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



Hello All,
The following has occurred to me as I follow this thread:
-Perhaps it would be useful to think of computers as on the environmental-literacy side of literacy, as contrasted with a more intimate book-in-hand side of literacy. Vera John-Steiner, in her Notebooks of the Mind, discusses how writers choose their tools: Some write long hand; others type. The mix of technologies seem to affect the reading/writing process in very deep ways. I wonder if this sheds any light on the tool vs. sign distinction elaborated in Andy’s Academia article on tool vs. sign. 
-No one, as far as I remember, has discussed on this web the differences between logographic (Chinsese) and alphabetic writing systems. Again, this seems to me to be a continuum, given the capacity, on the one hand, of Chinese literacy to write phonetically and the flood, on the other hand, of icons in alphabet-based writing (take the McDonald arches). 
-Rod’s post reminds me of a long-standing problem I have with l’Arbitraire du Signe “law” that there is no necessary connection between the phonological pole and the semantic pole, with the relatively unusual exception of onomatopeia or the MMMMM/YUCK distinction made by little gourmands. The best counter evidence, it seems to me, are the choices we make in how much our writing in English draws on vocabulary of Anglo-Saxon origin and how much of Latinate origin. 
I’m not sure if I am hinting at a wider issue of how much culture reflects differences BETWEEN cultures and how much reflects the way in which the mixes of technology of each culture point towards universal tendencies of seeking balance, some sort of homeostasis. Some may think I’ve bit off more than I can chew. Yuck or Yum?
Henry

  
> On Mar 16, 2015, at 2:59 AM, Rod Parker-Rees <R.Parker-Rees@plymouth.ac.uk> wrote:
> 
> I wish I could remember where I read that the first 'words' are variations of 'yum' or 'mmm' for approval and 'yuk' for disgust - exaggerated vocalisations oral 'taking in' - ingesting what is pleasurable and spitting out, ejecting what is unpalateable. So is 'ing' Chinese for 'mmm'?
> 
> Rod
> 
> -----Original Message-----
> From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu [mailto:xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of David Kellogg
> Sent: 16 March 2015 08:28
> To: Haydi Zulfei; eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> Subject: [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.j
>>>> peg
>>>> 
>>>> 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.
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> 
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