Re: [xmca] Re: LCA: LSV: Thought and language

From: jose david herazo (
Date: Wed Jun 29 2005 - 12:20:51 PDT

Dear all

I am also a novice on the matters you are discussing and I must confess it has been a little hard to follow all your discussion.  This is due to the fact that it seems to be beyond my up-to-now ZPD concerning these matters and because work duties have impeded me from reading all the papers with the speed necessary to catch up.  I had expected you to touch in the discussion the way Vygotsky's thoughts and findings could be related to foreign language learning.  So, and I hope this does not take you too far away from your current discussion, I would like to find out waht you think about the following.

Some years ago I had the chance to study the way my EFL students managed to communicate in group work tasks of the decision making/information gap type.  For this about 20 hours of students interaction were analyzed based on transcriptions (I attach a copy of the article I wrote based on this research).  To my surprise, I found out that students seemed to be stretching their current level of ability to communicate in English by using chunks or bits of the previous talk done by classmates.  I called this 'revoicing' and the interactional process involved 'co-construction of spoken discourse', which seemed to be occurring within students ZPD.   My questions are:  do you think these interactional processess can be considered as really occurring within students' ZPD?  Could it be claimed then that this type of interaction is really conducive to learning the foreign language in an instructed environment? what can you say about the relation of LSV thoughts to EFL learning? Do you know of other people working on a similar area so that I can find out more about the relation of LSV's thoughts with EFL learning?


Josť David Herazo R.

Universidad de Sucre - Colombia

>From: Gordon Wells <>
>Subject: Re: [xmca] Re: LCA: LSV: Thought and language
>Date: Wed, 29 Jun 2005 11:43:26 -0700
>Rather than attempt to explicate Halliday's views myself, I suggest
>you go to his Towards a Language-based Theory of Learning (on xmca)
>and look particularly at Features 12-13 and 18-21. A key phrase is
>"reconstituting language means reconstituting reality".
>Interestingly, Vygotsky says something of the same kind in Tool and
>Sign in the Development of the Child (Collected Works, Vol 6 pp.
>14-25). Discussing the effect of the development of speech on
>'practical activity', he writes:
>The child's use of tools resembles the tool activity of apes only
>while the child is at the pre-speech stage of development. As soon
>as speech and the use of symbolic signs are included in the
>manipulation, it is transformed completely, superseding the former
>natural laws and engendering for the first time properly human forms
>of using tools.....
>These observations bring us to the conclusion that the child solves
>a practical problem not only with his eyes and hands, but also with
>the help of speech. ....
>The history of speech, flowing in the process of practical activity,
>is connected with profound reconstructions of the whole behavior of
>the child.
>Halliday's explication seems to me to be very similar in its overall
>thrust. But it is much more specific in explaining how developments
>in the child's control of the resources of language, both spoken and
>written, make possible the "reconstituting of reality" and thus
>his/her "whole behavior".
>Gordon Wells
>Dept of Education,
>UC Santa Cruz.
>gwells who-is-at
>xmca mailing list

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