The Concepts of 'Language' and 'Discipline' in Transgression A paradigmatic, critical and comparative study of 'Norwegian' Language versus communication • a) Form/content + use = communication (addition) (categorical) ((applied) linguistics) Syntax/semantics + pragmatics = communication • b) Form/content/use = communication (integration) (systemic) (systemics, pragmatics) Syntax/semantics/pragmatics = communication Text versus lifeworld • a) Utterance or text as category (a closed phenomenon) separated from context • b) Utterances or texts as dialogical to lifeworlds as systemic contexts (genres and discourses) Theory-driven scenarios… …attempt to establish the status of language as a chiefly theoretical entity abstracted away from its connections to practice and from the many ‘non-scientific’ or ‘pre-scientific’ discourses about language. Here, a language is regarded not as a general theory of human knowledge and experience but as a theory about itself: a uniform, abstract system constituted by exclusively linguistic principles. A noteworthy early example was Saussure’s (1966 [orig. 1916], pp. 232, 14) pronouncement that ‘the true and unique object of linguistics is language studied in and for itself’ — ‘langue’ as opposed to ‘parole’ (language in practice) — and that this ‘language is a well-defined object in the heterogeneous mass of speech facts’ (cf. § 69) (Beaugrande, 1998: §21). Formalism versus functionalism The exclusive theorising of theory-driven linguistics has established formalism in numerous ‘descriptive’ and ‘generative’ variations, whereas the inclusive theorising of the practice-driven linguistics has established functionalism in relatively few variations (Beaugrande, 1994, 1997b) (Beaugrande, 1998: §45) Formalism • (...) formalism, a radical version of the exclusive theorising that disconnects things or divides them into opposites (Beaugrande, 1998: §31). • Insofar as ‘modern science’ loosens social connections and favours exclusive theorising, and ‘the language of science projects a fixed and determinate reality (§ 23f), formalism could claim to best represent ‘mainstream linguistics’ and to secure its legitimation and autonomy as a scientific discipline (Beaugrande, 1998:§45) Taken together… • a) elements, categories, clarity, specific, concrete, logic, well-defined… …as different from and part of… • b) relations, paradox, coherence, simultaneity open-ended, general, systemic… Cognitive-social-lingustic (...) Our theorising might start from the principle that all human issues or activities have three basic aspects: the cognitive relates to knowledge, the social relates to actions and interactions, and the linguistic relates to language (Beaugrande, 1996a). (...) Cognition is socially and linguistically determined; social actions are cognitively and linguistically determined; and language is socially and cognitively determined (Beaugrande, 1998:§21, SO’s underlining). A three-fold dialectic More often, exclusive projects predominated, such as modelling cognition without society in psychology, or society without cognition in sociology, or language without either society or cognition in linguistics (critique in Pike 1967; Neisser, 1976; Beaugrande, 1984) (Beaugrande, 1998) Truly rational reform would require education [to] be explicitly defined as a three-fold dialectic among cognitive, social, and linguistic progress toward wider inclusion in theory and practice (Beaugrande, 1998). Meta-functions • This [Halliday’s] theory also takes account of the three-way dialectic among linguistic, cognitive, and social, proposed as the basis for a science of text and discourse in section B. These three terms have actually not been widely used, presumably because functionalism programmatically foregrounds the social as a counter-move against the formalist withdrawal into a cognitive idealisation. (Beaugrande, 1998:§63) Systemic interaction of all main aspects • Yet systemic functional linguistics does make a parallel distinction among its three meta-functions: the textual is what language gets used and why, the ideational is what gets talked about and how, and the interpersonal is who talks to whom and why ( cf. Halliday, 1967-68, 1985a, 1985b, 1994a). Just as linguistic, cognitive, and social determine each other while they evolve (§ 21f), the three meta-functions continually interact and presuppose each other: the textual is in principle also ideational and interpersonal (Beaugrande, 1998:§63). Context as field, tenor and mode • Dialectical interactions also determine the triad developed for analysing the Firthian ‘context of situation’: ‘mode’ as ‘symbolic organisation’ (‘what part language is playing in the situation’) ‘field’ as ‘social action’ (‘who is taking part’), and ‘tenor’ as ‘role structure’ (‘what is happening’), (Halliday, 1985b, p. 12; Halliday & Martin, 1993, pp. 32f). Simultaneity and parallellity between textual and contextual aspects according to Halliday • These situational factors might all seem to belong together under the ‘interpersonal’, which concerns ‘social relations’ that are both ‘interactional and personal’: how ‘social groups are integrated’ and the ‘individual is identified and reinforced’ (Halliday, 1973, p. 107). But to secure a ‘correlation’ between ‘functional’ and ‘situational’, Halliday (1985c, p. 39) has suggested that ‘in general’, ‘the mode’ ‘is reflected’ ‘in the textual meanings’ ‘of the text’, ‘the field’ ‘in the experiential’ (a subdivision of the ideational, cf. § 112), and ‘the tenor in the interpersonal’. Objectives for consolidating a rational programme in language education to connect theory and practice according to Beaugrande (1998) The first and foremost objective should [be] clear by now: