A Psycholinguistic Classification Scheme for Discourse and Behavior
|The Height and Breadth of
The Height and Breadth of Behavior
Vertical and Horizontal Interactions
Applications to Discourse Analysis in Education
The Horizontal dimension of Discourse
THERE IS A GREAT VARIETY OF TEXTS APPROPRIATE TO DIFFERENT SITUATIONSAND FOR DIFFERENT PURPOSES. A METHOD OF CATEGORIZING TEXT MATERIALSIS PROPOSED BASED ON THE INTERACTION BETWEEN PSYCHOLOGICAL FACTSAND LINGUISTIC DEVICES. A 3x3 MATRIX IS SET UP COMPOSED OF THREETYPES OF FACTS (GENERAL, SPECIFIC, PARTICULAR) IN THE VERTICALDIMENSION AND THREE TYPES OF MESSAGES (ASSERTIONS, IMPLICATIONS, PRESUPPOSITIONS) IN THE HORIZONTAL DIMENSION. THE RESULTANT NINEBOXES CONSTITUTE A CLASSIFICATION SCHEME THAT COVERS ALL TYPES OFSPEECH, TEXT, OR LITERATURE. ARGUMENTS ARE GIVEN JUSTIFYING THESYSTEM IN TERMS OF THE CATEGORY OF HUMAN AFFAIRS, THEIR PSYCHOLOGICALBASIS, AND THEIR DEVELOPMENTAL OR EVOLUTIONARY PHASES. SUGGESTIONSARE MADE REGARDING THE POSSIBLE USES AND APPLICATIONS OF THECLASSIFICATION SCHEME IN DISCOURSE ANALYSIS, PSYCHOTHERAPY, LIBRARY AND INFORMATION SCIENSES, AND EDUCATION.
I .The Height and Breadth of Discourse
Linguists and philologists are familiar with the idea that language is a cultural function that evolves over time in regular and patterned changes. This evolutionary phase is called the "diachronic" aspect of language. A common use we make of this notion is given us when we look up the etymology of a word in the dictionary. We are then given the history or biography of a word in terms of its language of origin and languages of transmission. English words are frequently traced back to Middle English, Latin, Greek, and Hindi or Indo-European root. Dictionaries include the diachronic phase of a word because it provides us with a conceptual tree from which we gain a better and cleared perspective on the meaning of the word as used now. Let us label this evolutionary process the horizontal dimension of discourse (left to right on the page). In contrast to -this, linguists use the term "synchronous" aspect of language, referring to its here-now usage and meaning. The definition of a word is a synchronous aspect of language. Students of language have long recognized that the synchronous meaning of a sentence carries within it several layers of depth. For example, the phonological aspects of words, their sound patterns, and their visual, lexical aspects such as spelling, are seen as lying on the periphery or surface, while the grammar and semantics of the sentence are seen as lying deeper, beneath the surface; and still deeper are to befouled the logical-rhetorical rules of sequencing and hierarchies reflecting the necessities and trues of reality. For example, we are told what someone did -- that is the surface of it; we are also told the context, or how the deed was accomplished -- that is deeper; as well, we may be told why it was done -- that gets us still deeper into it. Thus, when we think of the aspects of discourse these two appear foremost: the horizontal dimension of conceptual evolution, and the vertical dimension of message depth.
It is to note that the horizontal dimension of stages of development is successive; one stage arrives before another, or the stages can be used independently. For instance, a word in Latin is used for centuries before it enters the English language, and there it is used independently of its Latin meaning. By contrast, the vertical dimension of depth is simultaneous; all layers of depth are used synchronously, either explicitly or implicitly. For instance, we may pay attention to the surface meaning of an instruction such as "Go to the left", without thinking about its deeper meaning regarding "Why" the instruction was given (e.g., out of duty, out of pity, out of spite, etc.). Nevertheless, though we may not relate to this deeper meaning it is always there; indeed without it, the surface cannot be generated or produced by the speaker since all sentences are spontaneous responses to inner needs or intentions. Thus the vertical dimension of depth relates to the production or generation of a sentence, while the horizontal dimension of development relates to situation use.
2 .The Height and Breadth of Behavior.
