James Paul gee; Ch 4
1. Social languages – different kinds of languages that allow people to identify (“express”) the different social roles we have. So this means that social language is more specified/ narrow as far as content goes. It also seems to be more goal-oriented (the goal is to use the specialized language/ writings to convey your social identity).
2. Conversations – important to note that Conversations is proper here (capital C). Conversations are, then, different from conversations, in that Conversations are generally related to hot-button or socially prevalent issues. A Conversation is a recognizable debate within a social setting, with recognizable “sides” to each argument. Furthermore, it is easy to figure out “what kind of people” take what kind of stance in any given argument.
3. Intertextuality – in this context, “intertextuality” does not have a specialized definition. Intertextuality is when spoken or (more likely) written word quotes or refers to another text either directly or indirectly.
4. Discourse – not comprised of language alone. Rather a Discourse (capital D) is comprised of words, actions, thoughts, feeling, setting, etc.
Thoughts: Interested in seeing the difference between a “social language” and a “conversation.”
Social language example: the aspirin bottle. The stylistic choices (caps and italics) and language used in the directions conveys more than just a message; rather it is also conveying who is speaking to us, and what it is they do or don’t want us doing (who’s-doing-what’s). The important messages are stressed using these features, while the less important/ standard instructions are paced very plainly in the middle with generic language. The point of this section is to analyze how delivery of a message can impact how the message makes us feel (very “it’s not what you say, but how you say it”). The text states that the stressed sections are spoken by a “lawyer” and the unstressed are spoken by a “doctor” but I disagree. It all seemed like a doctor to me.
Who-doing-what = social languages in short hand.
The example of the “riverboat” – Jane displays two different versions of herself when she explains the story of Abagail and Gregory to two different audiences. To her parents, she conveys the persona of someone who is intelligent, reflective and critical. To her boyfriend, Jane is emotional and informal (the who of who’s-doing-what’s). The different languages she uses indicates the what she is trying to convey.
Parents (who): intelligent, reflective, critical individual // (what): a logical analysis of a philosophical situation
Boyfriend (who): girlfriend // (what) how upsetting such an amoral and hypocritical situation* can be
* I thought it was interesting that Jane included herself in her assessment to her boyfriend: “I should hope, if I ever did that to see you, you would shoot the guy.” Not only is Jane identifying with Abagail, but also projecting expected (gender?) social norms onto her boyfriend.
Scientific journal example – shows how social language becomes specialized, and why it matters.
“Two aspects of grammar”
Grammar has two (fairly uniform) aspects: traditional units (nouns, verbs, etc.) and patterns (“rules”) for connecting them. However, the exact usage varies, depending on the social language context. Some audiences receive certain grammatical patterns better than others. (Personal example: I’ve noticed scientific-based writing usually utilizes longer sentences, even to the point of run-in sentences.) This is referred to as a “collocational pattern.”(Collocational patterns aren’t limited to just language.)
“‘Context’ determines meaning (informal)” while the meaning of language in formal contexts is more explicit and withstanding (“decontextualized”). However, I don’t think there is anything that is completely void of context.
I feel that 2c and 2d are not interpretations that people would get out of this noun. I don’t see how [lung cancer] differs from [lung] [cancer]. I really don’t think that it does honestly. Even when he explains it, it still sounds like he’s trying too hard to make meaning out of something that isn’t there. Furthermore, the issue of “correlation” and “causation” seems like he is splitting a hair. The only plausible variance in meaning, I think, is the phrase “increase in smoking.” However, I don’t think this really proves anything simply because it seems like he’s taking the sentence out of its own context. I don’t think breaking down a sentence in this way really reveals alternative meanings, because if that were the case, then every sentence would be as ambiguous, and I just don’t believe this is the case. I also don’t think being privy to this conversation (Conversation?) in the past helps eliminate alternative meanings. I think there are some combinations of words that are just as explicit as they seem to be. There are words that can have dualistic meanings (hello, synonyms), however, I don’t think speaking and conveying a message is as complex as this example would have us believe.
Q1: After reading the example of Sentence 1, what are your thoughts on linguistic ambiguity?
“Big ‘C’ conversations”:
External factors like “themes” and “values” and “beliefs” often play large roles in Conversations.
Intertextuality here refers to the findings of various “scholarly articles.”
Intertextuality involves a certain degree of uncertainty regarding the audience’s receptiveness of indirect references (when mentioned indirectly). Or, in the case of the mandate, will alleviate any uncertainty, as sheer mention of other works carries enough prestige to ignore direct quotation.
Interesting point about the use of quotation marks, and how they can be used to insinuate that a certain phrase should be interpreted a certain way within another text. As far as research goes, this seems like something teachers and students often disagree about—whether a source is really useful to the overall paper or not; specifically, using a quote out of context in order to meet the mandatory source limit.
Also an interesting point about Black English being viewed as a second language (of sorts) and that these students should be entitled to financial aid as bilingual students. (This, I think, is a much better example of multiple languages and multiple meanings than the “lung cancer” sentence.)