Re: [xmca] LCA: AA Leontiev and Landolf/Thorne question

From: Steven Thorne (
Date: Wed Jul 06 2005 - 14:14:16 PDT

hi Mike, Michael, Gordon, Phil and all --

a quick point in regard to L2 learning as a leading activity (tätigkeit).

L2 learning can be either of course. as has been
discussed, for many foreign and second language
learners in instructed educational settings, the
object of activity may be grades or fulfilling a
requirement to complete an educational degree.

however, and especially with massive population
shifts and increasing diaspora populations -- for
many people, foreign and/or second language study
is a leading activity -- tätigkeit.

for immigrant populations wishing or needing to
gain a communicative repertoire in an additional
language, persons training to become professional
translators, someone wanting to consciously and
intentionally shift their class standing -- these
conditions may give rise to motives and objects
that ascend to the level of leading activities.

while the leont'ev's do tend to describe language
as subordinate to other forms of activity, in the
case of developing a communicative repertoire for
purposes of material and social solvency, the
subordination of language to activity is unclear.
rather, language and activity are in dialectical
relation to one another -- or to use a musical
metaphor, form something of a contrapuntal union.


>>actions, using grammar books, dictionaries,
>>CDs, as artifacts that mediate my deliberate
>>learning. But I would hesitate to call my
>>learning an activity in its own right. Part of
>>the problem in answering your question, Mike,
>>is the fact that 'activity' may be used with
>>the technical meaning, as in A.N.L.'s theory,
>>but also in the very general sense of different
>>culturally recognized actions that succeed each
>>other in daily life, such as taking a shower,
>>getting breakfast, driving to work, etc.
>I generally follow your point. As to the difficulty:
>As a guideline, I use A.N.L's distinction
>somewhere in the book activity as in "Tätigkeit"
>not in "Aktivität". In the former sense, it is
>related to work, sustenance of society, come
>about through a split as division of labor.
>But I guess that times have changed, and leisure
>has become an important aspect of our lives,
>both those who provide it and therefore do
>service in such an activity system, and those
>who enjoy and pay for it.
>xmca mailing list

Steven L. Thorne
Assistant Professor of Applied Linguistics
Linguistics and Applied Language Studies
Communication Arts and Sciences
Associate Director, Center for Language Acquisition
Associate Director, Center for Advanced Language 
Proficiency Education and Research
The Pennsylvania State University
Interact > 814.863.7036 | | | IM: avkrook

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