RES: RES: Generalizing in Interaction - epilinguistic activities

From: mktostes (
Date: Thu Jun 02 2005 - 19:04:41 PDT



I haven’t been able to grasp the concepts yet. In my dissertation I used the
term metalinguistic for everything and probably missed some operations that
were metalinguistic because I was a little unsure about what was related to
metalinguistic. I guess we’ll have different people providing different
definitions, and, as you said, different terminology for the same thing as
well as different conceptual systems underlying them. It’s complicated then
to choose the terminology.

Geraldi explains that in metalinguistic activities people take language as
object not as reflection tied to the interactive process, but they
consciously use metalanguage to talk about language, that is, they analyse
the language using classifications, concepts, etc. They discuss about the
parameters used to decide what is more adequate in certain situations, about
pronunciation, expressions, sentence constructions, etc., but using
metalanguage (of course the metalanguage each one will use will depend on
the educational process s/he underwent).

What Geraldi is trying to differenciate using linguistic, epilinguistic and
metalinguistic activities is that when we engage in discursive activities,
there are actions we operate with the language, upon the language and
language actions. (this doesn’t make much sense translated literally like

Trying to explain language actions: when we choose the expressive resources
and while producing reference systems.

Sorry I can’t explain more, first because I know very little, second because
don’t know the adequate words to talk about this in English. But I think
that when Geraldi uses this terminology is because he wants to emphasize
that we perform operations using language (language as work; language as the
result of the work of its speakers) and that language is regulated in
different ways and aspects. Also that language is neither transparent nor
absolutely undetermined and that we are not the origin of meaning (more in
line with the French Discourse Analyses). Most important, I think, is the
notion that through language actions the relations among individuals
involved in the interactions are modified and also, the individual changes
as well.


Well, I guess it’s getting even more complicated…




De: Ana Marjanovic-Shane []
Enviada em: quarta-feira, 1 de junho de 2005 19:36
Assunto: Re: RES: Generalizing in Interaction - epilinguistic activities


this is also very helpful. It seems to me important to clarify these various
acts with language and about language. However I am unsure about the
difference between meta-linguistic and epi-linguistic. If we define
epi-linguistic as: "actions taken in interactional processes that result
from a reflection that takes the very expressive resources as their object"
-- then what is "meta-linguistic"? - I thought that this would be a good
definition of meta-linguistic. And also, some of the examples from the
paragraph below look like something that could be called also
The reason I am interested in clarifying all of these is not trivial: it
will help us see one one had different aspects of language/speech and on the
other, different aspects of the analysis of language and different
conceptual systems (paradigms) are used. Sometimes they are not compatible,
and sometimes they describe maybe the same phenomenon but use different
terminology and place them in slightly different connections.
What I am interested in is developing a CHAT theory of language -- so all
these different ways to look at it as an activity are very helpful.

mktostes wrote:

Epilinguistic activities are actions taken in interactional processes that
result from a reflection that takes the very expressive resources as their
object. According to Geraldi, who doesn’t agree with A. Culioli that
epilinguistic activities are unconscious (and I’m going to try a rough
translation to English now):


“We could characterize the epilinguistic activities as activities that,
being conscious or not, taking the expressions used as objects, suspend the
treatment of the theme being developed by the interlocutors to reflect about
the very expressive resources they are using. Those would be operations that
would be manifested in negotiation of meaning, hesitations,
self-corrections, reelaboration, long pauses, repetitions, anticipations,
lapses, etc. and that are always present in verbal activities, and that have
been studied in language acquisition processes as well as in the processes
of language reconstruction by aphasic subjects (cf. De Lemos, 1982; Coudry,
1988; Coudry & Morato, 1988) ”


And I add that those can also be used by researches investigating second
language acquisition.


Epilinguistic activities can be related to structural aspects of the
language or more discursive aspects such as inquiring why the person doesn’t
want to participate in the conversation; when you demand someone to answer a
question or when you suspend the treatment of one topic to say something


Geraldi states that in every linguistic action there are actions of
reflection on language; it is constant in interactive processes. Therefore,
there are actions that we make with the language, actions made over the
language and language actions. That’s the distinction among linguistic,
epilinguistic and metalinguistic activities.


I hope it helps. And then, again, I guess that once we start learning/using
language, we get contaminated and suffer from the condition of reflecting
over language itself, even when we do not realize we are doing it, such as
children playing with sounds. Epi comes from Greek and means ‘on’, ‘upon’
(amongst other meanings).


Karin Quast


GERALDI, J. W. Portos de Passagem. SP: Martins Fontes, 1991. (Brazil)


De: Ana Marjanovic-Shane []
Enviada em: terça-feira, 31 de maio de 2005 17:18
Assunto: Re: Generalizing in Interaction



I need more clarification on epilinguistic and its analogy with "epidemic".
While I understand, or I think I understand what is "epidemic" (when people
become progressively infected by the same disease ?, when something spreads
across many people so that they all "suffer" from the same condition?) I
fail to understand the "epilinguistic" unless just knowing how to speak one
language is some kind of an epidemic by that language. :-) (I do sometimes
feel infected by a language).

How does world play and finding phonological patterns compare to an
epidemic? Finding some linguistic patterns may be a meta linguistic
activity, but why would it be an epi-linguistic phenomenon?


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