Subsystems of personality, like individual members within a larger social
network, have unique properties and characteristics, but become
coordinated to achieve adaptation to the demands of the social world.
Affect and linguistic systems are coordinated in the production of social
events and are at the same time constrained by such social productions.
We argued that, to the extent that affect and language are primordially
social activities, one should be able to document their co-assembly during
social interaction by directly examining the construction of social events.
In this study, we provided support for this contention by analyzing the
conversation of a family on an occasion that was notable for its very
ordinariness. There were no particular stressors involved in the task, the
conversation took place in the comfort of the family's own home, and
they were given total freedom to talk about whatever they liked.Even under such benign, relatively stress-free, and neutral conditions,
this family produced a speech event that was linguistically well-structured
and also remarkable for the sheer density of affective communication.
The affect analysis revealed that individual members of the family had
their own personal emotional biases and each dyad within the larger unit
had differential interpersonal dynamics. We found, also, that the family's
talk and affective postures are mutually constructed and co-extensive,
which illustrates our claim that affect and language are primordial social
activities and, thus, are coordinated to achieve superordinate principles of
social organization.In the current study we did not undertake examination of the
grammaticality of the individual family members' speech. However
productive that approach might have been, it would have obscured the
essentially social nature of communication and we would not have had
the opportunity to examine and come to some understanding of the
socially driven co-assembly of language and affect, nor of this particular
family's culture and dynamic. This is not to devalue the important work
that is being done in the Chomskian tradition, but to suggest that a more
social conception of language is necessary to understand the coordination
of language and affect as communication systems.
|1. ||Locating displays. This coding scheme is designed to locate display of
shame, contempt, and affiliation in ongoing conversation. Because
they are conceived as discrete behaviors, it is appropriate that the
coder locate the onset of each display. In attempting to determine
whether doubtful cases should be coded, look for concurrent signs|
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Book title: Modularity and Constraints in Language and Cognition.
Contributors: Megan R. Gunnar - Editor, Michael Maratsos - Editor.
Publisher: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Place of publication: Hillsdale, NJ.
Publication year: 1992.
Page number: 172.
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