Re: [xmca] Re: LCA: A novice takes a first shoot: spreading the symbol, not the meaning.

From: ruqaiya hasan (
Date: Wed Jun 29 2005 - 07:11:10 PDT

Well it depends doesn't it on what it is one is wanting to explore. If one
is trying to look at the mediation of abstract technological concepts one
most probably will have to go to language or presuppose that the use of
language has already done some of the job (eg before going to such media as
graphics, tables figures and such like); if on the other hand one is simply
interested in nontheorised, possibly non-explicit knowledge then might look
into body language.
there is not much though that happens in the life of modern social subjects
where language is not already there in some form or shape. this doesn't mean
other things don't count. To my mind what it means is the more modes of
semiotic mediation we look into the better -- but before looking into
any/all, maybe it might be good to understand the nature and potential of
that modality and develop a language of description.
Incidentally you have just decribed the condition that Basil Bernstein
attempted to theorise as "segmental and horizontal knowledge structures".


----- Original Message -----
From: <>
To: <>
Sent: Wednesday, June 29, 2005 1:48 AM
Subject: [xmca] Re: LCA: A novice takes a first shoot: spreading the symbol,
not the meaning.

> Gordon, Lars,
> I certainly would agree that people use different methods of communicating
> depending upon the context they intend to communicate within. Part of the
> difficulty communicating within the XMCA circle is that there are so many
> different disciplines being represented; as well as languages, as well as
> different subsets within each language. So, with so many variables needed
> to be considered how is it possible to represent language with one
> single unit of measure? Impossible? No, but a very difficult
> For example, everyone has shared in the experience of learning a new job.
> The uncertainty as well as the self-awareness that other employees will be
> watching present anxiety that can result in a silly grin, akward speech or
> jsut plain clumsiness. This I would posit would be universal to all
> cultures. Maybe then, instead of looking merely at language to represent
> single unit of measure for sociocultural theory we look to behavior sets
> that fall within specific contexts.
> what do you think?
> eric
> Gordon Wells
> < To:
> > cc:
> Subject: Re: LCA: A novice
takes a first shoot: spreading the symbol, not
> 06/27/2005 11:15 the meaning.
> PM
> Please respond
> to xmca
> Lars,
> Thanks for your very interesting post. What you have observed is not
> altogether new, though.
> Halliday (1988 On the language of physical science. In M. Ghadessy
> (Ed,) Registers of written English: Situational factors and
> linguistic features. London Frances Pinter.) describes how scientists
> such as Newton developed a new genre in order to communicate
> effectively to other scientists. And think about the change in genres
> that accompanied the invention of the telegram. It seems to me that
> the girl you quote is doing something rather similar: transforming
> the genre in the light of the available technology to achieve her own
> and her peers' communicative purposes. What do you think?
> Gordon
> --
> Gordon Wells
> Dept of Education,
> UC Santa Cruz.
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