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[Xmca-l] Re: UNICITY of acoustic and auditory


I don't really believe in the slow method, or in Helena's one screen rule,
or in the "one thread at a time" rule you imply here. Vygotsky liked to use
the term *"*вплетена и воткана*”, *which I gather means something like
"intertwined (interpersonally) and interwoven (socioculturally)," to refer
to the way in which children are first entangled in family relations and
then enloomed into social ones. It is interesting to me that people who are
perfectly willing to tell teachers what to do and say will draw the line at
trying to tell parents what to do and say with their kids. I guess
a lifetime of witnessing botched attempts at language design  has taught me
to be sceptical of anything that tries to reduce the complexity of natural
discourse in any way. It is like trying to design a spandrel, or plan a

One reason why having more than one thread is an asset rather than a
liability is that I myself am not particularly good at philosophy; I don't
really understand the whole problem of developing from the
natural/environmental to the iconic/indexical/symbolic. It seems to me that
icons and indexes and symbols are all parts of nature, like physics,
chemistry and biology. They are just different levels of organization.

Maybe the problem arises from the terminology. Firstness, secondness, and
thirdness comes from ancient Greek grammar. Buhler uses it to divide
language into three functions: the expressive (first person), the co-native
(first and second person) and the representational (first, second and third
person). These are just ways of looking at any one piece of language. You
can see it as expressing the first person's feelings, you can see it as a
message in a dialogue, or you can see it as a message in a dialogue about
some other object or person.

In literacy, rate, accuracy and prosody are all behavioural
characteristics. I don't really see how any of them can measure
understanding, although if I had to choose I guess I would go for prosody.
So for example last week in a seminar we were looking at two different ways
of translating a Chinese commentary on an eighth century Buddhist sutra.
The commentator is a member of the Southern School of Huineng, very hostile
to the Northern School of Shenxiu (yes, they had partisan politics even
then!) and so he says "Shenxiu never forgets himself". You can see:

"Shenxiu never forgets HIMSELF" (i.e. he's a selfish guy)
"Shenxiu never FORGETS himself" (i.e. he is marvellously self-possessed).

But the real problem is not in the prosody--it's that the
translator's wording is all wrong. If you look at the original Chinese, it
means "Shenxiu never forgets about his self". The speaker, Xuanhua, is
being expressive--he is expressing his loathing and hatred of Shenxiu and
the Northerners. But he's also communicating--he is trying to convince his
Southern brethren to agree to ostracize them. And of course he is talking
to them about a third party. At no point is the language purely iconic, the
way a sound stream is before it strikes the diaphragm in a microphone. To
be language at all, it has to be symbolic. Sometimes, I think, the more
heavily mediated lexicogrammatical road is actually the primary one, and
the less heavily mediated prosodic path will only lead you astray.

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:


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

Free E-print Downloadable at:


On Sat, May 13, 2017 at 11:37 PM, Lplarry <lpscholar2@gmail.com> wrote:

> David K,
> I do not want to interrupt the developing theme exploring the notion, the
> concept, and grasping.
> However I do want to continue the theme of developing from the
> natural/environmental to the iconic, indexical, and symbolic.
> You are exploring the sound scape of the transitions from natural sounds,
> through the voice tract (iconic) then the indexical, and the symbolic.
> Can we say  you are exploring the development/ transition from the
> acoustic sound scape to the auditory sound scape?
> The acoustic sound scape that can be explored as occurring without
> mediation whereas exploring the vocal tract is iconic.
> David, it seems you are focusing upon this transition and discriminating
> the features that form a ‘unicity’ (an interactive process or trans/action)
> that is key for the developing personal/ity.
> You are developing your sensitivity to hear/discriminate these signals
> that indicate patterns within the developing sound scape (metaphor for
> place or context of situation) and the way meaning develops within this
> sound scape.
> We can put this question aside for now, but I hope we return to this
> exploration of transitions, unicity, and discriminating the
> acoustic/auditory sound scape.
> In the background I am holding open exploring reading (fluency) and the 3
> qualities – rate, accuracy, and prosody-
> As you mentioned, science lays out the *array* but teachers focus upon
> integrative unicity.
> However, teaching persons in schools now give lip service to prosody but
> focus on standardized measurements of (rate and accuracy).
> I believe your work may translate to exploring prosody as the KEY to
> persons acquiring reading fluency.
> I hope we can pick up this theme after exploring the notion of the concept
> Sent from my Windows 10 phone