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



Thanks for all that extra enrichment of the topic, David.

ANL next on my re-reading list.
mike

On Tue, Oct 14, 2014 at 3:14 PM, David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com> wrote:

> Vygotsky says:
>
>   4-49] Представим себе, что у ребенка в среде отсутствует эта
> идеальная форма, т.е. развитие ребенка не подчиняется тому закону, о
> котором я говорил только что, именно, что конечная форма отсутствует,
> не взаимодействует с начальной формой, но ребенок развивается среди
> других детей, т.е. есть среда его сверстников с низшей, начальной
> формой. Будет ли тогда развиваться соответствующая деятельность,
> соответствующие свойства у ребенка? Исследования показывают, что
> будут, но чрезвычайно своеобразно, т.е. они будут всегда развиваться
> очень медленно, очень своеобразно и никогда не достигнут того уровня,
> которого они достигают, когда есть в среде соответствующая идеальная
> форма. (Imagine a child in this environment where there is no ideal
> form, i.e. that the development of the child is not subject to the law
> of which I just spoke, namely, that the final form is not available
> and does not interact with the beginning form, but that the child
> develops in an environment with other children, i.e. there is an
> environment of his peers and the lower, beginning form. Will the child
> develop appropriate activities, appropriate properties? Studies show
> that he will, but it in a very peculiar way, i.e. they will always
> develop very slowly, very peculiarly and at no moment will they reach
> the level which they achieve when there is in the environment the
> appropriate ideal form.)
>
> Three things that are worth keeping in mind here about the context of
> this statement.
>
> a) Vygotsky is talking to a group of students in a teacher training
> course--he is trying to build on what they already know and believe
> (about which more below).
>
> b) Vygotsky is interspersing his lectures with visits to his clinic,
> and in his clinic there are a number of victims of child abuse. One
> common forms of child abuse, often quite inadvertant but nevertheless
> severe in its developmental results, is when hearing parents try to
> raise a deaf child by themselves, without the presence of the deaf
> community to which the child belongs by right. This results in "home
> sign", the form of mimicry which Vygotsky--quite correctly--is
> denouncing when he appears to be denouncing sign language in general
> in his defectological work. "Home sign" is not sign--it really is a
> set of gestures with only very limited grammar, and the terrible
> plight of deaf children who, deprived of contact with the deaf
> community, have had to re-invent language by themselves, is well
> documented (as Mike points out) in the work of Susan Goldin-Meadow.
> See especially "The Resilience of Language" and "Hearing Gesture".
>
> c) Vygotsky's argument agains the Language Acquisition Device is not
> made in this lecture; it belongs to the previous lecture on heredity
> which I sent around earlier. It is indeed a theoretical argument
> (although Vygotsky DOES support it with a "monozygotic/dizygotic"
> comparative twin study). The argument is not, however, an
> "environmentalist" argument: Vygotsky simply says that heredity and
> environment are BOTH elements and therefore no analysis which reduces
> speech acquisition to the one or to the other is an analysis into
> units. The unit we are looking for has to include both (and in fact
> word meaning does include both, because "sense" represents the
> contribution of the senses and "signification" the contribution of
> social contact).
>
> Interestingly, what we argued about when we translated this passage
> was not whether Vygotsky was correct to say that a language which
> evolves without the presence of the ideal form would be peculiar and
> slow (actually, it seems to me that the Nicaraguan example, which we
> did know about, is also a confirmation of this, even though it rightly
> belongs to sociogenesis rather than ontogenesis). What we argued about
> was whether Vygotsky's statement that such a situation NEVER occurs in
> socogenesis can really be said to be correct.
>
> Vygotsky lived in a country where hunter-gatherers, herdsmen,
> subsistence farmers, industrial capitalism and the rudiments of
> socialism existed side by side. The problem, of course, was that the
> interaction between these very differently developed forms (for so
> Vygotsky saw them) was not always one of guidance! In addition, it was
