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[Xmca-l] Re: Отв: Отв: Re: Ilyenkov, Marx, & Spinoza



I can understand Ivan's consternation; nay, I can share it. When Halliday
says that the relationship between meaning and wording, and also the
relationship between context and text, is a natural one but the
relationship between sounding and wording is conventional, he is really
meaning three slightly different things. But fortunately language has
evolved to mean more than one thing at the same time; unlike a blackbird
whistling or a prelinguistic child, who tends to do these things one at a
time, we can "get attention", "give information", and "represent
experience" all at once: "Look at that blackbird!" Even more fortunately
written language has been designed to be able to tease apart and
differentiate these slightly different things.

First of all, Halliday means that the relationship between /b/ and /l/ and
/a/ and /k/ and the word "black" is really not defining, but the
relationship between "Look at that blackbird!" and getting attention,
giving information, and representing the experience really is. The word
"black" isn't defined and doesn't depend on the sounds we choose put into
it: we can delete the final sounds as in some forms of black English and we
can spell it with a redundant "c" and "k" and it doesn't change. But this
is not true if we change "Look at that blackbird!" into "That blackbird is
looking".  With intonation, the relationship actually is defining: if I say
"Look at that blackbird?" I mean something different from "Look at that
blackbird!", and "Just LOOK at that blackbird" is different from "Look at
that BLACKBIRD" (and even "BLACKbird" differs from "blackBIRD".

Second, Halliday means that the relationship between the vowels and
consonants that make up "black" and the word itself is one place--the only
place--where associative psychology will work. As Henry Higgins
demonstrated in "My Fair Lady", boot camp techniques can be used to train
pronunciation--but not creative grammar and certainly not interpersonal
meaning. Similarly, when you learn a foreign language late in life, as many
of us have done, your brain will mean a word, but your mouth muscles will
often interpret these words in their own familiar way, the way that they
have grown used to when you were still a child. When my wife says the word
"blackbird", there is an indeterminacy in that post-vocalic /r/, that
cannot quite make up its mind not to be an /l/, that still thrills me: it
reminds me of the first time I heard her say "milk".

But thirdly, and this is where my own consternation sets in, Halliday means
that the relationship between vowels and consonants on the one hand and
words on the other is relatively designable, while  the relationship
between meaning and wording, and the relationship between context and
meaning, is much more evolved. Humans really are part of nature, and their
communication systems have evolved in interaction with that environment,
including the parts of it that they have reconstructed around their
human-specific needs. But with any complex system,we find that different
parts of the system evolve at different speeds: brains appear to have
evolved a lot faster than vertebrae, for example. We have, historically,
huge and apparently reasonless sea changes in the phonology of our language
(the Great Vowel shift in pre-Shakespearean English, and the tendency
towards "vocal fry" in our own--you can hear the changes by listening to
old movies). In contrast, the basic grammatical systems of tense, mood,
etc. remain motivated and quite stable: there are good reasons, for
example, why we give tense to processes and not to entities and good
reasons why an object like an apple should be countable but not an
experience like being. There are good reasons why we have proper nouns that
identify individual people but not individual plants, and animals are
somewhere in between, and good reasons why there is no such thing as a
proper verb identifying a single, unrepeatable moment of being.
Paradoxically, language models perpetual change the same way it models
utter stasis.

David Kellogg
Macquarie University




On Sat, Aug 5, 2017 at 6:30 PM, Alfredo Jornet Gil <a.j.gil@iped.uio.no>
wrote:

> David, Alexander, Phillip, all,
>
> David's way of elaborating the comment that free will is not 'free' from
> natural relationship, and therefore from necessity; that even in Vygotsky
> the key is not simply 'arbitrariness' or 'conventionality', reminded me of
> the argument held by Sergey Mareev. Mareev discusses how Vygotsky treated
> 'the problem of the origination of speaking activity from labour'. He notes
> Vygotsky's idea of 'unity of thought and speech' that 'word creates
> intellect and, at the same time, it is created by intellect'. He then goes
> on to note that,
>
> 'one can only break this word-thought-word cycle by turning the circle
> into a spiral. Unlike a circle, a spiral has a beginning, and its
> historical beginning is labour. However, it is only a *historical*
> beginning, for the *ontogenetic* beginning is the word. At first, a child
> masters speaking and only after that would he start working'
>
> He further remarks that 'historically' means *essentially*, adding that
> 'the essence of speech follows from the essence of labour*.
>
> Is this kind of elaboration (the one of turning a circle into an spiral)
> connected to your argument, David?
>
> It is interesting that S. Mareev uses the same literature than Sasha S.
> uses, including Ilyenkov and Mescheryakov, to argue for exactly the
> opposite with regard to Vygotsky's treatment. Probably this is so because,
> unlike Sasha, Mareev does not mention the problems Vygotsky gets into when
> takas the S-R as starting point in his account of sign mediation. May it be
> that there is truth in all these positions? that while Vygotsky's most
> important legacy of a genetic unity of human thinking and communicating
> remains valid, the premise that 'natural perception' is passive perception
> of the S-R type is not and so it needs revision?
>
> Alfredo
>
> Mareev, S. (2015). Abstract and concrete understanding of activity:
> 'Activity' and 'labour' in soviet philosophy. In, A. Maidansky, & V.
> Oittinen, The Practical Essence of Man. The 'Activity Approach' in Late
> Soviet Philosophy (pp. 96–102). Leiden, NL: Brill.
> ________________________________________
> From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu <xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu>
> on behalf of David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com>
> Sent: 04 August 2017 23:27
> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re:   Отв: Отв: Re: Ilyenkov, Marx, & Spinoza
>
> Thanks, everybody. Particularly for the Wallace Stevens. My supervisor,
> David Butt, did HIS PhD thesis on the lexicogrammar of Wallace Stevens! At
> first it looks like almost random, "une folie integrale", but when you
> analyze it into clauses, you find it is very finely wrought.
>
> Vygotsky does talk about tossing coins ("the eagle and the bar" is the
> Russian version of heads and tails, and I gather that means that in the
> 1930s they were still using the one ruble coins of the Tsarist era). It's
> in the context of probability, and I think that the relationship between
> meaning and wording is not random folly, but a natural relationship,
> although to really see the pattern clearly you need to look
> probabilistically, because speakers have free will.
>
> But the specific examples he uses of "double stimulation" in the second
> chapter of HDHMF are casting lots, tying knots (in your handkerchief, or in
> a quipu) and counting on your fingers. He calls them "rudimentary
> functions", things which once decided life and death questions, public
> executions and tax revenues of empire, but which now stand in the dusty
> corners of the cultural mind, a plaything for children or a way of deciding
> who buys the next round in the pub.
>
> In Chapter Six (paragraphs 40-42), Vygotsky is talking about the experiment
> of "switching names", something I've been doing with real child siblings.
> In this case, it is calling a crow "pigeon" and a pigeon "crow". He says
> that it is impossible, because it would perturb expressions like "crow
> black" and "pigeon blue". Beyond the phonological system, there is a
> delicate woof and warp of wordings, and these wordings are all
> interdependent, both on each other and on our experiences of nature.
>  (Actually, even the phonological system is not completely conventional,
> because of intonation and stress, which are natural. It's only
> articulation--the vowels and consonants that Saussure studied in
> proto-Indoeuropean--that is completely conventional)
>
> Now, suppose we go one level higher--to meaning. We find that getting
