Re: [xmca] Some thoughts on some issues in Hasan's papers

From: Jim Martin (
Date: Wed Jul 06 2005 - 15:27:38 PDT


Harry's note reminds me I meant to send a list of references to Ruqaiya
and her colleagues' work on semantic variation (maybe not complete but
Ruqaiya can fill in), partly to pick up a thread from years ago when we
were reviewing early responses to Bernstein and the critique that some
of his findings were based on interviewing people about what they would
say if... instead of actual languge in use.

Ruqaiya's project was based on semantic variation in what people do
say... and her results confirm in general the earlier Bernstein work,
and of course extend it (gender alongside social class for example).


Harry Daniels wrote:

>When Halliday spoke of learning how to mean Bernstein spoke of recognition
>and realization rules -- how do I know what is this and not that
>(recognition) and how do I speak like this (realization). Different social
>positions give rise to different possibilities for orientation to meaning.
>That is not to say that these are fixed -- within the Bernsteinian thesis
>voice -- the cultural larynx created by social categories both shapes the
>possibilities for particular messages (that which is spoken) but also may -
>in turn -- be changed by messages. This relation between utterance and
>social categories is optimistic -- participation in new forms of discursive
>practice can 'awaken or rouse to life' following LSV. Hence Neil Mercer's
>work on exploratory talk. BUT the social categories within activity carry
>their power through the principles of regulation of communication that they
>generate into possibilities for understanding. This is where I find the
>third space pedagogy work so fascinating -- the connections made between
>different modalities of utterance may serve to transform social
>Ah well it is late in the day -- apologies
>-----Original Message-----
>From: [] On
>Behalf Of Phil Chappell
>Sent: 06 July 2005 15:46
>Subject: Re: [xmca] Some thoughts on some issues in Hasan's papers
>Hi Ed,
>A late response - I wonder how "intersubjectivity" fits in with your
>problem? A colleague of mine (who I believe is lerking here) is
>designing a study of teacher-student intersubjectivity, in which I am
>sure attention and engagement will figure. You say "Some effort is
>needed to create a way of meaning that turns out to be meaningful to
>all, not just to those who come pre-disposed to learn decontextualised
>knowledge structures" - in my context of language teaching, this is
>probably the single biggest challenge, especially as values of language
>knowledge are credited to traditional grammatical descriptions and
>rules - I am sure Wittgenstein would shudder in his suit ;-) Of course,
>the Bernstein view is from a different time and social space, but there
>are aspects that surely can be shared.
>Ed, you also said "listening, I think, has a lot to to do with the
>ideational, the interpersonal, and the textual aspects of saying" - you
>are in sync with the (I am not sure what abbreviation to use any more -
>let me use SFL, and hope an SFL'er may suggest a more appropriate
>acronym, since we are at a serious cross-disciplinary border crossing,
>as Mike just mentioned) SFL view of the most fundamental language
>functions that constitute human semiosis.
>Thanks for your questions - they kept me awake last night! But
>importantly, could you elaborate on, or provide a reference on Corradi
>Fiumara? This will certainly add a layer to our discussions.
>On 05/07/2005, at 6:49 AM, Ed Wall wrote:
>>As I read Ruqaiya's nice analysis of mediate, my thoughts wandered to
>>Hegel (and Kierkegaard for that matter) and his use of the term.
>>Charles Taylor notes
>>In Hegel's usage we can speak of something as 'immediate' when it
>>exists on its own, without necessarily being related to something
>>else. Else it is called 'mediate.' If on the level of ordinary talk
>>and not of speculative philsophy I speak of somebody as a man, I am
>>speaking of him as something 'immediate,' for (at this level of talk
>>anyway) a man can exist on his own. But if I speak of him as a father,
>>or brother or son, then he is seen as 'mediate,' for his being one of
>>these requires his relation to someone else.
>>and was wondering how/if Vygotosky was influenced.
>> However, my interest was quite captured by Ruqaiya's last paragraph
>>as education is a place I where spend much of my thinking. Especially
