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Re: [xmca] Intensions in context and speech complexity ; From 2-?

This formulation of the question is clarifying, Mike, and helps me realize that I can't answer it— because it is asking something in terms that frame the thing that's going on in a particular way that, to me, is too assumptive. I don't see it in terms of external constraints, intentions and goals - I don't have a mentalistic understanding of the social relational activity of speaking, creating conversation, playing with language. I can't see what is gained by invoking compliance, imposition, limitations, intentions and goals, and I feel that doing so obscures the "form of life"-ness. I'm with Wittgenstein on this - speaking is part of an activity, or of a form of life." An experimenter asking a child to "say what I say" is a particular language game, and the same child talking/babbling in another situation is another. If I understand, you're trying to find a reason that what the child says is different in the two. I guess I wonder why you think they wouldn't be. And why the direction to look is "internal."

Lois Holzman, Director
East Side Institute for Group and Short Term Psychotherapy
920 Broadway, 14th floor
New York NY 10010
tel. 212.941.8906 ext. 324
fax 212.941.0511

On Jul 20, 2009, at 10:56 AM, Mike Cole wrote:

Andy/David/ Lois:

Why are the simplifications when children imitate sentences that carry out
the intentions of others and limit their agency to
complying with external constraints imposed by others absent when they carry out their own intentions in speech acts that are instrumental to carrying
out those goals and may be more complicated, grammatically, than what
experimenters ask of them? I get the dropping out the subject part in inner
speech, I think.

On Sun, Jul 19, 2009 at 10:30 PM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:

Mike, my reading of Vygotsky's explanation of the process of speech being abbreviated as it transforms into silent speech, as I recall, is that the child for example leaves off the subject of a sentence for example, because they already know the subject, and such like. I.e., as I read it, they carry dense elements of context internally so that the verbal instruction to themselves carries that context implicitly. Just like if I say "Pass me that" the hearer won't understand without the help of a shared visual field.

So intention is part of the context, but it is the context, and it's
various mental representations and cues which is relevant, isn't it?

So for example, the continued presence of all the elements of a snippet of dialogue act as cues which would allow something to be repeated, because the
entire act in response to cues in the context can be repeated.

But also, relevant to a topic we have been discussing, Mike, the project of which the speech act is a part has to be understood and shared by the child if they are to make sense of it, and of course psychological testing is not
generally such a project.

I don't really know if that's relevant to the distinction you're after


Mike Cole wrote:

David's note of a few days ago on 3-7 year old changes in egocentric
me of an old article by Slobin and Welch (reprinted in Ferguson and
*Studies of Child Development, 1963)
*that it took a while to track down. The study is often cited in studies
elicited imitation where an adult says some
sentence and asks a little kid to repeat it. Kids simplify the sentence in
normal circumstances ("Where is the kitty"
becomes "where kitty") and other such stuff. There is a pretty large
literature on this.

But when I went to find the phenomenon in the article that had most struck
me, I could not find it in the recent lit
on elicited imitation. The phenomenon seems relevant to the monologic,
dialogic etc speech discussion.

The phenomenon is this: When a 2yr/5month old child is recorded saying
you finish your eggs all up, Daddy, you
can have your coffee." they can repeat this sentence pretty much as it is
right afterward. But 10 minutes later it has
become simplified a la the usual observation.

Citing William James (the child has an "intention to say so and so")
and Welch remark:

If that linguistic form is presented for imitation while the intention is still operative, it can be faily successfully imitated. Once the intention is gone, however, the utterance must be processed in linguistic terms
-- without its original intentional and
contextual support." In the absence of such support, the task can strain
the child's abilities and reveal a more limited competence than may
be present in spontaneous speech (p. 489-90).

This kind of observation seems relevant in various ways both to language
acquisition in school settings and to my reccurrent
questions about the social situation of development. Is it relevant to the
discussion of egocentric and social speech, David?
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