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[Xmca-l] Re: Taxis and Embedding in Conversation



To appreciate the importance and value of language as the most central genetic force in human development and freedom, on the one hand, and to be concerned that our theories about such force (and their practical implications in education) may be biased towards intellectualism on the other hand, are two very different realisations. I share both. 

Alfredo 
________________________________________
From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu <xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu> on behalf of David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com>
Sent: 05 July 2017 00:02
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Taxis and Embedding in Conversation

I don't really know, James. I always thought "semiogenesis" and
"semogenesis" were the same. Halliday seems to use them interchangeably.
But now that you point it out, it occurs to me that "semantics" and
"semiotics" are really quite different.

Halliday uses "semiotic" or less the way Saussure uses it: everything that
has to do with signs, of which language is simply the most developed. So as
you say semiotics is part of everything: it's the way matter is organized
to "mean" stars and galaxies, the way in which DNA is organized to "mean"
proteins; the way in which people are organized to mean colonies and
cultures, and the way in which sounds and graphics are organized to mean
lexicogrammatical strings.

Halliday uses "semantic" much more narrowly, to describe the last of these.
Semantics is a stratum of language: "meaning" as opposed to "wording" or
"context". Semantics is everything we need to get from context to wording,
and for that reason it includes what Vygotsky calls the volitional impulse
to speak (the feeling that one has something to say), the thought (the
choice of a meaning), the formulation of a design in inner speech (the
choice of a theme), none of which are fully grammatized.

As this account suggests, "semogenesis" is not coextensive with
semiogenesis (which is a property of matter generally) or logogenesis
(which is a property of lexicogrammar). But the child does have a semantics
before the child has a lexicogrammar; proto-speech (what Vygotsky calls
"autonomous speech") is really a direct connection between context and
phonology, one which doesn't require wording. Semantics is also a more
conservative layer of language than lexicogrammar (though not as stable as
context); one way to theorize a crisis is that the lexicogrammar is
superproductive and creates far more meaning than the child knows what to
do with.

I guess I am not as scared as Alfredo of "overliving" into language. It
seems to me that when you live under capitalism, the tendency is the other
way: to package up our bodily sensations for mass market in horror movies,
fast food, terrorist propaganda, porn and other forms of get-rich-fast
sensationalism (e.g. the performance art movement that so many of my art
school friends went into instead of painting). It seems to me that the
nineteenth century novels that my wife loves so much have a much more
realistic view of hunger and food, sex and love, and even fear and death,
precisely because they are shareable through language. In any case, from
the historico-cultural point of view, it's not through the atoms of their
bodies or even the DNA of their children that people like Professor
McCawley live on after death. Semogenesis is the only kind of immortality
that any of us really get.

David Kellogg
Macquarie University



On Tue, Jul 4, 2017 at 10:14 PM, James Ma <jamesma320@gmail.com> wrote:

