Re: Talk of courses and discussions

From: Wolff-Michael Roth (
Date: Sun Jun 05 2005 - 06:16:01 PDT

I just came back to my desk, there was a lot of activity and messages
here on the list--Mike, I am unsure about what you are asking. AA
Leont'ev articulated a CHAT position on language, which has been taken
on by linguists in West Germany, after some of AA's work had been
translated for East German scholars.

One of the aspects normally neglected in discussions of language is its
function as a primary tool, which has disappeared from
consciousness--just as Bateson's cane of the blind person or
Heidegger's turning light of the car. So in my reading, people use LSV
but focus on language AS IF it was a secondary tool, consciously
selected to get a certain task done--or goal reached--whereas much of
language is not of that at all, but, as ANL would say, occurs at the
operational level where we have no conscious control over it.

:Language, though, in contrast to other tools, has the self-reflexive
nature so that in the same sentence, an ivory tower theoretician may
use language that--using Wartofsky's concept--has the functions of a
primary, secondary, and tertiary tool, is oriented toward activity,
action, and some simply emerging in response to context.

People working on the abstraction generalization problem do not
normally make this distinction either, and therefore may be in trouble,
or may be confusing things and issues and discourses that are of
different (Batesonian) logical types.


On 2-Jun-05, at 6:19 PM, Mike Cole wrote:

> Wolf-Michael--
> Might you help us with the davydov-LSV  abstraction-generalization
> discussion from your POV.
> There has also been a lot written in Russian. Some of it is
> translated. AA Leontiev is an obvious
> source.
> mike
> On 6/2/05, Wolff-Michael Roth <> wrote:
>> there has been a lot of work in linguistics from CHAT
>> perspective--reviewed in some 1984 papers, but which are in German,
>> unfortunately for many here on the list.
>> Michael
>> On 2-Jun-05, at 6:17 AM, Phil Chappell wrote:
>> >
>> > On 02/06/2005, at 5:35 AM, Ana Marjanovic-Shane wrote:
>> >
>> >>  What I am interested in is developing a CHAT theory of language --
>> >> so all these different ways to look at it as an activity are very
>> >> helpful.
>> >>  Ana
>> >
>> > Dear Ana, Mike, and All,
>> >
>> > I'm a little hesitant to go too far here, as my own previous
>> attempts
>> > here to sow the seeds of a group object/motive of discussing AT and
>> a
>> > theory of language haven't really resulted in much - I often wonder
>> > whether any mention of systemics and Michael Halliday results in an
>> > impulsive "hit hit the delete" response ;-) And whither Bernstein...
>> >
>> > But Ana's interest is an interest that many here have, I feel, and
>> it
>> > has often been said that the xmca community lacks a fully
>> articulated
>> > theory of language, just as the SFL community is often derided for
>> > lacking a fully articulate theory of human learning. I'm struggling
>> > right now with a study from the SFL "Sydney school" in an attempt to
>> > make explicit a pedagogical approach that foregrounds the linguistic
>> > features that afford students access to future human activity that
>> > they may otherwise be denied. But that is a red herring here.
>> >
>> > Should anyone here wish to pursue the discussion of a theory of
>> > language "for chat", I'd like to offer up the suggestion that we
>> read
>> > Gordon Well's paper: The complementary contributions of Halliday and
>> > Vygotsky to a 'language-based theory of learning', and I also think
>> > that the various ecological views of language may be worthwhile to
>> > pursue.
>> >
>> > So, any takers to assemble a couple of papers? I have an electronic
>> > version of Gordon's paper that we will need to get approval to use
>> > first.
>> >
>> > I'll leave it there and hope there may be a couple here interested
>> in
>> > making a motive.......
>> >
>> >
>> > Phil
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> >

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Fri Jul 01 2005 - 01:00:07 PDT