Re: [xmca] Vygotsky in the West

From: Katarina Rodina <katarina.rodina who-is-at>
Date: Mon Apr 16 2007 - 07:28:47 PDT

Hi Erik, Mike, David,

This is an interesting question, perhaps revealing a well kept academic
secret. I think that historical reseach on Vygotsky is of great
importance, and will shortly comment on the impact of Roman Jakobson and
Vygotsky on Luria’s phonological interest in the 1920-30, as well as the
development of neuro-linguistics. Jakobson influenced Vygotsky’s and
Luria’s concept of neuropsychology qua cultural-historical and theoretical
basis for speech pathology, especially in Luria’s research on aphasia. R.
O. Jacobson (1963/1985) in “Linguistic Types of Aphasia” emphasized the
essential role of linguistics in the study of aphasia, giving a linguistic
interpretation of Luria’s classifications of aphasia.

The first neuropsychological research was carried out by Vygotsky and
Luria in the 1920s. This research was a continuation of Vygotsky’s
research in general psychology. Vygotsky focused on the systematic
deviations in psychological processes, occurring because of damage to the
cerebral cortex. Luria’s student T. V. Akhutina (2002:5-6) states that
Luria’s interest for aphasia goes back to the 1930s. Vygotsky stimulated
Luria’s interest for phonology and linguistics, including the writings of
Roman Jakobson. Luria became acquainted with Jakobson in 1929 (in the US).
Jakobson gave lectures on speech pathology and linguistic interpretation
of aphasiological taxonomy in London (1963/4). These lectures became,
according to Akhutina (2002), milestones in the development of psycho- and

Jakobson’s interest for Vygotsky was linked to Luria’s research in the
field of clinical neurolinguistics and dynamic aphasia (Luria’s own
classification). In his work “Osnovnye problemy neyrolingvistiki” (1975),
Luria presents Jakobson as an outstanding contemporary linguist. Jakobson
shared Vygotsky’s and Luria’s views on diagnostics and methodology, and
criticized the dominant quantitative and statistical approach to speech
pathology. The influence of Vygotsky’s non-arithmetic approach to
disability on Jakobson’s work was, therefore, significant (see Vygotsky
1993, in my paper in the xmca-archive, 2006).

In addition, I would like to emphasize the fact that Vygotsky’s emphasis
on the significance of research on the dysontogenesis of Higher Mental
Functions for the understanding of ontogeny (published in Vygotsky’s last
lecture, 1,5 months before his death as “Problems of the development and
dissolution of higher mental functions”, 28.04. 1934) was fundamental to
Jakobson’s and Luria’s neurolinguistic research.

Jakobson often referred to cultural-historical research on inner speech
(Vygotsky, Luria [1962], Zhinkin [1958], Sokolov [1959]) in his
neurolinguistic writings. Thus, there is reason to believe that Jakobson
not only knew and was interested in Vygotsky’s work, but that he
influenced Luria’s research on aphasia and based his own writings (in
cooperation with Luria) on neurolinguistics and Vygotsky’s
cultural-historical position in relation to HMF.

Jakobson as a neurolinguist was, therefore, probably one of the first who
promoted the basic concepts of Vygotsky’s theories in the West, first and
foremost in connection with the publication of Vygotsky’s work ”Myshlenie
i rech”.

Akhutina,T.V.(2002). Predislovie k nastoyashemu izdaniyu. In Luria, A.R.
(2002). Pis`mo I rech. Neurolingvisticheskie issledovaniya.Moskva.
«Akademia», 3-9.
Jacobson, R.O. (1963/1985). Linguistic Types of Aphasia. – In Jakobson, R.
Selected Writings. Vol.II (Word and Language). The Hague-Paris, p.307-319
Jacobson,R.O.(1963/1985). Linguistic Types of Aphasia. In Jakobsons, R.
Selected Writings, Moscow-Progress, 287-300.
Zhinkin, N.I. (1958). Mekhanizmy rechi. Ìoskva. Akad.ped.nauk, RSFSR (
Luria, A.R. (1962). Vyschie korkovye funkzii cheloveka i ikh narusheniya
pri lokal`nykh porazheniyakh mozga. Moskva. Izdatelstvo MGU ( Russian) .
Sokolov, À.N.(1959). Issledovanya po probleme rechevykh mekhanizmov
myschleniya. In «Psychologiceskaya nauka v SSSR» tom 1.
Moskva.Akad.ped.nauk RSFSR, 488-515.

Katarina R.

On Sun, April 15, 2007 20:08, Mike Cole wrote:
> Hi Erik.
> Odd coincidence that we are working on getting a translation of Ivanov's
> book on semiotics in the
> USSR translated just now.
> I wonder if Jackobson played a role in getting Thought and Language
> publisihed in 1962? He and Bruner,
> who wrote, the preface, knew each other well. And he was well known to
> Luria.
> But whether he himself wrote about Vygotsky I have no idea. Where did you
> encounter this idea?
> mike
> On 4/15/07, Eirik Knutsson <> wrote:
>> Dr. Vyacheslav Ivanov seems to suggest that Roman Jakobson was one of
>> the
>> first to introduce Vygotsky's work in the West. Does anybody know?
> _______________________________________________
> xmca mailing list

Katarina A. Rodina
MSc-Speech & Language Therapy/Logoped,MNLL
PhD-Research Fellow,
Department of Special Needs Education
University of Oslo
P.O.Box 1140 Blindern,NO-0318 Oslo, Norway
Phone: +47 22 85 81 38/Fax:  +47 22 85 80 21
Head of Russo-Norwegian Academic Cooperation,
Herzen State Pedagogical University
St.Petersburg, Russia
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Received on Mon Apr 16 08:30 PDT 2007

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