Re: [xmca] Streamed Discussion of Development in CHAT Theory

From: Mike Cole <lchcmike who-is-at>
Date: Wed Nov 21 2007 - 09:25:27 PST


Part of my point regarding central and peripheral lines of development in
the talk and
discussion was that I find the formulations quite abstract and want to see a
lot more
rising to the concrete. At different ages, different participation
structures in activity,
etc. And modern means of specifying the changes pretty precisely. An entire
of xmca that addressed these ideas in a careful, empirical, way would be a
big contribution.

On Nov 20, 2007 5:07 PM, Emily Duvall <> wrote:

> Hi David,
> Honestly, I just love a good derivative. It just thrills me,
> aesthetically speaking, to make those kinds of connections. I grew up
> with Bodmer's The Loom of Language... literally. My dad used to read it
> to me... :-) I also love the thrill of watching people break down words
> and then reconstruct and contextualize and make meanings... whether it's
> a 6 year old or one of my undergrads... It's just exciting to me. Here,
> for example, is a wee bit o' fun:
> More seriously, though, I don't think of etymology is necessarily chain
> and linked to a dictionary and I have difficulty with blanketing all
> etymology as an 'invented' tradition verses the 'not invented'. This
> dichotomization just doesn't fly for me - I understand etymology as the
> larger conceptualization of word origins and history and all that the
> latter embraces.
> Regarding your statements on child development, deictics and
> demonstratives, etc. I'm not sure how words like car and apple can have
> no etymology... where does etymology begin? In the gesture? In
> scientific concepts?
> ~ Em
> -----Original Message-----
> From: []
> On Behalf Of David Kellogg
> Sent: Tuesday, November 20, 2007 3:09 PM
> To:; eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> Subject: Re: [xmca] Streamed Discussion of Development in CHAT Theory
> Em and Mike:
> Well, I think etymology is relevant, but not the way Dr. Johnson
> assumed. We have to keep in mind that etymology is largely an invented
> tradition; before the eighteenth century there simply were no
> dictionaries and no need for them neither. ("We don't need no stinkin'
> utensils....")
> Where etymology is relevant, and where it is not invented, is where it
> leaves a mark on word structure and shapes the way words are used. Andy
> is currently looking for references in LSV to "identity". I think it
> probable he will fail: the word LSV uses is "personality", and for good
> reason. "Identity" is quite a static concept, suggesting self-similarity
> and solecism, Robinson Crusoe on his island. "Personality" has precisely
> the kind of developmental, yea, teleological etymology that LSV would
> have wanted.
> (WHY "identity" in our mouths today suggests this static and
> self-similar concept is another matter and points us to the reason for
> myths and invented traditions; Robinson, of course, had no need for an
> identity card. It is we Moderns who have to consult passports and slabs
> of embossed plastic to find out who we really are. I think the word
> "agency" is similar; this morning, reading N. Ellis' account of how
> consciousness and noticing are reflected in word use, I came across the
> marvelous oxymoron "zombie agents". And that is as close as I want to go
> to the deconstructionists! Unlike Andy, I don't think they are closet
> duallists; most deconstructionalists I have read have trouble counting
> as far as the number "one".)
> In my last post I was arguing that the phenomenon Mike is talking
> about at the beginning of the Streamed Discussion of Development in CHAT
> Theory, the reversal of central and peripheral functions, is extremely
> abstract and vague and might cover development at two different levels
> of detail (though roughly the same time frame). The processes I talked
> about as a) processes are fairly concrete and can be observed in data
> (though of course the underlying intra-mental development cannot). The
> processes I talked about as b) processes are too general and abstract,
> and this explains there schematic quality.
> Actually, etymology provides a good example of an a) process, at least
> for me. I'm going to argue that one of the ways that child vocabulary
> changes is that the use of deictics and demonstratives, words that have
> essentially NO etymology, is at first central. Words like "car" (carrus)
> and "apple" (apfel) which have cultural-historical tails that we can
> pull are at first relatively peripheral. As the child grows older, this
> relationship between central and peripheral becomes reversed. As we can
> see, XMCA is made up of very aged children indeed.
> David Kellogg
> Seoul National University of Education
> ---------------------------------
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Received on Wed Nov 21 09:26 PST 2007

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