From Social Interaction to Higher Psychological Processes. A Clarification and Application of Vygotsky’s TheoryWertsch J.V.
Department of Linguistics, Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill.
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Vygotsky’s notions of speech, language and thought have recently begun to receive more attention in the west, but some of his basic distinctions are not well understood. The first part of this paper deals with some of the confusions that have arisen due to inaccurate translation and misunderstanding of Vygotsky’s general theoretical framework. The focus of this analysis is on Vygotsky’s distinction between language and speech. The second part of the paper deals with the emergence of self-regulative capacities in ontogenesis – a central theme in the work of Vygotsky and his followers. It is argued that their ideas about self-regulation can be properly understood only if we conduct a genetic analysis that goes back to the origins of self-regulation. These origins are to be found in adult-child interaction where adults provide the ‘other-regulation’ necessary for a child to carry out a task. We argue that it is by coming to function in communicative settings involving other-regulation that the child can develop self-regulative capacities. These self-regulative capacities are seen as emerging as the result of the child’s taking over the communicative and regulative responsibilities formerly carried out by the adult.
© 1979 S. Karger AG, Basel
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