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Re: [xmca] Edward Sapir, and Poehner and Lantolf
I didn't actually write any of that. It's from Vygotsky, and of course Vygotsky got it from Sapir, and I got it from the original English text of Sapir's book, which I bought a long time ago.
The current article (Poehner and Lantolf) associates the UAH with the linguistic views of Chomsky, and somewhat paradoxically with psychological views that greatly anticipate Chomsky. It's certainly true that Krashen refers to Chomsky and mentions the LAD in his early work, but his view that "learning" does not turn into "acquisition" is really a Piagetian opposition, and his idea that exposure to comprehensible input creates a slow accumulation of morphemes owes a lot to associative psychology. So Poehner and Lantolf are actually rather closer to the mark when they attribute the "dualism" of implicit/explict knowledge, learning/acquisition, etc. to the kinds of dualisms that Vygotsky is talking about in the Historical Meaning of the Crisis in Psychology.
There's a similar attempt to try to affiliate Vygotsky with Saussure, e.g. in Enrica's misguided attempt to affiliate Vygotsky's later, very mature Sapirean views with his early flirtation with formalism in Psychology of Art. For example, it's assumed (in the Russian edition of his Collected Works) that the reference to phonemes and to the most prominent linguist of his day is a wary tribute to Saussureanism. People in my line of work like to deny that Vygotsky had any coherent theory of language at all (e.g. Mitchell and Myles). But in fact he did care a lot about linguistics and this passage proves it. He rejected Saussureanism; he embraced the work of Sapir.
And so do I. When Stern says that the child discovers that "everything has a name", this is false on TWO fronts: first of all, the child does NOT discover that at all, and cannot discover it, because there are far more things in the world than can be dreamt of in the child's lexicon, or for that matter in that of the adult, and secondly because every THING may have a name, but if that name is simply "thing" then this discovery doesn't amount to very much.
But when Sapir says that every word is a generalization, and that it must be shared to be a sure, objective, and linguistic generalization, then I sit up and listen. This is the "objective", sociological, basis, not only for a linguistics, but for a psychology based on that linguistics.
You say: "If Sapir is CORRECT about the elements of language and speech that must be
GENERALIZED BEFORE BECOMING SYMBOLIC he then makes a presupposition that the person must FIRST gather together the INDIVIDUAL IST PERSON experiences
BEFORE they can be EXPRESSED in the 3RD PERSON rhetorical format that is
linquistic and SELF-REFERENTIAL."
No, it seems to me that it suggests EXACTLY the opposite. It suggests that BEFORE the person can gather together individual first person experiences they must be expressed and understood to be expressed by those in the person's environment.
I don't think that it follows that they have to be expressed in the third person, unless we understand "third person" to mean "the other". But the second person ("you", and, as you pointed out, the very young child's Royal "we") is used to express the experience of the other in English, as well as the experience of the self. Consider the following example from Sacks:
Q: Why did you want to kill yourself?
A: For the same stupid reason that everybody else wants to kill themself.
Q: And why is that?
A: You just want to find out who cares.
If we are talking about an objective, language experience (and therefore a conscious psychological one) then things are as Volosinov says, and it is expression which precedes experience, not the other way around.
You say: "Terms such as 'reflection' and 'recognition' are often assumed to also be self-referential 3RD person REFERENTIAL narrative constructions that are CONSTITUTED within linquistic processes."
Again, I don't understand why it has to be in the third person. But I COMPLETELY agree with the underlying idea, that reflection and recognition are not pre-existing conditions; they come from other flections and other cognitions, and that is why we mark them with the prefix "re-".
You say: "I want to tentatively propose [expecting a ton of feathers to descend on
my head] that there may be a THIRD way of 'communicating' experiences that
is NOT 1st person phenomenological nor 3rd person referential [observing
spectator] This is the 2ND person 'We consciousness' of being
'seen' [GAZE OF THE OTHER while OTHER is RECOGNIZED by self.]"
I have a really beautiful piece of data to support this. The teacher is trying to play a guessing game. The guessing game is too complex to explain in English and the teacher doesn't want to use Korean in English class. So she holds up the number one and says "This number is TWO", expecting the kids to say "yes" or "no". The kids answer "one", and of course the teacher indicates that she is unhappy with this answer. But--believe it or not--the kids eventually DO figure out how to play the game, because they are so VERY good at figuring out what the teacher is TRYING to do, just from the indications of her unhappiness.
Seoul National University of Education
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