Language is the underpin of our society

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HanibalII

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I was wondering whether all users of language on this forum agree with the following statement.

'Language is the social underpin of our society, responsible for every action that takes place.'


It's more of a general curiosity, stemming from a recent discussion I had in regards to the many different literacy practices used in society.
 

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I was wondering whether all users of language on this forum agree with the following statement.

'Language is the social underpin of our society, responsible for every action that takes place.'


It's more of a general curiosity, stemming from a recent discussion I had in regards to the many different literacy practices used in society.
Is 'underpin' even a noun? I've never heard that.
What do you think about the statement? I think it's demonstrably false, given that you only need to think of one action that language is not responsible for (one counterexample) - and that's easy.
 

HanibalII

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Is 'underpin' even a noun? I've never heard that.
What do you think about the statement? I think it's demonstrably false, given that you only need to think of one action that language is not responsible for (one counterexample) - and that's easy.


'Underpin', 'support' etc.

Underpin is a verb, according to the dictionary.
'Support, justify, or form the basis for: "the theme of honor underpinning the two books.'

I wouldn't be too sure about that. In our society, communication is used everywhere. Without it, there would be no society.

Would you care to provide your example?

Keeping in mind the social context.
 
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Raymott

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'Underpin', 'support' etc.

Underpin is a verb, according to the dictionary. That's what I said. It's used here as a noun
'Support, justify, or form the basis for: "the theme of honor underpinning the two books.' Yes, and ...?

I wouldn't be too sure about that. In our society, communication is used everywhere. Without it, there would be no society.
Yes, and ... ? I was replying to the proposition that 'Language is the social underpin of our society, responsible for every action that takes place."
I would not question that communication is used everywhere, or that without there would be no society.

Would you care to provide your example?
Of an action for which language is not responsible? Sure, a baby pooping, a couple having sex, a woman being mugged. How many do you need?

Keeping in mind the social context.
Do they teach you critical thinking in your course?
 

HanibalII

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Do they teach you critical thinking in your course?


Maybe I didn't word it clearly enough. In a social context IE interaction. If a couple starts having sex, surely one of them would've made their intentions clear beforehand. (Gestures etc) Same with a woman being mugged. Surely the mugger would make his intentions clear. Again with gestures. A baby pooping isn't interaction in a social context, my mistake for not making that clear beforehand.

Maybe 'every action' is a bit too broad for this statement. Maybe it should be 'social interaction.'
 

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It's not only 'every action' that's too broad. You are using 'Language' rather broadly if it's intended to cover gesture and non-linguistic signals of intention to mug.
 

HanibalII

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It's not only 'every action' that's too broad. You are using 'Language' rather broadly if it's intended to cover gesture and non-linguistic signals of intention to mug.


Yeah...More so literacy practices. More or less, being 'literate in the 21st century'.
 

5jj

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Yeah...More so literacy practices. More or less, being 'literate in the 21st century'.
I don't follow. Are you now saying that 'literacy practices' (whatever that means) or 'being literate in the 21st century' are responsible for every action that takes place?
 

BobK

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Returning to the subject of 'underpin' it seems to me that Haniballl and his class-mates may have heard a native speaker saying 'X is the underpinning of Y', and the two nasals were heard as one.

b
 

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Yeah...More so literacy practices. More or less, being 'literate in the 21st century'.
This casual attitude to the meaning of words and sentences might work out in Wagga Wagga; it could even be normal there. Is that where you're going to teach?
By the way, the question about critical thinking was literal. If they don't teach such a course at Charles Stuart, you could enrol in one through OUA. I'd recommend Macquarie's PHI120.
 

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I don't follow. Are you now saying that 'literacy practices' (whatever that means) or 'being literate in the 21st century' are responsible for every action that takes place?

Educational terms...
Maybe they're taught as something different out of Australia. We're taught that language is used for everything, and literacy practices is the 'pattern of activity around literacy'. For example, reading a book that follows a specific set of practices. IE top to bottom, left to right. Most basic.

So what I'm trying to say is, language is responsible, through the many different literacy practices we use, and that being literate in the 21st century is a requirement for those actions to take place...






This casual attitude to the meaning of words and sentences might work out in Wagga Wagga; it could even be normal there. Is that where you're going to teach?
By the way, the question about critical thinking was literal. If they don't teach such a course at Charles Stuart, you could enrol in one through OUA. I'd recommend Macquarie's PHI120.

I'm in Albury. It's an idea.

This was just a spur of the moment write up. :-D

Obviously not enough thought went into the ideas I wished to convey. But by the sounds of it, you guys haven't been prescribed the same educational textbooks as me. ;-)
 

5jj

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Educational terms...
Maybe they're taught as something different out of Australia. We're taught that language is used for everything,
There are three possibilities (and probably more):
1. You have misunderstood what you have been taught.
2. In the materials you use, 'language' is used in a very broad sense indeed.
3. The materials you are using are suspect.

In the sense that most of us use the word 'language, it is not used for everything.

