Friday, 21 February 2014

Halliday & Matthiessen On Knowledge, Language And Meaning

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 3):
We contend that the conception of 'knowledge' as something that exists independently of language, and may then be coded or made manifest in language, is illusory.  All knowledge is constituted in semiotic systems, with language as the most central; and all such representations of knowledge are constructed from language in the first place.
Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 429):
It follows then … that for us [Fawcett's extralinguistic] “knowledge of the universe” is construed as meaning rather than as knowledge. This meaning is in the first instance created in language; but we have noted that meaning is created in other semiotic systems as well, both other social-semiotic systems and other semiotic systems such as perception. Our account gives language more of a central integrative rôle in the overall system. It is the one semiotic system which is able to construe meanings from semiotic systems in general.
Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 602):
Language is not a second–order code through which meanings created in some higher–order realm of existence are mysteriously made manifest and brought to light.  To borrow the conceit that Firth was fond of caricaturing, there are no “naked ideas” lurking in the background waiting to be clothed.  It is language that creates meaning, in the sense that meaning has for us as human beings (which is the only sense of it that we can know).
Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 603):
… our interpretation of meaning is immanent, so that meaning is inside language, not some separate, higher domain of human experience.
See also Cognition: The Mental Map Is A Semiotic Map

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