The Book Thread 2020

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Re: The Book Thread 2020

#41  Postby Blip » Feb 17, 2020 9:06 am

1. Daughters of Jerusalem by Charlotte Mendelson
2. The Melody by Jim Crace
3. Old Filth by Jane Gardam
4. The Man in the Wooden Hat by Jane Gardam
5. Last Friends by Jane Gardam
6. Corridor Dance by Peter Preston
7. Quarantine by Jim Crace
8. The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker
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Re: The Book Thread 2020

#42  Postby crazyfitter » Feb 17, 2020 8:32 pm

1. Knife - Jo Nesbo
2. Unnatural Causes - Dr Richard Shepherd
3. Pravda Ha Ha - Rory MacLean. Great book, I’ve written a review in What’cha Readin.
4. Triplanetary - EE “Doc” Smith
5. The Bone Clocks - David Mitchell
6. Standing in Another Mans Grave - Ian Rankin
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Re: The Book Thread 2020

#43  Postby don't get me started » Feb 18, 2020 12:14 am

1. The Bilingual Mind and What it Tells us About language and Thought - Aneta Pavlenko
2. Social Interaction and L2 Classroom Discourse - Olcay Sert
3. The Grammar of Knowledge: A Cross-Linguistic Typology - Alexandra Aikhenvald and R.M.W. Dixon (Eds.)

4. Rethinking Language, Mind, and World Dialogically : Interactional and Contextual Theories of Human Sense-Making – Per Linnel

482. pp

Wow, that was a really intense read. I really took my time over a careful reading of this book, often going over the same passage several times to wring out all of the meaning.

The author takes the view that the monologic view of language that exists in mainstream linguistics (and other fields) is fundamentally flawed, based on ‘a transfer model of communication, in which cognition is the only fundamental phenomenon, and language is a code ancillary to this.’ (p.38). Methodologies like Chomsky’s generative linguistics posit that language is merely a manifestation of thinking, a secondary product of thought. By deploying the resources of syntax, meanings are encoded in language and THEN transmitted complete into the external world. Linnel argues that meaning(s) is/are not constructed primarily inside the head of the sender, but are arrived at in the ‘interworld’ between participants after a degree of negation and intersubjectivity and the meanings are intimately bound up with the context, the here and now of the context and the current participants. Thus, meaning is dialogic, co-constructed by participants in real time for the current purposes at hand. Turns at talk are delicately shaped and responsive to what came previously (both in the immediately prior turn and in a more large-scale way) rather than springing fully-formed from the cognitive processes of the speaker. Turns are also recipient designed and forward-looking. They project possible responses and are thus both context affirming and context creating.

Linnel mentions the term (new to me) ‘Apokoinou’ which he describes as the mid-utterance shifts in turn construction. Such phenomena are dismissed by formalist linguists as mere noise, or ‘performance (epi)phenomena. Linnel posits that they are evidence of the ongoing internal dialogue that occurs alongside, and simultaneous with, external dialogue. This indicates that thought itself is dialogic, not monologic. We dialogue internally all the time, testing out alternate standpoints and working through our thoughts in a head-internal ‘conversations’. This is in line with the definition by Plato that ‘thinking is the soul’s dialogue with itself.’ The internal dialogue serves as a model of external dialogue and external dialogue serves as a model for the internal dialogue in a symbiotic and mutually reinforcing relationship which is at odds with the mind-body dualism of Cartesian philosophy and in line with the outlook of the Russian thinkers Lev Vygotsky and Mikhail Bakhtin, from whose work Linnel draws extensively.

The dialogic outlook is also of real relevance to my job of language teaching. The reliance on individuated, quantitive assessment of language ‘proficiency’ (usually strict lexico-grammar forms that are appropriate to the written form of the language) set many learners up for failure. The following quote (pp. 266- 267) nicely summed up the issue.

"The emphasis will easily focus on faultfinding, or on what the individual can or cannot do, as conceived of by a normative view on what the individual should be able to do. This attitude is loosely connected to monologism in general, which tends to define supraindividual norms of correctness and appropriateness, of example as regards language development and linguistic proficiency. A dialogical approach, by contrast, may be less geared toward ‘faultfinding’, trying instead to attend to positive aspects. It suggests and understanding in terms of the ‘potentialities’ and ‘vulnerabilities’ of individuals as well as social situations. The issue is not only about what an individual is capable (or incapable) of doing by him- or herself; it is also about what he or she is almost able to do, or about what they might manage within the right environment, with supportive partners in communication."

