Re: [xmca] review of Italian translation of Thinking and Speech

From: Mike Cole <lchcmike who-is-at>
Date: Thu May 29 2008 - 16:04:16 PDT

Hi Peter--

I know that Jim Wertsch has (or had) a copy of the 1934 "original" of
Thought and Language
and that he worked closely with norris minnick who was the translator (on
the one hand)
and Volodya Zinchenko (whose copy of the 1934 book was given to Jim). I know
that Jim
and people at LCHC worked with Norris over the course of a year on the 1997
giving what feedback we could.

What I do not know, other than what is in the review, is what substantive
changes were in the 1982 version. I know Luciano Maccaci well and perhaps
can get him to send a list of what
he considers the big changes. The ones you give do not seem to lead me to
believe that
Vygotsky was really Pavlov, but I am sure that there were many errors
identifying citations. These are really hard to track down. Rene and Jaan
Valsiner have been great at doing so.

I also do not think speculation that Piaget was lying about not knowing the
real content of
Thought and Language is particularly convincing. Luria and he corresponded,
but how much about this we do not know and it is doubtful that Luria would
have been concerned to correct errors unless they were really large and he
was in a safe place to do so.

For big distortions, the cuts between the 1962 and 1987 English editions
seem huge to me.
The internal Soviet distortions were sometimes of significance but we need a
full list.

I'll cc Jim on this to see if he has anything to add.

On Thu, May 29, 2008 at 3:10 PM, Peter Smagorinsky <> wrote:

> I read a mention today of the Soviet Pedology Decree of 1936, and ran a
> search to learn more. I found the attached book review (one of many in the
> document), Rene van der Veer's review of an Italian translation of Thinking
> and Speech. It's pretty sobering in terms of the quality of the
> translations
> I've read in English-not so much because of bad translations, but rather
> because the documents they were working from had been rewritten for
> ideological purposes and distort a number of LSV's ideas. Rene, who knows
> as
> much about these things as anyone, says that this is the first authentic
> translation of Thinking and Speech into another language.
> Meanwhile, can anyone talk about the Pedology Decree beyond what's in the
> review? Thanks,Peter
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Received on Thu May 29 16:05 PDT 2008

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