IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


The first person in the acquisition of native and second language

26 June 2024, 5:30 pm–7:15 pm

Standing man gestures with both hands while three people listen

Join this event to hear Susanne Herrmann-Sinai discuss Hegel’s Anthropology with a view to learning a first and second language, with reflections on Rousseau as well.

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to







Yuxin Su


Nunn Hall
20 Bedford Way

The process of learning our first language is elusive to our minds, which is striking, given the central status of our linguistic skills and our participation in linguistic practices for our self-understanding.

Drawing on the process of learning a second language and on Rousseau, Susanne will suggest that first language acquisition is closer to the process of second language acquisition than it might initially appear, paralleling Hegel’s talk about ‘magical relationships’ in the context of a mother-child relationship, an early form of intersubjectivity.

This in-person event will be particularly useful for those interested in theories of learning, the philosophy of Hegel and Rousseau and language learning.

PESGB seminar series

This event is part of the Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain (PESGB) seminar series. PESGB is a learned society that promotes the study, teaching and application of philosophy of education. Its London Branch hosts seminars every Wednesday in conjunction with the Centre for Philosophy of Education. These seminars are led by national and international scholars in the field, covering a wide range of issues of educational and philosophical concern.

All are welcome to attend.

Related links

About the Speaker

Susanne Herrmann-Sinai

Associate Faculty Member Faculty of Philosophy at University of Oxford

Her specialisations are the philosophy of German Idealism, in particular Hegel, Kant, and philosophy of music.