Psychologists and educators are familiar with the idea that behavior develops over time. For example, there are definite maturational stages in motor and mental development. As well, the typical learning curve shows that new behaviors or habits are acquired gradually, by stages and phases. We may call this the horizontal dimension of behavior; it is analogous to the horizontal dimension in discourse, just discussed. In language acquisition, psychologists have identified distinct horizontal progressions of verbal and psycholinguistic skills. For example, early childhood responses are essentially assertive; the child demands attention for a definite reason such as "Give me this" or "I want that" or "There it is." At later stages, the child begins to communicate by implicational statements; "Since this is the case, then that is what should be done about it" might be the logic involved. Still later, the more mature child communicates in assertions, implications, and as well, in presuppositions; expectancies and assumptions are taken for granted allowing more extensive forms of communication, which are not possible at earlier stages.
In contrast to this horizontal, developmental, or successive dimension of behavior and of discourse, psychologists and educators recognize the vertical dimension of depth of behavior. For example, the most surface features of behavior are sensorimotor in kind; overt, visible, public, or measurable by instruments. Next is recognized the deeper layer of cognitive behavior; this layer is not directly observable and is thought of as prior to the overt sensorimotor behavior. Often models show the underlying cognitive behavior being a cause of the surface sensorimotor behavior. For example, a plan of action is deeper and prior to the execution or performance of it; but still deeper than the cognitive behavior is the affective behavior or motivation. Inmost psychological theories behavior is conceived in three layers, one deeper than the other: deepest is the motive or drive that maintains the act and determines the reward; next, in intermediate position is the mental layer of thinking habits and problem solving which is activated by the drive or motive within. Finally there is the external or resultant layer which is visible and measurable. These three layers of behavior are simultaneous and correspond to the synchronous meanings of discourse, as discussed above.
3 .Vertical and Horizontal Interactions.
The model to be proposed makes use of the fact that a matrix can be constructed when the vertical and horizontal dimensions are intersected. The present scheme assumes that there are three layers of depth and three stages of development. This is a matter of possible future change and we use three zones for convenience. We need to strike a judicious balance between simplicity and coverage, As will be shown later the 3x3 matrix with its nine intersecting zones is simple yet encompasses most situations. Table I may be inspected and consulted during the following explanations.
The three layers of vertical depth in discourse and behavior are titled, respectively: A. General Facts or Affective Skills; B. Specific Facts or Cognitive Skills; and C. Particular Facts or Sensorimotor Skills. The three horizontal, developmental stages are titled, respectively: I. Assertions; II. Implications; and III. Presuppositions. The nine intersecting boxes or zones are definable in terms of these marginals. For example, Zone I.C., is the category for "Assertions of Particular Facts;" Zone II. B., is the category of "Implications of Specific Facts;" Zone III.A., is the category of "Presuppositions of General Facts;" and so on. The matrix summarizes the types of discourse that occur within each zone. Discourse may be generated in a variety of modalities, e.g., writings, interviews, conversations, lectures, reflections or thought sequences. Whatever the modality of discourse, the product may be recorded or written out for inspection and analysis.
All assertions can be classified into three vertical layers of depth; theses are simultaneous or synchronous, though they appear separate in usage. For example, declarative sentences are categorized as assertions of particular facts (I.e.) since they convey information about what things are; their function is to identify and describe the surface state of affairs. This ordinarily means the visible, public facts of an object or event, hence in behavior, it is called sensorimotor. Labels, names, titles, words, gestures, markings are all surface indications of what facts are in question. When we deal with explanations or instructions (1.B.), we are given specific facts in the assertions. These deal with how things are rather than what they are, and so we label these as cognitive skills. While sensorimotor assertions (I.e.) are indicative of surface features of discourse and behavior, cognitive assertions (I.B.)are indicative of deeper features of discourse and behavior. For example, putting an exclamation point (I.C.) at the end of a sentence, or punctuating a remark with a pointed gesture (I.e.),is making a sensorimotor assertion. Its meaning at that level is external or surface: we know that the person has made an assertion but we don't know how it came about or why it came about. We have a particular fact (Zone C), namely that a punctuation mark or gesture was made. That is all that we can f actually report if we stay on the surface of the meaning. This applies to all three successive stages (1,11,111) at the lower regions (intersecting with C). For example. News Reports (II.C.) are sensorimotor implications; in other words, the discourse is such that it provides particular facts (C.) regarding implications. A news Report (II.C.) does not report how things are (B.), which are specific facts, but what things are (C.),which are particular facts. The distinction between particular and specific is like the relation between cause and effect, or instrumentality and consequence. In other words, the specific fact (B.) is the instrumentality to the particular fact (C.) and without which the particular cannot exist. An application of this idea may be seen by considering the difference between a robot and a person. No matter how clever robots can get they are still run by human software. Even if the robot reproduces itself into many generations with ever more clever robots it will remain a robot and will never become a human being. The distinction is attributable to human rationality; this is the faculty that invents the software for the hardware, and the hardware for software.
