[xmca] Re: Terms of Endearment

From: Ed Wall <ewall who-is-at umich.edu>
Date: Wed Dec 12 2007 - 17:00:46 PST

Actually my favorite for a number of reasons is "Hey you, whatsyourname"

Ed Wall

>Yet another demonstration that one cannot please all the people all the
>time, Professor Kellog. :-)
>Michael Cole
>(List of title available from somewhere else: my favorites are Daddy and
>On Dec 12, 2007 3:33 PM, David Kellogg <vaughndogblack@yahoo.com> wrote:
>> Dear Mike:
>> The problem is that there are cultures (including ours) where it's really
>> TOO intimate to address a colleague by their first name. In most families in
>> Korea, a younger brother doesn't use the first name of an older brother
>> though the older brother may use that of the younger (just as parents may
>> use their children's first names but not vice versa in the West). I can
>> never get my students to call me anything but "Professor Kellogg" even
>> though I am really only a lecturer (and that's why we address everybody
>> except Mike as "Professor" in our contribution to the discussion on
>> development).
>> I gather from Paul's comments that "dear" as a letter salutation is also
>> considered too intimate now, which was certainly not true when I left the
>> USA more or less permanently in the early 1980s.
>> In English teaching we try (very stupidly) to teach terms of address as a
>> set of rules, e.g.
>> a) WHERE INTIMATE: Never use a FIRST name with a title (except that of
>> course here in Korea the last name comes first and the first name comes
>> last)
>> b) WHERE NOT INTIMATE: Never use a LAST name without a title (ditto).
>> This succeeds in utterly confusing our learners and erects huge barriers
>> to human interaction where none previously existed. Language is NOT a set of
>> rules--not even grammar "rules" are rules, and to to try to teach respect
>> and collegiality as a set of rules is almost a contradiction in terms (since
>> rules will inevitably involve a clash between MY rules and YOURS and the way
>> I end up expressing my respect for you involves NOT respecting your rules).
>> So what do I teach? Human interaction, of course. You ask somebody how to
>> address them and then you forget your own bloody rules and just do what they
>> tell you to do. In fact, a question like "What do I call you?" is EASIER to
>> teach than the so-called "rules" above. But most importantly it is clearly
>> LIMITING and LIMITED in a way that so-called rules are not. It's concrete
>> and personal, one might almost say intimate, as human interactions have to
>> be.
>> Last night I was reading Paul Bloom's book "How Children Learn the
>> Meanings of Words" (MIT: 2001). He has a "rules and words" paradigm for
>> language, so he spends some of the latter part of the book smirking at those
>> of us who consider rules and words negotiable and not innate.
>> He cites the following parody of the Whorfian (and Vygotskyan) position on
>> p. 244.
>> Whorfian: Eskimos are greatly infuenced by their language in their
>> perception of snow. for example, they have N words for snow whereas English
>> only has none. Having all these different words makes them think of snow
>> very differently than Americans do.
>> Skeptic: How do you know they think differently than Americans do?
>> Whorfian: Look at all the words they have for snow!
>> First of all, if Inuit who see snow every day have exactly the same
>> perception of snow as Americans who have never seen snow in their lives, it
>> is the skeptics and not the Whorfians who have some tough explaining to do.
>> Secondly, there is really NOTHING circular about language being both cause
>> and effect: the language of previous generations is an effect for them and
>> a cause for us. In the same way, a question like "What do I call you?" is
>> both effect and cause, and so is its effect, namely the answer. What's
>> so hard about that?
>> David Kellogg
>> Seoul National University of Education
>> PS:
>> Actually, Paul, though I am not a Stones fan, at heart I am a street
>> fightin' man like you.... But you can see that our Dear Mike takes his
> > pastoral duties on this list very seriously indeed, and that's surely
>> one reason why the list is such a nice quiet place to work.
>> dk
>> ------------------------------
>> Never miss a thing. Make Yahoo your
>xmca mailing list

xmca mailing list
Received on Wed Dec 12 17:04 PST 2007

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Mon Jan 07 2008 - 10:13:50 PST