Re: [xmca] Antirecapitulationism

From: Mike Cole <lchcmike who-is-at>
Date: Thu Apr 03 2008 - 15:39:50 PDT

Take care, Vera. The only thing pneumonia enables is more pneumonia if you
do not FULLY recover. I know, from personal experience.

I am still about a week behind the discussion and need to see how Sasha
and Martin's discussion is going.

Thanks for additional observation on emotion/thought measuring issues. Got
myself this hand little digital recorder that goes 26 hours at a clip with
portability. But worry about how to coordinate that evidence with behavioral

On 4/3/08, Vera P. John-Steiner <> wrote:
> Hi,
> I think the notion of different antecedents to thought and language is
> argued quite convincingly by LSV. His emphasis on the child's instrumental
> activity ( reaching, chewing, turning, rolling, dropping) is quite distinct
> from social interactional smiling, joint movement, shared attention.(Both of
> these developmental lines are social in the most profound sense, because it
> is the socially crafted and peopled world of the child that makes it
> possible for him/her to survive, explore and learn.) There are overlaps,
> (Van diagrams) even at this stage; gesture, of course,which is both
> instrumental and interactive, babbling is both exploratory and in a limited
> way, communicative.The fine grained, video facilitated analysis of infant
> behavior was not part of Vygotsky's data base. But research, such as
> Patricia Zukow's on joint attention supports some of his notions.
> The shared but not identical semantic foundation of first and second
> language argues in favor of position 2 put forth by David Kellogg.The
> heavy emphasis on pronunciation, and the mechanical drills which are often
> part of L2 instruction ignore this great entry into learning a new language.
> These may contribute to the low success rate.
> On the issue of intonation that Mike brought up, I would like to suggest
> that you consider length of pauses as an additional quantitative measure for
> your analysis. Thinking pauses are substantially longer than breath pauses,
> they frequently precede an intensely sought for comment or answer. Sometimes
> they are filled pauses (hmms, etc.) which can be quite
> noticeable in televised interviews.
> Lastly, a personal note. I would like to thank all of you from the CH SIG
> and other AERA attendees for your willingness to fill in for me, most
> specifically Carolyn, Ana and Cathrene which allowed me to recover from
> pneumonia and slowly rejoin our thought and action community,
> Vera
> David Kellogg wrote:
> I've been thinking about these two propositions, as a way of digesting
> > Sasha Surmava's long (and deep!) posts on Vygotsky, historicism, and Martin.
> > As I understand him, Sasha believes:
> > a) LSV correctly rejected all forms of recapitulationism, from Hall
> > to Haeckl.
> > b) LSV incorrectly rejected the common root of thinking and speech
> > (presumably action or activity or some form of meta-stable self-preserving
> > subjectivity?).
> > Because of the way my mind works, I need a fairly specific issue to
> > go any further. And one of the most burning issues in foreign language
> > teaching today is whether:
> > a) it is better to have foreign language learning run the "natural"
> > course of several years of oracy first, or
> > b) we need to teach literacy from the very inception of foreign
> > language instruction.
> > Grads who hold position a) inevitably fall back on some kind of
> > recapitulationism. First language learning is 100% successful. Foreign
> > language learning is less than 5 or even less than one percent successful
> > (depending on how low you want to place the threshold of success). Ergo,
> > foreign language learning must recapitulate first language learning.
> > But if you ask the a) grads whether the same thing is true of
> > listening and speaking, that is, does the development of speaking
> > "recapitulate" that of listening, they will admit that this is not possible.
> > And if you ask whether we can learn written language in exactly the same way
> > we learn oral language, only a few answer that we can (the strong Ken
> > Goodman Whole Language position).
> > Grads who hold the b) position usually argue in fairly romantic
> > terms, that the classroom walls create insuperable barriers to the
> > imagination that can only be breached by the written word. In this view, the
> > literary imagination and the here and now do not and cannot have a common
> > root, for one is rooted in thinking and the other in speech.
> > But if you ask b) grads where thinking comes from without speech, you
> > are liable to get rather "painterly" answers; the child's thinking is rather
> > like the imagery in Luria's mnemonist which failed to add up to even simple
> > stories (or those marvellous paintings in Cathrene's Powerpoint, which also
> > seem largely unconnected to the text!)
> > LSV is completely unambiguous throughout Chapters Five and Six of
> > "Thinking and Speech": he sees graphic thinking as being different in kind
> > from symbolic thinking, different in quality, in function, and even in
> > "root", at least where this may be rooted in practical soil. He also thinks
> > (and this is surely no coincidence) that foreign language learning neither
> > can nor should recapitulate first language learning. On the contrary, the
> > great cognitive benefits of foreign language learning in the child (which
> > LSV saw first and better than anyone, perhaps because he too was a
> > multilingual child) lie precisely in the fact that the foreign language
> > builds on the most developed (for LSV this was synonymous with volitionally
> > accessible, context-free) meanings of the first language. A
> > recapitulationist strategy simply wastes these precious gains, and condemns
> > the non-native learner to ride the wake of the native speaker for eternity.
> > Foreign language literacy AND oracy grow together, out of something
> > that is NEITHER: out of volitional FIRST language semantics (written and
> > spoken). Now, this seems to me to RESEMBLE (not to recapitulate, but to
> > RESEMBLE) the way in which speaking and listening must develop
> > ontogenetically out of something that is neither (namely babbling). That
> > too seems to me to resemble (not recapitulate) the way in which indicative
> > and symbolic language must have developed phylogenetically out of something
> > that was neither (namely gesture).
> > That's why LSV rejects "parallels" between ontogeny and phylogeny,
> > but he accepts "analogues" and even "resemblances" (e.g. Volume 3, p. 278;
> > see also Volume 2, p. 192). It's also why he can accept that instruction and
> > development are independent processes, even though both sometimes (r)evolve
> > together, like the wheels of a cart. Instruction and development emerge
> > from something that is neither, namely learning. Even when they DO move in
> > parallel, they stand on opposite sides of interaction. It's this that makes
> > it possible to speak of different roots. Perhaps different hubs might be a
> > more accurate metaphor: even when the wheels are turning in different
> > directions or at different speeds, there's always a common axle.
> > David Kellogg
> > Seoul National University of Education
> >
> > ---------------------------------
> > You rock. That's why Blockbuster's offering you one month of Blockbuster
> > Total Access, No Cost.
> > _______________________________________________
> > xmca mailing list
> >
> >
> >
> --
> ---------------------------------
> Vera P. John-Steiner
> Department of Linguistics
> Humanities Bldg. 526
> University of New Mexico
> Albuquerque, NM 87131
> (505) 277-6353 or 277-4324
> Internet:
> ---------------------------------
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Received on Thu Apr 3 16:08 PDT 2008

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