Re: [xmca] J.M. Baldwin

From: Phil Chappell (
Date: Wed Jun 14 2006 - 07:42:57 PDT

Steve and All,

I have Jaan Valsiner and Rene van der Veer's book on order from
amazon...thanks. As an adjunct, you mention the externalisation/
internalisation dialectic - Harry Daniels has a very thought
provoking paper in a recent Theory and Psychology issue (1, 2006)
where he teases apart the activity of discourse production in terms
of the interpersonal functions of language. I especially find his
integration of Bernstein's principles of power useful.

Tomasello's theory of language acquisition deserves some time here
for discussion - as you say it has resonance with chat, and so does
Halliday, Hopper, and who else?


On 08/06/2006, at 12:03 PM, steve thorne wrote:

> hi Mike -- thanks for the question.
> i'll reduce the arguments to a few sentences with a bit of exegesis
> to follow (it is over-long but hopefully forges some of the
> connections you inquired about).
> - developmentally fecund imitation is intentional and goal directed
> (Baldwin, also Vygotsky)
> - this sort of imitation is the mechanism/process the makes
> internalization possible (Vygotsky)
> - humans have an innate and plastic capacity to recognize,
> interpret, and creatively imitate the linguistic means by which
> other humans realize and express intentions (Tomasello)
> as a number of folks have mentioned already -- Baldwin's notion of
> persistent imitation describes a process that is goal directed,
> iterative, and most importantly, intentional. this very specific
> definition of imitation is premised on awareness of the goal of an
> action and the means available (e.g., mediational resources). i
> think this is largely commensurate with Vygotsky's observations
> about imitation.
> so, the Baldwin tie-in follows on Vygotsky's insight that
> development involves internalizing idealizations of social and
> material activity that results in increasing ones capacity to
> function independent of the presence of specific social and
> material resources. imitation, in the transformative sense proposed
> by Vygotsky (and many others), couples well with the Balwin's
> emphasis on intentionality and awareness.
> we also found it important to emphasize the bi-directional process
> of internalization-externalization where individuals and
> collectives can be seen as open and porous environments/systems.
> Ana Stetsenko, for example, has a nice way of talking about this in
> her recent work -- where she redescribes the internalization and
> externalization dialectic as the internalization and "contribution"
> dialectic.
> as for Tomasello -- he focuses on three interrelated areas that are
> enhanced by (creative) imitative language use in ontogeny -- joint
> attention, intention-reading, and cultural learning. when it comes
> to the complexities of language development, his usage-based
> approach to language acquisition (2003) is a very good fit with
> CHAT for it emphasizes intention ascription and language-use as a
> specialized form of goal-directed attentional frame setting.
> grammar in this sense isn't a precondition (e.g., nativists like
> Chomsky), but emerges historically from language use in culturally
> organized, goal directed activity. and it is language use that
> makes possible the proliferation of, and inculcation and
> transformation of, the complexities of human's culturally organized
> practices. all very Vygotskian (and explicitly noted as such by
> Tomasello).
> i should end by mentioning that Tomasello develops an elaborate
> approach for addressing the specifics of learning language
> (constructions, syntax and morphology, discourse, etc), where the
> specifics of linguistic development are rooted in the
> intersubjective establishment of joint attentional frames and the
> role of communicative intentions within them.
> Jim and i address these relations at length in a couple of venues,
> which i can share by PDF if there is interest.
> this is perhaps over-much, but i hope to have addressed your
> question in adequate detail --
> steve
>> How would you relate the notion of persistant imitation to
>> Vygotsky on the
>> one hand, and
>> Tomasello on the other, Steve? We can post any text on that topic
>> in the
>> zoped page at xmca
>> mike
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