Re: Language and non verbal constructs
Tue, 4 Jun 1996 22:15:40 +0000

Hi all,

Another slant on this thread in response to John Fisher's original query
would be to consider language, not primarily as a communication system, but
rather as a symbol system: a method for modelling or representing
experienced phenomena.

(Apart from anything else, this would avoid all those entanglements with
issues of dog whistles and the like....)

But mainly, it would enable one to explore what happens to sociality under
when two people who happen to come from different countries/cultures (and
thus make use of two different languages,

viz. two differently _structured_ representational systems)

talk to one another, either directly if they share a smattering of one
another's language, or through an interpreter.

In what sense, to what degree, can they achieve sociality at all?

One might also consider non-verbal representational systems/languages, and
explore the extent to which the same factors seem to apply: what Guthrie
(1991), drawing on the ideas of S.K. Langer, calls "presentational", as
opposed to linguistic, symbol systems

If you're interested in these assertions, I've expressed the argument and
explored some of the implications in Jankowicz (in press, due out "real
soon now" according to the editor). Or, far better really, read Guthrie

Kindest regards,

Devi Jankowicz

Guthrie A.F. (1991) "Intuiting the process of another: symbolic, rational
transformations of experience" _International Journal of Personal Construct
Psychology_, 4, 3, 273-279.
Jankowicz A.D. (in press) "The stories hidden in the words which we use: a
constructivist analysis of business language as a device for cultural
encoding" in Ullman A. & Lewis A. _Privatization and Entrepreneurship: the
Managerial Challenge in Central and Eastern Europe_ Binghampton, NY: The
Haworth Press