Examples of Element’s Paradigms

This page will show the parallelism between the semantic aspect of paradigms and their signifier (or material) aspect.

Analysis of « kinds of competencies »

The rows and columns of IEML paradigms are themselves paradigms, with their paradigmatic function written in the row or column header. When a user clicks on a row or column header, he gets the corresponding sub-paradigm in a table. For example, if we go to M:M:.O:M:.- and click on M:M:.e.- (kinds of competences) we get the sub-paradigm below (Figure 1).

Figure 1
M:M:.e.- Types of Competencies
Grammar, Dialectics and Rhetorics

The distinction between grammar, dialectic, and rhetoric comes from Greek and Roman antiquity and the European Middle Ages. The trivium was for many centuries the basis of liberal education. Grammar covered the basic abilities of reading and writing and some familiarity with the corpus of authors traditionally defined as the “classics”. Dialectic corresponded roughly to logic, the rules of reasoning and the ability to carry out a well-argued dialog. As for rhetoric, it consisted essentially of the art of composing, memorizing and delivering elaborate, convincing speeches suited to the circumstances and the audience’s expectations. In parallel with the classical trivium, which was a preparation for mastering the manipulation of signs, a trivium of beings and a trivium of things still had to be conceived. Pierre Lévy thus developed a matrix of competencies with nine cells, with sign, being, thing in rows and grammar, dialectic and rhetoric in columns. Because the complementarity and opposition of grammar, dialectic, and rhetoric obey to a ternary symmetry, it is represented by the use of /S B T/=M.

At the level of grammar, we find fundamental capacities for action, “basic” competencies. But this does not necessarily mean elementary skills; there can obviously be very high degrees of linguistic competency, self-mastery or sensorimotor refinement. Grammatical competencies involve the self. They imply discursive or symbolic abilities with regard to signs, emotional or affective energies with regard to beings, and physical skills with regard to things.

Dialectic includes interactional competencies. In the signs row, the grammatical mastery of codes serves knowledge of a wide variety of subjects, leading to reasoning, and dialog. In the beings row, self-esteem and self-mastery serve egalitarian, mutually respectful relationships with others. Conflicts and divergent interests are settled through negotiation, while agreements and promises are managed contractually. In the things row, sensory-motor competencies serve technical know-how involving the manipulation of tools and machines, and the ability to create and maintain concrete environments for life and work. Once again, dialectical competencies are not “medium” competencies between grammar and rhetoric. Each dialectical competency can be distributed on a scale of excellence from minimal to exceptional.

The capacity to get things done is to be found in the rhetoric column. Communication strategies organize signs and messages so as to accomplish a work of persuasion, reframing (or even deception) as effectively as possible. Leadership, the ability to inspire or direct a group, acts on beings, in particular on their social cohesion. Finally, engineering is about making things work on things, combining mechanisms for a particular purpose. Once again, rhetoric is in no way the “summit” of the competencies since there are obviously many degrees of strategic abilities, from weakness to maximum effectiveness.

Itemized skills

Let us now examine a differentiation of the paradigm M:M:.e.- at the next layer.

Paradigm of skills related to signs
Figure 2
Skills related to signs

Let’s analyse the above paradigm (Figure 2) that can be explored in the IEML dictionary.

  • We have in substance the three dimensions of experience with sign in substance S ⊗ M = s. b. t. multiplied by e. (can). We recognize s.e.- b.e.- and t.e.- (grammar, dialectic and rhetoric of signs) of Figure 1.
  • We find in attribute the nine dimensions M ⊗ M that are multiplied by u. (say, express) in order to indicate actual communication. The paradigm of Figure 2 is therefore a semantic declension – or a differentiation – of s.e.- b.e.- and t.e.-.
  • The constant mode is wa.e.- (mastering competences) [link: wa.e.-].

The meaning of the letters is redefined according to the context of the paradigm. For example, n. (world) in the sixth column stands for literary arts because it is multiplied by u. (say, express) and is used in a paradigm of competencies related to signs. Literature expresses the « world » of a culture (It is also an echo to Wittgenstein: « The limits of my language means the limits of my world »). The reader can see that, as usual, for each row or column, the letters are exactly the same, except for one syntactic role that varies.

