Edited by Laura Gurzynski-Weiss
[Language Learning & Language Teaching 53] 2020
► pp. 80–97
Chapter 4. I ~ You > I ~ Me
The hidden other in L2 development
An often-unquestioned assumption regarding psychological and linguistic development is that the interesting and relevant processes occur inside the head of the individual. It is a position that “fetishizes” the fact that development necessarily entails social relations as a component. Vygotsky, on the other hand, proposes that uniquely human forms of mental behavior, including language development, arise as a result of social relations: “I relate to myself as others relate to me” (1997). In other words, “I ~ You” interactions become, over time, “I ~ Me” interactions in which the voices of others are appropriated and transformed into my voice. This paper fleshes out the theoretical argument underlying the hidden or “fetishized” social other and considers the implications of this stance for second language development.