Unfortunately, it is the people who do well in the monologist tradition of language who often end up in teaching positions and who then perpetuate the cycle. My own efforts to introduce a dialogic view of language within the Japanese context are often met with bafflement, or outright hostility in this individuated test-oriented educational culture.

Anyways, that was an exhausting but worthwhile read, and I agree with most of what the author states and think that he has expressed complex ideas with great clarity and accessibility. Part of me wants to go back to page 1 and start over again, but I think I have to take a bit of a break. Many academic books are like rich chocolate cake. Nice to start with but after the sixth slice you’ve had enough. This was more like pints of beer. After the sixth pint I know I should stop, but go on then…just one more. Best book I have read on this subject.

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Re: The Book Thread 2020

#44  Postby NamelessFaceless » Feb 18, 2020 2:52 pm

Audiobooks in Italics

1. I, Claudius - Robert Graves
2. Through the Looking Glass - Lewis Carroll
3. The Man in the Iron Mask - Alexandre Dumas
4. Mansfield Park - Jane Austen
5. A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
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Re: The Book Thread 2020

#45  Postby UncertainSloth » Feb 20, 2020 12:47 pm

1. new orleans vampires: history and legend - marita woywod crandle - 7/10
2. the darkest part of the woods - ramsey campbell - 8/10
3. paranormal encounters on Britain's roads - peter a mccue - 6/10
4. ten thousand doors of January - alix e harrow - 6/10 - promised so much, delivered little...a portal fantasy that, if you believed some goodreads reviewers, is a perfect and magical book...nah, it's ok with some nice ideas but not a huge amount of originality and I couldn't shake off the feeling it was a ya book, though it doesn't list as such...i'm wondering whether it was written as one then remarketed to fit in with the femaleauthorprettyandartisticcover brigade that seems to be drowning fiction atm

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Re: The Book Thread 2020

#46  Postby don't get me started » Feb 22, 2020 4:41 pm

1. The Bilingual Mind and What it Tells us About language and Thought - Aneta Pavlenko
2. Social Interaction and L2 Classroom Discourse - Olcay Sert
3. The Grammar of Knowledge: A Cross-Linguistic Typology - Alexandra Aikhenvald and R.M.W. Dixon (Eds.)
4. Rethinking Language, Mind, and World Dialogically : Interactional and Contextual Theories of Human Sense-Making – Per Linnel

5. Salvation - Peter F Hamilton
532 pp.

After the heavy challenge of no. 4 on the list, I needed something a bit lighter. Space opera by Peter F. Hamilton. That'll do.
Classic Hamilton - vast cast of characters, intricate world building, super technology and super bad-ass technology, mysterious alien artifacts and terrifying reveals that ramp up the threat level alarmingly. I didn't realize when I bought it (at a real bookshop no less) that it is only the first part of a trilogy. Second one on order. The cliffhanger ending has signposted some major level space battle action to come. S'all good. :thumbup:
Back to the non-fiction in the meantime.
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Re: The Book Thread 2020

#47  Postby Blip » Feb 24, 2020 8:46 am

1. Daughters of Jerusalem by Charlotte Mendelson
2. The Melody by Jim Crace
3. Old Filth by Jane Gardam
4. The Man in the Wooden Hat by Jane Gardam
5. Last Friends by Jane Gardam
6. Corridor Dance by Peter Preston
7. Quarantine by Jim Crace
8. The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker
9. 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in this Strange World by Elif Shafak
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Re: The Book Thread 2020

#48  Postby crazyfitter » Feb 24, 2020 8:45 pm

1. Knife - Jo Nesbo
2. Unnatural Causes - Dr Richard Shepherd
3. Pravda Ha Ha - Rory MacLean. Great book, I’ve written a review in What’cha Readin.
4. Triplanetary - EE “Doc” Smith
5. The Bone Clocks - David Mitchell
6. Standing in Another Mans Grave - Ian Rankin
7. Bury My Heart At Wounded knee - Dee Brown
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Re: The Book Thread 2020

#49  Postby Blip » Mar 04, 2020 9:27 am

1. Daughters of Jerusalem by Charlotte Mendelson
2. The Melody by Jim Crace
3. Old Filth by Jane Gardam
4. The Man in the Wooden Hat by Jane Gardam
5. Last Friends by Jane Gardam
6. Corridor Dance by Peter Preston
7. Quarantine by Jim Crace
8. The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker
9. 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in this Strange World by Elif Shafak
10. Grown Ups by Marian Keyes
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Re: The Book Thread 2020

