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[Xmca-l] Re: Acquisition of word meaning



Hi--

This is something I've often thought would be nice to see explored more. 

Cognitive metaphor theory shows us that the underlying intent of most language is actually metaphor, emerging from a common embodied perspective that enables us to interact--which I think is one of Leontev's arguments too. Temple Grandin, dreams, and the emerging understanding of the physiology of the hippocampus, suggest that imagistic memory predates language, and that words are a secondary mechanism of the brain that serves first as a shorthand for the imagistic, associative form of thought that we share in common with all mammals, and then secondly as a creative medium of imaginary worlds.


So is it perhaps more correct to think that the sign--the characteristics of traits that enable the brain to produce (in terms of statistics) a similarity matrix to identify objects in the real world--is the real foundation of thought? Words, then, become the tertiary thing that allows us to escape the tyranny of the similarity matrix in the brain, and treat the world algebraically, making it subject to our will.


A relevant experiment along those lines:

http://psycnet.apa.org/index.cfm?fa=buy.optionToBuy&id=1995-16251-001


When we say "the street is sad," we take control of the street, and make it reflect us--and others can share our minds, and see the world, not as it is, but through the lens of the metaphors and associations we concatinate in the medium of words.  


Cheers
Doug




________________________________
 From: Tom Richardson <tom.richardson3@googlemail.com>
To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu> 
Sent: Wednesday, July 23, 2014 1:23 PM
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Acquisition of word meaning
 

Hi Esther
A post I can (almost) grasp the meaning and significance of - exciting!
Thanks - Raymond W.'s theorisation brings the 'conversation' about
language/wording,  into the world of active humans making their world;
seems as good thing that, and takes theory into 'sensuous human activity' -
I'll try to keep up here[?]
Tom




On 23 July 2014 10:21, Esther Goody <eg100@hermes.cam.ac.uk> wrote:

>
> Xmca folk,
>
> ..........."word actually means 'wording'."
>
> This fits with Herb Clark's insight that to really understand Language, you
> need to see it as 'languaging'. This is about getting away from grammar and
> syntax, to seeing speaking as process - [surely fits with activity theory].
> This has completely altered my understanding of language. Here dialogue is
> central. ie two people are involved, each anticipating and responding to
> the
> other. I think this => looking for the 'social' aspect of 'culture'.
> .....Work in process,
>         Esther Goody
>
> 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)
> > > >
> > >
> > >
> >
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