I’m having a reeeeeaaaaaallllyyyyyy hard time focusing on what I’m trying to read right at this moment in the office. I’ll blame it on a mix of caffeine, after-lunch slump, and my own lack of discipline to just TURN THE SOCIAL MEDIA OFF. Oh, and I’m not a linguist and this particular section of the book is kinda linguist-y. Regardless, as I was reading things early this morning, I kind of wanted to blog a bit about what I was reading. Having come to a bit of a productiveness impasse, I decided to just do it.
I was afraid, at first, to blog about what I want to blog about because I’m about to start conducing some interviews this week with people who are my facebook friends and I’m going to write about the kind of stuff we’ll be looking for in the research. And then, I remembered THIS blog! Since it’s summer, my students will likely not be paying attention to it, and if they are, well, good for them! But, students, know that this is certainly not a reading response assignment. :) But, if you’d like to reblog/comment, by all means, please do!
So here’s what I’ve been thinking about all morning: language! Are you surprised? Of course, not; my subject is writing and part of writing is language. BUT. My current research is looking at the intersection of language and gesture, language and the body, etc. One introduction I read made interesting points about gesture being the imagistic part of language—kind of your brain/body’s way of getting those pictures in your head out to the people you’re trying to communicate to. Because we don’tjustthink in words. We think in ideas (which, remember, are not words in and of themselves), we think in images, we think in feelings. Or, at least, I would argue that emotions are a part of thinking. I think, too often, we try to separate emotion and thinking, because (thanks to Descartes), we link thought and thinking with logic and emotion, as the opposite of logic, with the body.
But I think there are such things as emotional logics (though I’m not sure I could articulate to you what those are) and the the only way you think is, in fact, through your own body. And emotions, literally, feelings, the things you feel in your body through your senses, the way you feel your heart race when you’re excited or angry or when you get that “sinking” feeling in your stomach when you’re dreading something or that weight on your shoulders when you’re sad, those are a part of thinking.
So one author talks about gestures as being our way of getting those mental images out, but I think that’s too static of an explanation. I think that gestures are more active; perhaps they are thinking-as-action, the way we try and relate intangible, active concepts that we experience in this world through our bodies to whomever we are attempting to communicate.
I keep coming back to this idea of language and the body, language in the body, how language (and gesture, and writing) and the body are related. And that makes me wonder about how different people experience language bodily. It makes me wonder whether people who are more active in their bodies, who are more attuned to their bodies or parts of their bodies for one reason or another (athletes, for example, or musicians whose hands and/or mouth muscles are fine-tuned) might experience language differently from only moderately active or sedentary people. I hesitate to consider that as a line of inquiry for research, because I could easily see such research being used to make sweeping claims about inactive people (possibly a way to further fuel “weightism” in our country), but I think it’s a really interesting idea.
Especially when I think about how differently I feel when I do/do not exercise, or especially when I do yoga. Yoga, like no other exercise (sorry, running, biking, weight lifting, and roller-skating) puts me “in my body.” I’m sure that’s because a main part of yoga is the focus, and if I incorporated the idea of “focus” into my other exercise endeavors, I might find the same kind of “in-body-ness” as I do in yoga.
But because I’m in no way a consistent yogi, or a consistent writer, I have no claims to make about how being aware of one’s body influences one’s command of language or expression. It might be interesting to conduct a self-experiment, but I’m not sure I have the time for that. Plus, self-experiments are kind of methodologically bogus anyway. But, if it meant I actually did yoga and/or actually wrote on a regular basis, that could be useful in and of itself. Hmm. I’ll “think” about it. :D
13.) Read this article on “New Literacy.” Respond to what the author and the folks he interviewed have to say about today’s students’ literate strengths. Do you think you and your peers share the abilities they talk about? Why/who don’t you think that is?
9.) What things would you change about how you approached this class? Consider changes in your writing habits, class attendance habits, class participation habits, etc. Why would you change those things? How do you think those changes might affect what you got out of this class?
8.) In this class, for the majority of the semester, we talk about recreational culture and use that topic as fodder for practicing writing in different genres to different audiences. What else do you think might be a good topic for such a project? Why? Can you suggest some readings for that kind of a class?