Language and CHAT - questions

From: Phil Chappell (
Date: Fri Jun 03 2005 - 03:37:57 PDT


> But I have a suggestion that we start first with what we have as
> "collective" knowledge of the topic -- or at least formulate some
> questions about what are we looking at -- before we get lost in the
> intricacies of all the readings.

That sounds a rather sensible idea! I've started a new thread here so
we might easily collate in a few days. And if you would like to send
the papers you have to me off list, I can sort them and get them posted
on the site, rather than clogging others' mail boxes. The paper Harry
sent where Hasan discusses Vygotsky's, Halliday's and Bernstein's
theories - "exotripic theories" (love that word) will certainly fit in

I already kind of posted my issues earlier; if I were to distil them
down (in the NON-Russian sense ;-) to form an issue, it would sound
something like looking for synergies between social semiotic models of
language systems and "context" in human activity. (There's THAT word


On 03/06/2005, at 12:15 AM, Ana Marjanovic-Shane wrote:

> Dear Phil and all,
> I would like to help put this discussion together. I'll send you a few
> reading items (from home; where I'll be tonight), too.
> But I have a suggestion that we start first with what we have as
> "collective" knowledge of the topic -- or at least formulate some
> questions about what are we looking at -- before we get lost in the
> intricacies of all the readings.
> The topic (How to understand language/speech from the CHAT point of
> view) is really vast and many of us have a lot to say including the
> writers of the articles. What I am proposing is to use a bit sharper
> focus, although it does not have to be inflexible.
> If each one interested wrote ONE question down (just one) -- we would
> have a local universe of issues for the mini curriculum.
> Mmm?
> Ana
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Phil Chappell []
> Sent: Thursday, June 2, 2005 02:39 PM
> To:
> Subject: Re: Talk of courses and discussions
> Mike,
> Will do with et al.
> Harry just sent a very interesting paper; I have some at hand including
> a lovely recent Ochs paper called Becoming a Speaker of Culture.
> Ready and waiting to pull the mini curriculum together.
> Phil
> On 02/06/2005, at 9:23 PM, Mike Cole wrote:
>> Phil et al--
>> Please identify sxtarting texts and we will make them available in a
>> set under the "papers
>> for discussion" part of the xmca web page.
>> I believe there is a chapter from Ochs and Schiefflin that is quite
>> relevant here, but look to
>> others for suggestions. I believe a google search of xmca will turn
>> up Hasan, Halliday, Bernstein,
>> and other relevant figures.  And relevant discussion.
>> I think it would help, phil, if you would pull together a
>> "mini-curriculum" for us to use as common
>> tool.  The object is more widely share,  methinks, than you estimate.
>> But finding volunteers to do some
>> mediating may be a more difficult task.
>> mike
>> On 6/2/05, Phil Chappell <> wrote:
>>> On 02/06/2005, at 5:35 AM, Ana Marjanovic-Shane wrote:
>>>>   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.
>>>>   Ana
>>> Dear Ana, Mike, and All,
>>> I'm a little hesitant to go too far here, as my own previous attempts
>>> here to sow the seeds of a group object/motive of discussing AT and a
>>> theory of language haven't really resulted in much - I often wonder
>>> whether any mention of systemics and Michael Halliday results in an
>>> impulsive "hit hit the delete" response ;-) And whither Bernstein...
>>> But Ana's interest is an interest that many here have, I feel, and it
>>> has often been said that the xmca community lacks a fully articulated
>>> theory of language, just as the SFL community is often derided for
>>> lacking a fully articulate theory of human learning. I'm struggling
>>> right now with a study from the SFL "Sydney school" in an attempt to
>>> make explicit a pedagogical approach that foregrounds the linguistic
>>> features that afford students access to future human activity that
>>> they
>>> may otherwise be denied. But that is a red herring here.
>>> Should anyone here wish to pursue the discussion of a theory of
>>> language "for chat", I'd like to offer up the suggestion that we read
>>> Gordon Well's paper: The complementary contributions of Halliday and
>>> Vygotsky to a 'language-based theory of learning', and I also think
>>> that the various ecological views of language may be worthwhile to
>>> pursue.
>>> So, any takers to assemble a couple of papers? I have an electronic
>>> version of Gordon's paper that we will need to get approval to use
>>> first.
>>> I'll leave it there and hope there may be a couple here interested in
>>> making a motive.......
>>> Phil

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