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The Quest for Meaning in Twentieth Century Linguistics

  • Annabelle Lukin
Chapter
  • 214 Downloads
Part of the The M.A.K. Halliday Library Functional Linguistics Series book series (TMAKHLFLS)

Abstract

Linguistic theories are ideologies about the nature of language. They vary in their capacity to bring out the ideological potential of language. This chapter explores a selection of key linguists – Vološinov, Saussure, Firth and Whorf – whose ideas are fundamental for understanding why ideology is dependent on language. Vološinov produced the first semiotic account of ideology and argued for the complete interpenetration of language and ideology. Saussure’s understanding of the primordial characteristics of the sign – its arbitrariness, its linearity, its systemic nature – makes visible the complexity of wording and its dependency on society and culture, other signs and co-text. Firth puts meaning at the centre of linguistics. He develops a contextual theory, the basis on which the concepts of collocation and colligation rest. Whorf shows why languages embody a theory of experience, and how grammar works beneath our conscious threshold. The anthropologist Malinowski is also discussed, since it is from him that Halliday draws his general metafunctional hypothesis, and more specifically the interpersonal function of language, as well as the concepts of context of situation and of culture. The chapter concludes with a discussion of Basil Bernstein’s concepts of power and control, classification and framing, and code.

Keywords

codeCode Saussure Linguists Bernstein 1990b Behaviorist Ideology 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Annabelle Lukin
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of LinguisticsMacquarie UniversitySydneyAustralia

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