Speech Action and Language Structure



Empirical science is able to distinguish in each of its complex objects many, one can calmly say unlimitedly many, different ‘sides’; the same applies to language. Since, besides, speech and humanness [Menschsein], language and culture, language and society, and the history of humanity, language and logic, and still other topics stand in a recognized inner correlation, there is no lack of interests, questions, and stimuli flowing to linguistics from its neighbor sciences. And what discipline would not in some way abut the domain of language, starting with mathematics which today, in the interest of its own axiomatization, is vitally interested in general sematological problems and even with aesthetics, geography, and psychiatry? So there are names enough for part, intermediary, and auxiliary disciplines for linguistic research; there is a psychology of language, a pathology of language, a sociology of language, an aesthetics of language, and so forth. To the theorist of science, these hyphenated sciences are of no immediate interest, no matter how great their practical importance and how rich in conclusions their results in single cases may be for linguistics. What we are considering in the interest of an axiomatization of linguistic research are now neither parts nor modes of the speech event but the genuine fundamental aspects of the object. A first defining note was given to it by subsuming it under the class of innerwordly sign things.


Speech Action Linguistic Research Language Structure Linguistic Structure Language Science 
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  1. 12.
    My first word as a young psychologist in 1907 was an objection—which, at that time, was not received by my colleagues with friendliness—against this several-hundred-year-old theoretical blunder. Today, in psychological circles, it is considered unmasked and overcome: there is some cause now, conversely, to defend the old association idea in its limited area of validity against the tendencies of another, in more than one respect antithetical, monism of principles. On this topic, see E. Frenkel, “Atomismus und Mechanismus in der Associationspsychologie,” Zeitschrift füür Psychologie 123 (1931).Google Scholar
  2. 13.
    Compare the characterization of the ‘second phase’ (ages two to four) in Ch. Buhler, Kindheit und Jugend, where the attitude of positing (the thetic) is worked out in parallel fashion for the case of speech. According to Ch. Bühler, the practice of human action as such and in its most important forms of appearing dominates simultaneously the manual play and the speech of the child in the second phase. This is, therefore, also the phase of the most decisive developmental steps in the building up of the child’s language.Google Scholar
  3. 14.
    A. A. Grünbaum, “Sprache als Handlung,” 12th Kongress.-Bericht fur Psvchologie (1932): 164–175. The following contributions to the language day in Hamburg are also printed in the same volume: K. Bühler, “Das Ganze der Sprachtheorie, ihr Autbau und ihre Teile” (a résumé: this essay constitutes the first chapter of an extensive presentation); N. Ach, “Zur psychologischen Grundlegung der sprachlichen Verstandigung”; E. Cassirer, “Die Sprache und der Aufbau der Gegenstandswelt”; K. Goldstein, “Die pathologischen Tatsachen in ihrer Bedeutung für das Problem der Sprache”; Hans W. Gruhle, “Die Sprachstörungen der Schizophrenie”; G. Ipsen, “Sprache und Gemeinschaft”; Leo Weisgerber, “Sprachvergleichung and Psychologie”; and Heinz Werner, “Sprache als Ausdruck”; As we can see, once upon a time it was possible to bring together at the session in Hamburg experts from quite different scientific disciplines.Google Scholar
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    Ch. Bühler, Der menschliche Lebenslauf als psychologisches Problem (1933). Previously: “Zwei Grundtypen von Lebensprozesse,” Zeitschrift füür Psychologie 108 ( 1928). K. Lewin, in his article of the same title in the same journal, polemicizes adeptly, but on the decisive point he does not make contact. The best biological discussion of a similar two-factor principle is found in J. Le Dantec, La science de la vie (1930).Google Scholar

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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of LowellLowellUSA

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