Re: Gordon Wells on Halliday

From: Ana Marjanovic-Shane (
Date: Sun Jun 26 2005 - 18:01:40 PDT

Ruqaiya and all,
Your last paragraph, reminded me of an article I read recently by Temple
Grandin "Thinking the Way Animals Do", and another article about Temple
Grandin who has a mild condition of autism but who also wrote a book
about Animal Thinking, linking it in a way to some features of autism.
The reason I got interested in what Temple Grandin says is because she
describes autistic thinking as thinking without words in associations of
detailed images. In addition, she describes perception of a person with
autism (and animals) as very detailed and "unfiltered". She talks about
an ""interpreter" in the normal human brain that filters our detail,
leaving people blind to much of the reality that surrounds them - a
reality animals and autistic people see, sometimes all too clearly"
(from the book cover).
I thought that autism may be, indeed, an area of research which could
shine some light onto the "un-semioticised" thinking -- or thinking that
is not, or not fully, or not always mediated by language. There are very
insightful ideas in Temple Grandin;s description of her own and Animal
thinking -- that is very detailed, very "rooted" into pictorial or other
kind of sensory experience. Certainly the articles about Temple Grandin
and some of those I read by her are thought provoking.

Here are some links:


>Re Gordon's penultimate para: it occurs to me that none of us knows a world
>that has not already been semioticised. Which also means that we do not know
>what mediation by other modalities - whether semiotic or material, and if
>semiotic, whether linguistic or non-linguistic - would look like, and what
>any such mediation would achieve outside of a semioticised world: for the
>most part, we separate to analyse, while the secret of the living of life is
>to combine. The very fact that neonates have to be cared for by adults and
>that adults are always already acculturated beings is highly important. What
>Bourdieu called embodiment and habitus begin to get formed very early, and
>always through interpersonal relation, which is where Vygotsky is so right,
>which is where we must remember that being acculturated is a varied
>condition: we are all acculturated , but not necessarily the same way.

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