[xmca] Vygotsky in the West

From: David Kellogg <vaughndogblack who-is-at yahoo.com>
Date: Sun Apr 15 2007 - 15:51:35 PDT

Jakobson played an essential role in the Western propagation of Volosinov's work (see vii-viii in the introduction to Marxism and the Philosophy of Language). Volosinov is very close to Vygotsky in his analysis of word meaning, and they cite exactly the same examples from Dostoevsky and Mandelstam. I don't know of any direct link between Vygotsky and Jakobson, but I wouldn't be at all surprised. I would be astonished if Jakobson didn't know David Vygodsky, LSV's cousin.
  Ana--what can I read about Matusov's work on "you"? It's a CONSTANT problem for us (and for the children), you know, differentiating when "you" means "everybody" and when "you" means "somebody" and telling how children know the difference.
  The way I've been thinking about it is a little arid, I'm afraid, because I've been trying to link it to my work on scientific concepts. Words like "you" and "here" are dominated by their pragmatic content not their semantic content (that is, they are "znachenie"/"smysl" rather than "smysl"/"znachnie"). Words like "herbivore" and "muratic acid" (at least in the context of a science classroom) are the other way around. They are dominated by their semantic, conceptual content rather than their immediate reference (that is, they are "smysl"/"znachenie").
  The problem is that we've been taught to think of the lexicon as just a big alphabet--a set of symbols which have only formal relationships with each other. They are much more like Marx's commodities: some of them are mostly use value and some are mostly exchange value. In other words, the lexicon IS a big alphabet, but only if we see the alphabet as it really is, not as a formal set but rather as a palimpsest of different materials which are historically and functionally different, where some letters may indeed mean something only in context with other letters ("q") but most can stand on their own and even have meaning on their own ("I" and "a" and even "u" the way it is used in text messaging).
  Mike--there are TWO books by Loren Graham on Soviet science. Which one do I read first?
  David Kellogg
  Seoul National University of Education

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Received on Sun Apr 15 16:53 PDT 2007

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