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[Xmca-l] Re: The Ideal and Nicaraguan Sign Language


I am also confused.  Sign language is a dinkum language.  It has all the
features of a human language, and can, because it is based in time and
space, express even more in the verb than spoken language does.

If a child has no access to the local sign language, then their gestural
expression will still have  symbolic meaning for their caretaker.

Of course I may have missed the point.

On 14 October 2014 05:18, Greg Thompson <greg.a.thompson@gmail.com> wrote:

> It hardly seems that Vygotsky could have meant what Mike is taking him to
> mean or else we would have the logical impossibility (if we accept
> evolution as I assume V did) that the ideal form has always already been
> "there" all the way back to the first instance of human existence. "In the
> beginning was the word (and it contained all later ideal forms)"? That
> seems improbable that someone concerned with "development" like Vygotsky
> would have thought that way. For Vygotsky does development only happen in
> ontogeny but never in phylogeny?
> Andy, I'm wondering why you would call this a "once-in-human-history
> event"? Seems like this event captures perhaps the WHOLE of human history,
> no? From iconicity and indexicality to the symbolic function? But the
> symbolic function only develops as a coordinated project between people
> large numbers of people who develop conventional but arbitrary relations
> between signs and things.
> I assume I'm missing something glaring here.
> Very confused.
> -greg
> On Mon, Oct 13, 2014 at 6:46 PM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:
> > Mike has drawn our attention to the Nicaraguan Sign Language
> > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicaraguan_Sign_Language
> > as a counter-example to Vygostsky's claim:
> >
> >    "that if no appropriate ideal form can be found in the environment,
> >    and the development of the child, for whatever reasons, has to take
> >    place outside these specific conditions (described earlier), i.e.
> >    without any interaction with the final form, then this proper form
> >    will fail to develop properly in the child."
> >
> > In my opinion, this once-in-human-history event does not invalidate the
> > principle Vygotsky was elaborating. Just like every attempt to say what
> > distinguishes the human being from the animal seems to be faulted by the
> > latest clip from YouTube, all such absolute claims are almost bound to
> fail
> > at some point. But the principle, illustrated by the fact that children
> > growing up in Russia speak Russian and understand the meaning of
> > perezhivanie whereas we don't, etc., is hardly faulted by NSL.
> >
> > The other thing that Mike suggests is that the principle of the ideal
> > being present in the environment carries with it the negation of the idea
> > of the social formation itself being subject to continuous change.
> Again, I
> > think Vygotsky just takes this as outside the concerns of Psychology. His
> > essay on Socialist Man http://www.marxists.org/
> > archive/vygotsky/works/1930/socialism.htm shows that in fact he saw the
> > psychology of people as primarily determined by the social formation of
> > which they were a part and he saw that social formation as evolving. He
> was
> > of course a modern, albeit I suspect a modern with a considerable
> capacity
> > for irony.
> >
> > Now, this raises the difficult question of what Vygotsky may have meant
> by
> > "ideal." Or, what he thought is a mystery, but what should *we*
> understand
> > by ideality? It is well known that Vygotsky was surrounded by a number of
> > fellows who were aficionados of Hegelianism, even if Vygotsky himself had
> > never studied Hegel, so it is fair to suggest that the Hegelian concept
> of
> > the Ideal is relevant in this context, of reconciling "ideal" as the norm
> > in a given social formation and "ideal" as the notion of infinite,
> > historical perfectability. For Hegel, "ideality" expresses both these
> > principles; that is, that any relation contains within it a "gap" which
> > makes it open to perfectability, and that "gap" is ever present, and its
> > existence expresses what Hegel calls The Idea, that is to say, the
> > ever-unfolding spirit of human freedom. Etc. It only requires that the
> Idea
> > is present for any relation to be mutable. This is deep and challenging
> > philosophical stuff which we don't really need, if we can just accept
> that
> > "the ideal" does not mean something fixed and final, just an evolving
> norm:
> > ever-shifting goal posts.
> >
> > Andy
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > --
> > ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> > *Andy Blunden*
> > http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
> >
> >
> --
> Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
> Assistant Professor
> Department of Anthropology
> 882 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
> Brigham Young University
> Provo, UT 84602
> http://byu.academia.edu/GregoryThompson

Carol A  Macdonald Ph D (Edin)
Developmental psycholinguist
Academic, Researcher,  and Editor
Honorary Research Fellow: Department of Linguistics, Unisa