Re: [xmca] J.M. Baldwin

From: steve thorne (
Date: Wed Jun 14 2006 - 12:17:05 PDT

hi Phil --

>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.

thanks for the recent Daniels reference -- i'm finding the journal
difficult to find (not yet listed in our library services, perhaps
because it is so new).

>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?

as for language theory that is useful for and broadly commensurate
with CHAT -- as mentioned, Tomasello has been very useful, and
Hopper, Bybee and others for emergentist and material approaches to
language patterns (i.e., grammar), and of course Halliday and Hasan,
Jim Martin, and others in the SFL community who tie Halliday to
Bernstein and Vygotsky.

cognitive linguistics generally, focusing as it does on grammar as
conceptualization (Langacker; Talmy), conceptual metaphor theory
(Lakoff; Johnson), conceptual blending (Foucaunnier and Turner), all
inform and infuse Vygotskian principles of (particularly semiotic)

a number of folks on the list have requested work in this area --
here is a link to a PDF of a forthcoming paper (Phil -- you've seen a
very rough and early version, this draft is basically a new paper)
Thorne & Lantolf, "a linguistics of communicative activity", in S.
Makoni and A. Pennycook, Disinventing and (re)constituting languages.
clevedon: multilingual matters. find it at:


>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"
>>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
>>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 --
>>>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
>xmca mailing list

Steven L. Thorne
Assistant Professor of Applied Linguistics
Linguistics and Applied Language Studies
Associate Director, Center for Language Acquisition
Associate Director, Center for Advanced Language Proficiency 
Education and Research
The Pennsylvania State University
Interact > 814.863.7036 | | | IM: avkrook
xmca mailing list

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Tue Sep 05 2006 - 08:11:25 PDT