McNeill's main thesis is that Saussure's linguistic paradigm (language as a system
of static contrasts on the social level, i.e. langue vs parole, signifier vs
signified, synchronic vs diachronic, syntagmatic vs paradigmatic, linguistic
value vs intrinsic value) and Vygotsky's psychological paradigm
(language as a dynamic process on the individual level) can be reconciled
by positioning them at different points on the speech developmental time axis
(the time it takes to think and build the sentence, not the time it takes
to utter it).
The book contains a clear introduction to Saussure's linguistics. McNeill's methodology relies on gesture ("gestures are part of the sentence") as an additional source of evidence.
McNeill also offers his own theory of spontaneous speech generation: inner speech symbols self-activate in appropriate conceptual situations and generate speech. He recognizes two fundamental types of thinking, and assumes that during linguistic actions imagistic thinking is unpacked by syntactic thinking.
Linguistic actions create self-aware consciousness: an individual becomes self-conscious by mentally simulating social experience. Individual consciousness is social.
TM, ®, Copyright © 2015 Piero Scaruffi