> Thanks David for pointing to us that "semiogenesis" is from Halliday. But I
> seem to remember "semogenesis" in his functional grammar - are they the
> same?
>
> James
>
>
>
>
> On 4 July 2017 at 13:31, David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> > Alfredo:
> >
> > I don't see why doing justice to the memory of James McCawley has to
> > involve revising history. I was a freshman radical, and there is a good
> > reason why nobody asks a freshman to write a Festschrift. I think most of
> > us would have just said that it was abso-blooming-lutely
> > fan-fucking-tastic, and I probably would have tried to say that it was
> > a-blooming-solutely fantas-fucking-tic). I have since read quite a bit of
> > his work (a pleasure anyone who really wants to do him justice should not
> > deny themselves) but that first impression--that he was the kind of Ayn
> > Rand libertarian currently laying waste to the health insurance system
> that
> > the Obama administration left behind--has certainly not been dispelled.
> >
> > Vygotsky uses "phylogenesis" and "ontogenesis", because these were
> current
> > in the nineteenth century. He doesn't use "sociogenesis" or
> "microgenesis",
> > because these were not. The term "Aktualgenese" was used by the
> > Gestaltists, but it meant percepts in a tachioscope, or dots on the
> > horizon. Vygotsky prefers to speak of "teaching-learning".
> >
> > Semiogenesis is from Halliday. As James says, it exists at all levels:
> just
> > as the phylogenesis of the brain doesn't come to a halt when we start
> > building societies, and sociogenesis doesn't stop in order to allow us to
> > raise children, ontogenesis doesn't stop when children learn to talk.
> > Halliday describes how Nigel at one is able to distinguish between
> "Dada?"
> > ("Where's Daddy?") and "Dada!" ("There you are!") and this immediately
> > turns his repertoire of three words *"Dada", "Ama", and "Anna") into six.
> > Later, Nigel uses UP intonation to mean "somebody do something" and DOWN
> > intonation to mean "I see!", and these intonational forms eventually,
> > combining with wording, become interrogatives and declaratives. That's
> > semiogenesis--the genesis of meaning potential.
> >
> > So I think it's possible to see a lot of Vygotsky's pedology in terms of
> > semiogenesis. Early childhood is the gradual increase of meaning
> potential
> > through class generalizations (e.g. common nouns instead of proper
> nouns).
> > The Crisis at Three is the increase of meaning potential through polarity
> > (e.g. negation and "negativism"). Preschool is semiogenesis through
> > imaginary situations, and the Crisis at Seven is semiogenesis through the
> > internalization of perizhivanie. School age seems (to me) to involve
> > semiogenesis through turning (instructional and other) narratives into
> > dialogues, or "communication" into "generalizations", Thirteen is
> > semiogenesis through "dissociation", and adolescence is semiogenesis
> > through conceptualization. Taxis and embedding seem to be important
> aspects
> > of this: taxis allows us to create hierarchies of superconcepts, and
> > embedding allows unlimited recursiveness and delicacy for subconcepts.
> >
> > But just as ontogenesis becomes a leading factor in sociogenesis (and
> just
> > as sociogenesis becomes a leading factor in phylogenesis, at least if you
> > are human) I think that semiogenesis takes on a significance of its own
> in
> > adulthood. It seems to me that significance is not so much embodying
> > experience as, in childhood, but disembodying it. Perhaps "overliving it"
> > is a better way to think of it: that is, after all, literally what
> > "perezhivanie" means:
> >
> > Children are dumb to say how hot the day is,
> > How hot the scent is of the summer rose,
> > How dreadful the black wastes of evening sky,
> > How dreadful the tall soldiers drumming by.
> >
> > But we have speech, to chill the angry day,
> > And speech, to dull the rose's cruel scent.
> > We spell away the overhanging night,
> > We spell away the soldiers and the fright.
> >
> > There's a cool web of language winds us in,
> > Retreat from too much joy or too much fear:
> > We grow sea-green at last and coldly die
> > In brininess and volubility.
> >
> > But if we let our tongues lose self-possession,
> > Throwing off language and its watery clasp
> > Before our death, instead of when death comes,
> > Facing the wide glare of the children's day,
> > Facing the rose, the dark sky and the drums,
> > We shall go mad no doubt and die that way.
> >
> >
> > On Tue, Jul 4, 2017 at 6:05 PM, James Ma <jamesma320@gmail.com> wrote:
> >
> > > Hello Alfredo, I came across the term "semiogenesis" in the past but
> > can't
> > > remember who coined it.
> > >
> > > To me, the four domains of human development I mentioned earlier are
> > > invariably imbued with signs and symbols. If I were to suggest more
> > > appropriate terms for describing the semiotic aura in these domains,
> they
> > > would probably be phylosemiosis, ontosemiosis, sociosemiosis and
> > > microsemiosis?
> > >
> > > James
> > >
> > >
> > > On 4 July 2017 at 01:13, Alfredo Jornet Gil <a.j.gil@iped.uio.no>
