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Thought and Language - Revised Edition revised edition Edition

4.8 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0262720106
ISBN-10: 0262720108
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Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English, Russian (translation) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Lev S. Vygotsky (1896--1934) studied at Moscow University. He began his systematic work in psychology at the age of 28, and within a few years formulated his theory of the development of specifically human higher mental functions. He died of tuberculosis in 1934. Thought and Language was published posthumously that same year.

Alex Kozulin began his investigation of Vygotsky's theory at the Moscow Institute of Psychology and continued it in Boston and then Jerusalem. He is the author of Psychology in Utopia: Toward a Social History of Soviet Psychology (MIT Press, 1984), Vygotsky's Psychology: A Biography of Ideas, and a coeditor of Vygotsky's Educational Theory in Cultural Context.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 344 pages
  • Publisher: The MIT Press; revised edition edition (August 28, 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0262720108
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262720106
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #591,130 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Vygotsky, who was a contemporary of Piaget, unfortunately never received nearly as much attention while still alive. Probably due to the fact that he was working in Russia and had a relatively short career his work seems to have taken a very long time to even get published for 'western' consumption. His theories also go against the grain of the dogma currently in vogue in psychology.
This book gives a brief overview of Vygotsky's life and career. Then it launches into Vygotsky's original manuscript which begins with a critique of some of the central themes of that time; oddly enough those themes are still being pursued by psychologists today. Vygotsky's critique is very interesting and demonstrates a very broad range of understanding of psychological, physical and philosophical knowledge throughout the section.
The second part of the book then advances Vygotsky's theories of thought and language development. And that is the crux of Vygotsky's theory: thought and language each develop in a manner that one might characterize as partially self-catalyzing in addition to behaving as one. Vygotsky also advanced some important ideas about child potential with his "zone of proximal development".
Vygotsky pointed out that development hinges on the social structure surrounding the child and is not similar to the idea of some computer operating system simply requiring some type of "load" instruction. That is, Vygotsky's work seems to dispel some of the hot air surrounding Chomsky's ideas about "deep grammar" structures existing and just waiting for the instructions to start working; instead thought and language develop, sometimes separately and sometimes requiring each other to act as catalysts.
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A contemporary of Piaget (developmental psychology)and Watson (behaviorism), Vygotsky launches a cogent critique and synthesis of these two scientific schools. His asserting that learning leads development is as fresh and valuable today as it was when he first wrote the text. Secondly, his calling for a functional analysis of language has been pursued only by the behavioral schools; a short-fall of cognitive and developmental psychology which focuses on the structure of language and hypothetical constructs of brain functioning. Vygotsky relied on observable behavior under contrived and natural conditions in developing his model of socially mediated learning. Although he does a bit of theorizing, his view of learning speech and thought--a skill taught and mediated by social forces--is an excellent bridge between the two schools of thought mentioned above. This book should be required reading for developmental psychologists, educators and behaviorists alike.
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Format: Paperback
In the 1920s Vygotsky had already seen simmilarities between the Old Freud and the Young Piaget, and beguins this book with a rejection of primary narcissism that has, since Melany Klein, influenced many psychoanalyists. He then corrects Piaget's theory on thought and language in a way that has imposed itself since the book has been transalated. To my knowledge this is the first complete transalation of this classic.
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This review is not about the content of the book, but the shoddy publication of it by MIT Press, which one would think could do better. All the (many) footnotes after those for page 58 are missing! They're simply not there.
Followup note: I am further dismayed to discover that this is NOT, as it claims to be, a full translation of the Vygotsky 1934 edition - https://www.marxists.org/russkij/vygotsky/1934/thinking-speech.pdf . I am comparing the Russian and English for terminology help in translating some articles from the Vygotsky school of researchers, and I find that the English text is significantly abridged.
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Vygotsky and Piaget are the forerunners in today's educational thinking. Even though they lived a long time ago they are still focused on in educational thinking. Piaget and Stern theories about language and development are included. The book is all emcompassing with language development and thinking . If you need to know about language development this is the book you should be reading.
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Being a trainer and an academic co-ordinator, I find that Vygostky is an essential reader for all trainers / teachers. He helps you understand how to teach better, how to use peer learning and when used with experiential learning gives the best results.
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