[xmca] RE: meaning and sense and has anyone any opinion

From: Gordon Wells (gwells@ucsc.edu)
Date: Fri Jul 22 2005 - 08:03:25 PDT

>Gordon, I've often thought along the lines you explore about how it relates
>to Vygotsky's meaning/sense discussion. Maybe it reflects his roots in
>philology. If so, then maybe we can push it a little further.
>Gordon's list of alternatives were: "dynamic/everyday/narrative v.
>synoptic/scientific/paradigmatic modes of meaning-making." When I see
>"paradigmatic," I look for "syntagmatic." Maybe for Gordon this is in both
>or either "dynamic" and "synoptic?"
>I understand paradigmatic and syntagmatic as mutually constitutive not so
>much "versus." So, for example, for linguists (I think whether you look
>back to Prague School or further to Panini) the copula verb ("to be" in
>English) as a paradigm (for example: be am is are were been) is relentlessly
>tied to/emerging with its syntax (I am. She is. etc.). The syntagmatic
>patterning is not just a methodological frame for the morphological
>paradigm; neither one is necessarily primitive to the other (but theories of
>language might explore to establish this). Each constitutes the other.
>So, maybe 'meaning' can be understood as the paradigmatic and 'sense' as the
>syntagmatic of a mutually constitutive set.


I agree that syntagmatic complements paradigmatic. One way of
interpreting Bruner's narrative/paradigmatic distinction might be
that narrative is concerned with the relations between constituents:
who does what to whom, when and for what reason. Similarly,
Halliday's dynamic/ synoptic distinction might be equated with
narrative/syntagmatic - to some degree!!, while synoptic highlights
the paradigmatic relationship between alternative lexicogrammatical
realizations of the same event, with a focus on grammatical metaphor
through nominalization.

I think I'm happy with your final paragraph above but I'll give some
more thought to this.


Gordon Wells
Dept of Education,		http://education.ucsc.edu/faculty/gwells
UC Santa Cruz.

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