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

From: Paul Dillon <phd_crit_think who-is-at>
Date: Wed Nov 21 2007 - 18:55:55 PST

  It is quite coincidental that you used the term "atmosphere" to signify the dimension in which we signifying monkeys dwell. Just before reading your message I read a passage in a new and quite good book about linguistic ideologies, Rosaleen Howard. in which she provides the transcript of a conversation she had with a primary quechua bilingual (Spanish the other language). She asked the man whether he thought Quechua would survive. He responded in the afirmative and further added "Es nuestra clima, y como va a ser, pues" which is more or less like saying "it's the air in which we breathe, how could it be otherwise" . . . Another interviewee stated, "we awaken in Quechua".
  How does one measure the air of awakening?

Mike Cole <> wrote:
  Your fuller description of what you consider related to etymology helped
clarify what you were trying to say, David. Thanks.
I am always rethinking the idea of development and its relations to terms
like learning and emotion and context and.....
So I am using the LSV chapter to think about the process in the abstract and
in the concrete as well. Twice a week I
spend time with kids in different multigenerational settings where all these
things are constituitive of the "atmosphere"
(aka culture). (Interesting, now we can thing of atmosphere more dynamically
since we all reject static, essentialist,
ideas of culture)!

I believe that if we could be detailed enough we could benefit from some
computer modelling of systems with the same constituents
but a different "dynamics of development." I am always suscpicious of
binaries even when they are obviously useful. -- central|peripheral
for example, so I want to dig into the heterogeneity (related, I think, to
the idea of an activity system/ an event/ a....performance//////).

Sets of examples from seemingly different domains for which it was possible
to find a formal metric of comparison ought to prove
really challenging. And we need challenges.

On Nov 21, 2007 3:22 PM, David Kellogg wrote:

> Em--
> I think what I said was that "apfel" and "carrus" DID have a traceable
> etymology (Germanic and Latin). But words like "this" and "that" and "the"
> and "there" and "then" and "these" and "those" are clearly related, but do
> not have any traceable etymology that I know of. Instead, they are all
> linked to the pointing gesture (and in fact some linguists speculate that
> they evolved from pointing with the tongue, but this is of course an
> imaginary tradition).
> To tell you the truth, I think all language is imaginary tradition. We
> have an incredibly powerful system of abstract symbolism, but it is based on
> a slightly reworked, exapted system of animal communication, gesture and
> grunting. We intellectuals imagine that the central part of this
> communication system is abstract symbolification and the gestures and grunts
> are peripheral, but if you listen, really listen, to the way that MOST
> meaning-makinglanguage goes on in the real world, you will see that it is
> highly local and there isn't really such a thing as "a language". I think
> that's WHY people find the San Diego-Helsinki videos so satisfying (and also
> why they find them hard to discuss on the e-mail).
> Your suggestion for a dynamic testing klatsch (clash?) in San Diego is
> highly tempting, but I'm afraid I'm way over my travel budget for the next
> five years or so. We'll have to stick to e-mail and video!
> eric--
> I don't understand why the idea that development is non-observeable is
> behaviorist. For the behaviorists, if it's non-observeable it simply doesn't
> exist.
> Mike--
> I was re-reading the chapter on the The Problem of Age in Volume Five on
> the subway last night, and I realized that I have always completely
> misunderstood this chapter. I assumed that Vygotsky used "development" in
> two different ways; one was to describe evolutionary development within
> periods, and the other to describe revolutionary reconstruction that happens
> during the crises.
> Of course this is entirely wrong. They are linked but distinct processes.
> I use the formula "linked but distinct" as longhand for "dialectic", a word
> that has not only Marxist but also Confucian and even Daoist etymology over
> me, the word "although" expresses causality even better than the
> word "because". They are linked because each cannot exist without the other.
> They are distinct because in a very important sense, they are opposed
> to each other and each is the mirror image of the other, like the two halves
> of the central motif of the Korean flag.
> Of course you are right (and so is eric), what we really need is
> observeable data on this stuff instead of more handwaving. My idea is to
> present FOUR studies from three different crisis periods. Each one by itself
> cannot really describe development (because we cannot really be sure that
> learning is going on, much less development). But together they may give us
> some idea of the shape of the beast.
> David Kellogg
> Seoul National University of Education
> ------------------------------
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Received on Wed Nov 21 18:58 PST 2007

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