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

Hi Peter,

I am just wondering where exactly Tatiana Akhutina and Peter Feigenbaum have discussed the paper in question: was this discussion published anywhere?


----- Original Message ----
From: "Jones, Peter" <P.E.Jones@shu.ac.uk>
To: "ablunden@mira.net" <ablunden@mira.net>; "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>
Sent: Thursday, July 23, 2009 7:39:43 AM
Subject: RE: [xmca] Intensions in context and speech complexity ; From 2-?

Hi andy and mike and all
Many thanks for your interest in the paper and for comments which I'll take on board very seriously.
It is, as billed, a critical exploration of some aspects of vygotsky's work but certainly not an attempt at a balanced, overall appraisal - I think the conclusion says 'an irreverent romp around cultural-historical theory' which was maybe not such a good idea after all. But I'm concentrating here on a particular issue - namely the specifically linguistic arguments and assumptions which inform and underlie the speech internalization hypothesis which LSV advances. And it is, in response to your query, in the details of this particular argument that the influence of the standard 'language myth' is to be detected in my view, which I summarise in the conclusion. In other words, the whole problematic of 'egocentric speech', 'inner speech' and so on is framed around particular ideas and assumptions taken from particular linguistic theories and traditions - is it not legitimate to examine, in the light of more general considerations to do with the
 cultural-historical creation of human capacities and abilities, the validity of these ideas and assumptions and their compatibility with the overall programme? What if these specific arguments for speech internalization don't actually hold water? More generally I think there are a series of interconnected 'issues', let's say, with vygotsky's position that have been raised critically by many and various scholars from time to time - internalization, the natural-cultural (lower-higher) distinction, the relationship between word and concept, and the (quite disastrous) cross cultural research on which Luria and Vygotsky collaborated. For me, these issues remain deeply problematic and they are all interconnected as well not least because of the centrality of concepts of language and meaning which are at the core of vygotsky's thinking about culture and the cultural nature of human psychological functions. They are problematic in particular because in my view
 the relationship of this whole set of ideas and principles to marx's own views on human activity and creativity is in question. I'm afraid I don't accept that internalization is 'part of any rational theory of psychology' for reasons I give in this particular piece but I do find it interesting how and why the concept gets into cultural-historical theory in the first place. Anyway, it's good to hear your views but I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree for the moment! I apologise, too, for interrupting what was obviously a fruitful discussion with my own post. I should also say that the paper in question has been criticised most cogently already by Tatiana Akhutina and Peter Feigenbaum in a separate discussion.
With all v best wishes

-----Original Message-----
From: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu [mailto:xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of Andy Blunden
Sent: 23 July 2009 05:35
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: Re: [xmca] Intensions in context and speech complexity ; From 2-?

I had a read of your paper.

You argument hinges on the proposition that Vygotsky 
uncritically accepted "the language myth" as the foundation 
of his psychology. You explain this myth via Harris on p. 
168. It's more or less the spontaneous, common sense view of 
language. But Peter, I can find no point of contact between 
this myth and what I have read in Vygotsky, except that in a 
certain sense I think Vygotsky assumed the existence of the 
myth as a background in explaining his contrary view. I 
recall nothing of this in what you taught me in that van in 
England in 1984. I don't believe in the "myth" and yet to an 
extent of 99% my knowledge of linguistics comes from 
Vygotsky. The proposition is not believable.

Why the need to shoot down Vygotsky at this time?

Also, I think it is a mistake to think that the word 
"internalisation" connotes one specific set of ideas along 
with it. And actually the same applies to many words. People 
brought up in China speak Chinese. People brought up in 
England speak English. Was it in their genes? Did they 
reinvent the language personally? *Some* kind of 
internalisation is part of any rational theory of 
psychology. One of the first things I learnt from Vygotsky 
was how learning is an active process of appropriation and 
even invention. This does exclude the idea of "internalisation."


Jones, Peter wrote:
> Hi all
> I take the liberty of attaching a recent published paper on the theme of vygotsky's conception  of the transformation of external into inner speech in case it may be of some interest. The abstract is rather stark and possibly unhelpful in tone but I hope there is something a bit more comprehensible and relevant within!
> All v best
> Pete E  Jones
> -----Original Message-----
> From: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu [mailto:xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of Mike Cole
> Sent: 20 July 2009 15:57
> To: ablunden@mira.net; eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> Subject: Re: [xmca] Intensions in context and speech complexity ; From 2-?
> 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.
> mike
> 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.
>> Andy
>> Mike Cole wrote:
>>> David's note of a few days ago on 3-7 year old changes in egocentric
>>> speech
>>> reminded
>>> me of an old article by Slobin and Welch (reprinted in Ferguson and
>>> Slobin,
>>> *Studies of Child Development, 1963)
>>> *that it took a while to track down. The study is often cited in studies
>>> of
>>> 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
>>>  "If
>>> 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")
>>> Slobin
>>> 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
>>> alone
>>> -- 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
>>> actually
>>> 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?
>>> mike
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> xmca mailing list
>>> xmca@weber.ucsd.edu
>>> http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca
>> --
>> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
>> Andy Blunden (Erythrós Press and Media) http://www.erythrospress.com/
>> Orders: http://www.erythrospress.com/store/main.html#books
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Andy Blunden (Erythrós Press and Media) 
Orders: http://www.erythrospress.com/store/main.html#books

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