposed molecules (amino acids) bond with other food molecules especially sugars, to form flavor and browning in the Maillard reactions.
In sentences verbs link subjects to objects, as you know, it’s the syntactic structure of language that causes verb phrases to hook up to other linguistic particles and function as the keystones of sentence structure and understanding.
Phonemes are like atoms, which bond together into molecules, which are like words (actually morphemes) generally, and verb phrases are like proteins in that they interface with other parts to form the essential structure that becomes the food or language.
You can create syntactically correct sentences with verbs alone just as your body can get the sugars and fats it needs from metabolizing only protein (though the chemical reactions leave you with excess ammonia in the body when this occurs). It gets the job done but your left with something very redundant and boring and in need of spice.
The analogy breaks down pretty fast if you torture it enough. Geometry matters more in chemistry where language is more linear and algebraic. Language unfolds linearly in time while chemical reactions can occur simultaneous across different parts of a string of atoms.