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



Some one questioned if computers made a difference:

I decided to have a little fun with my response:
http://jgregorymcverry.com/computers-versus-printing-press/






On Mon, Mar 16, 2015 at 5:43 PM David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com> wrote:

> Yes, that was Leonard Bernstein's theory--that "mmm" was the first word in
> every language, and also the first musical note. Vygotsky prefers Lear:
> "When we are born we cry that we are come/To this great stage of fools."
> And the girl in the advertisement for lunch boxes was certainly agreeing
> with Vygotsky: "ing! ing!" is how Koreans transcribe the sound of weeping.
>
> Last night in my class on "Teaching Young Learners" we got to discussing
> what Vygotsky means when he distinguishes so starkly between the naming
> function and the signifying function of language: how exactly are they
> different? One way to look at it is to say that naming is sticking labels
> on physical objects--that is why children who do this are convinced that
> names are part of the object itself, the way that a label is part of a milk
> carton and the carton is what gives shape to the milk within. Signifying,
> on the other hand is just like naming, but the named "object" is purely
> imaginary--something like a mathematical set--a concept.
>
> The problem is that putting it this way makes it all about the object that
> is being named or signified, and I'm pretty sure that's not what Vygotsky
> is thinking about--or anyway it's not the only thing that he's thinking
> about. Both Piaget and Vygotsky take as their starting point the
> interesting fact that the child rejects the idea of calling the sun "moon"
> and the moon "sun", and claims that the sort of a cow that you can call
> "dog" will have little horns and give a little milk (not dog milk but cow
> milk).
>
> But as usual from the same fact they draw totally different conclusions.
> Piaget's conclusion is that the child will eventually have this illusion
> crushed and come to terms with the meaninglessness of the connection
> between sign and signifier on this great stage of fools. Vygotsky's
> conclusion is that there really IS a set of words of which this true!
>
> First of all, we have words like "blackbird" and "sidewalk" where an
> important, if epiphenomenal trait of the object really is encoded in the
> word itself. Of course, you can complain that there isn't anything "black"
> in the word black, but that doesn't change the fact that if you want to go
> around call bluebirds "blackbirds" and sidewalks "center-runs" then you are
> going to have to make major changes to more than one word in your language
> system.  And, as Vygotsky demonstrates, if you go back in the etymology of
> almost ANY word you will find something like a blackbird or a
> sidewalk--even the word "cabbage" means "head" in its Latin root.
>
> Secondly, as Rod points out, there is onomatopoiea and what we in Korean
> call "ouiseongeo", or words which are intended to imitate the sounds made
> by actions and thereby signify the action (e.g. "crash", "smash", "bash",
> "mash", etc.). Here the sound of the word is surely part of the meaning,
> and here too the child is right when he/she insists on the
> non-interchangeability of words. Both "shhhhhh" and "Ker-splash!" have the
> sound /sh/ in them, but that doesn't make them interchangeable.
>
> So Vygotsky turns the whole question rather on its head: where and when
> does the interchangeability of terms arise? When do we learn to look at
> language and laugh that we are come to this great stage of tomfoolery?
>
> Perhaps here:
>
>
> http://www.christies.com/lotfinder/paintings/rene-magritte-
> ceci-nest-pas-une-pomme-5650359-details.aspx
>
>
> Magritte's painting is not an apple or even part of an apple; it's a
> painting of an apple. In the same way, if a child plays "war", the child is
> not a soldier but a "painting" of a soldier. It's this negative
> relationship between the sign and the thing which is abstractly everywhere
> the same, and everywhere abstractly interchangeable: all words are NOT the
> things that they signify.
>
> There's a very beautiful and bloody children's story in Korea called "Sun
> and Moon" about two children with those names. They are orphaned by a
> tiger, but they take revenge on the tiger by climbing up ropes to heaven,
> offering a rotten rope to the tiger, who tries to follow and kills himself.
> Once in heaven, the girl named Moon at first insists on shining all day and
> the older brother named Sun shines at night only. But after the first day
> on her new job, Moon decides that she is shy--and she would rather have her
> older brother's job. So they switch. After all, it's just role play.
>
> David Kellogg
> Hankuk University of Foreign Studies
>
>
> ...
>
>
>
> On 17 March 2015 at 01:39, HENRY SHONERD <hshonerd@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> > 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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