Re: Do we really live in language?

Gary Blanchard (
Mon, 13 May 1996 17:14:52 -0700

Dear Alessandra,

Thanks for your reply of earlier today. In it, you said in part:

> ...a doubt is taking more and more shape in my mind. If we keep talking about spoken, verbal language, as we are doing....

MY RESPONSE: I am not doing that. I am talking about language as a
general phenomenon, that which children come to be competent in, whatever
their situation or culture, at or around the age of 4 or 5.

Perhaps it might be fruitful to ask a prior question:

-what is IT, that language is, like phenomenon, such that when it
is present, we can all jointly and concensually be aware of it ?

An accurate response to that question should allow us, like
investigators, to more accurately and agreeably answer those other
questions you posed:

>...what about those people whose language is not verbal or who do have a language impairment? Do they live 'less' than others? Are their
interactions less meaningful? I am thinking of Deaf people using sign
language, and, in a different way, of people with aphasia, and also of
children who do not yet master the language properly....

>...Just another point about Deaf people and sign language before I log off... The belief that we live in spoken, verbal language has led to
Deaf culture and Sign Language to be heavily oppressed in the last 116
yrs (from 1880, Milan congress), so beliefs of this type, might seem
harmless and of the taken-for-granted type, but may affect people's

> Looking forward to constructivists thoughts on language,
> Alessandra:-)
I think they are very important questions. And I look forward to
addressing them with you, and such other of our maillist colleagues as
wish to join our conversation.

Best wishes. Sincerely, Gary