Language in Cognitive Development: The Emergence of the Mediated Mind

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Overview

Contemporary study of language and cognition in infancy and early childhood has received considerable, well-deserved attention; however, little effort has been directed to the means by which language becomes a cognitive and communicative tool, or to what the full implications of this development may be. The child's understanding of temporal concepts and language exemplifies the transition from language and cognition to language in cognition. This book represents an integrative theory of cognitive development in infancy and early childhood, emphasizing the important role that language plays in taking the 2- to 5-year-old child to new levels of cognitive operations in memory, processing narratives, forming concepts and categories, and understanding other people's intentions. Biological evolution is discussed as the ultimate source of both language and culture, but it is argued that qualitatively different modes of thinking and knowing emerge therefrom. Aspects of cognitive organization (memory, concepts) and knowledge systems (time, psychosocial awareness) are considered within a model of collaborative construction that both retains and integrates individually and social conventionality.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"What Nelson has done, though, in a readable, accessible, but very thorough way, is put children's communicative development into relation with their prior understanding and memory for events and with their later emerging capacity to produce autonomous discourse and to enter into the worlds of knowledge that it makes possible...This book by Nelson brings together the fields of linguistic and cognitive development by describing how acquiring language makes possible massive changes in the scope of cognition." Catherine Snow, Science

"Language is the channel through which culture is recreated for every generation, through which knowledge is transmitted, and through which the autobiographical self is established....This book by Nelson brings together the fields of linguistic and cognitive development by describing how acquiring language makes possible massive changes in the scope of cognition." Catherine Snow, Science

"Language is the channel through which culture is recreated for every generation, through which knowledge is transmitted, and through which the autobiographical self is established....This book by Nelson brings together the fields of linguistic and cognitive development by describing how acquiring language makes possible massive changes in the scope of cognition." Catherine Snow, Sicence

"Nelson's ambitious, timely, and far reaching theory should stimulate readers to rethink how cognitive development takes place." James N. Forbes, Child Development Abstracts and Bibliography

"...a truly significant contribution to the study of cognitive development." Michael Tomasello, Contemporary Psychology

"The book deserves the serious attention of all scientists who wish to understand how human beings proceed ontogenetically from the individually based cognition characteristic of primates in general to the kinds of collective cognition, embodied in language and other cultural artifacts, that characterize mature Homo sapiens" Michael Tomasello, Contemporary Psychology

"For linguists, the main value of the book lies perhaps not in the originality of its view on language acquisition as a process of collaborative construction of culture-specific concepts and categories through which the child becomes a member of a culture and a social group, but more in the convincing way this view is substantiated with a wealth of interesting data which no one interested in language acquisition can afford to ignore." Language

"In sum, this important and thought-provoking book sets an ambitious agenda and progresses a long way toward achieving it." Maureen A. Callanan, Human Development

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521551236
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 6/13/1996
  • Pages: 448
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface
1 Language, Cognition, and Culture in Developmental Perspective 3
2 Emergence of Human Minds in Evolution and Development 26
3 Evolution and Development of the Hybrid Mind 59
4 Early Cognition: Episodic to Mimetic Childhood in a Hybrid Culture 91
5 The Emergence of Mediating Language 120
6 Memory in Early Childhood: The Emergence of the Historical Self 152
7 The Emergence of the Storied Mind 183
8 The Emergence of the Paradigmatic Mind 223
9 The Emergence of the Temporal Mind 259
10 The Emergence of the Projective Mind 292
11 Collaborative Construction of the Mediated Mind 325
Notes 353
References 371
Name Index 405
Subject Index 413
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