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William James and the linguistic technique of psychotherapists.

A/Prof. David G. Butt

In his lectures on the 'self', William James drew attention to meaning potential that few linguists have evaluated, or even noticed. Our dual experiences of self could be demonstrated, according to James, by the ME / I contrast where the linking relationship between the two forms of first person (let us say the relevant 'verb') would be akin to 'represents'. In the functional linguistics of MAK Halliday, this contrast, relatively unobtrusive in the words that we utter, reverberates throughout the organization of languages. In English, we have two questions that bring the contrast into focus: 'Which am I?' versus 'Which is me?'. These are not redundant - the I version seeks your Role in the scheme of things (eg your part; or even your position in a team), while the ME asks how the person can recognise herself in the Manifestations of the world (viz. Is that me? in a photograph).

WORLD DREAMING: WORLD CONGRESS FOR PSYCHOTHERAPY
24-28 August 2011 Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre
Darling Harbour, Australia.
Visit The World Council for Psychotherapy at http://www.worldpsyche.org

David G. Butt
David G. Butt
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A/Prof. David G. Butt

A/Professor David. G. Butt, Linguistics; Director, Centre for Language in Social Life, Faculty of Human Sciences, Macquarie University, NSW, Australia.

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