> by no means clear to people which form represented the ideal.
>
> Consider a slightly different case, the reanimation of a language
> without a final, complete (or "ideal") form. In the late eighteenth
> century, King Kamehameha the Great united the Hawaiian Islands into a
> single nation. With the help of missionaries, he developed a script
> for the Hawaiian language (it had only twelve letters, so that it
> would be easy to learn) and began to create a literature. The Kingdom
> of Hawaii was probably the very first country on earth to have
> universal, compulsory education--the WRITTEN constitution declared
> that anywhere in the kingdom where fifteen children lived in one
> village there had to be a Hawaiian language school. Within only two
> decades of the creation of a Hawaiian script, nearly half the
> population of Hawaii was literate, and texts were being developed that
> were so aesthetically advanced that people find them very hard to read
> today.
>
> In 1893, a group of American sugar and pineapple planters launched a
> coup against Queen Liliuokalani, the last of the Kamehameha line, in
> order to try to join the USA and get around the tariffs that growers
> in California were imposing on Hawaiian produce. They eventually
> succeeded, although it took some years to get it (Grover Cleveland was
> a personal friend of Liliuokalani!). During the short-lived "republic"
> they declared, Hawaiian was banned in schooling, and the ban actually
> lasted until 1986 (I remember, as a child, being taught to dance the
> hula, but not sing the words).
>
> Even before the ban was lifted, some Hawaiian parents started private
> preschools in Hawaiian (a handful of native Hawaiian speakers survived
> on the island of Ni'ihau, where they played a minor role in the first
> act of World War II, by capturing and killing a pilot who crash-landed
> on the island after Pearl Harbor). The problem is that the people of
> Ni'ihau were sheep farmers, not school teachers. When immersion
> programmes in Hawaiian were started in a desperate attempt to save the
> language from extinction, there were almost no materials for math and
> science (and in fact even old Hawaiian, having developed in a
> pre-modern society, was quite poor in words for things, and lacked,
> for example, a general, abstract word for "container"). When the
> teachers translated materials from the English (and borrowed words)
> Hawaiian parents, objected--some of them thought it was more important
> that their language should live than that their children should be
> able to make a living.
>
> The problem is that the two really go together. The first cohort of
> immersion children emerging from the Hawaiian immersion programmes was
> not an unqualified success. About a third of the children were well
> behind grade level in English, because the kind of English they
> acquired outside school ("da kine tok" which I remember from growing
> up in Hawaii) was a Creole Pidgin, also not adapted to academic
> concepts. During the NCBA years, immersion kids were given tests
> translated from English--and the results were not promising. I think
> it's for this reason that Hawaiian immersion is still limited to only
> twenty schools. Interestingly, the children also seem to "level off"
> in Hawaiian around junior high, and none of the children appear to
> have really taken to the advanced literary texts left behind by the
> generation of Kamehameha the Great.
>
>
> David Kellogg
> Hankuk University of Foreign Studies
>
> On 14 October 2014 23:45, mike cole <mcole@ucsd.edu> wrote:
> > I suggest that people pause to check out the phenomenon of  Nicaraguan
> > Sign, and that someone with linguistic sophistication and knowledge of
> the
> > case join the discussion. The
> > basic facts can be found at
> > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicaraguan_Sign_Language.
> >
> > Googling Senghas Nicaraguan Sign Language will turn up a lot. Vygotsy
> > seemed to be saying that left to themselves, a group of deaf kids would
> not
> > invent a language. These kids do.
> >
> > BUT, as Julian (?) pointed out, these kids, while cut off from the
> language
> > of the adults who brought them together (LSV did not specify the
> conditions
> > of such a gathering), even the sign language which was
> > Spanish/finger-spelled, literacy derived, they do, OVER GENERATIONSj of
> > kids coming to the center, form a more and more complex communication
> > system that now,. several generations later, looks a whole lot like a
> > normal language.
> >
> > Where is the ideal form that is the end in the beginning? That is the
> > question.
