Tuesday, July 21, 2009

David Novak Class Notes 7/20/09
Ilene Evans - Linguistics -

First hour’s work: Form groups of three … to discuss the readings.
Engage in Conversation of the various articles that we have read in the book by Locke and chapters 5,6,7 in the linguistics book . Discuss the text as a pretext for recording the conversation.

We made a Social map showing the many relationships prior to this class - so we got to gleefully re-member those connections.

Topic for the eveining: Reactions and thoughts on the text

Gender differentiations in use of language are addressed in Lock’s text.
_Keran Egan Book on Teaching as Storytelling
_He brings up the observation that stories start with affective content
Stories often work with a “Binary organization” which takes complicated things and makes them more manageable. It may be a tendency of our own nature to see things like positive and negative. In the physical world they are quite connected, you cannot divide a magnet in half without still having a positive and a negative pole.
_Lock proposes that manual grooming and touch is the beginning of mass communication…
*Social stroking
Beth mentioned her witnessing of a disturbing child at work - Failure to thrive because of lack of touch – difficult to see an infant – lethargic lump of clay. Infants deprived of touch wither and fail to thrive. Failure to thrive/stroke deprived, the stress of words meaning – it almost seems that with the first emphasis - the child has done something or made itself fail and places the blame on the baby for not striving and not someone who has deprived the child of what they need.

*Marjorie takes issue with equating the word stroke for touch…
Marjorie wants look at the word “stroke” from TA and Transactual Analysis term by Eric Burn
We glossed the word “STROKE” and find that we are using the term in class as a verb, but the most common entries are for the noun.

Need for recognition as a form of touch – e.g. reach out and touch someone.

Pinker: Language as a means of negotiating relationships
_ Communities grew so large that “one on one” touching was not enough for touching – that it grew to increase amplification Is recognition a form of touch?
_ Lock seems to think that there came a time when eye and physical contact was not enough to secure and bind relationships thru grooming and sound and language came along to help extend the sense of grooming furhter to more peoole at a time. Talking could increse the nmber of people in the social circle.
_ How do we manage increasing relationships when we cannot reach out and touch everyone that we need to? Does the voice have an advantage over touch in such situations?
_ When the social structure outpaces and outgrows our ability of “grooming” doing it with touch, what will evolve to make up for it? There was a whole evolution in order to mange this kind of contact.

_Example: Neighborhood and social networks
David’s gave a personal example of a community extending and changing its nexus
· He notices an increase in the social contacts in his neighborhood as a result of the changing economy. e.g. Saving money on childcare by swapping play dates with neighbors
· He says that in times of worry and stress we increase contacts – stroking, grooming behavior – by virtue of proximity we have common concerns it is good to use these contact to increase survival strength.
· We may increase sense of well-being by increasing the width and bredth of our social networks
· Have we exchanged facebook connection for these long-distance connections?
· The de-voicing of society – was the text messaging that caused a train accident an example of that?
· Debbie: there is no replacement for true one on one contact
· There are times when internet news casts of people in trouble have literally helped them and benefitted form these far reaching networks.
· Politics in Iran have pushed some of them to reach out over internet to tell their story.

Consider: The evolution of grooming into mass communication proposed by Lock:
Ø Grooming ---àTouch--à voice----à text--àPrinting
Ø Common Domain ---à Common Territory----à Common Culture---à Common World
Ø Is there a displacement of concern because of a different domain?
Ø These people are concerned because they have a common territory

1938 E.B. White had a column – called “One Man’s Meat” he was to write about a new technology, a famous event they watched the image of a woman singing on the first TV
He said: “Television will enormously enlarge the eye’s range and like radio, it will advertise the elsewhere. Together with the tabs, the mags and the movies , it will invite us to abandon the primary and the near in favor of the secondary and the remote.”

Two brands of Nostalgia – from a book called the Future of Nostalgia
Regressive and Reflective nostalgia
Call back efforts and look back and reach back movements the storytelling movement that we are in now has some of this feeling, in various versions of all of that sentiment. The extreme of this is seen in the Amish –go no further or go further back.

Discuss Harry Potter phenomenon of ad hoc community to see the film. We took up a whole row at the film during the preview weekend. Marjorie tells us of the extra shows in flint, MI where her friend runs a theater. David commented on the interesting dynamic changes in the conversation reflecting the synchronicity of the group enthusiasm. The i-pod variation of that is where each one is listening to a different piece of music, but dancing together – just being together. Synchronic behavior is innately appealing. No matter how much we dress ourselves up, there is still the primordial component in our communication.

The Signal load is greater in the singular storyteller– like in autonomous language. Is the storytelling performance an experience of some of these grooming behaviors? E.g. Teju being a street talker and the game at the barber shop – throwing down the hat and putting in your money to participate - that was a way of making money and passing time – to compete in telling a story a chance to move ahead in society. Being a good talker can help social mobility.

We have grooming behaviors that don’t have anything to do with grooming it is about social status. Who is at the top, the bottom and middle? That extends into language. Who has status and rank. Pride and status given in association with those of greater rank increase the likelihood of survival still.

Does the storyteller groom the audience? Do they groom the storyteller? How does that work? The currency of the grooming is demonstrated in the ongoing relationship and the audience who pay attention who may become part of the network of support providing well being.

Watch and discuss a Section from the film Doubt looking for the nonverbal and verbal indications of their status and relationship and how what is being said
Paralinguistic and nonverbal movements gestures and expressions that are just as much a part of the language and the words.

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