> wrote:
> > >
> > > > Pegg, thanks for making sure justice is made in the treatment of
> > another
> > > > scholar; I am sure many in the list appreciate it.
> > > >
> > > > David, James, you both have used the term 'semiogenesis,' which seems
> > to
> > > > have gone unremarked but it certainly called my attention. I made a
> > > search
> > > > on the xmca archive and the term 'semiogenesis' had appeared only a
> > > couple
> > > > of times before. And, unless the term is just a synonymous with such
> > > > expressions as 'genesis of symbolic activity', 'semiogenesis' does
> not
> > > > appear in the English versions of Vygotsky's collected works.
> > > Sociogenesis,
> > > > by contrast, appears often and is elaborated in several places, as do
> > > > ontogenesis and phylogenesis. What is the history of the term
> > > > 'semiogenesis' in CHAT? Why did not Vygotsky and others use it?
> > > >
> > > > Reading about the contrast between ants and whales that was mentioned
> > in
> > > a
> > > > previous post, I also wondered what a distinction between the social
> > and
> > > > the semiotic would be for researchers in the field of biosemiotics,
> who
> > > are
> > > > concerned with the production of signs all across the biological
> > > spectrum.
> > > >
> > > > Alfredo.
> > > > ________________________________________
> > > > From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu <xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.
> edu
> > >
> > > > on behalf of Peg Griffin <Peg.Griffin@att.net>
> > > > Sent: 03 July 2017 06:30
> > > > To: 'eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity'
> > > > Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Taxis and Embedding in Conversation
> > > >
> > > > For anyone who is interested, this is about the characterization of
> Jim
> > > > McCawley in the message this replies to.
> > > > I found it inappropriate, unacceptable, not true and not needed to
> make
> > > > any point in the message.  Perhaps the writer is unaware of the
> > > impression
> > > > given by the characterization provided.
> > > > As repair, I will point out that many admired Jim as a kind and open
> > man,
> > > > an activist for causes seen in the US as leftist, a deeply thoughtful
> > > > linguist who data grubbed (he said "data fetishist") as a student of
> > many
> > > > languages and colleague of many linguists, a fine cook and musician.
> > He
> > > > died in 1999.  You can find obituaries in the Chicago Tribune and the
> > New
> > > > York Times, and in the Linguistic Society of America's journal, there
> > is
> > > a
> > > > memorial:
> > > > Lawler, John (2003). James D. McCawley. Language. 79:614–625.
> > > > doi:10.1353/lan.2003.0173
> > > > (His candidacy on the Libertarian ticket, by the way, was not for
> > > > Governor, but for a seat on the University of Illinois Board of
> > trustees
> > > --
> > > > 3 times in the 70's in the complex politics of Chicago and Illinois
> as
> > > part
> > > > of intentional moves concerning power, corruption, and the relation
> > > between
> > > > universities and politics in the US in general.)
> > > > PG
> > > > -----Original Message-----
> > > > From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu [mailto:xmca-l-bounces@
> > > > mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of David Kellogg
> > > > Sent: Sunday, July 02, 2017 5:37 PM
> > > > To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> > > > Subject: [Xmca-l] Taxis and Embedding in Conversation
> > > >
> > > > Greg:
> > > >
> > > > Bear with me for a linguistic excursus. It will involve taking the
> > scenic
> > > > route. But after all, that's what whales do.
> > > >
> > > > So one of the first linguistics professors I ever had at the
> University
> > > of
> > > > Chicago was James McCawley. He was a right wing nut job: when he
> wasn't
> > > > professsoring, he was running for governor of Illinois on the
> > LIbertarian
> > > > ticket. Because he was a libertarian, and because he was a bit of a
> > nut,
> > > he
> > > > would lecture on why we freshmen like to say "Fan-fucking-tastic!"
> > > instead
> > > > of, say, "Fantas-fucking-tic!" In "My Fair Lady", Audrey Hepburn
> sings:
> > > >
> > > > Oh, so lover-ly singing abso-blooming-lutely still Ah would never
> budge
> > > > till spring crept over me window sill!"
> > > >
> > > > Why not "ab-blooming-solutely" (which has the advantage of
> > alliteration)
> > > > or "absolute-bloomingly" (which would make more morphological sense)?
> > or
> > > "
> > > >
> > > > The answer has to do with embedding, which is a phenomenon that
> occurs
> > on
> > > > virtually every level of language: sounding, wording, and of course
> > > > meaning. So for example, at the level of wording, imagine that I
> > receive
> > > a
> > > > letter from a elementary school crush, and it is discovered by my
> wife.
> > > >
> > > > a) She tore up the letter, which upset me.
> > > >
> > > > Now imagine that this long-lost elementary school crush turns out to
> > be a
> > > > loathsome right winger soliciting funds for "Blue Lives Matter":
> > > >
> > > > b) She tore up the letter which upset me.
> > > >