#50  Postby don't get me started » Mar 05, 2020 12:35 am

1. The Bilingual Mind and What it Tells us About language and Thought - Aneta Pavlenko
2. Social Interaction and L2 Classroom Discourse - Olcay Sert
3. The Grammar of Knowledge: A Cross-Linguistic Typology - Alexandra Aikhenvald and R.M.W. Dixon (Eds.)
4. Rethinking Language, Mind, and World Dialogically : Interactional and Contextual Theories of Human Sense-Making – Per Linnel
5. Salvation - Peter F Hamilton

6. The Expression of Negation - Laurence R. Horn (Ed.)

343. pp

The expression of negation is a function that exists in all human language, but the way it gets expressed in different languages is subject to a wide amount of variation. Some languages just stick in a negator word and leave it at that, while other languages (like English) have a complex system of auxiliary insertion, de-tensing the original verb, adding this tense marker to the auxiliary verb and inserting a negator and then reducing this to a clitic suffix on the now tense-marked auxiliary....
He went to London = He didn't go to London. What a rigmarole.

There was an interesting chapter on 'double-negatives' and despite the ravings of the prescriptivists that double negation logically cancels itself out, double negation is alive and well in English and a whole load of other languages, and doesn't trouble the speakers overmuch, serving a variety of identifiable functions.

Another chapter dealt with child acquisition of negation and reported that children go through a process from simple one word rejections (No!) at the early stages to the later expression of negative propositions ' It isn't a truck'. A very interesting take on how children acquire the full range of negators over time.

On the surface negation seems so quotidian and straightforward it barely worth a footnote in textbooks. However, when we look at the different ways that different languages treat negation we can see that there is a depth and complexity and the subject expands outwards from just linguistics in to epistemics, ontology and philosophy.

Not all chapters were equally accessible and it is not a book for the layman, but it was informative both in understanding ways in which negation works, and prompting the questions we have to ask about what we mean when we say something is 'not'.

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Re: The Book Thread 2020

#51  Postby crazyfitter » Mar 06, 2020 5:29 pm

1. Knife - Jo Nesbo
2. Unnatural Causes - Dr Richard Shepherd
3. Pravda Ha Ha - Rory MacLean. Great book, I’ve written a review in What’cha Readin.
4. Triplanetary - EE “Doc” Smith
5. The Bone Clocks - David Mitchell
6. Standing in Another Mans Grave - Ian Rankin
7. Bury My Heart At Wounded knee - Dee Brown
8. A Silent Death - Peter May
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Re: The Book Thread 2020

#52  Postby UncertainSloth » Mar 07, 2020 5:17 pm

1. new orleans vampires: history and legend - marita woywod crandle - 7/10
2. the darkest part of the woods - ramsey campbell - 8/10
3. paranormal encounters on Britain's roads - peter a mccue - 6/10
4. ten thousand doors of January - alix e harrow - 6/10
5. dead mountain - donnie eichar - 9/10 - an excellent exploration of the dyatlov pass incident, loved the way he interweaved the three strands of the event, the investigation and the research for the book...and a plausible explanation at the end for something we will probably never know

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Re: The Book Thread 2020

#53  Postby Animavore » Mar 07, 2020 5:23 pm

1. Assassin's Aprentice - Robin Hobb. A most excellent read.
2. Animal Liberation - Peter Singer. Interesting.

I'm on course to read 5 books this year. :awesome:
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Re: The Book Thread 2020

#54  Postby Macdoc » Mar 07, 2020 9:42 pm

1. Assassin's Aprentice - Robin Hobb. A most excellent read.


Well then it's likely to take you a decade to finish Hobbs run with The Fool..one of the greatest enigmas in fantasy writing. She is an incredible writer and the world building is consistent over all her books but you only get glimpses. Read faster FFS ;)
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Re: The Book Thread 2020

#55  Postby UncertainSloth » Mar 09, 2020 11:11 am

1. new orleans vampires: history and legend - marita woywod crandle - 7/10
2. the darkest part of the woods - ramsey campbell - 8/10
3. paranormal encounters on Britain's roads - peter a mccue - 6/10
4. ten thousand doors of January - alix e harrow - 6/10
5. dead mountain - donnie eichar - 9/10
6. weird words - susie dent - 6/10 - interesting but didn't dig as deep as I wanted, didn't realise it was a kids book when I picked it up :doh: will be good for school, though

