Re: LCA: Toward another LCA

From: ruqaiya hasan (
Date: Wed Jun 22 2005 - 01:33:33 PDT

Sorry Phil I haven't been able to return at all to even reading the
discussion (I ot the papers courtesy of Harry!) because I have been final
proof reading couple of books. There'll be an end by this weekend and I'll
see what I can do.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Phil Chappell" <>
To: <>
Sent: Tuesday, June 21, 2005 9:57 PM
Subject: Re: LCA: Toward another LCA

Dear All,

It is always perplexing when a discussion on XMCA stops dead in it's
tracks! But it has, probably because everyone is reading the papers,
pondering the topics, or busy elsewhere... co-facilitator Steve Thorne,
like many I suspect, is unfortunately in the last category for a few

it would be good to keep the discussions moving, as Gordon is waiting
in the wings to introduce the Vygotsky/Halliday language/learning
component. But in the meantime, those who are not familiar with the
Hallidayan school might look at the discussion in the Lantolf and
Thorne paper on Hopper's emergent grammar, and it's unit of analysis,
as with Rommetveit and Bakhtin, as the utterance (the move and clause
in Hallidayan theory). Arguments for the "sentence" as a unit of
analysis are questioned in the paper, and a fundamental difference
between spoken and written language is foregrounded. What I find
challenging both for the language teacher and the researcher
investigating the talk that goes on between students during classroom
communicative activity is the idea of speech NOT constituting an
ellipted form of some reified linguistic system (e.g. "Slab" ellipted
from "Please bring me the slab" - see the example from Wittgenstein on
page 9 of the paper). It poses some serious challenges for what we are
teaching, how learning may be facilitated and how we might interpret
what is being said. And of course a theory of context is involved.

Lantolf and Thorne:
we speak of ellipsis of elements, as if the elements had originally
been there or are there underlyingly and then are deleted in the actual
production of the utterances in question. However, this is a
consequence of the jargon inherited from linguistic theory which posits
underlying forms that are deleted in certain contexts. The claim of
emergent grammar is that nothing is missing or deleted in the examples
just considered; it is that interlocutors intentionally combine
linguistic forms and contexts to produce utterances that give rise to
specific local meanings (Hanks 1996: 120). In communicating, then,
‘actors continually reach beyond themselves and the pre-established
forms of language to create meanings that were not there before’
(Hanks 1996: 121).

To all the language educators, researchers and other interested parties
- what do you think? And to those still pondering more philosophical
questions such as "When is a tool?" and "When is a sign?".....ponder
on. There is a point when we might archive the question of what
Heidegger said for a later move ;-)))

Looking forward to hearing from all those who were interested last
April in this endeavour.


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