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

From: Phil Chappell (
Date: Tue Jul 05 2005 - 07:29:28 PDT


My training as a language educator has led me to operationalise the
metaphor "acquire" as a derelict construct, automatically substituting
with "develop". And when SFL is woven in, as far as second language
learning is concerned, the activity might be glossed as 'learning what
ideational and interpersonal meanings are possible in given contexts
(social interactional activities), and how they are expressed'. Ruqaiya
suggested yesterday (Sthn Hemisphere time) that the theory of context
of situation in the early sociosemiotic perspective that I summarised
last weekend is a theory of "linguistic activity".

I may be out on a limb here, but let me quote AAL:

At the basis of man's intellectual activity, at the basis of his
thought, there lies the exploitation of material 'supports' and thought
procedures elaborated by society and appropriated by the given
individual. Of course, thought can be of varying degrees of complexity.
It is obvious that in theoretical thought the basic means mediating
intellectual activity is language. For this reason 'language and
thought' is a problem of deep psychological significance.

Not sure if there is a well-worked out answer, but how might we use the
construct of "intellectual activity" or "theoretical thought" as
candidates for activity?

Aside: Time is always our enemy - I think it might be worthwhile
looking into the work of the late Joachim Lompscher both in terms of
the "rise to the concrete" metaphor and having another take on learning
activity, although he didn't directly implicate language.


On 05/07/2005, at 5:21 AM, Mike Cole wrote:

> In seeking to figure out activity-language relations, a question I
> keep coming up against
> is what is meant by phrases such as
> "As far as psychology is concerned, speech is identical to any other
> activity" (p. 1 of AA Leontiev)
> or the phrase, "communicative activity." I know this is an old issue
> in Russian (at least Soviet)  arguments about activity
> and Language. But it appears important to this discussion as well.
> I can understand how seeking to acquire a second language could be
> considered an activity (at least I think I do), but acquisition
> of a first language let alone using language in a case is "Mr Smith is
> not working today, he is out mowing the lawn" both seem
> questionable as candidates for activities.
> Is there a known, well worked out answer to this question, or a set of
> alternative answers?
> mike_______________________________________________
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