Paradigm of skills related to beings
Figure 3
Skills related to beings

The paradigm of Figure 3 is organized in the same way that the paradigm of Figure 2, except that it shows the semantic declension of k.e.- m.e.- and n.e.- instead of s.e.- b.e.- and t.e.- In addition, a. (commit) is used to modify M ⊗ M instead of u. (say, express), because the paradigm is about the actualization of values and good intentions.

Paradigm of Skills related to Things
Figure 4
Skills related to things

The skills related to things of Figure 4 is organized as the paradigms in Figures 2 and 3 and it expands the third row of Figure 1. Note that the first row (grammar) is specially devoted to sensori-motricity and body-mind coordination.

The root-paradigm of detailed skills contains 6 tables and it is organized by a duality expertise/object. the morphemes with wa.e.- (master competences) [link: wa.e.-] in mode indicate the skills themselves and the same morphemes with emptiness E:.- (tacit) in mode represent the objects of the skills. For example, s.e.-t.u.-wa.e.-‘ (the counting, calculating skill) is related to s.e.-t.u.-‘ (arithmetic operation).

Semiotic functions and other paradigms derived from M:M:.O:M:.-

Columns of the M:M:.O:M:.- (human development) paradigm serve as building blocks for further generation of morphemes. For example, the fourth column of M:M:.O:M:.- is M:M:.u.- (kinds of signs). By squaring M:M:.u.-, we generate the table M:M:.u.-M:M:.u.-‘ (81 semiotic functions).

Figure 5
Semiotic functions

In the table of Figure 5, concepts are more abstract on the top left corner (where the signs are prominent), more concrete in the bottom right corner (where the things are dominant) and there is a progressive increase in concreteness as we go from left to right and for top to bottom. It is important not to confound the abstract / concrete opposition which can be represented by a sign / thing or virtual / actual opposition and the opposition between general meaning, or « more vague » and particular meaning, or « more precise » which overlaps the differences of layers: the more specific is the meaning, the higher is the layer.

In the cells disposed along the top-left/bottom-right diagonal, substance and attribute are identical. These (homologous) diagonal cells fonction as semantic crossroads. Take note, for example, that the row and column that intersect on b.u.-b.u.-‘ (hypertext) are related to speech and discourse or that the row and column that intersect on k.u.-k.u.-‘ (god, goddess) are related to religious concepts, etc. There is also a subtle semantic resonance between the morphemes that inverse their substance and attribute, like k.u.-s.u.-‘ (mandala) and s.u.-k.u.-‘ (icon) or d.u.-s.u.-‘ (map) and s.u.-d.u.-‘ (legend, caption), etc.

Paradigms of spatial relations

The paradigms of places, or spatial relationship, are an example of auxiliary paradigms, that can be used to create, for instance, complements of places in verbal sentences. The description of spatial relationships can use neither the direct meaning of primitives nor the meaning of lower-case letters. In this case as in several similar cases, the design of paradigms is based on the use of symmetries, including the dyad virtual/actual and the triad sign/being/thing. The morphemes of this paradigm begin by the substance E: because they belong to the auxiliary class and they end by the mode l. because they are related to space. The variables are concentrated in the attribute (specially its substance and attribute).

Figure 1
Place: Axial Orientation

In Figure 1 the two rows oppose a vertical and a horizontal axis according to the dyad U/A. The three first columns are related to top (for the vertical axis) and front (for the horizontal axis), the three middle columns indicate the middle, the three last columns include the bottom and the back. Each group of three columns is divided into a column for an absolute direction, a column for a relative position and a column for an absolute position.

Figure 2
Place: Path Orientation

In Figure 2, instead of a variation on axial orientation, we have a variation on the beginning, the middle and the end of a path. The first row (S:) displays path roles, the second (B:) static positions and the third (T:) movements or dynamic tropisms.

E:.-O:.M:M:.-l.-‘ (place: axial orientation) and E:.-M:.M:M:.-l.-‘ (place: tracking) are part of the same root-paradigm E:.-F:.M:M:.-l.-‘ that describes all kinds of spatial relationships.

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