Re: Language and non verbal constructs

Wendy Crebbin (
Thu, 6 Jun 1996 12:25:26 GMT+1000

To all those who have been participating in, and/or interested in the
debate over languae and non-verbal constructs.

I find it interesting that in our scheme of things that language is
so dominant that we even have to define the 'other' in terms of

Which does not mean, in my understanding, that the non-verbal is any
less significant in our meaning making as some people like Bob, Mike
and Ana have already pointed out.

I would like to add some other sources of meaning/understanding which
we draw on. In the approach to constructivism in which I am basing my
work it a basic tenet that we draw meaning from all of our senses,
taste, touch, sound, sight, and kinestetic, only a small part of
which is based in language. - We may change it into language in order
to try to communicate, but the language does not convey all of the

In this sense I like Bob's connection between the social and language
saying - the silences of our culture/language which appears to have
no words to speak to our dilemmas, or no situations to speak the
words we have - because each society, and different groups within
society, puts different boundaries around/between words. An example
of this is in talking about colour I may use words like red or blue
whereas an artist could have many different names for that same tonal

Some of us, including myself, think visually/spacially and kinesthetically.
Others communicate through music or painting. In most settings body
language, facial expression, tone of voice, and may other non-verbal
cues are read to enhance understanding.

Mike's point about signs being the vehicle of meaning, but not the
only form of psychological functioning is, for me, a useful way to
differentiate between the meaning we make for ourselves and that
which our language allows us to verbalise. For example, it has been
my experience that the few words we have in our language to express
emotions are inadequate to even tell myself what I am experiencing,
let alone communicate with anyone else that experience.

Finally, if I may, to respond to Gary's questions to Mike "what is
your source for the claims you have made ... What if what you are
saying could be shown to be simply as aspect of Naive Reality?"

Gary are you suggesting that anything which is not scientifically
proven/provable is not true? Are you suggesting that anything outside
of science is a myth or anti-science? Is your construct of Naive
Reality seen as the opposite to scientific truth? Such a suggestion
confuses me because my understanding of postmodernism is to challenge such
faith in master narratives and to question such binary constructs.

Thank you all for your interesting contributions. I look forward to
continued discussion

Wendy Crebbin