Language as Technology and Agent
In this chapter we explore some of the ways that language, even as it serves as the medium of communication, also independently structures the latter’s outcomes. We look at language as a technology that, as with many other technologies, is the end product of a long history of cultural development, resulting in its having its own built-in agencies, traces of yesterday’s experience and learning. It is these built-in agencies that make it capable of shaping our purposes, as we shape its. If conversation and the circumstances in which it occurs take on meaning by being mapped to text then we are here concerned with what might be called the value added of the mapping, that is how the text not only translates, but defines, reality for us and thus simultaneously enables and constrains our interaction.