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[Xmca-l] Re: Acquisition of word meaning



Larry--

Actually, I was thinking of Chapter Nine, "Structures of Feeling". For
Williams, a "Structure of Feeling" is very close to the unit of word
meaning, but of course it has the word "feeling" instead of "thinking", so
it is not at all susceptible to Andy's accusation of
over-intellectualization. Just as Vygotsky sees sense and signification as
making up two elements in tension within each word meaning, Williams finds
that every epoch has a "structure of feeling" peculiar to it. For the
ancient Greeks, it was the structure of feeling caused by inexorable fate
and by the tragic flaw, and for the industrial novels that my wife works on
it is the sympathy of the (middle class) author for the lower depths
counterbalanced by the terror and fear of their rage.

Williams then talks about the quite specific WORDINGS that authors found,
or rather, exapted--pillaging words, sentences, and even whole genres that
had belonged to other functions and using them for new functions. The
example my wife works on is the way that Elizabeth Gaskell exapted the
words, sentences, and plots of domestic romances which had been developed
as ways of teaching young women to choose the right man for her books "Mary
Barton" and "North and South"--these are books that defend and don't defend
working class terrorism and revolutonary unionism; the defense is in the
reported speech of the working class characters and in their reported
thought processes, while the failure to defend is in their conflict with
other characters (but not always with the narrator).

There was a pop song in China a few years ago with a refrain that went "Wo
hen chou lou, dan wo hen wen rou", which means something like "I am very
ugly, but I'm very gentle". You can see that this is a good example of a
"Structure of Feeling", but you can also see that there are many many ways
to word it. Halliday would say:

RELATOR: I am ugly. But...I'm gentle.
CIRCUMSTANCE: Being ugly, I am gentle as well.
PROCESS: My gentility gainsays my ugliness.
QUALITY: I am gently ugly.
ENTITY: My ugly gentility

You can see that using a relationship emphasizes the distinctness of the
ideas. It is also the most "canonical" way, and probably primoridal in
ontogenetic terms. But as children get older, they learn to express the
same ideas in non-canonical, metaphorical ways and as they do this the
elements of the structure of feeling are linked as well  as distinct (and
also, Andy would protest, less clear and more fuzzy). But that's the
process we call educatiion.

It is getting to be summer in Korea now and the Gingko trees are bearing
nuts. Some time in 1815, Goethe took two gingko leaves pasted them on a
parchment, sending them rather flirtatiously to a damsel he had met:



Gingo Biloba

 Dieses Baums Blatt, der von Osten

 Meinem Garten anvertraut,

 Gibt geheimen Sinn zu kosten,

 Wie's den Wissenden erbaut.



 Ist es Ein lebendig Wesen,

 Das sich in sich selbst getrennt?

 Sind es zwei, die sich erlesen,

 Dass man sie als eines kennt.



 Solche Frage zu erwidern,

 Fand ich wohl den rechten Sinn.

 Fühlst du nicht in meinen Liedern,

 Dass ich Eins und doppelt bin.



My wretched translation:



These tree leaves which from the East come

Now within my garden grow

There they share a secret teasing

Pleasing only those who know



Is one leaf a living being

Which decided to divide?

Is it double, now agreeing

As a single to abide?



To these questions anwers bringing

A third question ringing true

Can’t you hear that in my singing

I am one but also two?

David Kellogg
Hankuk University of Foreign Studies



On 22 July 2014 10:17, Larry Purss <lpscholar2@gmail.com> wrote:

> David,
> I read your comment:
>
> discussing the concept *word* what is meant is not a noun but something
> much more like an attribute, which would be expressed as a nominal group in
> English but a
> verbal group in Korean. And elsewhere it's clear that the word 'word'
> actually means "wording"--.
>
> I went away and that night heard myself asking if the distinctions between
> *word* and *wording* and the way they are different can also be explored as
> how *word* and *wording* are*related* [form conjunctions].
> Then the question becomes what is *mediating* this conjunction? If I use
> the term *between* to refer to the relation as *word* AND *wording* it
> seems to imply a certain type of conjunction. However, if the relation is
> considered as a *trans* relation [transformation, translation] it seems to
> indicate a more fluid flowing or being *carried* from one *aspect* of the
> relation towards the *other* aspect and also in the reciprocal direction
> without clear distinct boundaries of *word* and *wording*
>
> This also could apply to *event* and *eventing* OR
> could apply to *worded* and *wording*
>
> In 1977 Raymond Williams wrote the book *Marxism and Literature* and in
> Chapter two Raymond explores what he refers to as a wrong turn in our
> understanding when studying the concept *language* and the notion of
> *sign*.
>  Raymond's perspective is the notion of *sign* is a medieval concept which
> has been readopted in modern linguistic thought.
> *Sign*, from Latin, *signum* meant a mark or token which is intrinsically a
> concept based on a distinction between *language* and *reality*.
> Raymond states: sign "is an INTERPOSITION between *word* and *thing* which
> repeats the Platonic interposition of *form*, *essence*, or *idea* but now
> in inaccessible linguistic terms." (page 25)
>
> In contrast to this notion of *sign* Raymond articulates a notion of
> *sign*as a PRODUCT [but not merely a past reified product of an
> *always-given* language SYSTEM.]  Real communicative *products* [which are
> usable signs] are living evidence of a continuing social process within
> which individuals are carried but within which they also actively
> contribute. This understanding of *sign* is AT ONCE BOTH socialization and
> individuation [connected aspects of a single process] which the alternative
> notions of *sign* as *system* or *expression* dissociate as reified
> *language* and reified *society*.
> Raymond also emphasizes his notion of language  rejects the metaphor of
> language as *reflection* of *material reality*  We grasp THIS reality
> THROUGH language, which as practical social consciousness is saturated by
> and saturates all social activity [including productive activity]
> Raymond says this grasping is continuous languaging [wording] which is THIS
> LOST MIDDLE term between the abstract entities *subject* and *object* on
> which BOTH idealism AND orthodox materialism flounder. Language IS this
> articulated social PRESENCE in the world.
>
> Raymond is playing with *word* and *wording* [*event* and *eventing*] and
> it is the conjunction OF *word* and *wording* which he is articulating
>
>
>
> On Mon, Jul 21, 2014 at 1:16 AM, Bella Kotik-Friedgut <
> bella.kotik@gmail.com
> > wrote:
>
> > Without theorizing I want to share my recent observation of development
> of
> > word meaning in my grandson 3.10. Everyday there is something reminding
> me
> > of LSV. Here are examples of words that still are not full concepts.
> > Driving home at narrow crowded street he proclaims "The street is sad"
> > (atsuv in Hebrew)
> > We ask him what exactly is sad, may be people, but he insists that "The
> > street is sad";
> > Other day I use word single (boded in Hebrew) and he asks what does it
> mean
> > and with a lot of questions try to develop a concept: A child can be
> > single? An adult? When I will be adult? and so on. Sometimes he hears an
> > expression and try to use it in order to test appropriateness: "You cause
> > me a bunch of problems!" (Zarot zrurot) and after our reaction and
> > questions about specific problems he escapes and seemingly gets the idea.
> > So the vocabulary expands very intensively, but the meaning of each word
> is
> > still to be mastered.
> >
> > Sincerely yours Bella Kotik-Friedgut
> >
> >
> > On Mon, Jul 21, 2014 at 10:52 AM, Ma, James (james.ma@canterbury.ac.uk)
> <
> > james.ma@canterbury.ac.uk> wrote:
> >
> > >
> > > Hi David, for your info, the below article contains an overview of
> > > perspectives on semiotic mediation within sociolinguistics and
> > > sociocultural theory:
> > > http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10749039.2014.913294
> > > Best wishes
> > > James
> > > ________________________________________
> > > From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu <xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu
> >
> > > on behalf of David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com>
> > > Sent: 19 July 2014 23:12
> > > To: Mike Cole; eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> > > Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Acquisition of word meaning
> > >