>>the bit
>>Obviously, semiotic mediation can only succeed if the receiver
>>receives with understanding; a condition for understanding is the
>>recruitment of attention and engagement. Why should we expect that
>>pupils coming from distinct social positions will all have the same
>>notions of relevance, the same urge for engagement with the same
>>'knowledge'. Some effort is needed to create a way of meaning that
>>turns out to be meaningful to all, not just to those who come
>>pre-disposed to learn decontextualised knowledge structures.
>>Here she speaks about the 'receiver' and the 'recruitment of attention
>>and engagement.'
>> Heraclitus writes
>> not knowing how to listen, neither can they speak. They are at odds
>>with what
>> they have most continuous involvement
>>The Greek word legein means 'to say', but it also has the sense of
>>laying down or gathering together. Hence, listening, I think, has a
>>lot to to do with the ideational, the interpersonal, and the textual
>>aspects of saying. But, as Corradi Fiumara remarks (in the Other Side
>>of Language)
>>In the readiness to understand there is precisely an effort to follow
>>up the inner consequentiality of someone's expressions: the
>>disposition that gives life to a 'listening event'.
>>So there is this critical business of 'engagement' and what might be
>>termed anticipation. This last has something to do with relevance, but
>>relevance sounds, given Corradi Fiumara, almost too bland and there
>>are times, it seems, when the seeming irrelevant or unanticipated is
>>what is engaging or has life.
>> Anyway, much of my time is spent trying to mix relevance and the
>>potential for engagement into mine and my students curriculum so
>>relevant :-) conversation and thoughts related to semiotic mediation
>>would be most helpful.
>>Ed Wall
>>> much clipped
>>>The implied issue:
>>>This issue has to do with what is often offered by way of example as
>>>the paradigm examples of semiotic mediation relevant to the
>>>development of higher mental functions. I have maintained in both
>>>papers offered here for discussion that the examples are limited to
>>>knowledge of the kind that is relevant to "official" pedagogy such as
>>>logical reasoning, concept formation and so on. I would make two
>>>points: First, this emphasis on what counts as the most important
>>>materials for the making of developed minds is solely "ideational" in
>>>terms of Halliday; it is traditionally highly valued and has played
>>>an enormous role in our "exosomatic evolution". It dfinitely empowers
>>>manipulation and control of the universe. But this urge for control
>>>and manipulation has perhaps now become dysfunctional since it is
>>>being emphasised at the cost of our regard for the 'other'. If our
>>>conception of what constitutes "higher" mental function is limited to
>>>such phenomena of mental life and if this is accompanied by a
>>>disregard of the other, which is endemic to our educational systems
>>>-- in fact pretty much to our society as a whole -- then I fear that
>>>instead of evolution of the species, it may in fact push the human
>>>race towards the brink of extinction. The second point implied in
>>>this paper but developed a little more in the other (semiotic
>>>mediation in pluralistic societies...) is the relevance of paying
>>>attention to what is mediated completely unconsciously day in and day
>>>out in the life of young children and what therefore enters into the
>>>formation of their notions of what counts as relevant. Obviously,
>>>semiotic mediaiton can only succeed if the receiver receives with
>>>understanding; a condition for understanding is the recruitment of
>>>attention and engagement. Why should we expect that pupils coming
>>>from distinct social positions will all have the same notions of
>>>relevance, the same urge for engagement with the same 'knowledge'.
>>>Some effort is needed to create a way of meaning that turns out to be
>>>meaningful to all, not just to those who come pre-disposed to learn
>>>decontextualised knowledge structures. While saying this, I realise
>>>that there is a very strong trend whereby to talk of difference is
>>>more culpable than to participate in perpetuating difference, which
>>>we all do, willing or unwillingly.
>>>Over to you all!
>>xmca mailing list
>xmca mailing list
>xmca mailing list

xmca mailing list

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Mon Aug 01 2005 - 01:00:58 PDT