to re-orient all of education around inclusive, creative, and self-reliant communication. Any given subject matter would be approached not as a predetermined set of ‘content’ or list of ‘facts’, but as a discourse domain for the interactive construction of new knowledge on the basis of current knowledge (cf. Beaugrande 1996a, Chapter VII, and references there) (Beaugrande, 1998: §133). Linguistics and/as disciplines in (new) contexts Different evolving disciplinarities Language as… - perceived and taught in research and in university studies scientific, academic disciplinarity (‘nordisk’) - applied in teacher education applied, didaktic disciplinarity (‘norsk’ or ’norskdidaktikk’ or ‘norsk + fagdidaktikk) presented and understood in curricula, textbooks and practice - practical disciplinarity (cf. the new Danish expression ‘elevfaglighed’) (‘norsk’) Language and literary studies relative to language, text and ‘communication’ in a historical perspective • Language and literary studies as a philological amalgamation • Language and literary studies as separate fields • Text as a paradigmatic shift in both fields - in language studies ‘up’ from the lower linguistic levels (over, not between full stops) - in literary studies from the general ‘down’ to ‘textspecificity’ (from given to open genres) Other new sub-disciplines • • • • • • • • media studies… applied linguistics… Norwegian as a second language… ICT as part of the discipline… rhetoric… pragmatic studies… ‘norskdidaktikk’ (as different from ‘norskmetodikk’)… educational text studies, etc… …could all be seen as new disciplinarities caused by a deeper search for la parole rather than as causing the new paradigm in the first place. (That they have contributed to the pragmatic and contextual shift is nevertheless beyond doubt.) On culture and semiotics Although culture is important in Norwegian as a discipline and as a school subject, (see L97) it is only recently one has seen a professionalisation of this field close to ‘Norwegian’ (a master study established from 2005 onwards in Hamar). Semiotics is still not a separate field of study in Norway, although some doctoral theses in the field of education have claimed to be ‘semiotic’. Discipline/fach/fag/school subject as a goal and or a means? The structuring of schooling into subjects represents at once a fragmentation and an internalization of the struggles over state schooling. Fragmentation because conflicts take place through a range of compartmentalized subjects; internalization because now conflicts take place not only within the school but also within subject boundaries (Goodson and Marsh,1996:152). Goodson and Marsh (1996) further argues that a hundred year long unbroken tradition through the 20th century for seeing English as inevitable in the educational system, has strengthen a certain disciplinary stability. At the same time though the traditional gap between grammar and comprehensive schooling (respectively ‘Cambridge’ versus ‘London’ based English) has become less, according to P. Medway (1990). The encounter of an established tradition, stressing literature, elite, cultural heritage and transmission on the one hand and a new approach, stressing language, mass, cultural relevance and participation on the other hand thus represents an amalgamation of polarities that raises the question of disciplinarity. Thinking: language plus use Language is implicitly and mainly seen as an instrument for doing something. The dyad semantics/syntax that constitutes language is a functional tool that can be used (How to do things with words). Pragmatics is accepted, but placed outside language. Children should learn what language is and then how to use it. This simple and often implicit adding to a Saussurean worldview is still influential Thinking: structure, reference, action, utterance (text) and genre (context) as simultaneity (communication) Language does not exist as such, but only as a focused aspect of a larger cultural, communi-cational whole. A split between text and context is refuted. Writing and reading are hence simultaneously structuring, referring and acting of texts/utterances. These processes are intimately and systemically related to specific discursive contexts or genres. No aspects can be defined as separate. Children should learn to communicate. This view is only randomly accepted. Norwegian (1940): The goal is to teach the children: 1. to speak their mother tongue naturally, straightforward and clearly - without major phonetic or grammatical mistakes, 2. to read both bokmål and nynorsk [the two Norwegian written languages or language forms], with distinct pronunciation and fairly correct accent, to understand and retell what they read, and to be able to obtain knowledge by reading, 3. to write straightforward, naturally and fairly correct (and with fairly correct punctuation marks) about topic adequate for the field of experience and knowledge for this year level (KU,1940:48, SO’s translation and added comment). Goals for the 1974 curriculum for Norwegian Teaching in Norwegian shall aim at - developing students' ability to use their mother tongue in speech and in script - developing students' knowledge of Norwegian language, bokmål and nynorsk, and teach students to love their mother tongue - conserving and strengthening students' love of reading and developing their ability to apprehend and experience the aesthetic and ethical values conveyed in poetry, so that they even later on will love literature - training students in understanding spoken and written Danish and Swedish Goals for 'Norwegian' in the 1987 curriculum (M87) The teaching of Norwegian shall aim at - developing students’ ability to listen, talk, read and write, so