> > > Halliday is Vygotskyan. Explicitly so in places: he says that his
> concept
> > > of consciousness as a social being derives from Vygotsky. Ruqaiya
> Hasan,
> > > who sometimes lurks on this list, has written extensively on the
> > > "exotropic" links between Halliday and Vygotsky. At first I didn't
> quite
> > > believe this, because for Vygotsky what develops is a meta-system made
> up
> > > of functions (psychological abilities), while for Halliday what
> develops
> > is
> > > a metafunction made up of systems (linguistic choices). But Gordon
> Wells
> > > persuaded me: he points out that Halliday's "ideational metafunction"
> > (this
> > > is the function that allows us to represent the world as figures of
> > > experience linked by logic, and is realized in nouns, verbs, and other
> > > open-class words) is essentially equivalent to "thinking" and the
> > > "interpersonal metafunction (this is the function that allows us to
> > > exchange commodities such as goods and services or information and is
> > > realized in commands, statements and questions) is essentially
> equivalent
> > > to "speech".
> > >
> > > I think the reason that I didn't get the profound and very
> > > thorough connection between Halliday and Vygotsky (which seems more
> > > endotropic than exotropic to me now) was that I kept assuming that when
> > > Vygotsky says "word" he means something like a noun, as in the block
> > > experiments of Chapter Five Thinking and Speech. But of course even in
> > the
> > > block experiments, what is meant is not a noun but something much more
> > like
> > > an attribute, which would be expressed as a nominal group in English
> but
> > a
> > > verbal group in Korean. And elsewhere it's clear that the word 'word'
> > > actually means "wording"--what is a single word in the mouth of a very
> > > young child is going to be a whole clause in an older child and
> > eventually
> > > an entire text.
> > >
> > > So Mike's example is quite a propos. When I first read this example
> from
> > > Shweder back in 2007, it seemed to me that Vygotsky would say that this
> > > particular "wording" has nothing to do with morality, and of course
> it's
> > > not really a concept. Now I am not so sure: I'm convinced that a lot of
> > > ethical concepts develop out of almost purely esthetic ones, which is
> > > actually a good example of how "perizhivanie" starts by meaning feeling
> > and
> > > only in the course of development comes to mean thinking.
> > >
> > > In China, what girls tell their classmates in high school is that their
> > > "Grandma is visiting" or else that they are "dao mei le" ("doomed").
> This
> > > was a highly prized condition when my wife was in high school, because
> it
> > > meant that you didn't have to go out for physical education and you
> could
> > > stay in and do math homework instead. So one day the boys told the
> > physical
> > > education teacher that they were all "doomed" and could not go either,
> > >
> > > David Kellogg
> > > Hankuk University of Foreign Studies
> > >
> > >
> > > On 20 July 2014 03:02, mike cole <lchcmike@gmail.com> wrote:
> > >
> > > > While puzzling over all the interesting notes on
> > > > language/thought/emotion/development in recent days I happend upon
> the
> > > > following. It seems a potential object of interpretation that would
> > help
> > > to
> > > > hightlight for us (for me at least) the stakes in the pattern of
> > > agreements
> > > > and disageements and silences in the conversation. Does Halliday
> inform
> > > our
> > > > understanding differently from Vygotsky might be a helpful question.
> Is
> > > > convergence of meaning and generalization manifest?  Anyway, perhaps
> it
> > > > will be of interest:
> > > >  (From an essay on culture's involvement in moral development by
> > Shweder
> > > > and colleagues. Data from Orrisa).
> > > >
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > *"Mara heici. Chhu na! Chhu na!*" is what a menstruating Oriya mother
> > > > explains when her young child approaches her lap. It means, "I am
> > > polluted.
> > > > Don't touch me! Don't touch me!" If the child continues to approach,
> > the
> > > > woman will stand up and walk away from her child. Of course, young
> > Oriya
> > > > children have no concept of menstruation or menstrual blood; the
> first
> > > > menstruation arrives as a total surprise to adolescent girls.
> Mother's
> > > > typically "explain" their own monthly "pollution" to their children
> by
> > > > telling then that they stepped in dog excrement or touched garbage,
> or
> > > they
> > > > evade the issue. Nevertheless, Oriya children quickly learn that
> there
> > is
> > > > something called "*Mara"* (the term *cchuan* (check spelling) may
> also
> > be
> > > > used) and when "*Mara*" is there, as it regularly is, their mother
> > avoids
> > > > them, sleeps alone on a mat on the floor, is prohibited from entering
> > the
> > > > kitchen... eats alone, does not groom herself and is, for several
> days,
> > > > kept at a distance from anything of value. Children notice that
> > > everything
> > > > their mother touches is washed. (Shweder, Mahapatra, & Miller, 1987,
> p.
> > > 74)
> > > >
> > >
> > >
> >
>