Aaaww fuck it, I'm to lazy to get motivated enough to do this classics shit. I'm gonna just talk about sociological shit, and how it relates to conworlding, as said shit comes to mind. and like many of my best teachers at the uni, I'm gonna do it using random annecdotes to illustrate things.
Okay, first class of the new curriculum: Watzlawick's theory of Communication, with some J.L Ausin and Habermas for good measure.
So I had a bit of an altercation with a collective taxi driver like an hour ago. Collective taxi drivers are dudes that have a sort of broadly-defined pathways through the city that take passengers as they drive. You pay them like 2 euros and they get you to whatever point in their pathway you want. Of course you can also pay them more and they drift off their pathway a bit to take you there. So I was riding one home today, and just three blocks away from the corner of my street the guy drives away to drop off some soldier's boy to his place down at a you-can-only-live-here-if-youre-from-a-military-family housing complex a few kilometers away from his route. So the guy does, wastes some 20 minutes of my time carrying me around for the ride, and then he stops at the corner of my street and refuses to take me 200 meters into the street into my house. So I spewed profanity his way, he replied with more profanity, I slammed his door and he yells some stuff. I flip him the bird and walk away.
Before you go all "cool story bro" on me, let's get into Watzlawick. The guy posits some interesting ideas.
* You always communicate, irrespective of your intention. Or in other words, you cannot not communicate. Silence is a sign: it communicates something... if someone goes "I love you" and you remain silent, you're communicating something, she gets the message. she gets some message, at least. Just by walking you're sending gigabites of information just by walking down the street; your clothes, your gait, the position of your arms relative to your body and to each other... maybe your hands are clenched in a fist, that communicates you're not in a receptive, friendly mood but rather in a more dominant, or defensive, one. maybe you have a thick leather jacket on and some heavy-duty boots, that communicates a lot: you're strong, manly, dominant, you have money or you couldn't afford a leather jacket like that one. Maybe you're listening to music on your ipad: that communicates that you're moderately wealthy, not interested in what happens around you, and have a rich inner life, since you're listening to music, which is art. You're also communicating, if you have sufficiently loud music playing, your musical tastes, your identity in terms of "urban tribes" if you believe in that kind of thing, and your mood. You get the idea, nothing doesn't communicate.
*Every communication has a content and relationship aspect such that the latter classifies the former and is therefore a metacommunication: when I say "It's not nice to be a dick, Jimmy" I'm saying at least two different things. On one hand, I'm giving you a description of reality, a positive statement about things: no one would object to the idea posited in the phrase: being a dick is not nice, this is true. But of course Jimmy doesn't reply "I agree, but how do we define being a dick?" or anything of the sort: he maybe replies something like "I'm sorry, you're right, I was out of line". What's that about? What line? superficially the guy is changing the topic: I'm describing an identity, that of being a dick, as something that is not nice, and the guy's talking to me about lines? that's weird! But oh, what I'm *really* saying to Jimmy is something along the lines of "Dude, that wasn't okay. What you did was mean to me and it made me feel bad, so for the sake of our friendship don't do that kind of thing again. I'm not gonna stop being your friend or anything, I'm even willing to tease you about it, but I don't appreciate what you just did." That's the relationship aspect of the communication. It's all about you and me and some other people, not about positive noun phrases about the universe. This is why conlangs that are just grammars are kind of boring, and why pragmatics is so cool. "is there any chance you would consider being my wife?" is not a question; it's a marriage proposal: no one replies "Of course there's a chance, no one knows the future, and since its concievable that we could fall in love and become engaged I can only answer your question with a yes, even though I feel nothing for you beyond honest appreciation for a dear acquaintance.". It would be weird... ungrammatical, so to speak. in fact, unpragmatical.
** Communication is not a cause-and-effect message-and-reply pingpong thing. Seeing communication like that is moronic; it's more like a cycle of dialectically mutual intercausality with many different strings that pull and push it, from which the end result of the interaction emerges in a really complex manner.
** There's your linguistic communication, "How're you feeling?", there's your analog communication, like a hot chick's hand down your pants and her suggestive, seductive face while she posits the question, and there's your analog-verbal communication: the intonation of the question that puts the emphasis on the word *feeling*. All that stuff informs the interaction as a sexual tease. If there were the same linguistic thing, the question "How're you feeling", but alongside different analog things, like the same chick putting her hand in your forehead with a concerned voice, the interaction is completely different; it's your mum checking to see if you have a fever.
Yeah, your mum's hot in my example. I'm the professor here and I get to imagine your hot mum. You, however, the student, don't get to make references to my mum. Why? because
** Communications are either complementary -this is, we relate to each other because we're different- or symmetric -we relate to each other because we're the same-. An example of a complementary interaction would be buying a beer: you interact with the cashier because you guys are the same, right? if you were a cashier you wouldn't buy beers, you would charge the customers for them. You're, in fact, a customer, and you buy a beer from the guy because he has one and wants cash, and you want beer and have cash. The cashier expects you to choose a beer, give him a set amount of money, and be civil about it. You expect the guy to answer your questions, give you the exact beer you want, and only take away from your money or credit card the exact price of the beer and not more, even though he could go "what? hundred dollar bill? I don't know what you're talking about, sir, you haven't paid your beer yet" and assfuck your entire weekly budget. In a classroom the teacher relates to the students on the basis of difference: different roles, in fact; there's social roles and social norms that highlight that difference, so I can talk about your hot mum and you cant'. neat, aye?
Even neater, though, is Ausin and his theory of the Speech Act. I hereby declare that this is a speech act.
Get this: language is not only good for saying things: it's great for doing things. When I declare you man and wife, I'm not saying anything, I am performing the act of marrying you with someone else. When I tell my chick I love her, I'm not telling her anything: she knows full well I love her because of what we've been through and how nice and caring I am towards her: maybe I'm not the nicest guy, but I'm certainly nicer to her than I am to the taxi driver from before.... that asshole.
So yeah, speech is action, saying is doing: get your head around that one. Traditionally the positivist view of language is that you do things with actions, and you say things with language, but that's too mainstream for us social sciences hipsters; we reject the entire action-speech distinction. And we do it simply by saying things, aren't we awesome? let's take a moment to fap to how awesome we are. That's a joke, not a good joke, but a joke nontheless: jokes are speech acts as well! I'm using language to make you laugh, I'm not communicating anything, strictly speaking, I'm just, you know, bonding or something.
So here comes a bunch of words that end in "-locution", which means speaking, because they all have something to do with speech: we're talking about talking, aren't we? Okay, you have your locution, your illocution, and your perlocution, but y'all gonna have to wait to know what's what: or you can just, you know, google it. I was gonna illustrate the concept of felicity condition using the taxi example, but I don't have time: I made a speech act in which I illocutionarily promised to go to a party with some friends, and now they're using speech to get me to perlocutionarily go with them to it.