Let's just take one very crude example. If my wife sees me working in the garden, throwing the spade down and sitting on a bench, she may well bring me out a cold beer. I may smile my appreciation. Or, she may bring out two beers, in which case I will shift my backside from the centre of the bench to one side to give her room to sit down. No language, in the sense that I normally use the word, has been used, but actions have occurred.
and literacy practices is the 'pattern of activity around literacy'. For example, reading a book that follows a specific set of practices. IE top to bottom, left to right. Most basic.
What has that to do with "'Language is the social underpin of our society, responsible for every action that takes place'?
So what I'm trying to say is, language is responsible, through the many different literacy practices we use, and that being literate in the 21st century is a requirement for those actions to take place...
Language is responsible for what? Literacy is clearly a requirement for reading to take place, but I really cannot see what other point you are trying to make.
But by the sounds of it, you guys haven't been prescribed the same educational textbooks as me.
It's nothing to do with textbooks. I am trying to make sense of what you are saying.
 

HanibalII

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There are three possibilities (and probably more):
1. You have misunderstood what you have been taught.
2. In the materials you use, 'language' is used in a very broad sense indeed.
3. The materials you are using are suspect.

In the sense that most of us use the word 'language, it is not used for everything.

Let's just take one very crude example. If my wife sees me working in the garden, throwing the spade down and sitting on a bench, she may well bring me out a cold beer. I may smile my appreciation. Or, she may bring out two beers, in which case I will shift my backside from the centre of the bench to one side to give her room to sit down. No language, in the sense that I normally use the word, has been used, but actions have occurred.What has that to do with "'Language is the social underpin of our society, responsible for every action that takes place'?Language is responsible for what? Literacy is clearly a requirement for reading to take place, but I really cannot see what other point you are trying to make.It's nothing to do with textbooks. I am trying to make sense of what you are saying.


Only reading?


Literacy encompasses reading/writing/listening/comprehending/representing etc. Not just in written word. This is specifically why I mentioned the 21st century. She may construe you sitting down to be a sign? (literacy) and bring you a cold beverage because of that. She didn't bring you a beer while you were still working, she brought you one when you stopped working.

So yes, language is used in a very broad sense. It's what my textbooks tells me.
 

5jj

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Literacy encompasses reading/writing/listening/comprehending/representing etc. Not just in written word. This is specifically why I mentioned the 21st century. She may construe you sitting down to be a sign? (literacy) and bring you a cold beverage because of that. She didn't bring you a beer while you were still working, she brought you one when you stopped working.

So yes, language is used in a very broad sense. It's what my textbooks tells me.
Could you please produce some evidence from your textbooks that my wife's interpretation of my sitting down is in some way connected with literacy?
 

5jj

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Could you please produce some evidence from your textbooks that my wife's interpretation of my sitting down is in some way connected with literacy?
ps. If you do, then I assume that many animals and birds are literate, in the sense that they can interpret the actions of their fellow animals and birds. If that's the case, then we are rather changing the traditional views of 'language' and 'literacy'.
 

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ps. If you do, then I assume that many animals and birds are literate, in the sense that they can interpret the actions of their fellow animals and birds. If that's the case, then we are rather changing the traditional views of 'language' and 'literacy'.

There is a movement towards the (odd, to me) broadening of the term literacy to apply to things other than written words. In thiis metaphorical use it can bear any number of meanings; users often take pity on their audience and prepose an adjective e.g. 'digital literacy'. The upshot of this is that the word can become countable, and people talk about 'literacies'. Recent Applied Linguistics text books do this sort of thing - I can look a few out if required, but I'm not sure it would achieve much. I think this discussion may be prey to cross-purposes.

b
 
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Raymott

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There is a movement towards the (odd, to me) broadening of the term literacy to apply to things other than written words. In thiis metaphorical use it can bear any number of meanings; users often take pity on their audience and prepose an adjective e.g. 'digital literacy'. The upshot of this is that the word can become countable, and people talk about 'literacies'. Recent Applied Linguistics text books do this sort of thing - I can look a few out if required, but I'm not sure it would achieve much. I think this discussion may be prey to cross-purposes.

b
I think a significant part of this is postmodernism and the grip it has on academia. Even if you don't understand it, it's easy to start using their contentless words to avoid thinking about what you actually want to say.
 

BobK

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Amen to that. I certainly wasn't looking forward to wading through that stuff again. ;-)

b
 

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So I think what I'm understanding from your posts is that you don't approve of the use of literacy to include anything other than reading and writing?
 

5jj

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So I think what I'm understanding from your posts is that you don't approve of the use of literacy to include anything other than reading and writing?
If the word is being used in that way, then my approval or disapproval is irrelevant.

I am concerned with the discussion in this thread. You started by asking our opinion of. "'Language is the social underpin of our society, responsible for every action that takes place."

It became apparent that you were using 'language' in a rather broader sense than most of us do. When asked about this, you wrote, "More so literacy practices. More or less, being 'literate in the 21st century'." When I asked you about 'literacy practices', you wrote, "We're taught that language is used for everything, and literacy practices is the 'pattern of activity around literacy'. For example, reading a book that follows a specific set of practices. IE top to bottom, left to right. Most basic." That sounds to me like reading and writing.

Three posts later, you wrote, "Literacy encompasses reading/writing/listening/comprehending/representing etc. Not just in written word. This is specifically why I mentioned the 21st century. She may construe you sitting down to be a sign? (literacy) and bring you a cold beverage because of that."

You are using words without defining the special ways in which you are using them, and then changing the definition as you go along. If you have this sort of question in the future, please define your terms before we start.
 
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