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[Xmca-l] Re: Why Computers Make So Little Difference

This morning I went out shopping and noticed a billboard selling
lunchboxes. It featured a young girl whose boyfriend was obviously off
doing military service (two and half years of rigorously institutionalized
bullying and beatings); she was dressed up in a military uniform and eating
out of a lunchbox in solidarity with the absent one, and the sound she was
making was "ing! ing!"

My sentiments exactly! I have been kicking myself, if not quite beating
myself with a shovel, for arguing yesterday that consonants are
differentiated before vowels. I am currently reading a set of studies
coming out of China that try to argue this, and try to explain it on the
grounds of the greater salience of consonant sounds. But vowels and
consonants are not part of Chinese; the smallest meaningful difference in
Chinese is a whole syllable. It's just another example of the imperialism
of Western linguistics--everything has to be treated as if it had, deep in
its guts, a Western alphabet trying to get out.

Even in English, it seems to me that vowels and consonants have to be
differentiated side by side, out of some prior sound that is neither. And
that prior sound? Well, actually, it's the most common sound in the Chinese
repertoire--the naseopharyngealized semi-vowel that babies make when they
are born, which rhymes with "ing".

David Kellogg
Hankuk University of Foreign Studies

On 15 March 2015 at 17:16, Haydi Zulfei <haydizulfei@rocketmail.com> wrote:

> Thanks , David ! I'm following the case using what you wrote as clues to
> clarification .
>       From: David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com>
>  To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu>
>  Sent: Sunday, 15 March 2015, 1:12:48
>  Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Why Computers Make So Little Difference
> Well, of course, from the child's point of view, "Baby Bites" is probably
> not even monosemous, merely alliterative.
> As Haydi says--how does the child avoid Buridanism before speech? I take it
> that what he means is that in order to master the system, what is required
> is not simply the mindless internalization of some purely external resource
> but rather (as in the crises we find in other forms of development, e.g.
> sociogenesis and even phylogenesis) the constraining of some
> super-productive neoformation that emerges at the interface between the
> child and the environment--that is, the narrowing of the available choices
> we find in ('autonomous') child language to fit the phonological system of
> the mother tongue (as Halliday points out, learning a mother tongue is
> really learning a second language!).
> I think the answer is that the child initially treats speech as something
> that is not even monosemous but merely alliterative--sound without meaning.
> So how does the child master the sounds? According to the genetic law,
> sounds would be initially constrained by imitation and then elaborated by
> self-imitation: that is, repetition. But how?
> Alliteration appears to be clearly differentiated before rhyme in English
> poetry (c.f. "Gawain and the Green Knight"). Ontogenesis too? That would
> mean that the child is aware of a choice of different consonants before the
> child is aware of a choice of different vowels, and that does seem to be
> the case.
> David Kellogg
> Hankuk University of Foreign Studies
> On 15 March 2015 at 01:40, Martin John Packer <mpacker@uniandes.edu.co>
> wrote:
> > Nonsense, David, she's reading the list of ingredients printed on the
> > bottom!
> >
> > And isn't "Baby Bites" wonderfully polysemous?
> >
> > Martin
> >
> > On Mar 13, 2015, at 4:17 PM, David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com> wrote:
> >
> > >
> > > http://www.greatnewplaces.com/images/Kids/img7189_30122012121700.jpeg
> > >
> > > My students were struck by the fact that the child, surrounded by
> > elaborate
> > > tools not of her own making, seems much more interested in the objects
> as
> > > objects than in their use as signs.
> >
> >
> >