Creating Promising Futures Through Social Construction
A Message from the Taos Institute President
Institute Officers and Board of Directors
Taos Institute Europe
Taos Latin America
Relational Research Network
3rd International Relational Research Network Virtual Symposium
Previous Article Series
Interesting Research Videos
Taos Initiatives & Grants (TAG)
Outstanding Contribution Award
Taos PhD Program
The Educational Program
Application Procedure - Taos PhD Program
Taos Institute Ph.D. Program Costs and Requirements
Upcoming Ph.D. Defenses
For More Information
Application and Fees
International Certificate Program in Collaborative Practices
4th International Congress of the International Certificate in Collaborative-Dialogic Practice
Taos Workshops, Courses & Seminars
Taos Online Workshops & Courses
Taos Associate Workshops & Conferences
An International Learning Festival - Collaborative Innovations in Education
Attractor/Taos Summer Institute - Leadership in Turbulent Times
3rd International Conference of Collaborative & Dialogic Practices
The Taos Institute Silver Jubilee: 25 years of Innovation in Social Construction
Taos Books and Publications
Focus Books, Tempo Books, Professional Books
Taos Institute E-Books
Worldshare Books - Free books for downloading
Books of Interest
Publishing and Author Information
Journals and Newsletters
The Taos Institute Newsletter
Positive Aging Newsletter
The International Journal of Collaborative Practices
Journals of Interest
Manuscripts for Downloading
Manuscripts – Taos Founders, Board Members & Associates
Non-English Manuscripts – Taos Founders, Board Members & Associates
Taos PhD Program Completed Dissertations
Other Noteworthy Dissertations
Noteworthy Dissertations in Spanish
Noteworthy Dissertations in Portuguese
Videotapes - Board Members, Associates and Guests
Relational Practice Videos
Videos from the Dialogues that Deliver Conference, September 2008
Videos in Spanish
Other Videos of Interest
Websites and Blogs
Websites of Interest
Spanish Dialogue Network
Spanish Blog about Social Constructionism
Social Constructionist Counselor Educator’s Listserve
Relational Learning in Education
Lifescaping Practices in Schools
Co-Creating Schools of the Future through Appreciative Inquiry
The Peer Mentoring Project at Kent State University
Healthy Kids Healthy Schools
Submit your Story/Example
Join Our Mailing List
Taos Online Dialogue Space
Donate to the Taos Institute
The John Shotter Memorial Fund
Jane Magruder Watkins Scholarship Fund
Peggy Penn WorldShare Fund
Meet Our Donors
/ Marie-Cécile Bertau, Ph.D.
Marie-Cécile Bertau, Ph.D.
Institute of Phonetics and Speech Processing
Born into a French-German Family, the experience of language as a plural, cultural practice jointly performed with others built the ground for my interest in language, leading to studies in psycholinguistics, philosophy, phonetics, and pedagogy of speech impaired children. Since 2000 I have taught psycholinguistics at the University of Munich, a discipline which I formulate within the tradition of cultural-historical psychology, especially referring to Vygotsky's work.
Looking at the practice of language shows that the spoken and addressed word forms different worlds and leads to specific sensual and conceptual perceptions. Thus, a questioning of how language functions for socially related individuals comprises rhetorics and linguistics in a psychological perspective, addressing the antithetical as well as the intellectual experience of the spoken word. Privileging performance, this questioning is basically oriented towards what happens when people speak and listen in terms of the formations, deformations and transformations of the dynamic time-space we share and build in interacting with language.
In my dissertation on metaphors (1995) I explored not only the social functions of this trope but also how language is understood in our Western culture since ancient Greece, starting with the first reflections about language by the Sophists (Protagoras, Gorgias). How the metaphor is treated by rhetoricians, language philosophers and linguists up to modern times is a paradigm of how deviations and vagueness are theoretically permitted, forbidden, or even negated in building up the “system of language”. Further, these theoretical reflections show clearly the role of alphabetic writing practices since its invention, insofar as it gives way to a rectified and objectified view of language which becomes a fixed code, under control of the ego-subject.
The interest in writing practices led me, during the years of 1996-2000, to develop and implement a trans-institutional project aimed at fostering young illiterate adults (“Gilgamesch-Projekt”), which was awarded a prize by the German Federal Ministry of Women, Family, Senior Citizens and Youth. Working with these young people deepened my functional and sensual understanding of language, and leads further to investigate the relationship of the word to thinking processes. Listening to thinking-aloud-protocols, the audible voices that an individual performs in speaking from different positions, thereby addressing different internal and external instances, was a striking experience. These actually perceived voices and the dialogicality of the speaking-thinking individual paves the way for a dialogical understanding of language and of the self. Thus, the Russian dialogical thinkers as Yakubinsky, Bakhtin and Voloshinov together with the model of the dialogical self as developed in the 1990‘s by Hermans and his colleagues, built the framework for a further understanding of language as a performed and experienced social phenomenon. This resulted in 2009 to a Habilitation (University of Munich): Anreden, Erwidern, Verstehen. Elemente einer Psycholinguistik der Alterität (Address, Reply, Understanding. Elements of Psycholinguistics Grounded in Alterity).
Currently, I am following the “phenomenological” path opened up by the notion of Sprachraum belonging to the theory of language which I developed in 2009. This specific time-space is built up by people interacting with language, it is not to be understood as an Eucledean space, rather as a topological space where several formations take place in time. These formations and transformations within the course of speaking and listening can easily be perceived for instance when inter-actants change their position in the room, or change the genre of speaking/listening, or even the language they use. It is important to note that these formations are deeply social and insofar objective, and not a mere outer expression of some personal inner emotional or intellectual process.
Bertau, M.-C. & Gonçalves, M. (Eds.) (2007). Developmental Origins of the Dialogical, Self Special Issue. International Journal for Dialogical Science 2(1), 1–324.
Bertau, M.-C. (2008). Voice: A pathway to consciousness as social contact to oneself. In: Integrative Psychological and Behavioral Science 42(1), 92–113.
Bertau, M.-C. (2008). Pour une notion de la forme linguistique comme forme vécue. Une approche avec Jakubinskj, Volo sinov et Vygotskij. Dans : Langage et pensée : Union Soviétique 1920-1930. Cahiers de l'ILSL, 24. Éd. par Patrick Sériot & Janette Friedrich. 5–28.
Lyra, M.C.D.P. & Bertau, M.-C. (2008). Dialogical practices as basis for self. In: Studia Psychologica, VI(8), 173-193.
Bertau, M-C.; Gonçalves, M. & Raggatt, P. (Eds.) (2010, in press). Dialogic Formations. Investigations into the Development of the Dialogical Self. Charlotteville: Information Age Publishing.
Marie-Cécile Bertau, Ph.D. Files & Links
Marie-Cecile Bertau, Ph.D. Books
Marie-Cécile Bertau, Ph.D.
Klaus G. Deissler, Ph.D.
Lothar Duda, Dipl.-Psych.
Eugene K. Epstein, Ph.D.
Margit Epstein, Ph.D.
Petra Kuenkel, Ph.D.
Helge Löbler, Ph.D.
Cornelia Oestereich, Dr. Med.
Tobias Schüth, Ph.D.
Reinhard Stelter, Ph.D.
Manfred Wiesner, Dipl.-Psych.