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Re: [xmca] The Genetic Belly Button and the Functional Belly

Just to remind of the role of the RH in speech perception and production
(prosody) - so all our verbal communication is a result of interhemispheric
Bella Kotik
On Tue, Jul 20, 2010 at 12:32 AM, Joseph Gilbert <joeg4us@roadrunner.com>wrote:

>        Do we acknowledge that we are affected by the sounds of the human
> voice? Do the sounds of the phonemes cause reactions in our body-mind? If we
> are, and if they do, then do our reactions to the sounds of our voice affect
> our perceptions of the things to which we verbally refer? If so, what is the
> nature of that effect?  What say ye?
>                Joseph Gilbert
> On Jul 19, 2010, at 2:23 PM, David Kellogg wrote:
> We have a problem here in Korea. In order to teach children polite
>> language, which is what they need to communicate with adult strangers,
>> teachers tend to use the polite register in class. That is, instead of
>> saying:
>> T: What is this?
>> They tend to say things like:
>> T: Can you tell me what this is?
>> Now this is quite puzzling from a learner's point of view. First of all,
>> it seems otious, almost fatuous, in its complexity (which is, of course, a
>> form of discourse complexity because it suggests a complex discourse
>> sequence, where the questioner first ascertains whether the hearer can
>> answer and then attempts to find the answer).
>> Secondly, the intonation, which is often the learner's best clue as to the
>> speaker's intention, is not the normal way in which we ask for information
>> using a wh-question in English. Wh-questions normally come DOWN, unless we
>> are asking for old informatoin ("What did you say this was?").
>> Thirdly, the word order seems wrong and if the learner attempts to dissect
>> the sentence into usable bits, it will produce wrong question forms ("What
>> this is?"). As we say in Korean, the belly button of genetic origins is
>> overpowering the belly of functional use.
>> Carol remarked that chimps seem to be unable to deal with hypotaxis, and
>> of course we can easily imagine that chimps might be puzzled in exactly this
>> way without drawing any conclusions about the language learning ability of
>> the chimp as opposed to that of the (equally puzzled) Korean child.
>> But her remark raises the interesting question of WHY, in English,
>> wh-questions are bi-functional in precisely this way: they serve on the one
>> hand to mark intra-mental relations by showing how discourse sequences
>> collapse into grammatical ones:
>> T: Is this hat red?
>> S: Yes, it is.
>> T: Is it yours?
>> S: Yes.
>> T: So the had that is red is yours?
>> S: Yes, the hat that is red is mine.
>> (This is the very sentence that Chomsky used as evidence that structural
>> dependency could not be learned!)
>> T: Can you tell me about this?
>> S: Yes.
>> T: What is it?
>> S: It's an apple.
>> T: So you can tell me what this is?
>> I think the answer to this question is easily found in Tomasello, who
>> found it in Vygotsky. Every human function, including complex grammar,
>> appears in the course of human development twice, the first time as the
>> tragedy of complex discouse, and the second time as the comedy of complex
>> grammar.
>> So, to let the cat out of the bag: hypotaxis is indeed more "scientific"
>> than parataxis as a speech form, in much the same way that "hextillion" is
>> more scientific than "six". But this is merely because as a thinking form it
>> is reconstrues an IDENTICAL intellectual content in a more intra-mental,
>> internally complex, and system-related form.
>> David Kellogg
>> Seoul National University of Education
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Sincerely yours Bella Kotik-Friedgut
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