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[Xmca-l] Re: how to broaden/enliven the xmca discussion



Martin:

Can you tell me the journal name, number, etc?

>From the abstract, it does look like the kind of study that improves
with reading against the grain. The obvious explanation for the result
is that toddlers imitate--they are equally likely to imitate the
actions, and faced with an adult to address they are much more likely
to imitate the explanation that has imiitable addressivity than the
one that does not.

Of course what we really want to know here is not that children will
imitate actions or that children will imitate the act of
addressing--it's the extent to which children are able to EXAPT, that
is, use something designed for one function in pursuit of some
completely new function (e.g. exapting reaching for pointing, in LSV's
famous example).

Kids have to learn very quickly that you can exapt a question to
realize a command ("Martin? Would you mind not chewing on Fluffy's
tail? You're going to make her very angry."). The problem I am having
with my teachers right now, to which I must turn very presently, is
that being adults they are much more likely to do this than to use
direct commands in class. Even questions are hardly ever direct ("Can
anyone tell me what this is?").

This results in constructions that the children simply cannot imitate,
and as a result Korean kids do not ask questions in class. I think
that this is nothing to do with Confucian thinking: if we look at the
data carefully we'll see that the kids ARE exapting--but they are
exapting statements as questions ("This is tail?") and not questions
as commands.

Rod:

Yes, I knew about the Singing Neanderthals. But in my view this is not
really an archaeological dig; what we are really looking at is the
latest chapter of the great eighteenth century debate between Rameau
and Rousseau about whether language, and therefore rationality, came
first or music, and therefore passion. This is why, in Strauss's great
final opera Capriccio, the poet Olivier and the composer Flamand say:

Flamand: Die Klange der Natur singen das Wiegenlied allen Kunsten!
Olivier: Die sprache des Menschen allein ist der Boden dem si enspriessen!
Flamand: Die Schmerzensschrei gin der sprache voraus!
Olivier: Doch das Leid zu deuten, vermag sie allein!

(F: The cries of nature are what sing the lullaby of every art!
O: But in the speech of man alone is the soil from which they spring!
F: The scream of pain comes to us long before speech!
O: But only words can explain it.)

All of which has to be sung with screams of pain (Strauss has, you
see, stacked the deck in Rousseau's favor). But maybe both singing and
speech are exaptations of something that is functionally neither and
not specific to humans at all, which for want of a better name we can
call activity WITHOUT thinking.

David Kellogg
Hankuk University of Foreign Studies

On 10 October 2014 04:20, Martin John Packer <mpacker@uniandes.edu.co> wrote:
> Or words, like tools, are polyfunctional, I suppose.
>
> Though it's more the distinction between core & periphery, actual & potential, meaning and sense. that I want to suggest is parallel. For example, here is a recent study where toddlers seem to be drawing this kind of distinction: between the things one *can* do with an artifact (in this case a toy), and what *we* do with the artifact. (I'm kinda reading against the interpretation of the authors, I grant you.)
>
> Young children use pedagogical cues as a signal that others' actions are social or cultural conventions. Here we show that children selectively transmit (enact in a new social situation) causal functions demonstrated pedagogically, even when they have learned and can produce alternative functions as well. Two-year-olds saw two novel toys, each with two functions. One experimenter demonstrated one function using pedagogical cues (eye contact and child-directed speech) and a second experimenter demonstrated the alternative function using intentional actions towards the object, but without pedagogical cues. Children imitated both functions at equal rates initially, indicating equal causal learning from both types of demonstration. However, they were significantly more likely to enact the pedagogical function for a new adult not present during the initial demonstrations. These results indicate that pedagogical cues influence children's transmission of information, perhaps playing a role in the dissemination of cultural conventions from a young age.
>
> Pedagogical cues encourage toddlers' transmission of recently demonstrated functions to unfamiliar adults
>
>         • Christopher Vredenburgh,
>         • Tamar Kushnir*and
>         • Marianella Casasola
>
> Martin
>
> On Oct 9, 2014, at 11:17 AM, mike cole <mcole@ucsd.edu> wrote:
>
>> Tools, like words, are polysemic, Martin, i take it.
>> mike
>>
>> On Thu, Oct 9, 2014 at 8:02 AM, Martin John Packer <mpacker@uniandes.edu.co>
>> wrote:
>>
>>> David,
>>>
>>> One could say, couldn't one, that a tool also has both a stable, customary
>>> pole of functionality and a broader range of potential, possible uses? A
>>> hammer, for example, is customarily used to drive nails, but it can
>>> potentially be used in a variety of other ways that are related, one might
>>> say metaphorically, to this core function.
>>>
>>> Martin
>>>
>>> On Oct 8, 2014, at 5:00 PM, David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com> wrote:
>>>
>>>> The idea that the latter is merely meaning potential and the former is
>>>> actual, realized, materialized meaning comes straight from Halliday.
>>>> But the (for me, linked) idea that the latter is the most stable pole
>>>> of word value and the former the least so comes straight from
>>>> Volosinov, who influenced Halliday via the Prague linguists.
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>
>>
>> --
>> It is the dilemma of psychology to deal with a natural science with an
>> object that creates history. Ernst Boesch.
>
>