The Foundations of Linguistic Theory (RLE Linguistics B: Grammar): Selected Writings of Roy Harris

1st Edition

Nigel Love

Routledge
Published December 21, 2015
Reference - 256 Pages
ISBN 9781138989306 - CAT# Y210109
Series: Routledge Library Editions: Linguistics

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Summary

For Roy Harris, the fundamental problem about linguistics is that it has been led astray by the fact that we are capable intellectually of ‘decontextualising’ our own verbal behaviour. A whole interlocking system of doctrines about forms, meanings and communication has arisen designed to support the idea that one particular kind of decontextualising analysis is a prerequisite for, rather than a retrospective reflection on, that behaviour. Against this, in 13 essays collected here for the first time, Harris argues for a fresh start, which recognises that we create language ‘as we go’, both as individuals and as communities, just as we create our social structures, forms of artistic expression, moral values, and everything else we call civilisation. If Harris’s thought can be put in a nutshell, it is that all utterances (whether written or spoken) have to appear in a context, and that context is an integral part of the utterance. There is no such thing as a contextless utterance.

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