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Re: [xmca] fetishism | word meaning
On 8 June 2011 06:18, Joseph Gilbert <email@example.com> wrote:
> It seems to me that you are calling into play much more abstract and
> complex analytical tools than need be and thereby confusing and obscuring
> the picture.
> All these communications are accomplished by the producer of the vocal
> sounds imparting particular patterns of bodily vibrations of the receivers
> of those sounds.
No response from David, yet. So here's my take on it:
One aspect conveyed by vocal sound is tone stemming from the muscular state
of relaxation, or tension, in the abdomen, chest and larynx of the
speaker. We have a useful, though sometimes inconvenient, unconscious
reciprocal response to these tones, that helps us to synchronise with them.
These tones are a direct (analog) expression of certain physical states,
which can come to have influence in various ways -- such as a readiness for
action or an indicator of safety and repose (see for example Vygotsky's
reference to animal communication by contamination) which are both
evolutionary important with respect to conserving resources.
This communication by 'contamination' really simply means that there is a
population that are influenced by these tones, whether they are 'hard coded'
(i.e. instintive) or whether its through some form of
projective-identificatory appreciation or a more conscious dialogical
appreciation of what muscular tension is required to reproduce these sounds.
There are also 'analogic' aspects to the sounds of words -- the 'da' or
'that' has its proponents that support the correspondence between this
muscular expression and 'otherness/outerness' for example, which may well
have significant historical bearing on language, but it is also clear (or
atleast clear to many of us) that a word is not sound. A word is a mental
construct that is referred to by sound and other material forms, that, when
employed, adheres to social norms of language. To refer to the printed
pattern on a page, or the sound heard, a word is a projection of the word.
Yes, the material aspects of this pattern convey some (more) direct meaning,
such as the affect of the speaker, but there is nothing inherent in the
utterance that denotes its relation and meaning to all other words (other
than the affectual _stress_ given to particular utterances and grammatical
constraints, which is a function of the speakers understanding). The
relation and meaning of a word with respect to all other words is a core
defining aspect of what makes a word a word, and this relation is not
expressed in the sound.
With some conceptual simplification, we have:
i) Material pattern: print on paper, sound wave.
ii) Word identifier (interpretation/recognition)
iii) Word meaning
i) Material pattern: rhythm of text, tone of sound.
ii) Physiological analog. (interpretation/recognition)
iii) Aspects of contextual meaning/mood.
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