Archive for ‘Epistemology’

March 2, 2013

Unveiling Knowledge: pre-linguistic experiences and metaphors

Experience-driven metaphors reveal knowledge (C) NewYorker

How can we access Knowledge?

This question was triggered by Slobin’s book, Psycholinguistics, originally written in 1971 that I was reading in its second edition.

Slobin reflects on language and the role of psycholinguistics, and there he states that “language, like all systems of human knowledge, can only be inferred from careful study of overt behaviour. […] It is important to grasp the distinction  between overt behaviour and underlying structure. In English and other languages, the distinction is expressed  in the concepts of LANGUAGE and SPEECH: SPEECH has a corresponding verb form, whereas LANGUAGE does not.” (Slobin 1979 :2).

This distinction reminds Saussures’ Langue and Parole, when he says that language should be considered as the norm of all other manifestations of speech (1916 :9). Though Slobin, by pointing out the active nature of speech, that corresponds to a verb, to an action, has brought in something I have found worth a thought. So, what if we shift Slobin’s definitions and equal knowledge to language and speech to the act of meaning making?

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