[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: [xmca] Hedegaard article

Your distinction between "higher" and "developmental" is very useful. But I have this terrible urge to REVERSE it: to make "higher" the more subjective and psychological sense and "developmental" the more objective and sociocultural. 
So "higher" processes are the ones that help you do stuff, and "developmental" ones are the ones that help you get by. As you say, the two things CAN be the same, but they can also differ; getting by is not always a matter of doing more stuff.
I have always had trouble understanding how language ATTRITION can be seen as a form of development. I think with your distinction between "higher" and "more developed" it becomes easy: language attrition (and more generally pathology, and even death) is "developmental" (because it is objectively adaptive) but it is not higher (because it does not actually help you, as a subject, do more stuff; doesn't extend the radius of subjectivity and in fact contracts it).
This helps me make more sense of the Hedegaard article. There is an inherent contradiction between what is "higher" and what is "more developed" which is papered over in the concept of "the good life". That is what is bugging Halime, and it's one reason we can see that she is at a higher level (though, alas, not necessarily more developed) than Jens.

So the test for "higher" processes is:
a) The hedgehox/fox test. Higher processes have to make you foxy, not hedgehoggy. Jens knows that readers of scientific books are foxy, and fairy tale readers are hedgehoggy. Halime knows that there is an important sense in which Danish culture is not foxier than Turkish culture; the true fox is the one who masters both.
b) The "restructuring" test. Higher processes restructure lower processes, but not vice versa. Jens knows that reading restructures speaking and not vice versa. Halime knows that bilingualism restructures monolingualism, and it's just for this reason that monolingualism suppresses bilingualism as a subversive, impure form of culture. The same is true of other forms of biculturalism, of course; those who have MORE culture will always have LESS power.
c) The "word meaning" test. Higher processes are always based on word meanings, though not necessarily on the actual spoken words. Jens knows that "baby" is one kind of word meaning and "whale" is another. Halime knows that it is the way she talks and not the way she looks that marks her out as different.

Like Carol, I am a painter. When I think about color, I think about it as a complex, not as a concept. I find it VERY hard to remember precise colors, and almost impossible to draw a face from memory (even my wife's face, which I've learned to draw by memorizing separate "tricks" and putting them together rather than by thinking of her and then drawing). I find it much easier to store word meanings and memorize texts. I don't know if all memories work like this, but mine does.
David Kellogg
Seoul National University of Education

xmca mailing list