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


Sorry, yes, it's a Developmental Science "early view" article:


There is a growing literature indicating that toddlers come to recognize the normative use ('function') of various artifacts. What caught my attention about this study is that it suggests that they are distinguishing between two kinds of use, only one of which they pass along to a new person. I was suggesting that this is the 'core' use (the 'meaning' of the artifact), while the other falls into the periphery (the 'sense' of the artifact).

Whether or not this article is of interest, it does seem to me likely that toddlers might be treating words as simply (!) another kind of artifact which has a customary, preferential use among its various affordances.


On Oct 9, 2014, at 4:43 PM, David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com> wrote:

> 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.