ERIC Number: ED331051
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-Mar
Reference Count: 0
Situating "Egocentric Language" In the Teaching Of Composition: Piaget, Britton, and Merleau-Ponty.
Grunst, Robert C.
By assigning negative value to egocentric language, Jean Piaget equates depersonalized thought and logic with maturity, and gives disproportionate favor to socialized language. By focusing on the deterministic ends to be gained through the acquisition of socialized language, Piaget misses the value of egocentric language. Maurice Merleau-Ponty, James Britton and others argue not only that egocentric language can exist legitimately in the adult and have value for knowledge, but also that highly effective writing is produced when a writer can freely range across the full spectrum of mental activity--from the source of egocentric language, to Piaget's depersonalized thought. So if traces of egocentric language can be found in a student's writing, this should be viewed as a way to build knowledge rather than an indication of immaturity. After all, the mature writer knows the doubt and confusion of one "I" saying to the other, "maybe you have it wrong." It is the uncertainty of egocentric language which insures that thinkers will always have important work to do when speaking and writing. (PRA)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Expressive Writing; Writing Development
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (42nd, Boston, MA, March 21-23, 1991).