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[Xmca-l] Re: Why Doesn't Vygotsky Use "Microgenesis"?


Thanks for that. It actually explained a mystery about which I have always
wondered: in South Korea, the "green" trafflic lights are always referred
to as "blue". This is weird: Korean is full of ancient Chinese words, and
ancient Chinese does not distinguish between green and blue (though modern
Chinese does). But the words used for traffic lights are not Chinese in
their etymology: they are pure Korean.

I'm a Whorfian. Not an apologetic one, not a sort of "well, he was sort of
right but he exaggerated but still...." embarrassed Whorfian: I'm all in.
But what people don't get about Whorf is his idea of "cryptotypes": the
unconscious tendencies in language, which we do not notice for the same
reason that fish don't notice whether water is green or blue until we take
them out of it.

For example, Whorf notes that English doesn't explicitly mark nouns for
gender: unlike Spanish or French you can say "a" or "the" without figuring
out whether the thing you are talking about is a "he" or  a "she" or an
"it". But as soon as you want to use a pronoun, you DO have to figure out
what whether it's male, female or neuter. So gender is implicit in English,
but it's always there  (case too).

Now, I think that in the same way all languages mark the difference between
green and blue, including ancient Chinese and pure Korean. Yes, if you put
up a stoplight in Kanghwamun with a blue light instead of a green one, the
cars will still stop on red and go on blue. But that doesn't mean that the
difference between green and blue isn't there. It just means that it's not
explicit in the lexicogrammar or in the behaviour based on it.

David Kellogg
Macquarie University

On Sun, Oct 9, 2016 at 3:10 PM, Rein Raud <rein.raud@tlu.ee> wrote:

> This is a good example of how language and other learned resources
> interfere with perception. Another example of this is the case overstated
> by Benjamin Lee Whorf about the capacities of language to structure
> thought, which are nonetheless there. The famous experiment with English
> and Tarahumara speakers, conducted by Kay and Kempton in 1984, demonstrates
> this quite clearly. Tarahumara does not have a separate word for “green",
> the same word denotes both “green" and “blue”. The participants were given
> a heap of marbles in three colours: dark green, light green and blue, and
> told to divide them into two heaps according to colour. English speakers
> grouped together dark green and light green (as “green”), while Tarahumara
> speakers grouped dark green and blue together, as the wavelength of these
> colours is closer to each other and the physiological perception of them
> accordingly also. Thus the presence of the concept of “green”, uniting a
> range of wavelengths into one, structured the perception of the marbles by
> English speakers, but not by Tarahumara speakers who did not have it.
> Best wishes,
> Rein Raud
> > On 09 Oct 2016, at 05:55, David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com> wrote:
> >
> > Here's Vygotsky's example. An infant sees a pocket watch doesn't notice
> the
> > time. An adult sees the time and doesn't notice the watch. A small child
> > will have some trouble understanding how a pocket watch and the clock on
> > the side of the town hall tower could possible be the same sort of thing;
> > an adult has trouble understanding how they could ever be seen
> > as significantly different.
> >
> > At some point (Vygotsky says it is early childhood, the development of
> > speech) we start noticing "inner meaning"; that is, not внешнего
> восприятия
> > but внутренне воспринять - значит осмысленно воспринять.  After that
> point,
> > the world is never quite the same place; we stop living in a world of
> > objects and start living in a world of meanings instead.
> >
> > Vygotsky asks his students to think of the way a chessboard looks when
> you
> > don't know how to play chess--you might group the pieces by color, or by
> > shape,  putting the black pieces on black squres and white pieces on
> white
> > squares. But when you start to play, you suddenly realize that a black
> > rook can enter a deadly relationship with a white queen, and if you are
> > really good, the possibility of the possibility of that relationship is
> > enough for you to act on.  That's what the meaning-filled world looks
> like
> > to a human who knows how to play the semantic game.
> >
> > David Kellogg
> > Macquarie University
> >
> > On Sun, Oct 9, 2016 at 11:30 AM, mike cole <mcole@ucsd.edu> wrote:
> >
> >> David and Larry --
> >>
> >> Could you expand some more on the distinction between semantic meaning
> and
> >> perceptual meaning?
> >>
> >> I am having trouble seeing what you mean. :-)
> >> mike
> >>
> >> On Sat, Oct 8, 2016 at 5:20 PM, <lpscholar2@gmail.com> wrote:
> >>
> >>> David,
> >>> So when we enter Zaza’s article (exploring prototyping and design
> >>> methodology) we are entering semantic meaning as a way to rethink
> >>> perception.
> >>> Semantic meaning is linked to perceptual meaning but these types of
> >>> meanings are distinct.
> >>> Is this distinction you propose explicit in how Zaza is rethinking
> >>> perception or are you extending or making explicit what you perceive
> as two
> >>> different forms of meaning.
> >>> Your post is intriguing and calls me into wanting to understand more
> >>> clearly this distinction between semantic meaning (logo genesis) and
> >>> perceptual meaning.
> >>>
> >>> My reason for my saying that I  paused when reading the first 2
> >>> paragraphs of the article as I felt myself being called into a new
> *space
> >>> of reasons* that was unfamiliar and I was trying to get my bearings on
> >>> rethinking perception.
> >>> Your response turns us towards *meaning* and semantic ways of knowing
> and
> >>> logo genesis.
> >>> Leaves me a bit disoriented but fascinated to learn more.
> >>>
> >>> Sent from my Windows 10 phone
> >>>
> >>> From: David Kellogg
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >> --
> >>
> >> It is the dilemma of psychology to deal as a natural science with an
> object
> >> that creates history. Ernst Boesch
> >>
> >>
> >>