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Re: The Book Thread 2020

#56  Postby NamelessFaceless » Mar 09, 2020 2:44 pm

Audiobooks in Italics

1. I, Claudius - Robert Graves
2. Through the Looking Glass - Lewis Carroll
3. The Man in the Iron Mask - Alexandre Dumas
4. Mansfield Park - Jane Austen
5. A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens

6. How Firm a Foundation: The Story of Florida's First Methodist Church - Wesley S. Odom
7. Ulysses - James Joyce *

*This is not a cheat - I've read Ulysses twice but the audible version recently became available free with Amazon Prime. If you have Prime, you should really check it out. It was fantastic!
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Re: The Book Thread 2020

#57  Postby Blip » Mar 10, 2020 8:35 am

1. Daughters of Jerusalem by Charlotte Mendelson
2. The Melody by Jim Crace
3. Old Filth by Jane Gardam
4. The Man in the Wooden Hat by Jane Gardam
5. Last Friends by Jane Gardam
6. Corridor Dance by Peter Preston
7. Quarantine by Jim Crace
8. The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker
9. 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in this Strange World by Elif Shafak
10. Grown Ups by Marian Keyes
11. Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo
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Re: The Book Thread 2020

#58  Postby NamelessFaceless » Mar 10, 2020 2:45 pm

Audiobooks in Italics

1. I, Claudius - Robert Graves
2. Through the Looking Glass - Lewis Carroll
3. The Man in the Iron Mask - Alexandre Dumas
4. Mansfield Park - Jane Austen
5. A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens

6. How Firm a Foundation: The Story of Florida's First Methodist Church - Wesley S. Odom
7. Ulysses - James Joyce
8. Diary of a Wimpy Kid series (15 books) - Jeff Kinney
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Re: The Book Thread 2020

#59  Postby crazyfitter » Mar 10, 2020 8:04 pm

1. Knife - Jo Nesbo
2. Unnatural Causes - Dr Richard Shepherd
3. Pravda Ha Ha - Rory MacLean. Great book, I’ve written a review in What’cha Readin.
4. Triplanetary - EE “Doc” Smith
5. The Bone Clocks - David Mitchell
6. Standing in Another Mans Grave - Ian Rankin
7. Bury My Heart At Wounded knee - Dee Brown
8. A Silent Death - Peter May
9. Letters from an Astrophysicist - Neil de Grasse Tyson
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Re: The Book Thread 2020

#60  Postby don't get me started » Mar 12, 2020 12:36 am

1. The Bilingual Mind and What it Tells us About language and Thought - Aneta Pavlenko
2. Social Interaction and L2 Classroom Discourse - Olcay Sert
3. The Grammar of Knowledge: A Cross-Linguistic Typology - Alexandra Aikhenvald and R.M.W. Dixon (Eds.)
4. Rethinking Language, Mind, and World Dialogically : Interactional and Contextual Theories of Human Sense-Making – Per Linnel
5. Salvation - Peter F Hamilton
6. The Expression of Negation - Laurence R. Horn (Ed.)

7. Catching the Light: The Entwined History of Light and Mind - Arthur Zajonc

388 pp.

In this book, the author, a physicist and academic, describes the ways in which humans have approached the phenomenon we call 'light' and tried to tease out the nature of this ever elusive thing. In early Greek philosophy it was held that the eye emitted a ray of light and thus illuminated the external world. This was known as the extramission theory of light and it held sway for centuries before being replaced by the intromission theory, which is the way that we understand the visual sense in modern scientific terms.

Zajonc details these early attempts to understand light and vision (two closely related things, separate and entwined). He outlines the theories of Netwon, Descartes, Galileo and others, moving through the 19th century discoveries concerning the discovery of electromagnetism and the competition between the wave and particle theories of light and ending up in our modern, quantum theories. (I was struggling to understand some of the concepts here, to be honest.) But the book is more than a dry history of science. The author writes with wit and humanity and also includes the artistic, religious and intensely human (spiritual?) understanding of light.
There is a strange parallel with the extramission theories of the ancients in our modern quantum understanding of light. The emitter and receptor, mind and world are both involved in an entwined, dialogic interplay in sense-making, both at the human level of visual perception and in the scientific endeavour of quantum-level observations.

This relates in some ways to my day job. When I first started teaching English I remember correcting a student's use of a verb of visual perception. The student then asked me what the difference was between 'see', 'look' and 'watch' was and I immediately knew that I was in trouble, and floundered about with half arsed, contradictory and circular definitions, Over the years I revisited the question many times and over time a more or less coherent answer to the question emerged. This book added to this understanding of the relationship between light, mind and world, none of which can be separated from the other.

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