Hi Peter, Gordon and all,
I guess I did not express my idea quite clearly.
Let me try again:
I absolutely agree that spoken language is not the only part of the
semiotic mediation that should be analyzed, although it is a significant
part. As Wolff-Michael said (in his latest posting) - "all forms of
language are subordinate to activity (Tätigkeit), and [that]
conversation may be a specialized form of activity". I just wanted to ad
that, then, if language is a form of activity, a unit of analysis of
meaning should be commensurable with "activity", as opposed to a more
static "structure" -- i.e. a unit of meaning should be expressed in
terms of "acts" of meaning creation. In other words -- when you say
something to someone - what do you DO by saying it, to create a meaning?
(Including all the gestures, etc -- nonverbal but integral part of live
That is how I meant to use the term "acts" to create a dynamic analysis
In addition, Gordon, you are right -- we should not be looking for one
"absolutely right" type of unit -- each type is suitable for the
particular "zoom" or angle of looking at the phenomenon. I guess what I
was going after is one of those particular angles and a deeper "zoom"
within that angle, i.e. I am trying to unpack the notion of "meaning" as
someTHING and repack it into a more dynamic DOing.
If we look from the point of view of microgenesis: -- how does a
particular status of relationships in a situation move towards another
status, i.e. how does meaning making change the relationships between
the participants and the world-moment in which they are - into a
meaningfully different one -- either by producing insight (learning) or
by producing interpersonal acts that move the participants into a
different position, or both.
If we look from the point of view of ontogenesis -- how does an
undifferentiated and very situated and local communicative act grow into
a detailed, precise, abstract, transposable, social and psychological
"dance" capable of creating imaginary (figured) worlds above and beyond
the sensory "here and now".
If we further look from the point of view of phylogenesis -- the
question becomes a question of how and through which processes local
communications become stable enough to enable the emergence of the
"stable" part of the meaning, so that words can be "lifted" out of
particular communicative events to acquire trans-event potential of
And then, also, how are all these different "zooms" related to each other?
Peter Smagorinsky wrote:
> Ana, I'm wondering why you say:
>> First -- I think that a "unit of analysis of meaning" has to be
>> dynamic and contain "acts" that are done by the interlocutors in the
>> process of dialogue.
> I think that certain group activities are deliberately conducted
> without language where stealth is required--hunting, military
> operations, etc. They rely on other symbols--hand gestures, signals,
> etc. While language (dialogue) serves well in most everyday
> situations, I don't see it as being the sole unit of analysis.
> On the relative calm on xmca: Right now I'm teaching a summer class
> and trying to get other work done, which limits my xmca time--I'm sure
> others are in the same situation.
> Peter Smagorinsky
> The University of Georgia
> Department of Language and Literacy Education
> 125 Aderhold Hall
> Athens, GA 30602-7123
> firstname.lastname@example.org /fax:706-542-4509/phone:706-542-4507/
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