Thus rationality is a higher human function or power. It is the instrumentality which brings about logical operations and memory-knowledges. Discourse and behavior both are sensorimotor skills (C.) such as a robot is capable of; but the reasoning behind the discourse and the behavior is a cognitive skill (B.). Now the skills a robot is capable of are the same as our sensorimotor skills: visual and auditory perception, tactile movements, muscles and organs, respiration and reproduction-in-vitrio, judgments such as appropriate choices given certain norms for decision making, memory of input and auto-positions, and even limited discourse such as abstracts, translations, and dialog. All these are assertions, implications, and presuppositions of particular facts only (I.e., II.C., III.C.); that is, they all are consequences or effects of an earlier instrumentality -- the rational, or specific facts (B.). Cognitive skills (B.) are behind sensorimotor skills, they cause sensorimotor skills and they maintain sensorimotor skills. Rationality maintains logic and memory-organization. Or another example, Encyclopedic works (II.B.) are the instrumentality for News Reports, Advertisements, Police Reports, etc. (II.C.). This may be a surprising finding, even puzzling. However, the schema provides a guideline for seeing such relations more easily. Let us suppose a policeman or woman writes down the sentence "10:55 am, rode over to 157 Main E., but there was no one there." This discourse fragment was produced through the instrumentality of the writer's reasoning -- a cognitive process (B.). The sensorimotor skills of physically writing the sentence, or mentally composing it, are the consequences or resultants of the reasoning process (B.). Now this reasoning process is within the physical discourse or behavior; we can retrieve it by focusing on the intermediate layer of depth in the meaning of the sentence. This intermediate layer may be called Encyclopedic works in the very real sense that the knowledge we have acquired are discourse fragments from Encyclopedic works. So we can properly say that Police reports (II.C.) are produced through the instrumentality of Encyclopedic works (II.B.), a finding no longer so puzzling.
All surface facts are particular facts and are observable, measurable, public sensorimotor skills such as declarative sentences, descriptions, reports, tests, catalogues, etc. (C.), all of which inform us regarding what things are: what are the assertions being made, what are the implications being made, and what are the presuppositions to be assumed (1.B.,II.C.,III.C.). But the instrumentality which brings about this coherence and organization is prior just as cause must be prior to effect. Without the prior instrumentality of specific facts there is no particular discourse produced, no goal-directed behavior. The goal-direction is either instinctive or built in, as with animals and robots, or it is free and rational, as with humans. The rational antecedents of reports, letters, directories, etc. (II.C., III.C.) are encyclopedic works, lectures, textbooks, the Constitution, and commentaries (II.B., III.B.). Thus, surface facts have deeper facts within them; we can analytically penetrate the particular event and find its cause or antecedent; we can infer the reasoning and commentaries that constitute the specific facts behind the particular facts. In the case of the police report that no one was present at the given address we can see that the particular facts are visible, measurable, and public. But the deeper facts underlying these particulars are the specific facts of the case which a police man or woman had to figure out through all sorts of reasoning and all sorts of behaviors designed to flush a hiding person out, including interviewing neighbors, observing clues around the house, and so on. Only after theses specific facts were rationally determined, only after the explanation was constructed (I.B.), that the description or report was constructed(1. C., II. C.).
