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

From: Ana Marjanovic-Shane (
Date: Fri Oct 27 2006 - 16:05:59 PDT

Paul and everyone,
Although it does sometimes feel frustrating that many more people speak
English (on this list) than any other language, I think that
historically there always existed a "Lingua Franca" -- a common language
in which people of all different national languages still could
communicate. For Science and Philosophy it used to be Latin for many
many centuries. Nowadays English is one of these common languages.
I have never really felt squashed by not being able to express my
thoughts in Serbo-Croatian -- although there were times when I had to
make a special effort to express what I could easily do in Serbian. I
also speak German and French and a bit of Russian, and I know, like
Michael (Roth) how nuances can get lost in translation. But on the other
hand, I feel rich for being able to speak more than one language. I
don't think that there is ever a possibility for "complete" translation.
But, imagine! We sit on all these far away points of this planet and we
chat (pun intended) together, and by doing that we are building a new
community with its own meanings. And when we do not have quite a good
vocabulary in English, we can add a Russian word ("perezhivanye") or a
Spanish word (you tell me), or maybe a whole expression in another
language, and we can start using any terminology we need to understand
each other better, just like it has been done in all the times.
Languages are plastic and adjustable, and if we have so much to share,
we will find the way.
Also, we can always serve as teachers to each other and help everyone
learn (or at least get a sense of ) what do we loose by not reading
Vygotsky/Luria/Leontiev/Davidov etc in Russian, what by not reading
Marx, Hegel, Heidegger or Lewin in German, what by not reading Derrida
and so many others in French, etc. ...
Knowing many languages is a great asset, and no one should feel
oppressed by any one of the languages they know. The only oppression is
if you know only one language -- that is a loss...
I love reading Spanish if I also have a translation into English next to
it. That also lets me learn Spanish a little better than I can
understand it now.
Thank you all for that gift.
Ana (M-S)

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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Ana Marjanovic'-Shane,Ph.D.

151 W. Tulpehocken St.

Philadelphia, PA 19144

Home office: (215) 843-2909

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