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Re: [xmca] Peter Smagorinsky on concepts

Huw Lloyd wrote:
On 16 January 2012 23:18, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net <mailto: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.
I think that the idea that "Dada!" is a sentence is not controversial, Huw. But consider this:

   "Thought is always something whole, something with significantly
   greater extent and volume than the individual word. Over the course
   of several minutes, an orator frequently develops the same thought.
   This thought is contained in his mind as a whole. It does not arise
   step by step through separate units in the way that his speech
   develops. /What is contained simultaneously in thought unfolds
   sequentially in speech. /Thought can be compared to a hovering cloud
   which gushes a shower of words" {Thinking and Speech, Chapter 7,
   LSVCW vol 1}.

Here I take "thought" to be a concept.
    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.
"Greater" is not really the right word. I mean that many sentences and other actions are required to instantiate (and not just invoke) a concept.
    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?
I mean that many actions are required to instantiate an activity. EG the activity of building a house, or creating the design for a house, requires millions of lifting, carrying, hammering, commanding, etc., actions.


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