Now we may introduce the third and final layer of depth. General facts (A.) are inmost because they originate the other facts. In human affairs it is recognized by professionals and businesspersons that the motive, intention, purpose, goal, of individuals is the source of their plans, expectations, attitudes, and overt behaviors. Psychologists are familiar with the importance of affective behaviors inhuman affairs: these include, ethnic traits, religion, values, hot cognitions, ego-ideals, shared feelings, common knowledge, and overlapping likes. These affective skills are developed early in infancy and continue in later life; they are the origin of emotions as well as opinions and expectations. The general facts inform us why the event took place. This information is not available at more surface layers of discourse and behavior. In the example of the police report (II.C.), the originating impulse was the general fact (A. ) that a thorough check of the premises must be made in order to be able justify the police report. It is not the same if a phone call was made, or if the external of the house was not professionally inspected. The policeman or woman was responding under the impulse of a general motive, the affective need to convince himself or herself that there was no one in the house. If this affective need is met (A.), the specific facts of how the check was made, whether up to standard or not (B.), were then generated, and from this the ultimate discourse and overt behaviors(C.). It may be surprising at first to hear that Scientific works (II. A.)originate police reports or letters (II. C.), but again, relying on the rationale of the scheme, we can recognize that scientific works originate encyclopedic works, which cause the police reports. The reader may explore other such relations of depth derivable from Table I (p.5). For instance. Sacred Scriptures (II.A.) contain the general facts to generate the specific facts of Speeches or sermons(II. B.) which manifest in particular facts mentioned such as people, places, events, conditions (II.C.). Or, to take another example, Doctrinal Premises by Euclid (III.A.) motivated him to invent or discover the meta language of geometry (III.B.). which eventuated in charts, lists, and catalogues of practical proofs and engineering applications (III.C.). Working this sequence backwards, we can say that engineering diagrams are surface facts within which we can detect deeper facts such as the principles of geometry which are specific facts, and these in turn originate in the Doctrinal Premises Euclid and Euclidians were willing to make. To take one more example, gestures ( 1. C.) are surface particulars within which we can analyze deeper specifics such as symbols, guides, definitions(1.B.), or else the gesture would have no significance beyond itself; and within these specifics, we can infer the inmost facts which originate the others; in this case, within the symbol of the gesture, or its definition, we can see its biographical origin( 1.A.) -- the gesture tells us about the affect of the person, why the person is making the gesture, their displeasure or happiness.
4 .Applications -to Discourse Analysis in Education.
Though the term "discourse analysis" is ordinarily thought of as the job of linguists and some psychologists, it is actually part of the job of every literate person. Whenever we read a letter, magazine, or book, we do a lot of discourse analysis, otherwise we would not comprehend what is written. As well, whenever we listen to a lecture, broadcast, or friend talking about something, we need to analyze the oral discourse so as to get the meaning. Discourse analysis is an ordinary, normal activity of users of language. Of course, we may vary as to our techniques; some people appear to be more aware than others that the analyze the discourse they hear or read. Thus, one's discourse analysis activity everyday may just be a routine or habit, sub-conscious acts done automatically.
Many occupations in our society make a special use of discourse, and for those professionals, discourse analysis is made into a conscious technique. Teachers develop ways to quickly look at student work and be able to pass a fairly reliable judgment on dozens, even hundreds of discourse samples provided by students in examinations or term papers. This use of discourse analysis shows that language behavior serves as an assessment medium for evaluating people. Job interviews or business socials generate verbal behaviors among the participants, and the character of all this discourse that is produced at one of these occasions, may be assessed through various techniques that may be called "discourse analysis.
The production of adequate discourse has become a critical problem for society. The quality of the evening News on T.V. has widespread political and economic repercussions. This is not mere lithe accuracy of the news, nor the balancedness with which it is presented. The crucial factor that determines audience impact is the adequacy of the discourse for the situation. Some examples are: the appearance, mannerisms, voice, and popularity of the announcer; the length of time devoted to the issue, that is, its competing value, or news worthiness; the presuppositions of the sentences, whether they agree with the audience's expectations; the choice of adjectives, verbs, and slang or nicknames; the portions of discourse quoted from the original producer; the implications of the sentences, whether exploit or implicit, enormous or trivial, etc.; the manner of delivery or dramatic context and emotionalism adjoined to the discourse; and other such things which form the subject of research in discourse analysis.