> >
> > I do not know the answer. However, from other evidence collected by
> > Goldin-Meadow and others, I believe that the "ideal form" a culturally
> > organized form of life IS there at the beginning for the kids in their
> > social environment, including the organization of their own joint
> > activities together outside of the purview of adults. This latter
> > interpretation is discussed  in a textbook by wife and I wrote and
> > elsewhere. I can send the summary of that bit of amateur
> > speculation/inference if the topic of the centrality of the end being in
> > the beginning, and LSV's analysis of that topic in the article we are
> > reading, is of interest.
> >
> > LSV is not "proven wrong" by this case. The complexity of the issue,
> > however, is certainly easier to grasp.
> > mike
> > PS-- There is fascinating work by my colleague, Carol Padden, on another
> > such case in the Negev desert that is a few generations old and for which
> > the entire genetic mapping from the initial deaf originator as the
> language
> > grows and spreads in the community is part of the research. The grammar
> of
> > the language is unlike either Hebrew or Arabic, the two languages that
> > exist in the environment of these people.
> >
> > On Tue, Oct 14, 2014 at 7:08 AM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:
> >
> >> How would you explain then, Carol, how the Nicaraguan children managed
> to
> >> acquire such a sophisticated language in a couple of generations?
> >> Are elements of language implicit in social practices? How does it
> happen?
> >> Andy
> >> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> >> *Andy Blunden*
> >> http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
> >>
> >>
> >> Carol Macdonald wrote:
> >>
> >>> Hi
> >>>
> >>> I am sorry it took me so long to read the post - I am with Tomasello on
> >>> this. I don't think this is evidence for LAD. The LAD has very specific
> >>> reference to universal parameters, and the history of theoretical
> >>> linguistics in the  last 55 years or so has had to step back and back
> to
> >>> parameter setting so the "universals" are more and more abstract.
> Perhaps a
> >>> linguist on the site could resolve what they are now.  Phonology has
> the
> >>> most developed set.  And how does this relate to communication per se?
> Can
> >>> anybody help? Even the notion of verb-ness and noun-ness as universals
> are
> >>> contested.
> >>>
> >>> Pidgins arise when people have a need to communicate; then they become
> >>> creoles.  The children and their caretakers had such a need.  We have
> no
> >>> idea how abstract, or signified, when this first began.
> >>>
> >>> In South Africa this happened when mineworkers from all over South
> Africa
> >>> needed to have a common form of communication.  It has never developed
> to a
> >>> creole, because the speakers have their own Bantu languages, and the
> need
> >>> underground is so specific and restricted that there has been no
> further
> >>> development.
> >>>
> >>> ISN has had a very strong motivation to develop. Creoles do become
> >>> languages - Jamaican is a case in point. In my situation, Afrikaans
> can be
> >>> regarded as  creoloid, where the mother language - Dutch has been
> >>> simplified.  The Afrikaners historically has access to the Bible in
> High
> >>> Dutch, but we know the Bible deals with a wide range of concepts, so
> >>> Afrikaans has had to take on board scientific concepts.  There is
> generally
> >>> a "correct" Afrikaans term, and a related word which can be regarded as
> >>> closer to English.  Both are included in their lexicon.  The latter
> >>> characteristic is part of language planning/development per se.
> >>>
> >>> Perhaps I have seen so much in a multi-linguistic environment, that I
> see
> >>> this as more fluid. I think this is enough for me now - can someone
> respond?
> >>>
> >>> Carol
> >>>
> >>> On 14 October 2014 02:46, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net <mailto:
> >>> 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/
> >>>     <http://home.pacific.net.au/%7Eandy/>
> >>>
> >>>
> >>>
> >>>
> >>> --
> >>> Carol A  Macdonald Ph D (Edin)
> >>> Developmental psycholinguist
> >>> Academic, Researcher,  and Editor Honorary Research Fellow: Department
> of
> >>> Linguistics, Unisa
> >>>
> >>>
> >>>
> >>>
> >>
> >
> >
> > --
> > It is the dilemma of psychology to deal with a natural science with an
> > object that creates history. Ernst Boesch.
>
>


-- 
It is the dilemma of psychology to deal with a natural science with an
object that creates history. Ernst Boesch.