RE: [xmca] Unbelievable - & Spanish

From: Alexander Surmava (
Date: Sat Oct 21 2006 - 13:35:22 PDT

Hi, Ana,


You route: “I have the feeling that he is trying to break away from the
paradigms he had criticized himself, but is not quite where he wants to be”.
I entirely agree with this statement.

Moreover I can point mentioned problem of relation between language and
thought as an example of such finding him “not quite where he wants to be”.
I mean that the very LSV’s idea of independent routes of thought and
language can be hardly estimated as dialectical but rather dualistic. The
real dialectical relation can be founded only in case of splitting some
singular basis into opposite contradictory halves. Thus in our case we will
have the real dialectical relation between language and thought only in case
if we are starting from the singularity of life (taking in its most
elementary form as life relation of unicellular to its objective field).

This singularity splits itself into the opposition of object oriented
activity as it is and reflexive or self directed activity which mediates the
very object oriented activity starting from multicellular animals. From this
point of view the human language is not something alien to the human object
oriented activity (like conventional sign) but something basically
congeneric to it, a definite level of its own evolution.

Meanwhile LSV starting from two independent roots tried to solve an
insolvable task – establish some “dialectical” relation between them.

In one of his rather old articles Andy Blunden asserted:

“Vygotsky observes that previous study of the thought-language relationship
considered the genesis of each side of the relation in isolation and assumed
that the relation between the two was invariable; or alternatively,
mechanically identified the two. On the contrary, Vygotsky proposed the
necessity of conceiving of the object of investigation as a unity of
opposites and that the inherent genesis of the relation was at its very

This is true, to realize the dialectical approach one has to find in the
reality (not only in own imagination) “a unity of opposites”. But if
according to LSV "In their ontogenetic development, thought and speech have
different roots” the unity of such opposites will have arbitrary, not
dialectical character. To be dialectical opposites the sides of our unity
must have one and the same root.

Thus LSV’s attempt to set dialectic against metaphysics of his predecessors
failed so that his reflections (at least in case of language and thought
relation) entirely remain in dualistic trap.

Surely all this can be relatively clear only from the position “on the
shoulders” of Vygotsky, Leont’ev and especially Il’enkov.




-----Original Message-----
From: [] On
Behalf Of Ana Marjanovic-Shane
Sent: Saturday, October 21, 2006 2:15 AM
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: Re: [xmca] Unbelievable - & Spanish


It does sound paradoxical, but in fact the word "language" does not mean

the same in both statements from Derrida. The can both be true if we

have different meanings for "language".

As for whether LSV's thinking was fully or not fully dialectical, can

you cans some references for the texts you are mentioning, Michael? What

you said is interesting because I sometimes see Vygotsky's texts as

totally dialectical and sometimes I have the feeling that he is trying

to break away from the paradigms he had criticized himself, but is not

quite where he wants to be. But I have not read anybody else's thoughts

on that.




Wolff-Michael Roth wrote:

> In all your deliberations about (mono, bi-, multi-) lingualism,

> consider the following incompossible, contradictory propositions that

> are truly dialectical in their tenure and are sublated in actual human

> praxis:


> 1. We only ever speak one language.

> 2. We never speak only one language.

> (Derrida, 1998, p. 7)


> Derrida, J. (1998). Monolingualism of the Other; or, The prosthesis of

> origin. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.



> To anyone interested in a dialectical account that LSV never could

> achieve because he was not fully thinking dialectically---according to

> a number of texts I recently came across---I recommend this little

> booklet very highly.


> I think we are allowed, and this is fully compatible with a

> dialectical theory of science (see Il'enkov) to go beyond the giants

> (i.e., LSV) on whose shoulders we stand.


> Cheers,


> Michael



> On 20-Oct-06, at 10:08 AM, wrote:


> Ok guys,

> let's go with bilingualism

> Vale,

> vamos con el bilinguismo


> As a first time, I´m going to try with both languages at the same time.

> Como es la primera vez, voy a intentar usar las dos lenguas.


> My comment today is that it is very important to realize that a real

> bilingualism should include scientific knowledge -whatever you want to

> understand by this.

> Mi primer comentario es que considero muy importante darse cuenta de

> que un

> bilinguismo total debe incluir el conocimiento científico.


> Last week, Olga Vazquez visited my University and made a presentation

> on "La

> clase mágica". One of the most relevant comments from the audience

> -all of us

> spanish researchers and undergradute students- was about the assymetrical

> bilingualism that we still perceived within that so interesting

> experience

> implemented by Olga and her collaborators.

> La semana pasada Olga Vazquez estuvo en mi Universidad presentando su

> investigación en "La clase Mágica". El comentario más repetido por

> parte de la

> audiencia fue sobre nuestra percepción de que el bilinguismo implícito

> en la

> experiencia es todavía asimétrico.


> We expressed this idea in terms of a defense of Spanish as a scientic

> language. But we also realized that it would be applied to other

> languages and

> we made a parallelism between the Mexican at the USA and the arabian

> at Spain.

> Expresamos esa idea como la necesidad de defender el español como

> lenguaje

> científico. Pero también éramos conscientes de que eso afecta al resto

> de las

> lenguas. Reflexionamos sobre la situación de los inmigrantes de origen

> árabe

> en ESpaña y establecíamos un cierto paralelismo con la situación de los

> inmigrantes de origen Mexicano (hispanos en general) implicados en la

> Clase

> Mágica.


> So I think is time to tackle the issue in XMCA, but I wonder if Thought &

> Language is to long as a first attempt. We can go twofold. Just some

> chapters

> from T&L. Or just some chapters from M in S. I'll delighted any way.

> Así que creo que ha llegado el momento de abordar este asunto dentro

> de XMCA

> pero creo que Pensamiento y Lenguaje puede resultad demasiado largo

> para un

> primer intento. Podemos empezar por algún capítulo aunque también podemos

> hacer lo mismo con "Mind in Society". Estaré encantado con cualquiera

> de las

> dos opciones.





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Ana Marjanovic'-Shane,Ph.D.

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