Another important setting where the production of adequate discourse is critical, is the area of education. All of education relies on discourse as the vehicle of learning facts and skills. The literature often discusses the "language deficit" problem of minority groups in public schools. This problem is the inadequacy of the discourse samples produced by these students in all their school subjects. The federal government has passed legislation that requires public schools to provide non-English speaking students alternate language instruction until the student is capable of following the regular classes. The intent behind the law is to protect the children from advancing in age without advancing in knowledge, and thus grow up to be low 1. Q. citizens. Within this mandate is the assumption that discourse production is an effective assessment tool for measuring learning and performance. For instance, if some students fail to produce adequate discourse samples in an examination or other observation context, then these students have learned less, if anything, and they will continue to exhibit a continuing, lifelong handicap in social and professional situations. Therefore those who realize the importance of discourse as a social commodity have attempted to develop instructional programs specifically designed to "enrich the language" of students and to increase their ability to read intellectually demanding discourse. Language arts programs may be viewed as attempts to teach students how to become better discourse analysts. For instance, the ability to critique or edit one's own discourse productions is the basis of learning to write compositions or tell narratives to an audience. Teachers uphold standards of adequacy by downgrading (literally and figuratively) the discourse samples produced by students that did not meet the standards the teacher considers adequate for particular students. Test grades, whether of essays or semi-objective tests, reflect the student's performance in the answer, which is in the form of a discourse fragment. The teacher then evaluates the discourse fragment and grades the extent to which it is adequate for the occasion. The student receives feedback through the grade and through comparison of his discourse fragment with the co-occurrent discourse fragments of peers. Through this method student discourse skills are shaped towards the standards.
Now we want to know whether the scheme of intersecting dimensions of discourse proposed above, may have useful applications to this critical area of how to help people improve the adequacy of their discourse productions. To the extent that the proposed scheme rests on valid principles, to that extent the matrix of nine zones specified by the marginals, ought to offer practical solutions to many of society's problems. This derivation process will need to be developed by further research; for now, a few indications can be given. Let us illustrate the possibilities by constructing a transformation of the matrix in Table I into a structurally and functionally equivalent matrix, though not identical to it. The change ought to reflect the desired goal while retaining all the properties defined by the marginals. Some examples will make this clearer. Table I shows in box. A. that General Facts and Affective Skills are equivalent in structure and function. This equivalence is not immediately obvious, but becomes so when the scheme is understood. To explain: affective skills are labeled A. because they are primary over cogntions and sensorimotor reactions. We know that the motivational impulse must precede the plan and its execution, or the will to learn must precede the lesson and the practice, and so on. Why things are (A.) must precede how things are (B.), which in turn precedes what things are (C.), as explained above regarding the rationale of the matrix in Table 1.
Now we wish to find other functionally equivalent terms for each structural part of Table 1. For instance, general facts and affective skills will harmonize with other such terms as motivation, inner personality, needs, commitments, energy, creative impulse, entreneurship, leadership drive, ambitious streak, strong longing, love, affection, priority, favorite, and so on. There is no limit to the number of examples one can generate since the marginals of the matrix in Table I define an actual psycho linguistic field of discourse production. One might think of the matrix as the map of dynamic fields; these fields are creative, that is, have unlimited potential. Discourse production in any of its fields is unlimited. What a tremendous resource for the community!
Now let us find a few functionally equivalent terms for specific facts and cognitive skills (B.): reasoning; problem solving; concept formation; comprehension; understanding; finding the solution; rationality; morality; higher mental processes; compels learning skills; cognitive-behaviors; plans; expectancies; habit routines; and many others. These various topical domains all share the essential component of instrumentality, of an inter-mediate position between the impulse to act and the act in public or in fact. The impulse is the origin, the plan or skill is the causal instrument, and the performance or execution is the effect or consequence. This follows the A. B. C. structure of the matrix.
The Horizontal dimension of Discourse.
Table I proposes three psycholinguistic stages of development in the acquisition of maturity in discourse production. Stage is called Assertion because this is the beginning function of discourse. The child acquires the ability to produce assertions at a very early age, perhaps before the second birthday. Some linguists have used the term "holo-phrase" to characterize the earliest Verbal behaviors of the child; this means a one-word sentence, and serves the function of a "mand" or request (e.g., an insistent sound that parents recognize and which the infant accompanies with insistent gesture and body tension; the evident satisfaction of the child upon receipt of the object of request, is ample proof that a request was involved). Box I.e. in the Table represents other early beginnings of verbal behavior. Children's vocabulary develops very rapidly. Each word which can be recognized or used by the child is in fact a label for some object, person, activity, concept, or emotion. Phrases and sentences are put together to form titles for dramatic episodes or activities. Often parents understand these titles better than strangers; later, however, the growing child learns to produce discourse composed of formulaic expressions. These are verbal formulae that have become standard in the community. For example, "How are you doing?" or "Going to bed now?" or "I'm really very interested" or "Not to mention the fact that "or "I'm really very sorry that" or "I would but it's just that" and numerous others.
