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Joint Attention - Andre Murnieks 29/03/19

As I waltzed into this lecture a little late and a little damp, I was already feeling a little intimidated by the readings that I had attempted the night before. There were lots of thoughts racing through my mind as Andre was presenting linguistic utterances and covariation detection hypothesis. For example "adults must make sure that the words children hear bear the appropriate relation to the things that occupy children’s attention." In our current anthropocene, I wonder if theories like this apply any more - with each generation comes a new vernacular that children seem to have a cultural partiality to subscribe to in protest against Dad's 'School Certificate' english monologue . If I was to say to my son that a certain movie or person is 'Wicked' or 'Skux' or 'massive', my 76 year old mother might internally question my parenting skills. Another thought that came to mind is this bi-cultural country of Aotearoa we live in, not all parents speak both languages. So what is the result of the daily experiences of those children when not in the presence of mum and dad to explain what hapu, manaaki, tautoko, e hoa, miharo, and "E ngā mana, E ngā reo, e nga hau e wha" means... and these are terms heard often by our children.

The whole joint attention philosophy / concept I did find interesting. As a musician (and for sanity's sake) I feel that it isn't healthy to focus on what another observer might be thinking. I agree that healthy discussion and opposing criticisms can expose the artist to other perspectives. But realistically, if people don't like your music, then they shouldn't come to the concert. Even then I feel (because of the subjectivity of music) holistically 2 or more people might like the band, but for different reasons. The notion of joint attention has ancient wafts of survivalist instincts to me; back in hunter gatherer days when our cro-magnon ancestors needed to focus their joint attention on dinner for the village, lest they be non-skux and the shared linguistic utterances be far too obscene for your learned cognitive cerebral hard drives. Peace out.

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