Re: Way off thread - SLA

From: Steven Thorne (
Date: Thu Apr 07 2005 - 09:49:29 PDT

hi Mike and all -- yes, if there's interest enough, it would be great
to have a discussion that focused on language and chat (notice the
slight broadening of the topic to be more inclusive and potentially
interesting to a greater number of folks -- a tighter concentration
on SLA and/or bilingualism is also fine). though there's been very
interesting classical work on language within chat proper (bakhtin,
volosinov, vygotsky, shpet, and more obliquely ilyenkov), as well as
recent work (gordon wells, jay lemke, r. engestrom, chik collins,
rommetveit, + some of the applied linguistics Phil mentioned) [note:
these lists are off the cuff not meant to exclusive!], there are many
highly related, and sometimes even explicitly chat linked,
researchers doing very interesting work that is broadly commensurate
with chat (michael tomasello comes foremost to mind here).

but yes, other than this brief and hopefully encouraging missive,
we'll save this thread for another time.


>Steven, Phil and other SLA advocates. Perhaps we can make this line
>of work one thread in the
>online CHAT class I am scheuling for December-March next year. As
>you can see, between the
>play discussion upcoming (see papers on xmca papers for discussion)
>and discussion of an
>article from MCA (see xmca discussions) I expect we will be
>struggling simply to pay attention
>to that and always-emerging other topics for the next several weeks.
>On Apr 7, 2005 12:27 AM, Steven Thorne
><<>> wrote:
>hi Phil and all -- there is indeed a strong and growing strand of
>applied and cognitive linguistics/SLA work rooted in vygotskian and
>chat frameworks. a colleague (jim lantolf) and i are finishing up a
>book length manuscript for OUP on this very theme. as you note, our
>group here in the US has been active, but as you correctly mention,
>most of our stuff has been praxiological, but not explicitly
>pedagogical (though of course we strive to "ascend to the
>concrete"!). in our forthcoming volume, we're trying to address this
>through some chapters that look specifically at concept development
>and the role of mediation, artifacts, and forms of participation
>that might foster the conditions of possibility (to rob a line from
>foucault) for learning, and potentially, development (i won't parse
>these terms here other than to revisit vygotsky's notion that
>learning precedes development, and development, especially in
>late-modern post-vygotskian theorizing, involves resolutions to
>contradictions > reorganization of mental processes > the
>dialectical becoming of a new kind of person (possibly in domain
>specific environments/performances).
>lastly, i was a member of the old xlchc some years ago and only in
>the past week or so resubscribed -- why it took me so long is a
>mystery! but i'm very happy to be back.
>>Sorry, All to open a counter-thread, but I have been doing some
>>back reading of reviews etc, and came across this intriguing
>>section of a review of a book devoted to second language (SL)
>>learning and linguistic form and meaning (see below). I was
>>intrigued by this section of the review (background: the field of
>>SL "acquisition" is still dominated by psycholinguistic theories
>>stemming from Chomskyian linguistic theory and conduit metaphors of
>>communication, see Reddy's work of three decades ago). Like some
>>others (both active and passive list members, based on the member
>>list Mike mentioned earlier), I have been living the contradiction
>>between the dominant platform in SL research and the one(s) that
>>are more semiotically based and focused on human interaction and
>>development. But should we always be in a position where we do not
>>"fully agree" with the prevailing hegemonic views on aspects of
>>human development when we have such exciting "counter views" based
>>on the interests of many on this list? Views which have spurned
>>their own debates between, for example, the strong socio-semiotic
>>and interventionist, though somewhat inaccessible theories of the
>>Australian SFL group based on Halliday, Martin, etc; the exciting
>>group within the US that bases its work on sociocultural theory,
>>albeit criticised for downplaying pedagogy (Lantolf, Wells, Thorne,
>>Kramsch, etc); and the group of educational sociologists in the UK
>>that have expanded and made more accessible the works of, for
>>example, Bernstein. Apologies for the geographical divides here,
>>but I am sure it is a little less in your face than religious
>I'm young in this academic game, and I'd love some pointers on ways
>to foster cross-talk rather than cross!-talk.
>Phil Chappell
>Steven L. Thorne
>Assistant Professor of Applied Linguistics
>Linguistics and Applied Language Studies
> and
>Communication Arts and Sciences
>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

Steven L. Thorne
Assistant Professor of Applied Linguistics
Linguistics and Applied Language Studies
Communication Arts and Sciences
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

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