Formulaic expressions are obviously standard and uniform, but one can say that all declarative sentences are formulaic, though they appear to be creative and personal. Skinner sees three generative elements in declarative sentences: mands, tacts, and autoclitics. Mands are requests, gestures, deictics, emphases, punctuation marks, and the like, which function to communicate particular facts; what things are. For example, "I'm tired." maybe a verbal behavior emitted under physical or mental stress and serves to inform the listener of a particular private fact. The listener may then have the occasion to respond to this assertion in various ways that may or may not be helpful to the speaker. Mands are assertions. Assertions are verbal behaviors under stimulus control, either public or private. The types of discourse exemplified in Box I.C. are sensorimotor habits acquired automatically under community contingency management.
The stage that follows Assertions is called Implications(Box II. C.) in Table 1. Psycholinguistic stages of development are successive and cumulative, as are other biological functions. Implications thus succeed but include Assertions. While assertions are surface sensorimotor skills, implications are underlying sensorimotor skills. Take for instance Notes and Letters (II.C.).These types of discourse are produced early after assertions have been established. The child between ages two and three can produce a scratch on a piece of paper for which he feels justifiably proud as it is an achievement far surpassing the agility of the family cat. The cat is totally stimulus bound in its skills while the scratch on the paper is an implication, an abstract reasoning act. The child means the scratch to be a symbol for a complex mental or verbal construct. In a more sophisticate context, the painting at the art exhibit is a similar implication; the artist says in effect, "This is what I thought of and felt. What do you think or feel? In other words, the painting or the scratch on the paper signify some implication; the meaning of the scratch is some particular implication the speaker, writer, or artist intends. This relation can be demonstrated upon observing that the artist, speaker, or writer agrees with delight and feels rewarded when the onlooker, listener, or reader "gets the point" or "decodes the message" or "corroborates the intended implication." The reward is felt when the intention is corroborated, in the same way that a reward is experienced when a goal is reached. The goal of all discourse types in Box II. C. is to obtain corroboration for one's particular implications. For instance, invitations or ummonses are verbal behaviors under the control of the stimulus need to have a person present at a particular time and place. The discourse on the invitation is composed of assertions on the surface: please come at time X, or be there with so and so, or know that we are having a get together of this type, etc. These verbal behaviors are assertions that function as implications. The declarative sentence (1.C.) "We're partying at 8 Saturday" is used as a stimulus to produce the effect of a promise or plan to attend. This intended goal is called an implication of the discourse. Even of the speaker says "Please come." the surface of the discourse is an assertion (e.g., "I want you to come" or "It behooves you to come, "while the underlying part is an implication (e.g., "I want you to come, that's a fact. Therefore plan to come."). Even if the speaker says, "We're having a party Saturday at 8. Please come. I want you to come, therefore do plan on coming, etc.", still, all these remain assertions on the surface. Whatever discourse is produced within the occasion of the invitation or summons will be in the form of assertions; but these assertions will have underlying implications which are the stimuli that control the assertions on the surface. Implications are thus complex stimuli that control assertions. Those assertions are produced which function effectively to communicate the implications.
All types of reports, such as news, police, and medical(Box II. C.), are composed of discourse fragments called implications. The sensorimotor surface productions that form the report are all assertions; but the function of the assertions is to produce reactions to their implications. A police report may say that "The accused resisted arrest and it was required that force be used. This explains the bruise on the shoulder since Officer Jones had to hold the accused on the ground while I came to help. etc." These are verbal behaviors produced under sensory motor control, in accordance with the person's experience, memory, and conditioned reactions in the episode. These assertions include the person's private discourse productions during the episode; e.g., the bruise is due to the violence during the resistance to the arrest. However, the report itself does not occasion new reasonings, as implications do. Instead, the report is a reconstruction of old reasonings that already took place. Hence the entire report is composed of discourse of the assertions type. On the other hand, the underlying stimulus reflecting the need for the report, is the need for information as to what happened so that a decision may be made by a magistrate or attorney. Hence the importance of reports lies in their implications, that is, what conclusions can drawn from them about some situation.
