[xmca] Four Befuddlements

From: David Kellogg <vaughndogblack who-is-at yahoo.com>
Date: Mon Nov 10 2008 - 15:18:12 PST

I just read Annalisa Sannino's "From Talk to Action" in MCA 15, and I'm befuddled:
a) On p. 236 Sannino takes up Leontiev's idea of "personal sense". Is this related to Vygotsky's/Paulhan's distinction between "sense" and "meaning" in Chapter Seven of Thinking and Speech? If so, why does he say that "meaning exists only in relation to personal sense, which connects it ith the reality of the individual's own life and motives"? The meanings in Samuel Johnson's dictionary have nothing to do with my life or motive, and he wrote them quite without consulting me. Why does he say that "embodying sense in meaning is a deeply intimate, psychological meaningful (sic) process not in the lest automatic or momentary"? That sounds terribly sexy. But classroom discourse is (fortunately) often automatic and frequently momentary; only rarely intimate.
b) Sannino makes a LOT of the distinction between interpretation and experience, and we are somehow led to believe that the latter is deeper, more meaningful (perhaps more intimate) than the former (e.g. "the way a conversation develops and an activity is carried out through conversations cannot be revealed only by analyzing how talk is interpreted by interlocutors but rather by focusing on how talk is experienced by them"). But these two things are not equally accessible to analysis, as LSV taught us! Since interpretation implies experience (and since the process of discourse is about negotiating the former and not the latter), why not analyze the former?
c) I STILL have a hard time understanding why the transition from "I will see" to "we will see" is so significant. In Korean and in English there is essentially no difference in meaning. I gather that the transition is, therefore, one of personal sense: Teacher 7 is gaining a sense of collective will. Between the two expressions, the interventionist says "You (?) will get a foretaste". Is "you" singular or plural here?
d) I ALSO have a hard time understanding the role of the interventionist. In some ways, his language is quite passive: he is functioning as a mirror rather than a model. If anything, his role seems to be Obama-like: he likes to reach down into the maelstrom of discourse, pick up an object for observation and then rather ostentatiously NOT take a stand (e.g. he does NOT take a stand on the key question of Finnish only or bilingual education for immigrants). Sannino prizes two types of "agentive" talk: roughly, proleptic and retroleptic. Which type is that of the interventionist?
David Kellogg
Seoul National University of Education

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Received on Mon Nov 10 15:19:50 2008

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