Re: [xmca] La teoría de la actividad y la práctica , bilingualism

From: Wolff-Michael Roth (
Date: Fri Oct 27 2006 - 08:16:23 PDT

Hi all,
I have been surprised by the way language and discourse has come
across in the messages pertaining to the language we use here. Using
Babblefish and pretending that one language can be translated into
another, and, equivalently, the styles, genres of speaking/thinking,
can be translated into another. TRADUTORE TRADITORE, say the Italians.

I speak 3 languages fluently--unfortunately not Spanish--and have
some acquaintance with Latin and I have to say that Marx in English
is not the same as Marx in German; Kant or Heidegger in English no
longer are the Heidegger I know in German, Bourdieu in English is not
the same as Bourdieu in French and so on. Having translations of many
of the books I work with, I note how much English RENDERINGS are
interpretations and approximations, with which I sometimes do not
agree. The very point gets lost. Allusions, alliterations,
metaphors.... all of this gets lost, and with it, the characteristic
of writing and WHAT is being said.

Well, some "food for thought"?

On 27-Oct-06, at 6:22 AM, David Preiss wrote:

As a native Spanish speaker, I understand Paul's point. But I think
we should keep on the translation. There are many XMCArs, which are
from parts other than the USA which have not been exposed to Spanish
at all and that already make an effort, as we do, to communicate in
English. If they would start writing in, say, Russian, I would really
appreciate a translation. That said, I am very happy to hear Spanish
speaking voices here. Bienvenidos! Should XMCA create separate lists
for each language or should agree on a English/l2 structure of

Paul Dillon wrote:
> Nacho,
> No estoy de acuerdo en principio. Quiero reflexionar un poco
> para mejor comunicar mi posicion mas tarde. Pero en breve, mis
> objeciones tienen que ver con el marco historico en el cual todo el
> proceso de aprendizaje tiene lugar y la necesidad de
> apoderamiento. En los discursos del CHAT se acostumbran a ver
> procesos historicos de corto plazo a pesar de que es una teoria que
> nacio y todavia tiene raices en una teoria de cambio historico a
> largo plazo. En donde se debe enfrentar esas contradicciones del
> tercer nivel de largo plazo? La cuestion de cortesia no me parece
> relevante si se trata de apoderar quienes han sido aplastado por la
> sociedad cuya lengua oficial es el ingles. Despues tratare de
> formular estos apuntes en una forma mas desarrollada.
> No obstante, quiero senalar la otra observacion que hice: si
> uno va a traducir, no seria mas conveniente hacerlo despues de
> haber escrito todo en un lenguaje?
> I disagree in principle. I want to think about it a little
> to communicate about it later. But briefly, my objections have to
> do with the historical framework in which the process of learning
> takes place and the necessity for empowerment. En CHAT discourses
> it's commmon to look at sort term historical processes even though
> it's a theoory that was born and still has roots in a theory of
> long term historical change. Where should the long-term tertiary
> contradictions be taken on? The question about courtesy doesn't
> seem relevant when we're dealing with the empowerment of those who
> have been squashed by the society whose official language is
> English. Later I will try to formulate these points in a more
> developed way.
> Nevertheless, I want to point out the other observation that I
> made: if one is going to translate, wouldn't it be easier to do it
> after having written everything in one language?
> Paul Dillon
> -- this is a babelfish translation of the Spanish message:
> I do not agree in principle. I want to reflect a little better
> to communicate my position but late. But shortly, my objections
> have to do with the historico frame in which all the process of
> learning takes place and the empowering necessity. In the speeches
> of the CHAT they get used to seeing historicos processes of short
> term although teoria is one that nacio and todavia has root in one
> in the long term teoria of historico change. In where one is due to
> face those contradictions of the third level of long term? The
> courtesy question does not seem to me excellent if it is to empower
> who have been squashed by the society whose official language is
> ingles. Despues will try to formulate these notes in a developed
> form but. However, I want to senalar the other observation that I
> did: if one is going to translate, nonserious but advisable to make
> it despues of have written everything in a language?
> -- this is a babelfish translation of the Spanish message:
> It would be great if it worked but as you can see, it doesn't work
> very well at all, better than nothing, but why should people who
> can read English but not write it be forced to spend all their
> extra time translating for the benefit of people who don't read
> Spanish???
> Nacho Montero García-Celay <> wrote:
> Paul,
> I realize your point it's important. But I think of it as a matter
> of courtesy. The majority of XMCA's members are not able to read in
> spanish, so let start with the main language.
> Entiendo la importancia de lo queplanteas pero yo me lo planteo
> como una cuestión de cortesía. La mayoría de los miembros de XMCA
> no pueden leer en castellano, así que prefiero empezar por el
> idioma de la mayoría.
> Any way, your comment reminds me the idea that every single person
> has to be able to use her maternal language for communication, for
> learning and for research. Nowadays, it is not possible among
> hispanic people at USA, or aymara and quechua people, in Peuú,
> Chile or Bolivia (among others).
> En cualquier caso, tu comentario me recuerda que cualquier persona
> debería poder usar su lengua materna para comunicarse, aprender e
> investigar. Hoy día es algo que no es posible entre los hispanos en
> los Estados Unidos, o entre los aymaras y quequa, en Perú, Chile o
> Bolivia.
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David D. Preiss Ph.D. Profesor Auxiliar / Assistant Professor  
Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile Escuela de Psicología. Av.  
Vicuña Mackenna 4860. Macul, Santiago de Chile. Chile
Teléfono: (56-2) 354-4605 Fax: (56-2) 354-4844.
Laboratorio de Creatividad, Educación y Cultura http://


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