> > > > Oh, what a difference a little comma can make! In b) "which upset me"
> > is
> > > > embedded in the nominal group (the "noun phrase", for you
> Chomskyans).
> > It
> > > > plays no part in the structure of the clause-complex (the "sentence"
> > for
> > > > Chomskyans). So it has no effect on the tearing or on the "she", and
> it
> > > is
> > > > confined to "the letter", just as "fucking" intensifies the SOUND
> > STRESS
> > > on
> > > > "TAST-ic" rather than the lexical meaning of "fantasy" or the more
> > > > grammatical meaning of "ic", and "blooming" intensifies the prosodic
> > > > emphasis of "LUTE-ly" rather than the lexical meaning of "absolute"
> or
> > > the
> > > > grammatical meaning of  "~ly". But in a) "which upset me" is a all
> > about
> > > > her tearing up the letter and it impacts "she" and "tore up" and not
> > just
> > > > the letter: it is abso-bloomingly-lutely part of the story of the
> > > > clause-complex as a whole.
> > > >
> > > > You can see that both McCawley's example and my own are about
> meaning,
> > > but
> > > > they are about different kinds of meaning. McCawley is talking about
> > > > prosodic meaning: the kind of meaning we get from rhymes, jingles,
> hip
> > > hop
> > > > and Homeric hexameters. I am giving you an example of
> lexicogrammatical
> > > > meaning, the kind of meaning we get when semantics (thinking) is
> > realized
> > > > as lexicogrammar (wordings, which may be in turn realized as
> soundings,
> > > but
> > > > they may also be inner speech).
> > > >
> > > > But, as the poet says, if you would see the Yangzi River, you must
> > ascend
> > > > another storey of the Yellow Crane Tower. In the latest volume of her
> > > > Collected Works, Ruqaiya Hasan is talking about a conversation
> between
> > > her
> > > > graduate student, Carmel Cloran, and Carmel's preschool son, Stephen.
> > > >
> > > > It's the kind of rangey conversation we all have with preschoolers:
> she
> > > > asks him what he wants for lunch, and he decides on peanut butter
> > > > sandwiches and passionfruit. The passionfruit is not in the fruit
> bowl
> > > and
> > > > it has to be retrieved from under the kitchen table, Stephen wants to
> > > know
> > > > why there are no passionfruit in Sydney at this time of year (it's
> > > winter)
> > > > and Carmel wants him to sit at his designated place at the table and
> > not
> > > > the place where his Grandma usually sits, Stephen wants to know why
> > > Grandma
> > > > sits there and not elsewhere, and why he can't sit there when she's
> not
> > > > around, and then as Carmel brings the sandwiches and prepared fruit
> to
> > > the
> > > > table she talks about taking him shopping to Chatswood.
> > > >
> > > > One way to see this conversation is as a kind of Monty Python show--a
> > > > sequence of texts separated by "and now for something completely
> > > > different". This is, actually, the way they see things at the
> > University
> > > of
> > > > Sydney, where each "text" in the conversation is attributed to a
> > > different
> > > > "genre" and even a different "register". In some of the texts the
> > context
> > > > is present, in others it is present but under the table, and in
> others
> > it
> > > > is in distant Chatswood and far in the future.
> > > >
> > > > But another way is to see some of the texts as embedded in others:
> > > looking
> > > > for the passionfruit is a kind of qualifier of Stephen's request for
> > > > passionfruit, and the explanation of seating has the function of a
> > > > "because..." or "since..." hypotactic. clause attached to Stephen's
> > > sitting
> > > > in the wrong place at the kitchen table.
> > > >
> > > > The trip to Chatswood? On the face of it, this is really "and now for
> > > > something completely different". And yet, from the Macquarie point of
> > > view,
> > > > it too is linked, but "paratactically". What is being kept up is the
> > > > interpersonal flow of meaning--the intimate, loving, but asymmetrical
> > > > relationship between care-giver and cared-for. This is not much
> related
> > > to
> > > > the social reproduction of the material conditions of life (and from
> > > > Stephen's view not at all): if they do not go to Chatswood they will
> > not
> > > go
> > > > hungry tonight. But it is part of the flow of semiosis that forms the
> > > great
> > > > ocean current that carries humans and other warm-blooded animals on
> > their
> > > > migrations.
> > > >
> > > > Yes, of course: semiogenesis and sociogenesis are linked, just as
> > > > phylogenesis and sociogenesis are not simply stacked the one upon the
> > > > other, and learning is not simply the "domestication" of development
> > for
> > > > purpose of  Aktualgenese or microgenesis: there is an inner link in
> > both
> > > > cases. But as soon as we say that the social reproduction of the
> > material
> > > > conditions of life and the flow of semiosis have this inner link and
> > are
> > > > not simply stacked like geological layers, we find ourselves
> admitting
> > > that
> > > > they can also be distinct, that eddies of semiosis sometimes carry us
> > > > backwards in sociogenesis and sometimes fling us far into our own
> > > futures.
>