Re: [xmca] Unfinished Symphony

From: David Kellogg <vaughndogblack who-is-at>
Date: Tue Jan 15 2008 - 15:21:40 PST

Sorry, Bella! I didn't mean that LSV was a late starter as a thinker or even as a scholar. I just meant that he didn't actually publish anything on PSYCHOLOGY until he was nearly thirty. (If Wolfgang Amadeus had held off like that, Leopold Mozart would have died apoplectic and much earlier....)
  But I wasn't drawing any conclusions; to tell you the truth, I was trying to START something. The "unfinished symphony" of the subject line is really not the book on development at all (that's more of a solo performance). It's the discussion that Mike, Pentti Hakarainnen, and Yrjo Engestrom began in November, to which I would like to add a cadenza or two.
  One of the issues that came up in Pentti Hakarainnen's presentation, relevant to both of us as teachers of vocabulary, was "sense-making" and "meaning-making". Here's what A.A. Leontiev says about it, and it bugs me:
  Leontiev, A.A. (1976) Sense as a Psychological Concept, in Soviet Studies in Language and Language Behavior (North-Holland Linguistic Series 24) Amsterdam, New York, and Oxford: North Holland. pp. 81-90.
  p. 82
  'When speaking further about points of view on the problems of sense, we first of all imply (?) the views of A.N. Leont'ev and A. R. Luria and their pupils. As to Vygotskij himself, he shared Paulhan's attitude and adopted Paulhan's term 'sense' (see Paulhan, 1929). In Vygotskij's works, the difference between meaning and sense is on the whole equivalent to the difference generally accepted in linguistics between connotative and denotative significance.'
  I think what AAL says is true of Paulhan's work, and that's why Paulhan drops the distinction. But LSV says that "meaning" is the most defined and stable area of "sense". I don't see how we can say that "denotation" is the most defined and stable area of connotation. I
  Seonmi's presentation is really about sense and meaning: the kids develop "sense" in lesson exchanges, and they give us "meaning" in the Word Race at the end of the lesson. For some kids, the "meaning" is still not separated from the sense; it's equivalent to a whole utterance rather than a word. But it's getting there!
  That's why I think (I'm pretty sure!) that LSV was using Paulhan as a cover for Volosinov: "smysl" is theme, and "znachenie" is meaning. And that's also why I don't think AAL is right on this: I can't see that it makes a lot of sense (no pun intended) to say that connotation precedes and gives rise to denotation.
  Looking forward to your stuff on early LSV! I've always thought that his work on art is the REAL origin of his concept of the social mind. (There's an unfinished symphony in THAT too!)
  David Kellogg
  Seoul National University of Education

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Received on Tue Jan 15 15:24 PST 2008

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