> information from somebody is done through a particular lexicogrammatical
> pattern we call "questioning" while giving them information is done through
> a different pattern called "making statements". These are realized as
> interrogatives and declaratives respectively. Can we replicate Vygotsky's
> experiment here? That is, can we use interrogatives to give information,
> and declaratives to get information? Of course!
>
> Do you not see how the blackbird
> Walks around the feet
> Of the women about you?
>
> (That is, "There is a blackbird walking around the feet of the women about
> you.")
>
> I do not know which to prefer,
> The beauty of inflections
> Or the beauty of innuendoes,
> The blackbird whistling
> Or just after.
>
> (That is, "Which do I prefer?")
>
> The relationship of information-getting and asking a question is
> natural--but it's probabilistic, because of human free will. So is the
> relationship between information-giving and making a statement. We can and
> do flout this natural relationship--not just in poetry, but in all kinds of
> "grammatical metaphors", like "Would you mind not cawing?" which is
> actually a command to a child not to yawn, or "Ontogeny recapitulates
> phylogeny", which construes a process as an entity rather than as a
> happening. But just because we have built devices that can flout natural
> laws does nothing to repeal them. Even the wing of the blackbird does not
> abolish atmospheric pressure or gravity, but only uses one to overcome the
> other.
>
>
> --
> David Kellogg
> Macquarie University
>
> "The Great Globe and All Who It Inherit:
> Narrative and Dialogue in Story-telling with
> Vygotsky, Halliday, and Shakespeare"
>
> Free Chapters Downloadable at:
>
> https://www.sensepublishers.com/media/2096-the-great-
> globe-and-all-who-it-inherit.pdf
>
> Recent Article: Thinking of feeling: Hasan, Vygotsky, and Some Ruminations
> on the Development of Narrative in Korean Children
>
> Free E-print Downloadable at:
>
> http://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/8Vaq4HpJMi55DzsAyFCf/full
>
>
>
>
>
>
> On Sat, Aug 5, 2017 at 1:50 AM, White, Phillip <Phillip.White@ucdenver.edu
> >
> wrote:
>
> > dear David,
> >
> >
> > speaking of blackbirds -
> >
> >
> > best,
> >
> >
> > phillip
> >
> >
> > Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird
> > BY WALLACE STEVENS<https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/
> wallace-stevens>
> > I
> > Among twenty snowy mountains,
> > The only moving thing
> > Was the eye of the blackbird.
> >
> > II
> > I was of three minds,
> > Like a tree
> > In which there are three blackbirds.
> >
> > III
> > The blackbird whirled in the autumn winds.
> > It was a small part of the pantomime.
> >
> > IV
> > A man and a woman
> > Are one.
> > A man and a woman and a blackbird
> > Are one.
> >
> > V
> > I do not know which to prefer,
> > The beauty of inflections
> > Or the beauty of innuendoes,
> > The blackbird whistling
> > Or just after.
> >
> > VI
> > Icicles filled the long window
> > With barbaric glass.
> > The shadow of the blackbird
> > Crossed it, to and fro.
> > The mood
> > Traced in the shadow
> > An indecipherable cause.
> >
> > VII
> > O thin men of Haddam,
> > Why do you imagine golden birds?
> > Do you not see how the blackbird
> > Walks around the feet
> > Of the women about you?
> >
> > VIII
> > I know noble accents
> > And lucid, inescapable rhythms;
> > But I know, too,
> > That the blackbird is involved
> > In what I know.
> >
> > IX
> > When the blackbird flew out of sight,
> > It marked the edge
> > Of one of many circles.
> >
> > X
> > At the sight of blackbirds
> > Flying in a green light,
> > Even the bawds of euphony
> > Would cry out sharply.
> >
> > XI
> > He rode over Connecticut
> > In a glass coach.
> > Once, a fear pierced him,
> > In that he mistook
> > The shadow of his equipage
> > For blackbirds.
> >
> > XII
> > The river is moving.
> > The blackbird must be flying.
> >
> > XIII
> > It was evening all afternoon.
> > It was snowing
> > And it was going to snow.
> > The blackbird sat
> > In the cedar-limbs.
> >
> >
>



-- 
David Kellogg
Macquarie University

"The Great Globe and All Who It Inherit:
Narrative and Dialogue in Story-telling with
Vygotsky, Halliday, and Shakespeare"

Free Chapters Downloadable at:

https://www.sensepublishers.com/media/2096-the-great-globe-and-all-who-it-inherit.pdf

Recent Article: Thinking of feeling: Hasan, Vygotsky, and Some Ruminations
on the Development of Narrative in Korean Children

Free E-print Downloadable at:

http://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/8Vaq4HpJMi55DzsAyFCf/full