Monday, February 23, 2009

The Reality of Childhood

Following from the CS lecture of 16th February 09 about Reality and Representation, I relate an incident which happened to me that brought home some aspects of that lecture.

On Saturday morning my 3 year old grandson he asked me if I knew where his “pooma” was. What is a “pooma” I asked, my wife informed me that is was a snorkel and an AA battery which when used as an offensive weapon was accompanied by the onamatapia “poom” when fired, hence a to Joe a snorkel and a battery represents a "pooma".

So what has this to do with CS? I felt this incident brought together the whole subject of visual communication as defined by Shannon and Weaver, Pierce, Saussure and Barthes.

Here we appear to have practical example of Semiotics and Linguistics at work . The information being received by me and my grandson about these objects is clearly quite different. From the visual information, he sees something that looks rather like a weapon based on signifiers picked up from watching Power Rangers and playing with his friends and cousins. I of course know this to be a snorkel and a battery.

But to Joe a tube with a "handle", signifies a weapon (gun) and a small cylindrical object that will fit down the tube, signifies a “bullet/missile”.

Is this in Pierces terms a convention? The conventional use of these items is one, to aid breathing under water, two, a source of power. But to Joe his connotation of a tube loaded with an AA battery is quite an effective weapon, a "pooma"!

In the words of Bathes, Joe’s connotation of these items is quite different to mine. Not only that but he has developed his own code, I had no idea what a "poom" or a "pooma" were but I am sure his friends and cousins do. And my wife of course who is an expert in juvenile linguistics!

POOM ...........................ya dead!!!!!!!!

1 comment:

Brian J Morrison said...

Excellent, practical application to critical analysis at it's best.