that they are able to understand others and self be able to express themselves confidently and varied - giving students possibility to active and creative verbal cooperation, to communicate in different contexts and for different purposes - giving students good knowledge of and skills in the main language, knowledge of the side language [‘sidemål’] and dialects, and developing tolerant attitude to language and language use - helping students to master rules and norms for language and to master lingui-stically practical and factual matters in work life, social life and cultural life - creating engagement, making joy of reading and aesthetic experiences and to stimulate students’ love of reading through reading and work with literary texts - developing students' ability to perceive, experience and judge content and language in literature, other texts and media - letting students work with literature in ways that strengthen the feeling of identity and open their minds for historical, social and cultural connections - giving students a part in the Nordic culture and language community KUF (1988:129-130)[SO’s translation] Norwegian in the 1997 curriculum, L97 General aims for the subject are • • • • to increase pupils' abilities in their mother tongue and teach them to avail themselves of the opportunities for interaction, which their first language provides both in speech and writing, so that they can acquire the knowledge and skills that will serve as a platform for further learning in and outside school, and also make them active participants in society to strengthen pupils' sense of cultural belonging by mediating experience in and knowledge of Norwegian language and literature, insight into other cultures, and understanding the significance of other cultures on the development of our own to strengthen pupils' sense of personal identity, their openness to experience, their creativity, and their belief in their own creative abilities to make pupils conscious participants in their own learning processes, provide them with insight into their own linguistic development, and enable them to use language as an instrument for increasing their insight and knowledge (odin.dep.no/odinarkiv/norsk/dep/nedlagt/kuf/1999/eng/014005990128/dok-bn.html) M87’s description of ’language’ Language is a means to orient oneself in the world, to get contact with others and for personal development (KUF1988:129). 1 The language + use = communication model 2 The three lifeworld aspects M87 on Norwegian as school subject Norwegian is a communicational subject, an aesthetic subject and a central subject for maintaning culture and tradition. It is further a basic tool subject in school [and] (…) an attitudinal subject (KUF, 1988:129) Characterization of Norwegian as a school subject in L97 • The subject Norwegian, then, is about identity. [Norsk er eit identitetsfag.] • The subject Norwegian, then, is about experience. [Norsk er eit opplevingsfag] • The subject Norwegian, then, is about becoming educated.[Norsk er eit danningsfag.] • The subject Norwegian, then, is about culture. [Norsk er eit kulturfag.] • The subject Norwegian, then, is about skills. [Norsk er eit dugleiksfag.] • The subject Norwegian, then, is about communication [Norsk er eit kommunikasjonsfag.] RMERCA (1999:121-123) Norwegian as a school subject in R06 Norwegian is a central subject for cultural understanding, communication, Bildung and development of identity (UFD, 2005:37). (R06) Norwegian… • • • • • • …is a central subject… …establishes itself between… …relates to a broad specter of texts… …shall help students to orient… …shall cater for… … etc In other words: Norwegian in this curricular context is seen not as much as a defined content (nouns), but rather as an action (verbs) which is consistant with the title for the chapter, Goals for the subject [formål med faget] (UFD, 2005:37) Summing up comparatively 1940 1974 1987 1997 2006 - focus on language and its form (nationalistic?) - curricular goals are few and specific - language and literature important (literary?) - curricular goals are few and specific - communication a competitor (functionalistic?) - curricular goals are manifold and ambitious - focal shift from language to student - new that Norw. is described/defines as school subject - language now secondary to the developing students and their discursive abilities (constructivistic?) - language as learning instrument (meta-cognitive?) - description of the ’nature’ of the school subject in six parts - no overall goals given; shift to ’competence goals’ expected to be reached after year 2, 4 7 and 10 - text the dominant part of the school subject (textual?) - the school subject is given purposes, not described as such References • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Bakhtin, M. 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Paper at COE's research seminar in Strasbourg, November. Strasbourg: COE. Ongstad, S. (2005d) Preliminary rethinking of SELLCs as written curricula. Paper at COE's research seminar in Strasbourg, November. Strasbourg: COE. Ongstad, S. (2006) Mathematics and Mathematics Education - Language and/or Communication? Triadic Semiotics Exemplified. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 60/1. Saussure, F. de (1916/1974) Course in General Linguistics. (By. J. Culler.) London: Fontana. Scholes, R. (1998) The Rise and Fall of English. Reconstructing English as a Discipline. London: Yale UP. TRMERCA (1999) The Curriculum for the 10-year Compulsory School in Norway.Oslo: The Royal Ministry of Education, Research and Church Affairs. UFD (2005) Kunnskapsløftet.Oslo: Utdannings- og forskningsdepartementet.
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