Advertisements (II.C.) are important not because of their surface assertions, these often being merely a joke or association with something else altogether different. But the making of the assertions in the commercial does provide the occasion for stating an implication --- e.g., "You are a fool if you don't try it" or "If you try it you'll be happy" etc. Hence the discourse fragments in advertisements are under the control of implications. Similarly with introductions; the assertions and declarations ( 1. C.) in them are selected under the control of what the selected fragments imply about the person or event being introduced: e.g., upon hearing the introduction fragments we are to respond with thoughts and emotions favorable or unfavorable to the person or event.
The last psycholinguistic stage for sensorimotor skills(C) is called presuppositions; these succeed and contain implications, which contain assertions. For example, the discourse fragments in a contract or application form (III. C.) are assertions on the surface, such as "Age; 23 " or "Party A agrees to pay to Party B the sum of ... for being able to occupy or use.... etc." These verbal responses are under the control of presuppositions in that the question "Age: _____" is an occasion for a declaration or assertion ("I am 23."), and this declaration presupposes that the particular information is wanted. There would not be any point or occasion to state one's age in a report (II.C.). Note however, that application forms may be included within reports. For instance, a medical report may have attached a demographic format giving information on the patient's age, address, previous medical history, etc. In this case, the portion of the report providing the demographic information will be of a different discourse type than the other portions. Similarly, a letter (II. C.) may contain a list(III.C.); the letter is a type of discourse called implications, while the list in the letter is a type of discourse called presuppositions. Structurally and functionally, these two types of discourse will be different.
Developmentally, children will be able to produce assertions before implications, and implications before presuppositions. This prediction is verifiable and, if correct, enhances our confidence in the schema presented in Table 1. It is to be expected that discourse types will occur in mixed fragments reflecting the communication habits of the community. Thus far, we have discussed the three-psycholingusitic stages of external topics (C.); these are particular facts about sensorimotor skills or behaviors of the speaker or writer. But there are also internal topics (B.); these are specific facts about cognitive skills or behaviors. As Table 1 indicates, cognitive skills are specific facts about how things are (B.). For example, an account or explanation we give in answer to a challenge is composed of discourse fragments that specifically inform the listener or reader how an event occurred, or what sequence took place, or what elements of a situation are interrelated. The stimulus control for these discourse behaviors is the need to provide adequate information to enable the listener to understand how the event came about, its causes and instrumental means. In the case of guides, almanacs, dictionaries, etc., the specific facts presented are assertions about the cognitions we need to process in order to understand some state of affairs. We may for instance be interested in teenage death rates when making up legislation or driving regulations we need to understand how teenagers cause accidents, when, and how often. Almanacs or statistical abstracts or research studies will be organized in such a way as to provide this type of specific information (e.g., by socioeconomic class, by day of the week or time of the day, by serious vs. light accidents, etc.). Similarly, a symbol such as flag, logo, or pictograph, makes an assertion about specific cognitive behaviors we need to perform in order to recover the methods by which the organization pursues its goals. For example, the Red Cross as a logo on posters or badges, is an assertion about how the organization or representative individual is pursuing its goals. Someone wearing the diagram of firearm asserts a different fact about his or her method than someone wearing a peacenik sign.
As discussed in connection with sensorimotor skills (C.),there is a development that needs to take place when we produce implications by means of assertions (II.). In case of cognitive skills (B. ), the surface assertions can function to produce reactions to the implications rather than to the assertions. For example, a speech or essay (II.B.)
(= Why things are)
(= Affective skills)
Epithets & Markings
(=How things are)
Quoting in Context
Government documents & reports
Legislative bills & preambles
(=What things are)
Lists, Charts, Tables
Metalanguages (math, music, logic)
Vertical Dimensions = Simultaneous Layers of Depth (Synchronic)
®Horizontal Dimension = Successive or Developmental Stages (Diachronic)
Taxonomy of Life Statistics
Level X Domain Classic Scheme
Domain of Education Objectives
|(9) Synthesizing Strivings||(8) Synthesizing Skills||(7) Synthesizing Performances||Synthesis|
|(6) Problem Solving Strivings||(5) Problem Solving Skills||(4) Problem Solving Performances||Performances|
|(3) Informational Strivings||(2)
|(1) Informational Performances||Information|
1® 9=order of ACQUISITION
9® 1=order of MATURITY
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