Caring, conversing, and realizing values: new directions in language studies

Bert Hodges, Sune Vork Steffensen, James E. Martin

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review


Language serves many functions for humans, but three of the most important are coordination,
learning, and friendship. All of those functions were well served by the conversations
from which this special issue emerged, a conference, ‘‘Grounding language in perception
and (inter) action’’, held at Gordon College in June 2009. The conference brought together
researchers primarily from three research traditions, dynamical systems theory, distributed
language, and ecological psychology, and each of these perspectives is reviewed and illustrated
in this special issue. The particular focus of this issue, though, is the role of conversations
in humans caring for each other and the ecosystems of which they are a part.
Emergency medical care, parents and children playing, and students learning a second language,
are among the contexts of caring considered. Also considered are ways in which symbol
systems emerge, ways in which language extends and alters perception–action systems,
and ways in which infant-caregiver relations (i.e., first friendships) are constituted. The various
articles explore how language is ‘‘situated, culturally embodied, emergent, and distributed’’
(Zukow-Goldring, this issue); how language is a crucial dimension of the extended
phenotype of humans; how language increases our ability to care for each other, our
common tasks, and the (real or virtual) ecosystems we inhabit; and how language emerges
as we coordinate and share perception and action skills.
TidsskriftLanguage Sciences
Udgave nummer5
Sider (fra-til)499-506
Antal sider8
StatusUdgivet - 2012