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Re: [xmca] Peter Smagorinsky on concepts

On 16 January 2012 23:18, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:

> Huw, I think words do not have "pragmatic force". For that you have to go
> something like sentences.

One area I don't think I've come across in my readings of Vygotsky on this
distinction, is the case where sentences comprises a single word.
Yesterday my son put down his spoon on his baby chair, raised his arms up
high and called out "Dada!".  I think he was uttering a sentence.

> Vygotsky says that a word is a sign for a concept. The utterance of a word
> does not therefore have pragmatic force on its own, as you say, but by
> means of its semiotic properties, contributes to the pragmatic force of a
> sentence or other more extended utterance. That's how I'd see it. The odd
> thing is that a concept is a unit which is greater than a sentence, even
> though a word is less than a sentence, and yet one is the sign for another.

This seems efficient and effective to me.  Although I'm only guessing at
your means of comparison -- complexity of logical predicates in this case.

> The same applies to the relation between activity and action.
I can't follow this unless I know how you're comparing them --- simple
strategies guiding highly intricate tactics/operations?


> Andy
> Huw Lloyd wrote:
>> 4.  On "word meaning" my preference is to think about sentence meaning.
>> Here it will be clearer that words, absent from a sentence, do not
>> comprise
>> a completed meaning.  They have aspects which are defined, ofcourse,  but
>> these definitions only form part of a system of meaning which is derived
>> from the synthesis of all the words in a sentence (and wider contexts).
>>  To
>> ascribe a "completed" "word meaning" to "all those meanings implied by all
>> possible sentences in which this word can be used" would be like trying to
>> put the whole world in a shoe box, because the system of constraints that
>> comprises all of the sentences is greater than those that comprise the
>> word.   Word meaning in this light is then a different genus of meaning to
>> sentence meaning, it is a derivative of sentence meaning just as
>> acceleration is the derivative of velocity (with time), hence they are not
>> of the same type (genus).  I suspect that the fuzziness to which you refer
>> is partially the confusion of types of meaning.  If instead of this
>> elaborate interpretation of word meaning that encompasses all of the
>> ambiguities that arise of its use in a sentence, we refer to "word
>> meaning"
>> as simply the known system of constraints that are the conventional
>> definition of a word and that participate in sentence meaning, then we
>> have
>> a more tractable account of word usage that is also (I believe) more in
>> line with scientific concepts, hence word and concept align better.
>> Huw
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