[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

[Xmca-l] Re: Foot, Footprint, Footnote



​David,
Yes I thought we got along quite well thanks to your thoughtful care and
semiosic inventiveness!
Perhaps that is all that is needed to make these highly interdisciplinary
ventures work?
-greg​

On Tue, Oct 25, 2016 at 2:48 PM, David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com> wrote:

> Greg:
>
> Here in Australia, we have a weekly seminar on Halliday and Hasan from two
> of Halliday's leading disciples--now both professors and (like Halliday and
> Hasan) married to each other. Sometimes they present and sometimes we do,
> but no matter who presents the seminars always end the same way, with David
> and Annabelle arguing about something that Halliday or Hasan once argued
> about. It's by far the most interesting part of the seminar, and sometimes
> the most useful too. So I don't think it mattered very much that we argued
> about indexicality in front of the kids. They probably just wondered if we
> were married.
>
> If I remember correctly, the problem was that I wanted to talk about what
> classroom observers see when they don't know any language, what they hear
> when they start to notice things like stress and intonation and pausing and
> speech rhythm, and what they understand when they finally crack the
> lexicogrammatical code. I thought that icons, indexes and symbols was one
> way to start sorting the data, and, since we're starting with data, I
> thought I would compare icons to flesh and blood feet, indexes to
> footprints on the wet sand, and symbols to a word like "foot" or "pied" or
> "jiao". Peirce for dummies. But useful.
>
> Now, as I understand Silverstein, he is reading Peirce because he can't
> stand Saussure (apparently Silverstein thinks that Saussure is
> anti-Semitic, for which the evidence is a little thin to say the least).
> For Saussure, who likes dualisms, the distinction is essentially between
> natural (experiential and logical) associations and non-natural
> (conventional, or "arbitrary") associations.
>
> Saussure incorrectly thinks that all linguistic associations are not
> natural (in fact, only phonological associations are not natural) and that
> all non-linguistic ones are natural. Silverstein points out, correctly,
> that there are many associations (e.g. between black people and hip hop)
> that are not linguistic...but not exactly natural either, and he chooses to
> call these indexical.
>
> Silverstein's point is correct, but his phrasing is a little problematic
> for what I want to say, because I want the students to be thinking about
> language specifically, and not the context of culture generally,
> comparing how much they can do without any experience of Korean culture at
> all with what they can do with some hypotheses based on their own language,
> and then comparing those with what they can do with real knowledge of the
> language. I'm not really making the case for the one over the other: I'm
> just laying out options; the actual decisions that people make will
> inevitably have to do with the linguistic resources at their disposal.
>
> But if I remember correctly, all we did was to set up a new set of terms.
> The foot is biomechanical, the footprint is indicative, and the word is
> signifying. That's a fairly typical social science move--when you find
> that someone is occupying the terminology you want to occupy, you just
> invent a new terminology. It explains why we have so many words for the
> same basic concepts. My point is that it's not a typical natural science
> move--in natural science you have to build on the terminology you find, not
> just slash, burn and move on.
>
> It seems to me that these two different tendencies are natural--that is,
> they are motivated, and each has strengths specific to its domain. The
> strength of the social science move is that it resists reductionism: social
> scientists resist the kind of article I read the other day in a medical
> journal, from a researcher who wants to "explain" the desire to learn
> language by a kind of functional pleasure released biochemically in the
> brain whenever we learn a new word. The strength of the natural science
> move is that it resists dualism: when you believe that biology rests on the
> foundation of chemistry and that chemistry rests on a foundation of
> physics, you live one world and not three. But just that one world is big
> enough to include feet, footprints and footnotes.
>
> David Kellogg
> Macquarie University
>



-- 
Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Anthropology
880 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
Brigham Young University
Provo, UT 84602
http://byu.academia.edu/GregoryThompson